How to Thread a Sewing Machine (Like a Pro)

So do you want to learn how to thread a sewing machine like a pro?

Great! We are glad to have you here with us...

In this guide you will learn:

  • A few tips that will make threading your sewing machine easier
  • How to thread a singer sewing machine
  • Instructions on how to thread a brother sewing machine
  • A step by step guide on how to thread a janome sewing machine

We know how daunting this process can be, especially if you’ve just started sewing. 

However, with the correct guide, you will realize that threading your machine is a very easy and fun process!

In this guide, we will take you through all the intricacies involved in threading the three popular brands of sewing machines: Brother, Singer and Janome.

Please Note: before you proceed with reading the post, please use our nifty table of contents to skip to a specific section that you want to read first.

Let's get started.

A Few Tips That Will Help You Thread Your Sewing Machine With Ease

#1: Familiarize Yourself with the Basic Anatomy of Your Sewing Machine

Here's the deal:

No two sewing machines are alike. For this reason, it's important to understand how your sewing machine works.  Understanding how your sewing machine works is pivotal to your overall sewing experience.

Here’s a nifty diagram that will help you get up to speed with the basic parts of a sewing machine:

Source: The Sewing Lab - Anatomy of a Sewing Machine

Now, here’s a quick overview of what each part does:

  • Spool pins - holds the spool of thread on your sewing machine
  • Bobbin winder - winds the bobbin
  • Hand Wheel - controls movement of your takeup lever and needle
  • Stitch selector - allows you to choose stitches for your sewing projects
  • Stitch length dial - allows you to adjust the stitch length on your machine
  • Reverse stitch lever - lets you put your machine in reverse when you need to remove or update stitches
  • Bobbin winder tension disc - keeps your thread tight as you wind your bobbin
  • Pressure regulator - controls the amount of pressure used to hold down your fabric
  • Thread take-up lever - Pulls thread from your spool of thread to feed it to your machine.
  • Thread guides - used to wind your bobbin and thread your sewing machine
  • Tension dial (control) - a large wheel/dial numbered 1-10 on your machine used to tighten or loosen your thread.  Higher numbers indicate tighter tension settings, whereas lower numbers equal lower tension.
  • Needle - specialized needle used for sewing machines
  • Presser foot - holds fabric in place as it is fed through your machine
  • Feed dogs - feeds material under sewing machine needle
  • Bobbin Housing cover - holds bobbins in place while you sew
  • Needle throat plate  - has holes and slots for your sewing machine needle to pass through while you sew

#2:  Use your Machine’s Manual

 If you still have the user’s manual, it is best that you use it. 

All of them usually have diagrams that will give you a better understanding of how your machine works.

This is especially helpful if you are new to the sewing art.

#3:  Use High Quality Thread in your Machine

In a previous post that covers sewing machine care tips, using a high quality thread in your machine is important.


Its easy to want to use any old thread that you see in local store. But trust us, using them is not wise. Generic threads have a lot of wax on them and can cause problems with your sewing machine.

A few things you should look out for when picking your threads are elasticity, thread type, and quality

#4:  Thread your Machine in a Well-Lit Area

You want to make sure that you thread your sewing machine in a well lit room.

With the needle eye being as small as it is, using a dimly lit room will definitely make your experience dreadful!

Once you have checked off the tips enlisted above, you can now proceed to thread your machine.

Tips for Threading Brother, Singer and Janome Sewing Machines

To help you thread a sewing machine like a pro, we have created guides that cover the three most popular brands: Brother, Singer and Janome

How to Thread a Brother Sewing Machine

Here’s how to thread a brother sewing machine like a pro. We've also included a video tutorial for you visual learners

Step 1: Wind and fill up the bobbin

This is the cornerstone of learning how to thread a sewing machine. First off, the bobbin winder pin should be on the far left of your machine.

Proceed to fill up the bobbin by putting a spool of thread carefully on the spool spin. I’m sure you want the thread to come off smoothly in an anti-clockwise motion, so ensure the spool is turned as you do this.

If possible, use a spool holder to cap the thread as this will scrap off any chances of entangling the thread.

Step 2: Locate the Thread Guide 

At the top of your sewing machine, you will see a thread guide. Use the bobbin thread guide to pass the thread from inside and through the rim of the bobbin hole. This helps lodge the thread firmly in its place.

Step 3: The Bobbin and the Bobbin Winder

You can then proceed to put the bobbin case into the sewing machine and snap it into place. The snap should give you a green light that the bobbin is comfortable and ready to be positioned on the bobbin pin. Do not proceed until you hear the bobbin pin click into place.

Remember, the needle should be tightly positioned, hence, make sure you adjust the bobbin winder to the right by pushing it.

Step 4: Wind the Bobbin

One of the secret ingredients of creating good quality stitches is winding the bobbin properly. You can wind the bobbin on a brother sewing machine through the foot pedal or by gently applying pressure on the bobbin winder button.

Hold your bobbin thread into place, and then run your sewing machine to wound the bobbin. Ensure your foot is on the speed controller in order to direct the rotations and stop whenever you need to.

As you do this, occasionally take a glance at the bobbin hole and remove any stray thread that may be sticking out from it.

Step 5: Fill The Bobbin Completely

Once the winder has finished filling the bobbin, it will automatically stop. Tack away the thread or cut it, then separate the bobbin from the bobbin winder by pushing it to the left.

Trim the excessive threads with a pair of scissors, leaving a small allowance of about 2-3 inches.  At this point, you have successfully completed the first phase, which is threading your bobbin.

Easy, right? The next step is to turn off your machine, raise the presser foot and continue threading the needle.

Step 6: Pushup the Take-up lever

Well, this is simple. All you have to do is spin the handwheel in an anti-clockwise motion and towards you.

Make sure you are pushing the foot pedal as you do this.

Step 7: Position the Spool on the Spool pin

This step hinges on loading the bobbin, so make sure you complete the first four steps perfectly. Next, place the spool on the spool spin, then draw the thread into the upper thread guide.

You can then pull it downwards into the right canal.

Step 8: Set Up The Tension Discs

Starting from left to right, take the thread around the tension dial. Make sure you are doing this from right to left, and that you are pressing the thread lightly in the process.

Step 9: Lead The Thread Towards The Take-Up Lever

Guide the thread to the left, then place it around the take-up lever. It should slide into the lever’s hook as you do this.

Next, you will notice another thread guide at the top of your machine right on top of the needle bar. You need to pull down your thread towards its direction and slip it into the opening of this guide.

Step 10: Threading the Needle

Leaving a thread allowance of about 2 inches long, you can now take the thread through the eye of the needle.

Make sure you start from the front leading towards the back, and that the allowance of the thread is positioned at the rear of the sewing machine.

How to Thread a Singer Sewing Machine

Do you use a Singer sewing machine

Well, good for you! This is one of the most popular brands of sewing machines, partly because it's budget-friendly and easy to use.

In this section, we will guide you through how to thread a singer sewing machine. We've also included a helpful video tutorial as well for visual learners

So let’s start… 

Step 1: Turn Off Your Machine

As always, unplug your sewing machine from the power source.

Step 2: Raise the Needle

Next, you will need to lift the needle to the highest possible point by spinning the handwheel in your direction.

Singer machine models have the handwheel located on the upper right.

Once you have raised the needle high enough, make sure you stop rotating the handwheel, or else the needle will gravitate downwards again.

Step 3: Elevate the Presser Foot

Do you see a lever next to your machine’s needle base? Great! Now, you will uplift this lever, and in the process, the presser foot will move upwards. If you don’t, the presser foot will cause issues with threading your machine and make you drag as a result.

Now you are ready to start the threading process!

Step 4: Winding the Bobbin

To do this, lay down the bobbin on the bobbin winder spindles, and then proceed to load it with enough thread. Here are some easy to follow instructions and video tutorial with that.

Its also a good idea to have a pre-wound bobbin if you want to thread your machine faster!

Step 5: Move your Thread to a Horizontal Position 

Next, you will need to add a spool of thread on the spool spin. If you hear a click or a snap sound, which should lead you on to the next step because it means you have placed the spool securely.

You can also use a spool cap to hold the spool on the spool spin in case your spool spin is in a horizontal position.

Step 6: Wrap The Thread Around The First Thread Guide At The Top Of The Machine

Now, if you check the top of your machine, you will see the first thread guide. This leads us to the next step.  You will wind your thread around this thread guide, and then pass it through the right, lower side of this same guide. Next, bring the thread through the upper slot of the guide.

Step 7: Pass The Thread Through The Second Thread Guide

To do this, you will have to access the guide from the right, lower side. Next, take the thread end and lead it towards the upper side of the thread guide. Once done, lead the thread towards the end of the guide from either the right or left of the thread ends.

Step 8: Slip The Thread Into The Tension Discs

To do this, pull the thread downwards and pass it through the tension mechanism. You will need to have the thread in your right hand and let the other one pull it and slide it into the tension discs.

Next, take the thread end and guide the thread through the threading canal, which is a hollow area on the side of your machine. Make sure the thread is tightly slipped into the tension discs as you do this.

If you experience any problem adjusting the tension discs, you can refer to our article on how to adjust the tension on your sewing machine.

Step 9: Pull About 6 Inches of the Thread Downwards

Do this until you get to the base of the threading channel, and then guide your thread through the guide right on top of the needle.

Step 10: Thread Your Machine Starting From The Front

Lead the thread downwards into the eye of the needle. Thread your machine by taking the thread through the needle’s eye front to back, or use an automated needle threader.

And just like that, you are done threading your sewing machine! The last and final step is to catch the thread by filling the bobbin case with the wound bobbin.

How to Thread a Janome Sewing Machine

When it comes to Janome sewing machines, the threading procedure is just slightly different from that of the other machines.

As with our Brother and Singer sewing machine tutorials, here is a helpful video for threading Janome Sewing Machines. 

Now...lets get into the step by step instructions:

The preliminary step is, of course, preparing the sewing machine for threading.

Make sure the take-up lever is at its highest position by pushing the handwheel to the left, and then rotate it towards you.  Next, raise the presser foot and detach it from your throat plate to free the tension discs.

Step 1: The First Thread Guide

Remove the thread wrapped around the bobbin thread guide and wind it around the first thread guide on top of your Janome machine.

Step 2: Guide Your Thread Towards The Take-Up Lever

Next, you need to draw the thread from behind the spool, and following the directions provided on your user’s manual, insert it through the take-up lever.

To do this, lead the thread beneath the first thread guide, then downwards along the right channel.

Now guide your thread towards the base of the thread guide plate and take it around the plate. Next, draw the thread towards the left then over towards the thread guide and into the take-up lever.


Step 3: Insert The Thread Through the Front Hole/ Eye of The Take-Up Lever

To make this step much easier for you, make use of the space at the rear of the take-up lever.


Step 4: Lead The Thread Downwards on The Left Line

Do this by first sliding it to the base of the sewing machine’s plastic covering, where you should find another thread guide.

At this point, you will need to draw the thread into the hook at the tip of the needle bar.


Step 5: Thread The Needle  

Starting from the front, take the thread and pass it through the eye of the needle, allowing it to come out through the back.

Or, you can use the automatic needle threader since its way faster and easier to use!

Well done friend! 

Now you have threaded your Janome machine and all you have to do is load the bobbin case, and you are good to go.

In case there is anything you missed, we’ve rounded up a tutorial to help you with that. 

Wrapping Up the Post

We hope that you guys enjoyed this post and tutorial that features tutorials on how to thread a sewing machine from 3 of top brands on the market today.  

Also, please be sure to check out our latest sewing machine reviews and sewing machine buyers guide to find the perfect machine for your projects.

Happy Sewing!


Shelly is the main editor and author of this website. She is passionate about helping fellow sewing enthusiasts find the right sewing machine for your sewing projects plus design beautiful sewing spaces that inspire your creativity. If you're ready to DIY a stunning sewing room (on a budget), be sure to check out the Sewing Room that Sizzles Workbook bundle (complete with a 50+ page workbook) and two Bonus Guides that will put you on the fast track to setting up, designing and organizing a sewing room that is TOTALLY you (on a shoestring budget).