How To Properly Thread A Needle For A Sewing Machine

If you’ve just bought or are considering buying a sewing machine, we highly recommend learning the operational basics, to ensure that you don’t end up damaging the product or its parts. We’ve written up a short guide on how to correctly thread a needle for your sewing machine, so read on to find out more.

Step 1: Wind the Bobbin!

The first stage of threading your sewing machine is to wind the bobbin. This can be done in the following easy steps:

  1. Place thread on the spool pin: Located on the very top of your machine should be a small pole upon which you’re supposed to slide your roll of thread onto. Check your individual machine specifications/manual to ensure you are placing it correctly- the thread should unravel in an anti-clockwise motion.
  2. Pull the thread: Directly on the opposite end of the machine, on top, should be a small metal disc. You need to pull the thread towards it and wind it around the disc once, completely. Some machines have design features included to help keep the thread in place, so if yours has this- make use of it.
  3. Threading your Bobbin: With the end of the thread, extend it a little more and pull it towards you. Grab a bobbin*, and thread the holes directly across. Bobbins may only have one pair of holes, or many going all around the circumference. You need to insert the thread through one hole on one end, and thread it through the opposite hole. Next, wrap the thread around the central barrel of the bobbin about 6-7 times, just to secure it.
  4. Secure bobbin for Spinning: Next to the spool pin should be another, smaller pole. This is where you slide your bobbin onto. There should also be a locking mechanism for this, which when activated should result in a click noise. This lets you know that the bobbin is firmly in place. The locking mechanism varies between machines, so refer to your individual manual to locate it. Some machines may not even have a separate locking mechanism- you may just have to apply pressure to push the bobbin firmly own, which will result in a click.
  5. Start winding: Click the bobbin to the securing wheel, and press down on the pedal of your machine, or the “go” button if it is electric. Your bobbin should start thickening with more and more thread. Keep going until you have a sufficient amount of thread- this is how much you will have available while you stitch, so make sure you have excess instead of less.
  6. Remove Bobbin: When you’re done, stop winding. Unlatch the the bobbin at the top, and snip the end of the thread. We recommend leaving about 4 inches of thread. Remember, always excess, never less.

*The bobbin you select is very important- some machines have special ones made specifically for them. This is usually branded designer machines- most generic machines use universal bobbins, which are often clear.


Step 2: Thread the Upper-most Part

This is the first part of actually threading the machine now. There are 5 easy steps to follow:

  1. Place thread on the spool pin: If you are changing colours, then change the thread on your spool pin. This will be the colour on the fabric facing you, while the bobbin thread colour will be on the underside.
  2. Thread along the Thread Guide:  Extend the thread towards yourself, and bring it across the top of your machine. Next, pull the thread through the thread guide, down, around. The thread guide often looks like a silver piece that is sticking out from the top of the sewing machine. Make sure you bring the thread back upwards towards the U-shaped area for where your thread will go through next. Most sewing machines have a guideline showing how this procedure is done, but it is usually standard for all machines.
  3. Pull thread downwards: Your sewing machine will usually have arrows indicating direction correctly, so it is a good idea to follow these. You need to loop the thread around the tension discs based on the bottom, then again back upwards through the second thread guide, situated at the top of the machine. In essence, you should imagine your thread forming a narrow “U”.
  4. Feed the Dog: Some people like to refer to the takeup lever as the “feed-dog”, because you are sort of feeding the thread into the mouth of the lever. With this, you have to wind the thread around the takeup lever up top, then back down towards the needle. To identify your feed dog, it should be another metal, large piece sticking out of the second thread guide. It’s not obvious, you have to look into he machine to find it. It has a hole cut out of it for the thread to go through. In essence, you are are creating a long, narrow, sideways “S”.
  5. Thread the Needle! Pull your thread down towards the needle and slide it through the eye of the needle. Pull a good 3-4 inches of thread through. Now, pull this thread through the tiny gap in the metal presser foot which should be located directly beneath the needle.

Step 3: Thread the Lower Machine

Before you can use the machine, you need to thread the lower half of the machine. This can also be done in the following simple steps:

  1. Remove the bobbin Compartment Lid: This small chamber is where your loaded bobbin will be throughout the stitching process. It usually has a lid, which you are to slide off.
  2. Unwind the Bobbin: Unravel around 4 inches of the thread which you spun around the bobbin before. Unwinding too little thread can mean that it won’t get caught, and that can be messy for you project. Always remain in excess, never less!!
  3. Place Bobbin in Compartment: Slot in your bobbin within the compartment- some machines may feature a click noise to indicate that it is secure. Wind the excess thread through the compartment- your manual or machine should indicate which direction to do this in. A quick and easy way to check is to pull the thread of the tail and have the bobbin unwind smoothly without any resistance.
  4. Expose Thread from Bobbin: One the lid is placed again, you need to ensure some thread is visible. We recommend pulling out around 3-4 inches. To bring out the end of it, grab the dial on the right side of your sewing machine (usually it is on the right). Turn it towards you until, the thread pops out. Grab and pull the exposed thread until you’ve reached a good length.

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