How to Thread a Sewing Machine

Here’s a neat New Year’s resolution for you – dig out your old sewing machine and take up sewing again. Sounds fun amidst all the technological distractions around us, right? However, because it has been a long time since you tackled any sewing machine, you’re probably going to want to have a sit-down with your machine to get acquainted with it again.

The most common problem most individuals face after taking up this hobby after a very long time is that they forget every last detail about how to thread a sewing machine. Since learning how to do this is the absolute starting point of using your machine correctly, we’re going to help you live up to your New Year’s resolution.

However, before we start acting like the cupid floating above your relationship with your sewing machine, let’s quickly go over what you’ll be needing to get the job done:

What You’ll Need to Thread a Sewing Machine

  • Manufacturer’s manual (optional)
  • Colored threads
  • Pin or tweezers (for Step 8)

1. Place the Cotton on the Spool

To do so, depending on the brand of your sewing machine, this may require putting the cotton on an upright peg or a peg that is lying down. Whenever in doubt, make sure you refer to your manufacturer’s instructions so that you don’t unintentionally damage your sewing machine.

Next, you will be required to spot the plastic disk that folds down onto the cotton, so that it remains on the spool and doesn’t fly off as soon as you start sewing.

2. Pull It Through the Thread Guide

With the cotton firmly secured on the spool, you should now pull the thread to the thread guide, that will also be set at the top of the machine. The thread guide is responsible for diverting the cotton down to where it can be used for whatever sewing job you have in the pipeline.

Most machines have a large thread guide (shaped like a button-like knob) and therefore, it is difficult to miss. However, if you can’t spot the thread guide, it is time to put your reading glasses on again and refer to the instruction manual.

3. Spin It Around the Tension Knob

With the cotton thread now flowing downwards, your next job will be to loop it around the ‘tension disc’. This component lets you set the tightness of the thread manually and therefore, should be marked with numbers. Also, make sure that you can easily grab onto the cotton thread again once it has passed through the tension knob because it has a long way to go, still.

4. Pull It Through the 2nd Thread Guide

Next, the cotton thread will have to be pulled back up again so that it can be looped through the 2nd thread guide, which also happens to lead directly to the sewing pin. In order to gain access to this guide, you will have to pull on a lever with an eyelet (also known as the take-up lever). Once the thread is through the 2nd thread guide, steps 2, 3 and 4, should have made a tall ‘U’ with your cotton thread.

5. Loop It Over the Needle Hook

Finally, you can now bring the thread down to its ‘promised land’, the needle. However, before you can get right to threading the needle, there may be a couple of hooks that your cotton thread is meant to pass through. Now, some people believe these are just extras and can be skipped, however, this reduces the efficiency of the entire machine. For this reason, go on ahead and pass the thread through all the hooks you can find, all the way down to the needle.

6. Thread the Needle

Even though this is, arguably, the toughest step in the entire process, there isn’t much we can help you with here. The only way to pull through your New Year’s resolution is to squint your eyes and try to bob the thread through a tiny hole at the end of your sewing pin. If you’re having trouble doing so, you can always ask anyone passing by to give it a try.

7. Insert the Bobbin

Now, it is time for you to load your bobbin based on their type or the instructions that you read-up earlier. Your sewing machine may either require the bobbin to be inserted from the front or from the top. However, some models also feature removable cases which let you insert the bobbin in before you simply drip or push them into a fixed position/slot.

Now with the bobbin inserted, bring the thread from the bobbin toward the top of the machine plate, where the sewing pin will move at those blurry speeds.

8. Connect the Bobbin and the Top Thread

When you find the loop of thread that is coming out of the bobbin, pull it to the top of the machine. Oftentimes, people need another pin or a pair of tweezers to grab the ultra-thin thread. Now, all that’s left to do is to pull the threads gently toward the back of the machine and they should be able to run freely when you tug at them. Go ahead and test your sewing machine on a scrap of fabric to check whether the tension and stitches are exactly how you want them and make adjustments accordingly.

Our Final Thoughts

Remember how we mentioned that among the most difficult tasks of sewing a sewing machine, is, well, to sew it (here’s a mind-bending sentence). What could be harder than passing a cotton thread into a tiny hole in a needle while squinting to find the gap (because the needle cannot be lifted towards the light end nor can the heavy sewing machine)?

If you find yourself stuck on this step, then you could try trimming the end of the thread with a pair of sharp scissors or a knife. Alternatively, you could also wet the end of your thread by placing them in between your lips and giving it a lick or using a wet finger tip. Even though it may be hard to believe, your saliva could actually work where your eyesight fails you.

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