Learning how to use a needle threader will just take a few minutes and will change how you think about hand sewing forever. This article will discuss how to use your needle threading tool to make threading a needle ten times faster. Needle threaders can be used to thread hand sewing needles or your sewing machine needle.
How to Use a Needle Threader Tutorial
If you find yourself squinting at the eye of a needle or searching for your reading glasses and still squinting at the eye of a needle (that's me!), then perhaps it’s time to consider the fancy little gadget that came with the last packet of needles you bought. It’s a needle threader, and although small and rather odd-looking, it is an efficient way to thread a needle that you are battling to see eye to eye with!
What is a Needle Threader?
A needle threader is a simple, low-tech device for passing a thread through a needle eye without the aid of a magnifying glass or increasing your frustration. It has a thin wire that is inserted into the eye of a needle and threaded to pull a thread through.
Needle threaders can be used to thread hand sewing needles, a sewing machine needle or even a serger.
What Does a Needle Threader Look Like?
The most common needle threader is a shiny little gadget made of a wire part in a diamond shape and a metal part that looks like a coin. The wire part sticks out of the metal part, which is the piece you hold, and the wire part is going to be inserted into the needle.
Different Types of Threaders
You can also purchase slightly more durable ones with plastic heads, but essentially the different types of needle threaders all do the same thing - get the thread through the eye of the needle. The pack that you bought the needles in often has a needle threader included, and this makes threading a needle a really easy operation if you follow these simple steps.
These are other types of needle threaders. I found these in my sewing tools and to be honest I don't like any of them. The silver ones pictured above are by far the easiest to use.
Why Use a Needle Threader Tool?
The eye of the needle comes in different sizes depending on the needle and its use in the sewing world. Sometimes a fine needle with a fine eye can just about be impossible to thread without learning how to use a needle threader!
Needle threaders are an easy solution if you have poor eyesight or a shaky hand. There are also some threads that no matter how much you cut the end, it still frays and is hard to pass through the eye.
Further reading: Types of Hand Sewing Needles
How to Use a Needle Threader VIDEO Tutorial
Watch this YouTube video I made to show you just how easy it is to use a needle threader. Subscribe to the Treasurie YouTube channel for weekly sewing and craft videos.
How to Use a Needle Threader - Step by Step Instructions
Step 1 - Insert Wire into the Eye
Insert the diamond-shaped wire loop of the needle threader through the eye of the needle. It should squash through because of the diamond shape and the soft wire it is made of.
Step 2 - Put Thread Through the Wire
Hold the needle threader and the needle in one hand. It’s a bit fiddly, but you will manage to keep control with practice.
Put one end of your thread through the wire loop of the needle threader. Pull the thread through so you have two tails hanging off the wire threader like in the photo below.
Step 3 - Pull Wire Back
Pull the wire hook back through the eye of the needle. The diamond-shaped wire will squash back down, and the threads will go with it through to the other side.
Step 4 - Knot the Ends
Grab one of the threads and pull it through the eye of the needle. You want to end up with just one piece of thread going through the eye.
If you plan to sew with a double thread, you can pull the threads together to make an even length of thread and knot at the bottom. For a single thread, then pull one of the threads to be higher than the other and knot the longer one. Learn more about how to tie a knot for sewing.
If you are not sure whether to use a double or single thread, make a decision based on the strength and thickness of your cotton. If it is thin, then do it double, for thicker threads or embroidery threads, thread and knot it as a single strand.
Extra Tips for Using a Needle Threader
- Be gentle - Needle threader wires are very fine so just be gentle when you are pushing it through the eye.
- Buy extra - These gadgets are incredibly cheap, so buy a few extra to have on hand. Keep them somewhere you can find them too. Mine are always disappearing.
- Choose the correct thread - Ensure your thread thickness matches your needle size. Even a needle threader won't get a really thick thread through an impossibly small eye.
- Check for rust or dirt - Make sure your needle threader is clean before you use it since any dirt will transfer to your thread and fabric.
How to Use a Needle Threader for Knitting
The needle threader can also be used in knitting and crochet circles! A snag in a cardigan is easily pulled through with a threader. It is also an ideal way to pull the ends of the yarn through to the other side.
Poke the diamond wire through the knitted from the wrong side to the right side. Thread the end of the snag or yarn through the diamond wire and pull the thread backward through to the wrong side. Now your threads are invisible on the right side!
How to Use a Needle Threader for a Sewing Machine
- Start with the sewing machine needle in the highest position so you have the maximum space.
- Turn the sewing machine off so you can't accidentally hurt yourself. If you don't turn it off then make sure your foot is well away from the presser foot.
- Now insert the wire of the needle threader from the back of the sewing machine needle to the front.
- Insert the thread into the diamond wire and pull it back through.
After Using a Needle Threader
Now I assume you have ended up on this blog article on how to use a needle threader because you are about to start hand stitching! So where to go next?
- If you need to seam a seam, then you are best to learn how to sew either a running stitch or a backstitch. A running stitch is a simple up-and-down stitch that is one of the easiest you can do regardless of your sewing experience. A backstitch is still easy but takes a little more time. The advantage is that it creates a really strong hand seam that will hold up to washing. The smaller you can do the length of the stitches, the stronger it will be.
- If you are looking to close a seam with an invisible stitch, then you should read my article on the ladder stitch. If you are not sure which stitch to use, read my article on hand embroidery stitches to see which one best suits your project.
Here are some links that will help you navigate my hand sewing section
Needle Threader FAQs
What are automatic needle threaders?
These automatic threaders are found on computerized sewing machines and help you thread the needle automatically. They are generally found on more expensive sewing machines. You will need to use a thread cutter first and then press a button or lever to activate the sewing machine needle threader.
How to Use a Needle Threader - In Conclusion
Now you know how to use a needle threader, you will never look back and will stop thinking that you need stronger glasses or a magnifying glass! Learning how to use a needle threader makes threading that tiny needle-eye so much easier and cuts back on frustration before you start to hand sew.
Further Reading on Hand Sewing
- Needle Threader These often come free with packets of sewing needles.
- Insert the diamond shaped wire on the needle threader through the eye of the needle. (It is soft so will squash through).
- Insert the end of the thread through the wire of the needle threader.
- Pull the wire back through the eye of the needle. The thread will come through with it.
- Grab the end of the thread and pull it through. Knot the ends of your threads and you are ready to start hand sewing.