Step by Step Guide On How To Thread a Sewing Machine


Okay, you can relax now. We’re going to run you through exactly how to thread your sewing machine. Firstly, there should be coherent instructions that come with your machine which are absolutely ideal to get you started.

However, you’re probably here for one of two reasons: either you’ve unearthed your grandma’s sewing machine from the garage but it doesn’t have instructions with it, or your machine’s instructions are so mind-bogglingly impenetrable and garbled that you’ve turned to the internet for help.

Here’s a simple 15 step guide to get you started, and check our glossary for any words or terms you might not understand.

Luckily, all sewing machines work very similarly, so you should be able to thread your sewing machine with this guide whether it’s old or new.

  • NB: Just so you know, a sewing machine creates its stitches by connecting two separate threads, the spool and the bobbin.


1.Raise the needle up from the machine. Depending on your machine, you can do this by turning the hand wheel, or for those of you who’ve got something a little swankier, press the “needle up” button. Inventively named eh?

2. Lift up the presser foot, which releases the tension in the thread.

3. Add a spool of thread to the little pin which pops out of the top of the machine. And add a spool cap to make sure it doesn’t ping off.

4. Start unravelling the spool and then feed it through the first thread guide, there are probably arrows on your machine to show you which way to go. The spool should release its thread smoothly and easily.

5. Bring the thread to the front of the machine and through the tension discs (if they’re external), and around the next thread guide.

6. Pull the thread through the take-up lever, there will be a small hole.

7. Keep following the thread guides (you may feel like Hansel and Gretel at this point but do persevere!).

8. Some machines – swanky alert – have built-in needle threaders, if not you need to work out which way to thread it. It will either thread from left to right, or front to back. Check the groove in the needle to see which way it goes.

9. Make sure your presser foot’s still lifted; it means that the thread will run smoothly through the machine.

10. Lower the presser foot and then ease the thread through. There will be a lot more resistance now because the tension discs are engaged.

11. Inserting the bobbin, you have to make sure it’s going to unravel in the right direction, and that the bobbin tension spring is engaged.

12. Now we’re going to loop the top thread around the bobbin. You do this by raising the presser foot and holding the thread while lowering the needle and then raising the needle.

13. Ease the end of the needle thread along to bring the bobbin thread up through the needle hole in the stitch plate.

14. Pull both threads under the presser foot and then out of the way towards the back of the machine.

15. There isn’t a fifteenth step but it’s just a nicer number isn’t it?

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