If you have some simple hand sewing to do, one of the first things you need to learn is how to thread a needle and tie a sewing knot. I will show you just how easy this can be and have you starting to sew in no time. A few simple tricks and tips are all you need.
How to Thread a Needle Tutorial
Nearly all crafts and sewing projects will need you to thread a needle at some point. All levels of sewers will have to do hand sewing and it can also be an enjoyable hobby.
Supplies for Threading a Needle
All you need to thread needles is just a simple sewing needle, scissors, and some thread. Nothing fancy!
Best Needles for Hand Sewing
Now there are a lot of different types of needles but really they all do the same thing – push the thread through the fabric. General purpose, medium sizes sewing needles are called Sharps and most packets contain numerous sizes. Just eyeball the packet and choose one with an eye that your thread will fit through.
Further reading – Hand Sewing Needles
Best Threads for Hand Sewing
Threads come in a rainbow of different colors and of course different types. Once again since you are just starting out, purchase an all-purpose thread. These are usually made from polyester and can be purchased really cheaply. Try and get a color that matches the garment or project you are going to sew. Matching color thread hides everything and is a beginner’s best friend.
Further reading: Types of Sewing Thread
Scissors? Well, not any old scissors will do. Make sure they are sharp enough to cut thread cleanly. Blunt scissors frays the end of the thread making it harder to thread.
Further reading: Cutting Tools
How to Thread a Needle Step by Step
How Much Thread to Cut When Threading a Needle
From your spool of thread, cut off 18-20 inches (46-50cm) of thread. This is a good length that generally does not get too tangled as you sew.
If you have a choice, use a light-colored thread. That is because black is the hardest color to thread as it blends into the background. If you need to sew a black clothing item though you’ll have no choice. Just get the best lighting you can.
It can also help to thread the needle against a white or pale-colored background. If your desk is dark or black, put a piece of white paper underneath while you thread.
2 Ways to Get the Thread Through the Eye
Step 1 in learning how to thread a needle is to get the thread through the eye of the needle. The eye is simply what they call the hole in the non-pointy end of the needle. It looks a bit like a cat-eye don’t you think?
You can get the thread through the eye of your needle with:
- Your fingers
- A needle threader
I normally use my fingers. By the time I mess around finding the needle threader I could have threaded 5 needles with my fingers. But you do need good eyesight! If your eyesight is bad then skip straight to the needle threader instructions.
Method 1 – How to Thread a Needle Using Your Fingers
Step 1 – Cut the End of the Thread
The easiest way to do this is to first cut the end of the thread at a sharp 45-degree angle. Unless your needle eye is huge you will never get a fluffy thread end through it without a sharp cut.
Step 2 – Wet or Stiffen the End
Stiffen the end of the thread by wetting or pinching it. It can also help to pinch the tip of the thread and roll it between your thumb and pointer finger. This smooths all the fluffy fibers and makes them easier to thread.
Step 3 – Push the End Through the Eye
Once you have a nice clean end on your thread, then push it through the eye of the needle to the other side.
You would usually use your thumb and index finger to hold the thread but you can come up with your own method.
Troubleshooting Threading a Needle
- Tweezers can help hold the end of the thread steady.
- If you are struggling to get the end through the eye, try wetting the end of the thread again.
- You might need to grab some glasses and make sure you are standing in really bright light.
- If you still can’t get the thread end through, try another bigger needle from your packet with a wider eye or use a needle threader.
Method 2 – How to Thread a Needle Using a Needle Threader
If you are having trouble threading the thread through the eye with your fingers, then here is a little tool that can help make your job easier. It is called a needle threader and it often comes free with packets of needles. They are also sold through sewing and craft stores.
Notice the coin-like appearance of the head and the thin wire diamond on the end? That is fairly typical.
Needle threaders are especially useful when you are threading several strands of embroidery floss or a thicker thread through the eye of a tapestry needle.
Step 1 – Insert the Wire in The Eye
Push the diamond-shaped wire loop of the needle threader through the eye of the needle. The wire is really thin and bendy so it should go through easily.
Step 2 – Insert Thread into the Wire
Now pass the end of the thread through the diamond-shaped wires.
Step 3 – Pull Back
Pull the needle threader back and the thread will pull through to the other side with the wire. Grab the end and pull it through.
If you want more photos and a longer explanation, read my full article on how to use a needle threader.
How to Thread a Needle Video Tutorial
Here is a video tutorial on how to thread a needle using a needle threader.
How to Thread a Sewing Machine Needle
Threading a sewing machine needle is very similar.
- Pull the thread down to the eye of the needle leaving a large amount of slack.
- Cut the end of the thread at a diagonal with sharp scissors.
- Thread the pinched thread end through the eye of the needle and pull it through from behind.
- Read more about how to thread a sewing machine.
Some machines have an automatic needle threader to make this process easier.
How to Tie a Sewing Knot After Threading the Needle
Now you know how to thread a needle, it is time to learn how to tie a sewing knot. Once the thread has been passed through to the other side, pull it through so you have 2 tails.
How To Tie a Need to Thread
Once you have passed the end of the thread through the eye of the needle, it is time to tie a knot to prevent the thread from pulling through the fabric. You can either tie a knot in one end of the thread or knot both ends together.
Single Vs Double Threaded Needles
Now you need to decide whether you want a single thread or double thread for your sewing project. Unless you are attempting embroidery or sewing something ultra-fine, then do a double thread as it is stronger and easier to hand sew with.
You can see in the photo below, that double-threaded means there are 2 strands of thread in the knot.
Single-threaded means that the knot is just on the longer piece of thread.
How to Tie a Sewing Knot
To knot the end of the thread, create an overhand knot. It is also sometimes called a single knot.
- Form a loop by passing the cut end over the attached end
- Tuck the end inside the loop
- Pull tight
Don’t worry about trying to get the knot right at the end of the thread. You can cut off any excess at the end.
Needle Threading FAQs and Tips
What are Easy Thread Needles?
Easy thread needles are also called self-threading needles. These are a type of hand sewing needed that has a slot at the top of the eye so you can pass the thread through.
What is the Easiest Way to Thread a Needle?
The easiest way to thread a needle is with your fingers. Cut the end at a 45-degree angle with sharp scissors. Wet the end and pinch the end between your fingers so there is no fraying or fluffy fibers stitching out. Then put the end through the eye of the needle and pull it through.
How to Thread a Needle – In Conclusion
Now you know how to thread a needle and how to tie a sewing knot, you are all ready for the next step – hand SEWING.
Let me point you in the right direction.