how to thread a sewing machine

Sewing machines have revolutionized the way we approach garment making, offering speed, precision, and efficiency. However, for many beginners, the process of threading a sewing machine can be intimidating and confusing. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of threading a sewing machine, along with valuable tips and recommendations to ensure a smooth sewing experience. So, whether you are a sewing enthusiast or just starting out, this article will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to thread any sewing machine like a pro.

Please note, each sewing machine may vary slightly in terms of threading mechanisms and layout. Therefore, it’s important to refer to your machine’s manual for specific instructions, particularly if it deviates from the general process outlined below.

Understanding the Components of a Sewing Machine

Before delving into the threading process, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the key components of a sewing machine. The major components include:

Spool Holder

Located at the top of the machine, it holds the spool of thread

Bobbin Winder

Found on the top or side of the machine, it winds thread onto the bobbin.

Tension Discs:

Located just above the needle, they regulate the tension of the thread.


Used to sew the fabric, it penetrates and forms stitches.

Bobbin Case

Holds the bobbin, which supplies thread to the lower part of the machine.

Threading a Sewing Machine: Step-by-Step Guide

Winding the Bobbin

To ensure a smooth stitching process, start by winding a bobbin with the thread of your choice. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Place the spool of thread on the spool holder and secure it with the spool pin.
Step 2: Take the thread’s end and pass it through the bobbin winder tension discs, if applicable.
Step 3: Wind the end of the thread around the bobbin, leaving a tail of approximately 6 inches.
Step 4: Push the bobbin winder spindle to the right and engage it.
Step 5: Press the foot pedal gently or turn the handwheel to start winding the bobbin. Ensure the thread winds evenly across the bobbin.
Step 6: Once the bobbin is full, stop the winding process, cut the thread, and remove the bobbin from the winder spindle.

Preparing the Upper Thread

Before threading the machine, it’s important to prepare the upper thread correctly. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Insert the wound bobbin into the bobbin case.
Step 2: Pull the thread through the bobbin case’s slot, ensuring it rotates counterclockwise.
Step 3: Pull the bobbin thread through the small slit or tension spring, leaving a tail of approximately 6 inches.

Threading the Machine

Now, let’s thread the upper part of the sewing machine. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Raise the presser foot to release tension on the upper thread.
Step 2: Place the thread spool on the spool holder and secure it with the spool cap.
Step 3: Take the thread’s end and pass it through the thread guide, located at the top of the machine.
Step 4: Continue guiding the thread through the second guide, towards the tension discs.
Step 5: Pass the thread through the tension discs, making sure it goes between them.
Step 6: Next, locate the take-up lever, usually positioned above the tension discs. Pass the thread through it from left to right, ensuring it slides into the slot.
Step 7: Continue threading the machine by following the guides or threading points indicated on the machine’s body, passing the thread through each one.
Step 8: Finally, thread the needle by inserting the thread through the needle’s eye from front to back. Leave a tail of approximately 4-6 inches.

Reinserting the Bobbin Case

After threading the upper part of the sewing machine, it’s time to reinsert the bobbin case. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the bobbin case compartment, typically located beneath the needle plate.
Step 2: Hold the bobbin case securely and insert it into the bobbin case compartment, ensuring it fits correctly.
Step 3: Close the bobbin case compartment, ensuring it latches securely in place.
Step 4: Gently rotate the handwheel towards you to lower the needle and bring up the bobbin thread.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1 How often should I thread my sewing machine?
To avoid any complications or thread-related issues while sewing, it is recommended to thread your sewing machine at the beginning of each sewing session.

2 What happens if the machine isn’t threaded properly?
Improper threading can lead to various stitching problems, such as skipped stitches, tension issues, or jamming. It’s essential to follow the correct threading process to achieve optimal results.

3 Can I use any type of thread for my sewing machine?
While most sewing machines can handle a variety of threads, it’s recommended to use threads specifically designed for sewing machines. These threads are usually stronger and less likely to cause tension problems or breakage.

4 How can I avoid thread tangling while threading?
To prevent thread tangling, ensure the presser foot is raised during the threading process. This releases tension on the thread, reducing the chances of tangling.

5 Are there any troubleshooting tips for thread breakage?
If you experience frequent thread breakage, try the following:
– Ensure the needle is correctly inserted and not bent or dull.
– Check for any tangled or frayed threads in the thread path.
– Adjust the tension settings by starting from the default and making small adjustments.
– Make sure the thread is suitable for the fabric being sewn.


Threading a sewing machine may seem intricate and overwhelming at first, but with practice and patience, it becomes second nature. By understanding the components, following the step-by-step process, and considering the tips and FAQs provided in this guide, you’ll soon master the art of threading a sewing machine. Remember, always consult your machine’s manual for specific instructions and always thread your machine with care to ensure smooth and enjoyable sewing projects.

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