Sewing Tips

Threading a Sewing Needle

Threading a needle is pretty simple. Hold the needle upright with one hand, and rotate it in your fingers until you can see the eye. Hold the cut thread about 3/4 inch from the end with the fingers of the other hand, and push the thread through the eye of the needle until about 1/2 inch extends beyond the eye. Pull about 1/3 of the thread length through for a single thread; match the ends if a double thread is needed for the mending job.

If you have trouble threading the needle, the following tricks may help:

  • Position the needle in front of a white surface so the eye is more visible.
  • ©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Place your needle in front of a white surface to make its eye more visible.
  • Stiffen the thread end by moistening it or running it through some beeswax.
  • Dip the end of the thread into a bottle of red nail polish, and allow to dry. Colored polish will make the thread easier to see and will provide a slick end for threading.
  • Spray your fingertips with hair spray and then stiffen the tip of the thread by rolling it back and forth in your fingers.
  • Try a needle with a larger eye, or use a needle threader.

Knotting the Thread

To knot the thread, place the end of the thread along the ball of the index finger of your left hand (right hand if you're left-handed). Hold the thread with your left thumb, and position the point of the needle over the thread about 1/2 inch from the end of the thread. Hold the end of the thread and the needle in place with your left thumb. With your right hand, wrap the thread snugly around the tip of the needle, twice for a small knot or four times for a large knot.

Pinch the wrapped thread between the thumb and index finger of your left hand. Push the needle up between those fingers as far as you can with the second finger of your right hand. Then grasp the point of the needle with the thumb and index finger of your right hand, and slide the wrapped thread slowly and smoothly down the needle, over the eye, and down the length of the thread into a snug knot. Trim away the excess thread below the knot.

Another darned button missing again? Keep reading to learn easy tips for making quick work of replacing a button.