Your Step-by-Step Guide to Threading a Sewing Machine

No matter what domestic sewing machine you have, there is one universal task for every sewing machine: threading the sewing machine. 

The thread must travel a specific pathway to get to the needle, and you must follow that exact path for the sewing machine to work correctly. 

This post will show you how to thread a sewing machine and several tips and tricks to make the task a bit easier for you. Without further ado, let’s jump into this threading a sewing machine tutorial. 

What to Do Before You Start Threading Your Machine

So you’ve just unboxed your new sewing machine and want to start sewing.

But first, you have to thread the machine and prepare it for sewing. 

Let’s break down everything you should do before threading your sewing machine.

  • Read the Manual: The manual with your sewing machine is SO important when learning how to set up a sewing machine. Most sewing machine manuals will have a section dedicated to the exact steps to run the thread through the machine. 
  • Choose the Thread: The sewing machine thread you choose depends on what type of fabric you are working on. I recommend using a good quality thread when sewing with a sewing machine. This will reduce the chances of the thread breaking or fraying. It doesn’t have to be an expensive thread, just one from a reputable brand such as Coats and Clark.
  • Wind the Bobbin: When sewing, the machine uses thread from two different places: the bobbin and the spool of thread. Before you thread the machine, you should wind the bobbin. Most sewing machines nowadays include a bobbin winder on the top of the sewing machine. Refer to your manual on how to wind the bobbin with your sewing machine. 
  • Raise the Needle: To thread the sewing machine properly, raise the needle to its highest position. This also raises one of the parts of the machine that the thread hooks onto later in the threading process. 

How to Thread a Sewing Machine: A Step-by-Step Guide 

This simple guide to threading a sewing machine is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to thread their sewing machine properly.

Tutorial on threading a sewing machine

Remember, these steps may be different for your specific sewing machine. It’s essential to consult your manual for the exact steps for your machine.

We’ve written the steps for you, but here’s a video with a step-by-step tutorial:

  1. Place the spool of thread on the spool holder.
  2. Feed the thread through the thread guide on the top of the machine.

The top thread guide might look different from the one in the video, but it works similarly. This part of the sewing machine is to help guide the thread down to the front of the sewing machine.

  1. Feed the thread through the front thread guide. 

This part will look a little different on every sewing machine. Most sewing machines also include arrows and numbers to help you through these steps. This front thread guide also helps with thread tension.

  1. Thread through the take-up lever.

The take-up lever lifts the thread in sync with the needle’s movements so the thread doesn’t bunch under the needle. It’s best to raise the needle to its highest position to get a clear view of the take-up lever. 

  1. Pull the thread down and feed it through the hook above the needle. 

Guide the thread down to the hook on the machine’s front and above the needle.

  1. Hook the thread onto the hook to the left of the needle base.

Not all sewing machines have this extra hook, but if yours does have a small hook to the left of the needle base, go ahead and thread the thread through the hook. This helps holds the thread in place.

  1. Thread the needle.

You have a couple of options for threading a sewing machine needle. Most modern sewing machines have an automatic needle threader included in the design. Refer to your manual on how to use it on your machine.

If you want to thread it by hand, take the end of the thread and feed it through the eye of the needle. 

  1. Insert the bobbin.

Remember that bobbin you wound earlier? Grab that and place it into your sewing machine. Refer to your manual on where the bobbin goes. Some machines use side-loading bobbins; some use top-loading bobbins. 

  1. Pull the bobbin thread up.

While holding the end of the needle thread, put your needle down either by turning the wheel or pushing it if your machine has a needle-down button. Gently tug at the needle thread, and it will pull the bobbin thread up through the sewing machine plate. 

Now you are ready to start sewing!

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More Tips and Tricks for Threading Your Sewing Machine

  • Ensure the thread isn’t frayed when placing it through the eye of the needle. This can make feeding it through the tiny needle eye more difficult.
  • Turn off your sewing machine before threading your sewing machine, especially if you are a beginner. You don’t want to have a freak accident and accidentally puncture your finger with the sharp sewing machine needle. Trust me, it hurts.
  • If you’re having issues getting the thread to go through the eye of the needle, you can use beeswax or water to wet the end of the thread and make it easier to work with. 
  • Practice the movements of threading your sewing machine several times before you start sewing. This will help your brain and hands get used to the movements and create muscle memory. 
  • If your thread keeps jumping out of one of the thread guides, you may need to adjust your thread tension. Use the dials on the top of your machine to tweak the tension until it works properly. 
  • If your thread keeps breaking, it can mean one of two things. You’re using poor-quality thread, or the thread tension is too tight. If you know you’re using a good thread, then play around with the thread tension until it stops breaking.

I hope this guide helps you thread your sewing machine with confidence. Remember, the more you practice, the quicker you will be, and before you know it, you’ll be threading your sewing machine in your sleep.