How to Thread a Sewing Machine (With Photos)

Updated on April 11, 2016

Tips, Tricks and How Tos for Threading Your Sewing Machine

Tame thread issues and learn how to prepare your machine with this illustrated tutorial and accompanying video. In this lens, I am going show you how to thread your sewing machine while avoiding some common pitfalls that lead to major frustration. The thing about threading sewing machines is that every model is a little different. Brother sewing machines are a tiny bit different than Kenmores, which are a tiny bit different than vintage sewing machines.That's why it's a good idea to read the manual even if you are a confident sewer. If you don't have a manual for your machine, this tutorial should give you a good idea of the basic steps. Something as simple as having the spool of thread unwinding in the wrong direction can wreak havoc with your stitches. So, let's start with the spool.

* All photos and graphics featured on this lens are my own. Some content has been adapted from my video lesson, which you can find on YouTube or in this lens.

Sewing Supplies

For this step, you'll need a good quality cotton or polyester thread. Here are two of my favorites.

Complete Threading Diagram

sewing machine threading diagram
sewing machine threading diagram

This graphic show the basic steps and correct order for threading almost any sewing machine. Start on the top, work your way through the vertical channels, hook the thread around the uptake lever and bring the thread through the needle. That's it!

NOTE: The thread guide with the little round mushroom-cap doodad is part of the bobbin threading system, so there's no need to worry about that. The only guide you need to catch is the small metal loop located just before the channels and tension plates.

Basic Threading Guide

  1. Place your spool of thread on the spool holder. Cover with a spool cap if necessary.
  2. Bring the thread through the first thread guide on the top of the machine.
  3. Next, bring the thread through the first row of channels, making sure the thread passes through the tension plates or tension discs.
  4. Follow the threading channel downward, bring the tail around the island in between the two channels.
  5. Bring the thread up, following the second or left-most channel.
  6. Now for the tricky part, make sure the thread hooks around the thread uptake lever, a metal hanger type apparatus with a notch for the thread. If necessary, turn the hand wheel to raise the needle to the highest position.
  7. Next, bring the thread all the way down to the needle area. Make sure to catch the needle thread guide, which is a little eyelet located on the front or side of the needle.
  8. Finally, thread the needle. For most home sewing machines, the tail should go through the needle from front to back. Now you're done!

Step 1: The Thread Guide

After your thread is on the spool holder, bring it through the first guide.

Step 2: The Tension Plates

Guide your thread through the vertical channels. This is where your tension discs are located. To make sure the thread passes through the plates, tug on both ends to keep the thread taught while guiding it through. If you aren't sure whether it worked, move your tension knob to zero, try it again and then re-tighten the tension.

Step 3: 'Round the Horn

Continue guiding your thread through the channels that run from the top through the face of the machine. Once you round the bottom, wrap the thread around the horn and pull it up the second row of channels. Basically, you're making a making a sharp U-turn.

Step 4: Catching the Thread Uptake Lever

Catching the thread uptake lever is one of the most important steps. After you've brought the thread down and hooked it around the center median, bring it all the way up to the thread uptake lever, making sure the thread is caught in the notch. If necessary, adjust your hand wheel to raise the position of the thread hanger, which will make it easier to complete the process. This close-up photo shows the thread up take lever on my Kenmore Mini Ultra sewing machine.

Video Tutorial: How To Thread a Sewing Machine - Check out my tutorial on YouTube

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 QuiltFinger

    Having Thread Troubles? - Share your struggles and threading strategies here.

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, feltmagnet.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://feltmagnet.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)