How Do I Thread My Old Singer Sewing Machine

Understand Your Singer Sewing Machine

Whether you inherited your Singer sewing machine from a family member or you purchased it on the secondhand market, feeling confident in the machine’s capabilities is key to successful threading. Knowing the specifications of your machine—what its settings are, what type of yarn it supports, its stitch length, etc.—can make all the difference in an enjoyable sewing experience.
Before attempting to thread your old Singer machine, you’ll want to make sure that it is in good operating condition. Inspect the machine for signs of rust or corrosion, and if possible, have it professionally serviced to ensure that all its moving parts are properly lubricated and free of any dust or debris. Also, make sure to examine the machine for any signs of previous or current damage, as worn machine parts can affect the quality of your threading and stitching.

Gather Your Supplies

Once your sewing machine is ready to go, it’s time to gather the necessary items to get going. Many machines may come with threading instructions, but generally you’ll need a few basic things to get started: thread, needles, scissors, and the appropriate bobbins. To thread the Singer machine, you will also need an adjustable thread spool holder, an awl, and tweezers. These items, as well as other tools such as thimbles, are easily obtainable from most notions stores or online, and ideally should be purchased from a reliable source.

Threading Basics

When threading your machine, it’s important to wind your bobbin first. To accomplish this, start with a full spool of thread, and then wrap the thread around the bobbin winder, or bobbin arm. Be sure to move the thread around the arm tightly and evenly, usually by turning the arm’s dial clockwise. Then, take the end of the thread and insert it in the slit at the top of the bobbin without knotting it. As you continue to turn the dial clockwise, the thread should snugly wrap itself around the bobbin as it is being filled with thread. Once the bobbin is full, cut the thread and pull it out of the slit.

Thread the Needle

After you have wound your bobbin and inserted the bobbin thread into the bobbin case—which should come with your machine—it’s time to thread the needle. For the Singer machine, begin by opening the thread guide cover, located at the top of the machine, and then lower the presser foot. Then adjust the spool holder, making sure the thread is securely in place and that the end of the thread is sticking out of the thread slot. Pull the thread toward the slot, located beneath the thread guide cover, and then pass it over the needle bar thread hook and draw it behind the thread tension discs. After this, slide the thread through the eye of the needle, being careful not to prick yourself, and draw it straight down towards the needle holder.

Final Steps

To complete the threading process, insert the bobbin thread into the hook of the bobbin carrier and pull the thread up and out. Hold the bobbin thread in one hand, and with the other, pull the top thread. You should now see the needle catching the upper thread and the bobbin thread, forming a loop. Gently tug on the loop to release it from the hook of the carrier, and then turn the hand wheel until the needle pulls out the loop at the back of the machine. Finally, grab the upper thread and give it a slight pull to ensure there’s tension.

Care and Maintenance

Once your Singer machine is in working order, it is important to understand how to properly maintain it. Use its specific instructions manual (which may be available online) to help guide you in servicing the machine properly. Cleaning and oiling are important steps to a well-functioning machine; wiping the area with a dry cloth is one of the best ways to keep the machine dust-free. Additionally, check the machine’s belt and tension frequently, as these often will need to be adjusted in order for your machine to run smoothly.

Important Considerations

When threading your Singer sewing machine, many users have simply assumed that the thread is going over the needle bars the correct way. This can be a mistake, as there is a specific way that the thread needs to be passed through the needle before it can be pulled up and out. This is why it is important to be aware of the specific instructions that came with your machine and to ensure that you are following them correctly before beginning to thread it.

Sewing Habits

Creating good sewing habits is important for a successful threading experience. Be sure you are starting with clean hands, using anti-static material when setting up, and using the right lubricant for the job when cleaning and oiling the machine. Additionally, learning to be an organized sewer can save you time and frustration in the long run. For example, having a dedicated area to store your supplies and tools can help you find all the items you need in order to thread your Singer machine quickly and easily.

Common Mistakes

Some of the most common mistakes made when threading a Singer sewing machine include not aligning the thread spool holder properly, rolling the thread instead of wrapping it, and pulling the thread too tightly or too loosely between the tension discs. To avoid making these mistakes, make sure the thread spool is set in the correct position and ensure that it is centered before proceeding. Additionally, be sure to wrap the thread evenly around the bobbin to ensure there are no skips and ensure the thread tension is not too tight or too loose.

Purchase Quality Supplies

As you begin learning to thread your Singer sewing machine, it is important to remember that proper supplies are an essential part of the process. Poorly-made needles or thread can lead to a choppy stitch and a dead thread, which can lead to your embroidery project’s unraveling or your garments not properly fitting. Investing in good-quality thread and needles will ensure that your machine sews smoothly and efficiently and will help your sewing projects turn out looking professional and polished.

Test Threads

If you are using a different type of thread than what came with your machine originally, it is wise to test this thread in a scrap piece of fabric before using it in your project. This will help you determine if the tension needs to be adjusted and whether or not the thread is suitable for the machine. Different types of thread can require different tension levels in order to produce a perfect stitch, so take the time to test out various thread types before attempting a large project.

Use a Thread Net

If you have trouble keeping your machine free of lint or tangle-prone thread, you may want to consider using a thread net or thread saver. These nets help to ensure that your thread is properly drawn through the eye of the needle and also help to keep it from tangling up or becoming knotted. Thread nets are small and semi-transparent, so they will not interfere with the function of your machine, and they will save you time, effort, and aggravation in the long run.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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