Mastering the Art of Threading: How to Properly Insert a Needle into Your Sewing Machine

If you’ve ever been stumped by the task of threading a needle on your sewing machine, you’re not alone. It’s a common hurdle for both beginners and seasoned sewers alike. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you master this essential skill.

Knowing how to properly insert a needle into your sewing machine can make a world of difference in your sewing projects. It’s not just about getting the thread through the eye of the needle. It’s also about ensuring the needle is positioned correctly for smooth, uninterrupted sewing.

In the following sections, we’ll guide you through the process step-by-step. With a little practice, you’ll be threading your sewing machine like a pro in no time. So, let’s get started, shall we?

Threading a sewing machine properly is crucial for efficient sewing. A helpful YouTube tutorial, “How to Thread a Sewing Machine Needle,” offers easy-to-follow instructions, which you can find here. For those needing a more unique approach, Apartment Therapy provides an ingenious method called the “Magic” method for threading needles, detailed here. Additionally, for further refinement of your threading skills, check out another YouTube tutorial that simplifies the process, available here.

Gather your supplies

Before you get into threading your sewing machine, make sure you’ve got all the necessary supplies. This isn’t a task that you can just wing; preparation is key.

You’re going to need a sewing machine needle of course. It’s not just a case of picking any old needle, the needle type and size depends on the fabric and thread you’ll be using. Heavier fabrics require larger needles and thinner, more delicate fabrics do better with smaller needles. Along with the needle, make sure you have good quality thread compatible with your fabric and sewing project.

Take out your sewing machine manual. It might seem like a boring task but don’t underestimate the power of this little book. Each sewing machine is different and your manual will contain valuable information specific to your model.

Keep a pair of scissors handy because you’ll need them to trim the thread. If you’ve got a magnifying glass, it’ll help you see the tiny eye of the needle better but this isn’t crucial. Adequate lighting is though! Ensure you’re working in a well-lit area to avoid strain on your eyes.

Here is a list of the aforementioned supplies :

Supplies Needed
* Sewing Machine Needle
* Good Quality Thread
* Sewing Machine Manual
* Scissors
* Magnifying Glass (optional)
* Well-Lit Working Area

Select the right needle

So, you’ve gathered up your supplies and you’re ready to thread your sewing machine. But hold on! Let’s make sure you’ve selected the right needle for the job. Remember, the needle’s type and size can significantly impact the quality of your work. So, don’t overlook this crucial step!

Needle Type

The needle type you use directly corresponds to the fabric and thread you’ll be working with. Using the wrong needle type can result in skipped stitches, puckered fabric, or even broken needles.

  • Ballpoint needles are ideal for knits and stretch fabrics.
  • Universal needles, as their name indicates, are suitable for a broad range of fabrics, both woven and knit.
  • Sharp needles or microtex needles are perfect for delicate fabrics like silk and microfiber.
  • Denim/jeans needles are explicitly designed for thick fabrics, such as denim and canvas.

Understand your material, apply the right needle. It’s vital to improving your sewing experience.

Needle Size

Choosing the right needle size is just as important as selecting its type. Needle sizes vary from 8 (60) to 19 (120), with the smaller numbers for finer fabrics and larger ones for heavy materials.

For instance, if you’re working with sheer, lightweight fabrics like chiffon or silk, you’d go for a needle sized 8(60) or 10(70). On the contrary, if you are working with heavyweight materials like denim, leather, or canvas, opt for a larger sized needle like 18(110) or 19(120).

It might seem a bit too detailed at first glance. But trust us, understanding this matchmaking procedure between your fabric and the needle type and size will improve the outcome of your project greatly. Plus, it’ll make threading your sewing machine much smoother.

Next, we’ll delve into the actual process of positioning the chosen needle into your sewing machine…

Raise the needle

So you’ve chosen your suitable needle type and size, it’s now time to put it into action. To place your choice of needle into your sewing machine, you’ll need to raise the needle first. This key step ensures that you can insert the new needle correctly without damaging your machine or needle.

Just think of it like replacing the batteries of your TV remote, you wouldn’t want to jam the new ones in without making sure the compartment is ready for it. Similarly, raise the needle first before inserting the new sewing machine needle.

When raising your needle, ensure your sewing machine is switched off to avoid any unintentional motion that could cause an injury. Locate the hand wheel on the side of your sewing machine, turn it towards you till you see the needle move to its highest position. You might also notice the take-up lever moving, that’s a good sign indicating you’re on the right track.

As you perform this task, take the time to properly inspect your sewing machine. Note the needle’s existing position as it will be mirrored with the new needle. The flat side should be facing away from you while the rounded side is towards you.

What to Watch for

Do pay attention to the direction you’re turning the handwheel. Turn it only towards you—this detail may seem insignificant but trust me, it can save you from damaging your equipment and disrupting your project.

Ensure you’re not forcing the wheel too hard. Soft controlled movements are the way to go. If resistance is felt, there might be a jam. In such cases, clear them first to avoid further damage. The hand wheel should turn smoothly without any humps or bumps. Consider it a part of your routine machine maintenance.

Remove the old needle

When you’re ready to replace your sewing machine needle, the first step is to get rid of the old one. Take caution during this process because the needle could be sharp and might be a hazard if not handled carefully.

Before starting any operations on your sewing machine, it’s absolutely critical to turn off the machine. This step cannot be stressed enough as it ensures your own safety while handling the needle and internal parts of the machine. After all, you wouldn’t want to have the machine accidentally operate while your fingers are in close vicinity.

Once the machine is off, the next step is to lower the presser foot. By doing this, you’ll be relieved of the tension in the thread and it will be much easier for you to remove the needle. Presser feet usually have a lever that needs to be pressed downwards – refer to your sewing machine manual if you’re unsure how to do this.

Now you’re ready to Remove the old needle. Some models of machines have a screw on the needle bar that needs to be loosened, others require the press of a quick release lever. A gentle tug downwards should release the needle from its position after the loosening mechanism has been appropriately adjusted. Remember not to force it out as this could damage the needle bar and, in turn, the entire sewing mechanism.

Once the needle has been removed, it’s essential to dispose of it in a safe manner. You might wish to consider using a needle disposal box at this point. Storing and disposing of your old, broken, or used needles in designated containers not only keeps your workspace tidy but also reduces the risk of accidental punctures.

Switching your needle might sound like a simple task but understanding the appropriate handling and disposal process makes a huge difference in maintaining the longevity of your sewing machine and ultimately your sewing efficiency.

Inserting the new needle

Once you’ve removed the old needle from your sewing machine, it’s time to insert the new one. But before you do that, you need to make sure your new needle is in top condition. Check for any bends, nicks, or dull points that might hinder your sewing efficiency. If anything seems off, it’s best to choose another needle.

The procedure of inserting a new needle into your sewing machine largely depends on your specific machine model. Here’s a general approach:

  • First, hold the new needle with the flat side facing the back of the machine. Most sewing machine needles have a flat and a round side for easy identification.
  • Next, raise the presser foot and turn handwheel toward you until the needle clamp screw is in its highest position. This gives you ample room to maneuver.

You might need a screwdriver to completely release the clamp. But tread cautiously. Turning the screw too tightly might break the needle, while a loose grip might cause the needle to fall out as you sew.

It’s pivotal to insert the needle up into the needle clamp as far as it’ll go. You’ll feel a subtle ‘stop’ against your upward pressure when it’s fully inserted. At this point, tighten the needle clamp screw.

Now double-check to confirm that the needle is secure and won’t wobble or drop out during sewing. If it’s still loose, gently tighten the needle clamp screw a bit more.

Even with these general instructions, make sure you refer to the specific user manual for your sewing machine model when inserting a new needle. There can be slight model-to-model variations that you must be aware of to protect your machine and ensure sewing success.

Remember to always use the tool kit provided along with your sewing machine. Missing or incorrect use of these tools can lead to mechanical defects or reduce the machine’s efficiency. Following these aforementioned procedures will ensure you properly insert the new needle into your sewing machine, taking that crucial step closer to executing your great sewing project.

Lower the needle

For a successful needle change, you’re going to want to Lower the needle. Yes, you heard it right. That’s the first step in fitting the needle in a sewing machine. It’s a simple, but fundamental procedure to ensure smooth threading and sewing operations. Without proper lowering, the angle of the needle can be skewed, leading to poor sewing outcomes.

To lower the needle, locate the needle position knob or button on your sewing machine. This is typically found on the right side of the machine, and its key function is to control the vertical movement of the needle. Gently turn this knob towards you to bring the needle mechanism to the lowest point.

In some machines, a familiar ‘click’ sound is heard when the needle reaches its lowest point. That’s your cue! If your machine doesn’t give auditory feedback, visually check to ensure the needle is resting at the bottom of its arc. Now that you’ve successfully lowered your needle, ready yourself to thread the sewing machine with absolute precision.

You might ask, “why is this step necessary?” Lowering the needle creates enough space for you to work with. It ensures that the needle is held steady, allowing the thread to pass through the eye with minimal struggle. Furthermore, lowering the needle aids in the correct alignment of the thread and the spool, which might not be possible if the needle remained high.

While it seems a small step, lowering the needle is an integral part of the process. It sets the foundation for efficient threading and optimal sewing results. So, remember to lower that needle every time you’re ready to thread or change the thread.

As is clear by now, changing a sewing machine needle requires meticulousness and patience. But remember, the process only starts with lowering the needle. The journey of threading your sewing machine continues with further critical steps such as thread tension adjustment, threading the upper part of the machine, and finally, threading the needle itself. Stay tuned to continue to walk through this path and nail this skill with perfection.

Thread the needle

Starting with the eye of the needle, threading your sewing machine needle can seem intimidating. Here’s your step-by-step guide to making it as painless as possible.

Ensure your sewing machine is off and your needle is at its highest position. Switch off your machine, please. Safety is paramount when threading your needle and the last thing you want is the needle moving unexpectedly. Illuminating your workspace as much as possible will also aid you in precisely threading your needle.

Once those precautions have been taken, we’ll start the threading journey. You should have your thread ready – a spool of good quality thread that matches your project requirements. Keep in mind the color of the thread, as it can make or break the aesthetic of your final project.

Holding the thread in your left hand, you’ll pull the end of it across to the right side, until it reaches the threading path. On most machines, there’s a threading path diagram which may use solid and dashed lines to guide the top and bobbin threading processes respectively. Study this diagram well before you begin; it is your cheat sheet for threading success.

Adhering to the threading path, you’ll guide the thread through each of the slots, channels or discs. It’s crucial that you don’t miss any of these thread handlers. They are there to ensure that your thread flows smoothly and evenly as you sew. It is a delicate dance between the thread and your machine, which leads to the perfect stitch.

Once the threading path has been successfully navigated, you’ll guide the thread through the eye of the needle. A magnifying glass or needle threader can prove useful here, especially when working with smaller needles.

Threading the needle correctly isn’t just about sewing, it’s about crafting a masterpiece. Each step you take along this journey leads you one step closer to your final creation. Follow these steps and you’ll find needle threading less of a chore, and more part of the process.


You’ve now mastered the art of threading a sewing machine needle. You’ve learned about the importance of preparation, from selecting the right needle and thread to setting up a well-lit workspace. You’ve understood how to safely remove the old needle and insert a new one, following your machine’s manual to avoid any missteps. You’ve seen how lowering the needle before threading creates the necessary space and alignment. Finally, you’ve followed a detailed guide to threading the needle itself, completing a critical part of the sewing process. Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to take on any sewing project with confidence. Remember, practice makes perfect. Happy sewing!

What supplies do I need to thread a sewing machine needle?

You need the appropriate sewing machine needle, high-quality thread, your sewing machine’s manual, scissors, and a well-lit working area.

How do I choose the correct needle?

The choice of needle depends on the fabric and thread you are using. Refer to the user manual or consult needle guides to choose correctly.

What preparation is needed before changing the needle?

Before changing the needle, turn off your machine, raise the needle, and lower the presser foot for added safety.

How can I safely dispose of my old needle?

Dispose of your old needle in a needle disposal box or similar container to avoid injuries.

What precautions do I need to take when inserting a new needle?

Firstly, inspect the new needle’s condition. Follow the specific instructions given in your machine’s user manual for proper insertion.

Why should I lower the needle before threading?

Lowering the needle creates enough clearance for threading and helps align the thread and spool properly.

How do I thread a sewing machine needle?

Follow a step-by-step guide, like holding the thread, following the threading path. Utilize tools like a magnifying glass or needle threader if necessary. Proper threading is a crucial part of the sewing process.