How to Thread a Sewing Machine
Learn how to set up a sewing machine by threading the correct way.
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If quilting intrigues you, but you've hardly sewn a stitch, never fear! In this video tutorial on how to thread a sewing machine, Christian Tamez gets you started on the right foot with a thorough explanation of threading a sewing machine and bobbin.
Sometimes working with sewing machines can feel a little intimidating the first time you make your way through the basic mechanics. However, with this easy, step-by-step sewing tutorial, you'll be a pro at threading your machine in no time at all.
Project TypeLearn a Technique
Time to CompleteUnder an hour
- Sewing machine
- Spools of thread (correct size for your machine)
- Bobbin (correct size for your machine)
- Scrap fabric (to test)
Not sure which sewing machine is for you? Be sure to watch this video from our friend and sewing expert Angela to find out How to Choose a Sewing Machine
How to Thread a Sewing Machine for Beginners
How to Thread a Sewing Machine:
All machines are different but most have the same basic set up. Even if yours does not match, you can use what you have learned by watching Christian thread his machine to help you thread yours. However, always read your manual if it is available to be sure you are threading your machine correctly.
Most sewing machines thread from right to left, with a series of thread guides leading through tension disks and into a thread take-up lever. Then into the needle.
Follow along to find out how to attach the thread and weave it through the proper guides so that you can start sewing.
Note: As you go, make sure the thread is moving through the guides smoothly. If you find any knots or snags, you will want to restart the threading process.
Find the spool pins. Put your thread spool over the spool pin, and do this for as many thread spools as your machine has or you need for your project.
Pull the end of the thread from the spool toward the right, toward the first thread guide. This machine has a coil guide. Weave the thread around the coil.
Pull the thread toward the second thread guide at the right of the first, toward the front of the machine. This machine has a second guide that is also used to wind bobbins.
Find the third thread guide if your machine has one. This machine has the third guide on the opposite side of the second. It is a coil, so the thread is weaved around.
Lift your presser foot so that the tension disks are released.
Find your tension disks. On this machine, they are visible on the side of the machine. Move the thread around the disk (not wrapped all the way around, just around the back and under the bottom).
Note: This machine has a spring catch. If yours does, make sure you catch it before moving to the take-up lever.
Find the take-up lever. You may have to wind your machine wheel to move it to the top so that you can weave your thread through the topmost hole (or around the guide if your machine does not have a hole).
Find the bottom guide or hook on your take-up lever and attach the thread there.
On the needle arm, you may see another thread guide. If so, wrap your thread appropriately around it.
Trim the end of your thread with scissors.
Find the eye of the needle and pass your thread through. Then lead your thread to the back using the guide on the presser foot.
How to Thread the Bobbin on a Sewing Machine:
The machine used in this tutorial has a side-oscillating bobbin under the presser foot. If your machine has one or if you want to learn how to thread a bobbin anyway, then be sure to follow along with these instructions.
Take a look at the bobbin container and find where the thread is fed through.
Make sure your thread is going clockwise and place the bobbin into the container. Draw the thread up through the guides and through any springs inside the container.
Install the bobbin back under the presser foot in the correct fitted area.
Pull the end of the thread out and into any grooves on the edge of the front of the machine.
Hold onto your needle thread and rotate the hand wheel one rotation (so that the needle goes up and down once).
Tug back the needle thread and bring up the bobbin thread through the plate (using scissors or another tool to grab the thread so that your hands are not near the needle).
Bring both threads to the back.
Test out the machine with a scrap piece of fabric. If all the stitches are right, then you are ready to sew your project.
Don't forget to watch our reader-favorite video tutorial for How to Square Up a Quilt Block
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