How Should Thread Look On Sewing Machine

Thread Maintenance

When it comes to sewing, the quality of thread is just as important as the quality of the sewing machine itself. Thread should be checked for thickness, knots, and age prior to use. Additionally, improper threading of the machine can foster deterioration of the thread’s overall condition, creating uneven stitch quality and fine threads. This, in turn, affects the machine’s overall effectiveness. To maintain smooth sewing, thread should be properly looked after.

Thread Requirements

Before every sewing project, it is important to check the machine’s requirements for thread. Different machines require different types of thread, ranging from all-purpose to quilting weight varieties. Using the wrong type of thread could result in breakage or other machine malfunctions. Additionally, certain thread varieties require different tension settings, so these should be established before starting a project.


Threading the sewing machine is a task that should not be overlooked. It is essential to ensure that the upper thread is properly threaded through the guide plates. Once this is done, the lower tension discs should be adjusted to match the weight of the thread. Using a light hand, the bobbin should be properly inserted, and the last step is to check the back of the machine to ensure that the threads are properly looping together. Setting up the machine with the appropriate thread will help ensure smooth and reliable sewing.

Manuals and Graphics

For those who are not familiar with the threading process, consulting the machine’s manual is a must. Manuals provide step-by-step instructions and diagrams that are easy to follow. Additionally, it is important to pay attention to the machine’s specific features as each has some variation in the threading process. For example, some machines have an automatic tension adjuster, while others may have a threaded roller.

Correct Thread Length

Correct thread length further helps to ensure a successful sewing session. Thread that is too long or too short can cause a variety of issues, such as tangles, breakage, and skipped stitches. To keep thread long enough for a clean finish, make sure it is at least four inches longer than the spool. This allows for a clean finish as well as room to manoeuvre the thread around the needles and guide plates.

Caring for the Thread

Thread should be properly cared for to ensure clean and precise finishes. Cotton thread should not be stored in moist areas, as this can cause mold and mildew to form. Additionally, thread should be kept away from extreme temperatures, smoke, dust, and direct sunlight. Taking proper care of the thread will help maintain its strength and quality for years to come.

Thread Checks

To keep the sewing machine in top shape, it is important to regularly inspect and replace the thread. Thread checks should be done prior to every operation and should include checking for any knots or tangles. Additionally, checking for fraying, discoloration, shrinkage, and other signs of wear can help identify any errors or flaws in the thread. Threads that are in poor condition should be discarded and replaced with fresh threads.

Advantages of Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance helps to ensure that the machine is always in peak condition and ready for any sewing project. Threads that are frequently checked and replaced often result in smoother and higher quality stitches. Additionally, this helps to maintain the machine’s overall performance and avoid any unnecessary malfunction or mishaps. With proper maintenance, a sewing machine can last for years to come.

Do Not Rush

Threading a sewing machine and caring for the thread can take time, so it is important to not rush the process. Taking extra time to thread and inspect the thread can help to ensure smooth and successful sewing. Additionally, this will help to cultivate good habits that can be carried over to future projects.

Thread Tension

The sewing machine’s tension settings are very important in maintaining a successful sewing experience. Unbalanced tension can cause fine threads, weak seams, and uneven stitch depths, resulting in an unfinished or unsatisfying project. To ensure proper tension, the machine’s dial settings should be adjusted to match the weight of the thread. Additionally, the machine should be tested on a scrap piece of fabric before starting any project. This will help to guarantee that the fabric and thread are properly matched.

Change Needles

It is important to change the needles regularly as they can wear down quickly, particularly if they are used to sew thick materials such as denim. Worn-down needles can cause thread breakage and skipped stitches, so it is essential to replace them when needed. Additionally, check for any rust or other wear on the needles; these should be replaced immediately.

Thread Choice

When shopping for thread for a sewing machine, it is important to keep in mind the desired effects. Different varieties of thread offer different levels of strength and durability, and these should be considered when selecting a thread. Additionally, neutral shades of thread are often recommended as they blend more easily with the fabric.

Upper & Lower Looper Thread

Some sewing machines include loopers, which are used to create decorative stitch designs. When using loopers, the upper and lower loopers must be properly threaded. To prevent snags or other issues, it is important to ensure that the loopers are properly threaded, even if the machine is not equipped with a thread guide. For elaborate designs, nylon thread is recommended, as it is strong and unlikely to slacken.

Lengthening Stitch Length

When encountering issues such as puckering and pulling, it can help to lengthen the stitch length. This will allow for more relaxed tension, which can help with the puckering and reduce the risk of breakage. However, lengthening the stitch is not always recommended; sometimes it is better to adjust the thread tension instead. It is important to get familiar with the machine’s dials and settings to ensure that the desired outcome is achieved.

Avoiding Damage to the Thread

It is important to avoid any sharp objects when sewing, as this can damage the thread. Sharp objects can cause snags and may even lead to breakage. Additionally, needles and other sharp objects should be kept away from the fabric when not in use, as this can also damage the thread. Lastly, pay close attention when threading through guide plates, as this can cause friction and ultimately lead to breakage.


Threading a sewing machine and caring for the thread should never be overlooked. Proper threading and tension settings can have a big impact on the success of the sewing project, so it is important to be mindful of the machine’s requirements and safety measures. With the proper threading and care, a sewing machine can provide great results with any fabric.

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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