BasicsHand Sewing

How to Thread a Needle by Hand

How to Thread a Needle by Hand

Learning how to thread a needle is a basic sewing skill that everyone should know. Threading a needle is the first step if you need to do any basic hand sewing, like attaching a button.

The directions and photos below will step you through the process of threading a needle by hand quickly and easily. If you get stuck at some point, see the bottom of this article for tips and tricks.

Here are basic directions on how to thread a needle by hand, without a needle threader. You only need a few supplies and a few minutes of time.

What You’ll Need:

A sewing needle, spool of thread, and scissors

@ Stacy Fisher

How to Thread the Needle:

  1. Use your scissors to cut a piece of thread to a length that’s comfortable to use. If it’s too short, you’ll need to thread your needle again soon and too long and it will be too hard to work with and may get tangled. If in doubt, measure a piece of thread from your chest to your outstretched hand.

    A sewing needle and a length of blue thread

    @Stacy Fisher

  2. Hold the needle in your non-dominant hand with the opening of the eye facing you and at the top of the needle. The needle eye is the small oval opening on one side of the needle.

    The eye of a needle

    @Stacy Fisher

  3. In your other hand, hold onto your length of thread with your thumb and index finger with around 1″ of the thread pointing towards the needle.

    Thread pointing at a needle

    @Stacy Fisher

  4. Insert the thread into the eye of the needle until you have a small amount sticking out on the other side.

    A thread being inserted into an eye of a needle

    @Stacy Fisher

  5. Carefully let go of the thread, while still holding onto the needle,  and grab the end that’s coming out the back of the eye of the needle.

    Pulling thread through a needle

    @Stacy Fisher

  6. Pull the thread through the needle a few inches. Congrats, you now know how to thread a needle!
Threading a needle

@Stacy Fisher

Tips on Threading a Needle

Still having trouble threading your needle? Here are some tips to help you do it.

  • Use a needle threader
  • Pick a needle with a bigger eye
  • Snip the end of the thread so you get a clean edge, you can also snip it at an angle
  • Make sure the end of your thread is stiff, you can do this by wetting it a with your tongue or using beeswax
  • Thread the needle in front of a white background or under a bright light, so it’s easier to see your needle eye
  • Make sure you’re using sharp scissors
  • Use thread that isn’t too thick for the needle you’re using
Next article How to Use a Needle Threader
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