Introduction: How to Thread a Sewing Machine

Picture of How to Thread a Sewing Machine

Machine from a flea market or thrift shop with no instructions? Now you can finally use it

Step 1: The Machine Setup

Picture of The Machine Setup

This is your basic sewing machine. No fancy stuff. It has a presser foot and a thin arm where the bobbin goes for hemming and detailed work. I set mine up on my ironing board so that I have my iron ready and I also like to stand when I sew. You will find what works best for you…play around with the setup a little.

Step 2: Step1

Picture of Step1

This is where the thread goes. If you have a cap or stopper put it on after you put the thread on. Also put the side of the thread with the little cut (for holding the end on the thread) to the back or bottom. This will prevent hang ups.

Step 3: Step 2

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Allow the string to unwind and put it through this hoop. Mine can also snap in from the back but usually with older machines this is a hoop.

Step 4: Step 3

Picture of Step 3

This can also be a loop but mine slides in through the back.

Step 5: Step 4

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Bring the thread down and around this nob toward the back (notice that you can not see the thread…this is the right way). Then back up. Some older machines this is a silver nob thingy, this is the tension. You will feel which is the right notch to put the thread through.

Step 6: Step 5

Picture of Step 5

From the tension bring the thread up and from right to left put it through the hole here. Mine can also slide in from the back.

Step 7: Step 6

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Then bring it down from the take up lever into the coiled thread guide.

Step 8: Step 7

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Then into the next thread guide.

Step 9: Step 8

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Then thread the needle front to back or right to left depending on you machine. Pull enough thread through so that it doesn’t pull out when the needle moves 5-10 inches.

Step 10: Step 9

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Now for inserting the bobbin.

Step 11: Step 10

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Pull the string out tight and set the bobbin into the tray. Insert the thread into the metal notch and pull back.

Step 12: Step 11

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Now to get the bobbin string to the top of the casing so you can sew. Holding the top thread in one hand and turning the wheel with the other, turn the wheel one revolution toward you and you will notice that the thread goes down into the casing and fishes out the bobbin thread. Pull the loop out straight and then close the casing. Ready to sew?!!


NimrahA1 (author)2016-06-02

plz any one tell me... during sewing thread ky guchy banrae hn... kia karn??

ハビビH (author)2016-05-23

simple and helpful thax

dkstai (author)2013-05-03

I recently acquired a Wards UHT J 1934 sewing machine with no manual. I've searched the Internet for a couple of weeks with no luck finding one, even to purchase. I can find one for model 1943, but not 1934. Mine looks like the 1943 except for the reverse and stitch is a knob where you push in the middle of the knob for reverse and the 1943 has a reverse lever with a finger wheel for the stitch.
Any help would be appreciated as I'm at a loss on how to operate this machine. Thank you, for whatever help you can give.

JennT4 (author)dkstai2015-09-18

Hi. I have the same machine as yours and now trying to figure out how to thread it. Any success? Can you share it with me please. Thanks

swojslaw (author)2011-08-08

i accidently removed the little black thing that holds the bobbin, does anyone know how i can get it back in how it was supposed to be????

enneilujssim (author)swojslaw2015-09-13

You mean the bobbin case? There should be horn on the case, which fits snugly onto the groove in the bobbin case holder.

IsmtechB (author)2015-04-27

lindsayplatoshyn (author)2014-09-17

I am so lost when it comes to the bobbin coming up through the ????, what? First off i had no idea there was always 2 threads involved in sewing, total newb here

jesslam (author)2014-07-02

Very helpful. Got the job done :) Thanks!

Mitsuki999-chan (author)2013-08-01

I think the bobbin part on my machine is broken or missing a piece :/ it's a REALLY old machine that my Gramma gave my mom. I borrowed it, and every time I try to sew, the bobbin gets all screwed up and the machine tried to eat the dress that I was trying to sew Q~Q

Jamuna (author)2012-07-27

Hi everyone:)

My baby's name is Brother double stitch. I'm not sure of the model but it's an old school one. I just bought it recenctly and am still learning how to operate it as it is my first time sewing with a machine.
Now with these old school babies, you get tension control unit on the exterior. I can see it's very lose but I just don't know how to tighten it.

Can anyone please please help. Thank you in advance :)

kahuri (author)2012-04-09

I bought a german AMYSA . second hand. it does not have a manual, and i just realised it does not have a bobbin holder. it has an electric motor, but it does not run smoothly. it keeps catching, the motor is running but the needle does not go up or down. have to use the hand crank thingie to restart it.
any ideas, thanks.

ssteuer (author)2010-10-03

Hi folks. I have a Riccar 650 and I don't remember how to thread it--the instructions are really cryptic and it doesn't follow the conventions of most other (obvious) machine threading patterns. Can anyone help with a photo-- or clarification of the confusing diagrams? I've searched the web and found nothing....

thank you!

lthomas10 (author)ssteuer2011-08-09

how do you thread a totally me sewing machine can you pleasre help me

ssteuer (author)ssteuer2010-10-03

sorry-- I thought I'd uploaded the photo of the "instructions" and didn't know how to go back and do it-- so here it is...

sacha30 (author)2011-04-14

Hello I have been given a Janome JF 1004 sewing machin as a gift and I am a beginner and havent a clue how to thread this could you please help? or have a download manual to help? Thank you x

master_tradesman (author)2010-01-25

if anyone can help with a scan or email copy or pdf of a
Penncrest 3000

my wife's mom just passed and left her one in perfect condition and no manual for it.
Please help me make her smile.

golferguy1 (at) fastmail (dot) fm

oliviarita (author)2010-01-19

If you would like to know how to wind the bobbin and how to thread a sewing machine check out this video.  It has great zoom in shots so you can see exactly where to put the string.  


crossmusic (author)2009-07-07

For more step by step instructions with pics, go to

jenjen426 (author)2007-12-27

By chance can anyone please tell me how to transfer thread from a spool to a bobbin? I know it can be done on the sewing machine itself. However I can't recall how its done. Many thanks.

zero13 (author)jenjen4262009-06-22

Hey jenjen426,

push the winding spool (on the top of the machine, on the absolute right of the machine as you sit in front of it) to the right. Put the thread on the spool, bring the thread around the circle-like thing so it crosses over itself (I don't get it that myself) and bring the thread up through a hole in a bobbin, and then snap that bobbin onto the bobbin windining spool, which is on the right.
Push down on the pedal of the machine, and the machine will begin to wind thread onto the spool. It will stop when it is full; clilp the thread off with the scissors and you're good to go.

Efemmeral (author)jenjen4262007-12-28

check out youtube they have a video on how to do it

suicuneisme (author)2007-07-12

I have a Perfect Seamstress sewing Machine. Is it threaded the same way and if not can someone post a know how on how to do so?

zero13 (author)Efemmeral2009-06-22

I have a singer 2250, and here is my problems -- I pulled on the bobbin thread, very gently, and what I think is called the hook shuttle and the circlely thingey that circles round the bobbin case both fell out. I have been told since that both of these parts, which surround the bobbin case, are supposed to come out for when you clean the fluff out from around the bobbin case, but obviously I haven't been around a sewing machine in a long time. I cannot get these pieces back in the machine. can anybody out there help me? thank you!

Savannch (author)suicuneisme2008-01-05

If you ever discovered how to thread and make bobbin work for the Perfect Seamstress, please share that information with me. I have tried for days to get the bobbin to work. Thanks. Savannch

fariaseileen (author)2008-12-24

Does anyone know how to wind a metal bobbin for a Brother 12OV? It looks very different from the typical plastic bobbin. I don't sew very often and have never had to change the bobbin on this machine. I'm desperately trying to finish my daughter's christmas stocking!""

emmamatthews1989 (author)2008-10-21

I have just acquired an old craftamatic by pinnock. and i have no idea how to thread it? anyone know? because i can't find anything on the Internet

Angeldkaye (author)2008-10-13

I have a Singer sewing machine that my Mom gave me before she passed. I don't even know how to find the model number on it. Also, I have tried to use it, but the bobbin thread keeps bunching up on the bottom of the cloth. Any help would be greatly appreciated. And what should I have the settings on? I'm sure you can see that I am definitely new at this. I'm thankful to have someone I can ask for help. Thank you

jaccid (author)2007-11-10

Can someone please post instructions of threading the 758 model. especially the bobbin, so confusing!

ian bernal (author)jaccid2008-10-13

hi, found this on the web, don´t know if it is the right model, so please let me know if it work for you.

peachykeenamh (author)2008-07-26

This was really helpful. I have a question though. I have essentially the same sewing machine, but I don't know what the different setting on the front do. I tried switching them and testing them out, but I think I was doing something wrong because they all just came out as a mess...

ian bernal (author)peachykeenamh2008-10-13

Hello. The small knob on the left controls the tension of the upper thread, you adjust it depending on the fabric, layers, thread and needle to get an uniform stich, if it is too tight, you`ll see loops of the lower thread on top and the fabric might wrinkle, if it is too loose, you can get loops of the upper thread on the underside, generally when you get a setting that works for your usual sewing, you hardly have to move this control. The sliders are for adjusting form straight to zig-zag stitch, second to move the position of the needle from left, right and center, thind one to use special stitches built in the machine, fourth one can´t see what it means. The large knob is to set the length of the stich, ussually set in millimeters it means if you have it in "2", you´ll get a 2 mm stich, turning it around fully will activate the special steps to create a "button sleeve" (forgive me here, i don´t know the right word in english), and you go from step 1 to 4 to create it, afterwards you have to return to normal stitch length and to straight stitch. Hope this solves a little of your doubts, get some scrap of material and play aroud a little to see the actual difference changing the settings!

adamvan2000 (author)2008-06-09

OMG, you're a saint! I have been looking all over the internet for how to do this. Should have known that it would be on my favourite how-to DIY site. Only one question. Instead of laying flat, my bobbin holder under the sewing platform is vertical. Does that make a difference? I'll try and take pictures once I find our camera. ~adamvan2000

ian bernal (author)adamvan20002008-10-13

hello, if the bobbin goes vertical on the left side, the difference would be in the direction you insert the thread on the needle, instead of front to back, you`ll have to insert it left to right. Hope this solves your problem.

Tiffany2892 (author)2008-07-10

Great instructions! Thanks for posting. Just one question though: I got up until the end of step 12, where it shows to pull the thread from the bobbin as well as the thread from the spool on top, everything looks like the diagram, but I don't get what you do with the two threads after that...? It says on one website that you put them under the pressure foot and to the back and right of the machine, but what does that mean? Do they attach to something? I tried that and everytime I sew the needle comes unthreaded and the threads tangle.. can you plz help? :) thanks

Merahu (author)Tiffany28922008-08-14

Hi Tiffany, this is my first time and its been a long time since I have sewn. but i think I can answer your question. Pull those two threads backwards from the foot a couple or several inches, being sure the one through the needle goes though the bottom of the foot before going back. Do NOT start to sew. Put the fabric under the foot, and put the foot down. Now hold those two threads tight between your fingers as you begin to sew. After a couple stitches are in, you can let go. The reason the needle unthreads otherwise is because the machine is pulling on the thread to make the stitch tight, and if there's no new stitch when it pulls, it just pulls itself back up. The stitching prevents this, anchors the thread in the cloth. I hope that helps. Merahu

psafthim (author)2008-03-15

Thank you so much for the instructions and the pictures. My mother passed away a few years ago and I used to watch her sew, but when I got her machine, I had no idea how to use it. I've read other instructions, but didn't understand, then I saw your pictures! There are so many projects that have gone unfinished because I didn't know where to start! Thanks!!!

stasterisk (author)2008-03-02

I have a lot of mystery settings on my new "White" brand home industrial-revolution machine. What's the best place to find out what an "R, C, L, TN" selector knob might do? Or the "Down, Low, High" knob? I'm also unsure what the SS-M selector on the stitch-chooser means, or what stretch stitches are. Is there a generic guide to the meaning of these shorthand-labeled knobs? Thanks for the instructable!

jaccid (author)2007-11-10

Anybody got a manual for the singer touch and sew model 758?

RaquelSpiegelman (author)jaccid2007-12-24

jaccid....... did you get the instructions? would you mind to sharing them with me? My aunt gave me her machine but I don't know how to use it! please let me know... @ I would appreciate it Sooo much since it seems impossible to find instructions!

jjmcgaffey (author)2007-05-18

One thing/trick about the bobbin - it needs to go in so that when you pull on the thread, the bobbin turns the opposite way you'd expect. Looking at the picture in step 10 - the thread is running through the metal notch at the front. If you grab it and pull to the right, the bobbin should turn away from you - clockwise - rather than spinning to the right as you'd expect. The same thing applies for vertical bobbins - pull right and the bobbin should turn clockwise. If it turns the wrong way, pull it out and put it in upside down. If the bobbin is turning the wrong way, it will either not go anywhere or catch and bunch up under the footplate - problems people have commented on here.

pam (author)2007-03-25

thanks so much but i still have a problem it dont make a stiches what should the tension be set at upper one and the bottom tension

Efemmeral (author)pam2007-03-28

too much tension will cause a pucker (too tight) *to decrease tension, turn the upper dial to a lower # too little tension will produce loops (too loose) *to increase tension, turn the upper dial to a higher # If your machine has no numbers righty tighty lefty loosy might work. Good Luck

uhmblahblah17 (author)2007-03-27

ok i have an antique sewing machine and i have no clue how to do the bobbin and step 12... can anyone help me? please and thank you.

Efemmeral (author)uhmblahblah172007-03-28

Sorry, but I can't help with the antique machines. I bet you could write a nice letter to the company and get some directions or advise. People like letters and you are more likley to get help that way- even send a self-addressed and stamped envelope (and it wouldn't hurt to add an email either).You will probably need the model # when contacting them. Singer Sewing Company 1224 Heil Quaker Blvd. P.O. Box 7017 LaVergne, TN 37086

hardeharhar (author)2007-02-03

Your instructionsa are the best I have found so far, and your real-life photos really help. However I am still having trouble (been trying a few hours now) getting the top thread to pull my bobbin thread up. I have tried everything plus variations of everything. I just don't understand how if the bobbin thread is nowhere near the needle when the needle goes down, how the needle can pull up the bottom thread. I have used this machine before with no troubles, but now I can't get the bobbin thread up!

Efemmeral (author)hardeharhar2007-02-13

Well, what I can suggest is: once you put the bobbin into the bobbin holder make sure that you have properly threaded the bobbin thread into the gear and left a long tail of thread. Then while holding the top thread (the one that is threaded into the needle)slowly turn the wheel toward you untill the top thread catches the bobbin thread and pulls a loop to the top. (this only takes one revolution of the wheel). Then you can use scissors to pull the thread to the side. good luck, I will try to upload another picture of the bobbin instructions.

hardtosew (author)hardeharhar2007-02-13

Have you find any solution for your problem? I'm stuck with the same thing and it's really frustrating!!!

mommiandco (author)2007-01-29

thank you for these easy instructions. i'm going to try to them right now! i've been feeling like such a do-do that i couldn't get past the most basic part of sewing. the thread keeps bunching up underneath, so im not sure if i have simple been threading incorrectly, or if the machine is not functioning properly. it's an old singer model. is this common? or am i doing something wrong??

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