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How To Thread A Sewing Machine


A photo of the basic thread of most sewing machines.

Basic Sewing Machine Threading Guide

Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
Sewing machines are handed down and found at yard sales all the time. Very few of these machines still have the owners manual with them. Here you will find basic directions for threading a sewing machine.

The best source for learning your sewing machine is you sewing machine's manual. Find your sewing machine manual

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Less than 5 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Place the presser foot in the upward position. Place a spool of thread on the spool holder. Traveling from the spool holder, across the top of the machine, look for a minimum of one thread guide. Insert the thread in the thread guide(s).
  2. Now look for a tension mechanism. Bring the thread downward to the tension mechanism, slip the thread between the metal disks of the tension mechanism, and travel back upwards with the thread.
  3. Look for a take up mechanism. This is the area on the front of the machine which will go up and down, when you turn the hand wheel. Place the thread through the take up lever. Some machines are set up so the thread will slide in to this, others require you to place the thread through a hole.
  4. Now the thread will go downward on the left side of the take up lever.
  5. Locate and thread any thread guides, leading down to the sewing machine needle.
  6. Thread the sewing machine needle. Hold the thread with your left hand and turn the hand wheel.
  7. Watch for any thread to flap around. If this happens, you have probably missed a thread guide.


  1. Always thoroughly clean and oil any machine before running it.
  2. Every sewing machine is a little different, however the basic threading is the same. Always start sewing slowly, to test your machine threading.
  3. Use good quality thread, to prevent excess lint in the machine.
  4. Change the sewing machine needle regularly.

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