Learn how to thread a sewing machine. Here’s a great New Year’s resolution – get out your sewing machine and start sewing again. Yes, it looks like a great idea, but how long ago did you tackle some machine sewing or sit down and work out how to thread a sewing machine?
Threading your sewing machine correctly is the absolute basic starting point. So dust your machine off, pick yourself up and be ready to start sewing all over again. Add some clever tips to make the process easier and this could make all the difference to your relationship with your sewing machine.
How to Thread a Sewing Machine
Before you Start
- Firstly check your sewing manual, if you have one. It should give diagrammatical instructions on how to thread your make of machine. If you have lost your manual then read this article with links to download sewing machine manuals online.
- Choose the color thread you plan to use and fill the bobbin (Read how to wind a bobbin)
- Always choose good quality threads such as Rasant, Gutterman or Coates. Your thread should be suitable for your fabric choices. (Read sewing thread types)
How to Thread a Sewing Machine in 10 Easy Steps
Now before I show you the close up of each step of how to thread a sewing machine, I have made this diagram so you can visualize the overall path the thread will take.
Step 1: Top Spool
Put the cotton on the spool at the top of the machine. Depending on your make of machine, this may be an upright peg or one lying down. Your machine may have a plastic disk to put on top of the spool to hold it in place and to stop it flying off the top once you start sewing.
Step 2: Thread Guide
Pull the thread through the thread guide on the top. This Brother machine has a rather large guide. Often the guide will be a small button-like knob.
Step 3: Around the Tension Knob
Pull the thread down towards you and loop it around the tension discs below.
Step 4: Second Thread Guide
Then pull the thread back up again into the second thread guide. This will have a lever with an eyelet, generally called the take-up lever. This creates a U shape with the thread.
Step 5: Above Needle Hook
Bring the thread down to the needle following any hooks to hold thread.
Step 6: Thread the Needle
Then thread the needle from the front to the back. If you are having trouble threading the needle, then see the tips further down this article.
Step 7: Insert Bobbin
Load your wound bobbin as per your bobbin type and manual instructions. Your machine may have the bobbin inserted from the top or from the front. Some makes of machine have a removable case that the bobbin inserts into and others drop straight down into a fixed position.
Turn the flywheel (big wheel on the right side of the machine) towards you so the needle hooks up the top thread with the bottom thread.
Bring the thread from the bobbin to the top of the machine plate where the needle moves in and out.
Step 8: Join the Bobbin and Top Thread
Find the loop of bobbin thread that is being caught and pull it to the top. You may need tweezers or a pin to help grab it.
Step 9: Pull the Threads to the Back
Gently pull both threads to the back. They should run freely as you pull them.
Step 10: Test on a Scrap
Take a scrap of fabric and check your stitches and tension. Hold the threads gently at the back as you start sewing so that you don’t tangle the top and bottom threads. Remember to lower the foot to steady the fabric and connect with the feeder mechanism.
Ready, steady, good to go on your perfectly threaded sewing machine.
How to Thread a Sewing Machine - Extra tips
Once you have mastered the basics of threading the only other challenge can be the threading of the needle. What could be easier than getting a bit of cotton to pass through the eye of a needle?
Generally speaking a simple task, but the sewing machine needle is not free to be held up to the light or closer to your point of vision or further if you are getting to the reading glasses stage of life! Your little needle with a little eye is attached to your machine and set in a socket. It is the last station of the sewing machine threading process.
Helpful tips on how to thread a machine needle:
- If you do need glasses, try having an extra pair of slightly stronger glasses just for threading the needle. It will help to magnify the eye of the needle.
- Trim the thread end with really sharp scissors.
- You may want to wet the end of the thread with a little discreet lick of your lips or a wet fingertip. The moist thread is easier to thread.
- Extra light on the subject is also an option. The machine has a light but a study lamp could just shed a bit more light on the subject.
- There are also little gadgets you can buy to help with needle threading.
‘Threading the needle’, is actually a term for some moves in action sports. Could sewing be classified as an action sport? Hopefully not that dangerous, just a chance to bring you closer to the excitement of starting something new.
Ready for action and a new season of sewing with your sewing machine threaded correctly!
If after you have learned how to thread a sewing machine you are still having some problems with the machine sewing properly, here are some troubleshooting articles that might help you.
- Sewing Needle Keeps Breaking
- How to Clean a Sewing Machine
- Sewing Machine Thread Keeps Breaking
- Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches
- Seam Puckering when Sewing
- Sewing Machine Manuals
- Sewing Safety Tips for Beginners
- Sewing Machine Troubleshooting
- Sewing Machine Tension
- How to Thread a Sewing Machine