How To Thread a Sewing Machine: An Easy Beginner’s Guide

Learning how to thread a sewing machine might seem like a daunting task, differentiating the spool from the bobbin, and manoeuvring the twists and turns a thread takes. If you’re a beginner and you’re trying to learn how to operate a sewing machine, don’t worry you’ve come to the right place! Here you’ll learn how to thread a sewing machine in easy steps.

To thread a sewing machine you’ll need a reliable sewing machine, the Uten Sewing Machine is easily the best one for beginners and is great to practice your stitches on. Pick the right sewing machine to match your skillset, if you haven’t had any luck finding the right sewing machine for you, check out our best sewing machine buying guide.

How to thread a sewing machine

A few things to remember before starting

There are a few things to keep in mind before you learn how to thread a sewing machine, they will help in threading your sewing machine correctly and swiftly.

Go over your sewing machine’s instruction manual ahead of starting sewing projects. Your sewing machine manual will contain the relevant instructions that will help in threading your sewing machine. The best sewing machines, like the Uten Computerized Sewing Machine, have easy to follow diagrams that will help in threading your sewing machine.

To thread your bobbin and spool, invest in a good quality thread. Stay away from cheaper threads because they will snap when you will try to apply them to the tension disks. Additionally, pick a thread that matches your fabric, a matching thread will give a seamless finish to your work.

To learn how to thread a sewing machine, you must know there are two parts to threading it. First, you will have to wind your bobbin with thread, and then threading the sewing machine.

Placing the spool

Once you have selected your choice of coloured thread, place the spool on the spool holder on the top of the sewing machine. The spool holder or spool pin in sewing machines may be standing upright or lying horizontally.

The spool pin is normally placed horizontally and comes with a spool cap to prevent the spool from flying off while you’re sewing or threading your sewing machine. Once your spool is placed on the spool holder, unwind the thread end in a counter clockwise direction.

Guide the sewing thread through the thread guide

Gently pull the thread towards the front of the sewing machine, with your right hand holding the thread while the left hand holds the thread end. Direct the thread with the help of the thread guide, it is usually present at the front of the sewing machine. Gently pull the thread downwards towards the needle.

How to wind a bobbin

Before threading a sewing machine, you will have to wind your bobbin with the sewing thread. The bobbin thread is a necessary part of sewing machines, as the machine uses the spool thread and bobbin thread to stitch fabric.

You may buy a pre-wound bobbin from the craft store or wind one on your sewing machine.

Remove your bobbin from the bobbin compartment

The bobbin is placed in a compartment that is under the needle plate, the compartment may be front-loading or top loading. To learn what kind of compartment your sewing machine has, refer to your sewing machine manual. Before removing the bobbin, lift the needle and presser foot to the highest position by turning the hand wheel towards you.

In the Uten Sewing Machine, you can press the needle position button which is next to the U-loop below the thread guide, this will raise the needle. After this, raise the presser foot lifter to raise the presser foot.

Once the needle and presser foot is raised, remove the needle plate by following the instructions in the manual, you will be able to see the bobbin case. Remove the bobbin case from the shuttle, the empty bobbin should slide out of the case. The bobbin tension can be adjusted by tightening the screw on the case.

Winding the bobbin thread

To thread your empty bobbin, insert the thread through one of the holes in either of its rims. Now wrap the thread around the bobbin pillar, giving it a few turns manually.

Placing the bobbin in the bobbin pin

To wind a bobbin with sewing thread, place it in the bobbin holder. The bobbin holder has a bobbin pin in which the bobbin sits comfortably. It is similar to the spool pin but is adjacent to it and is at the back of the sewing machine. In the Uten Sewing Machine, the bobbin pin clicks towards the right, indicating that the bobbin is set in the bobbin holder.

Start winding the bobbin

If your sewing machine has a bobbin winding button, pressing it will wind your bobbin. And if it does not have this feature, then hold the end of the bobbin thread with one hand and press the foot pedal. the bobbin will start to wind, once the bobbin is wound to your desired thickness, remove your foot from the pedal. In the best sewing machines, the bobbin winder stops on its own once the bobbin is wound to a certain thickness.

Removing the wound bobbin

Once the bobbin is winded, remove it from the bobbin winder by clicking it towards the left, this will release the wound bobbin. With a pair of sharp scissors, snip the thread, leaving a few inches of thread.

Load the bobbin back into the machine and place it into its case so that the thread unwinds in a counter clockwise motion. Leave enough thread unwinded as you place the bobbin case back into the compartment.

Threading upper part of a sewing machine

This is the second part of learning how to thread a sewing machine. You will be working with the thread spool and manoeuvring it to create stitches. Up till now, we have placed the thread spool in the spool pin and have looped the thread through the thread guide.

Make a U-loop with the thread

After the thread has snapped through the thread guide, pull it downwards towards the needle, then snap it in place into the tension discs, making a U-loop and directing the end of the thread upwards.

You can adjust the tension setting of your machine by following the instructions manual. If your sewing machine is set at a higher tension, the stitches made by the thread will appear uneven and pull on the fabric. For a cleaner stitch, adjust the tension of the sewing machine according to the fabric you are using. Most machines have guidelines for tension settings in their manuals.

The take up lever

Once the thread has completed the U-shaped loop, you will wrap the thread around the takeup lever next which looks like a metal hook. The take up lever is also called the second thread guide. The take up lever has an eye in it and the thread will make an S-shaped formation at this point.

Thread the sewing machine needle

Pull the thread downwards towards the needle, passing the thread through the needle eye, front to back pulling several inches of the thread out as well. Your sewing machine may have an automatic needle threader, refer to your manual and flip to needle threading.

Pass the thread through the metal presser foot plate and then towards the back. The upper part of the sewing machine threading is complete.

Join the top thread to the lower thread

The upper thread and lower thread must catch to create a stitch and sew with ease.

Pulling the bobbin thread from under the compartment is a simple task, pull the top thread towards the left and with your other hand rotate the balance wheel towards you.

The needle will dip below into the compartment and pull out the bottom thread. Close the shuttle and hold both of the threads towards the back of the needle, you are ready to start sewing!

If you followed all the steps correctly, you have now learned how to thread a sewing machine! Get your favorite fabric, look up sewing patterns and start sewing.


Why do I have to adjust tension discs?

Tension discs are integral in sewing an even stitch. If the tension in the tension disks is off then the upper thread and bottom thread will not sit right on the fabric and create messy edges and seams.

The bobbin thread is not unwinding?

When threading the bottom of the machine, you may experience trouble in unwinding the lower thread, this means that the bobbin case is improperly fitted into the compartment.

Remove the case and reinsert it, this usually removes any obstacles in threading the machine

I can’t see the stitches I’m making?

It’s best to sew in a well-lit room, regardless of this fact there are sewing machines that come equipped with an extra light source near the needle.

The Uten Sewing Machine also has an extra light near its needle, it’s a convenient way to sew at night.

My sewing machine doesn’t have a visible take up lever?

Refer to your sewing machine manual if you are unable to locate the take up lever. Usually, the lever is not visible due to being under the surface.

To visualize it, turn the hand wheel towards you, this will move the lever upwards and help you thread a sewing machine.

What holds the bottom thread on a sewing machine?

The bottom thread is held by the bobbin which is present inside the shuttle under the needle plate

How do I thread a beginner sewing machine?

Threading a beginner sewing machine is a very easy task, follow the numbered diagrams drawn on the machine or refer to your manual.

Sewing Tips

Learning how to sew is just like learning how to drive, the first step to sewing is learning how to thread a sewing machine. Have a look at these helpful tips:

  • Invest in a good sewing machine according to your needs, you don’t have to buy an expensive machine. The Uten Computerized Sewing Machine is the best one to start with in our opinion.
  • Sewing pins are essential when you want to sew a straight and neat stitch. Every fashion designer swears by pinning fabrics together for easy sewing.
  • When purchasing new bobbins, make sure to get the bobbins that fit your machine.
  • When practicing as a beginner, start with easy sewing patterns like scrunchies.
  • When sewing, always have more fabric than needed.
  • Always press your unstitched fabric before sewing it, this will make stitching easier.
  • To clean up on your stitches, practice on different types of seams and buttons. The Uten Computerized Sewing Machine is a great machine to practice on, it comes with 200 stitches and 8 buttonholes – read our review and best sewing machine guide here.