Sewing 101: Threading the Machine & Practice Tips

This year we started our Sewing 101 Series.  Which is long over due on many levels.  We started from the VERY beginning.  As in, sewing machine and fabric anatomy and how to layout your pattern.  Today we want to talk about how to thread your sewing machine.

Sewing 101:  Threading the Machine & Practice Tips

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I know you might be rolling your eyes at me if you are an experienced sewer.  But we all had to start somewhere and threading your machine is probably the most essential part in sewing.  If your machine is not threaded correctly, nothing will work and your machine will drive you CRAZY.  You might even throw it across the room.  However, no worries.  We will help you today.  We are going to show you how to thread your machine and give you some sewing tips and tricks.

First, how to thread your machine.  Here is a numbered guide.  To start make sure your presser foot is lifted.  Otherwise your thread will be tight and it won't thread correctly.  If you need a refresher on your machine parts, check out our Sewing Machine Anatomy post.

1.  Place your spool of thread in the spool pin at the top or front of your machine.  Pull your thread.  Your thread needs to go behind or through the top thread guide.
2.  Pull thread down and around the front thread guide on your machine.  
3.  Pull your thread up and around the thread uptake lever.  This is the one that goes up and down as you sew.  Make sure you pull your thread from the right side around to the left.
4.  Pull your thread down and thread it through your front thread guide either in front of your machine or in front of your needle.  This guide keeps it out of your way as you sew.
5.  Thread your needle.  This may take practice, however, some machines have a needle threader and it makes life a lot faster.

The next step would be to thread your bobbin and place it in your machine.  I went back and forth as to whether I should teach this, but I decided not to.  Mostly because every machine is different on how you wind your bobbin and how you place your bobbin in place.  Just take a moment to check your machine instructions.  Again, practice is important on this.  Also, make sure to wind your bobbin correctly so that your thread is nice and tight.  I can't tell you how many times students would be frustrated by their machines and ask for help and it was because their bobbin wasn't threaded or didn't wind correctly.

Once you get your machine threaded, you can start practice sewing.  I always had my students do Paper Sewing.  I usually did this before we threaded the machine, mostly to save on thread.  But you can do it either with or without thread.  Print the Paper Sewing PDF below and follow the lines to sew.  

Download this printable today from our Resource Library

Remember as you sew to keep the presser foot down as you sew.  When you turn corners just put your needle down in your fabric, lift the presser foot and turn your fabric.  You can see what I mean in the picture below.  This gives nice square corners.

As you sew, listen for any strange or scratching noises.  This is a sign your needle may be bent or your bobbin isn't in correctly.  You don't want scary noises while you sew. 

I hope these tips on threading and sewing have helped.  Now go practice some Paper Sewing!!!

Sewing 101:  Threading the Machine & Practice Tips


  1. I am loving these sewing tutorials! I have a troop of older Girl Scouts and have been looking for information on how to teach them basic sewing. I didn't know where to start. Your instructions have been wonderful!!! Thank you so much for sharing with us!

    1. Glad I could help! I am so glad you are teaching them to sew. Next generation of designers and sewers!