How to Thread A Sewing Machine

A sewing machine can make your job ten times easier, but as many owners have found, sometimes maintaining it can take about as much work. One of the particularly difficult tasks is threading, a seemingly quick process where you load on a new spool of thread. Learning how to thread a sewing machine is one thing, learning to do it fast is another. But with the right trick, you can get it over with in a few seconds.

The first step is to set up the machine so that the thread passes through the threading points as smoothly as it can. Start by turning the handwheel inwards (towards you), bringing the needle up to the highest position. Next, raise the presser foot—this will clear the way for the thread as described above and keep the needle from getting unthreaded while you’re stitching—a pet peeve for every dressmaker!

Add in the thread by placing the spool on the pin, which is usually found on top of the machine. Some machines have a horizontal spool pin; in this case it should come with a cap to keep the spool from flying off. Once it’s secure, take the end of the thread and start passing it through the threading points. This should lead downwards underneath the tension mechanism, the part where you control the thread, where you can run the thread through the tension discs and, in some models, a hook on the tension dial.

From here, work your way back up to the threading point on the top left. If there’s a lever in the same area, push the end of the thread through and then down to a couple more threading points, usually at the bottom left and just over the needle. When you reach the needle, you can thread it either from the front or back, depending on the machine you have.

Next, pull the thread to the left, making sure it’s made it through the needle. If you need to, insert a wound bobbin and fit in the throat plate cover—some of the bobbin thread should be sticking out from under it. Grab some of the thread that’s pulled through the needle, then turn the hand wheel inward again until the needle goes into the bobbin case. Keep turning until the needle is back at the top—it should pull some of the bobbin thread up with it. Let go of the top thread and pull on the bobbin thread until it’s entirely out, then pull both threads under the presser foot towards the back.

Many of these steps will require good aim and eyesight, so have your glasses on hand if you wear them. Having someone else to help is also a good idea, especially when you get to pulling both threads.

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