How To Thread A Old Singer Sewing Machine

Threading The Needle

Many people find themselves confronted with an intimidating task when it comes to learning how to thread a Singer sewing machine. However, with patience and guidance, sewing a Singer sewing machine can be an enjoyable and educational experience for any beginner. This article will guide you through the process of threading a Singer sewing machine, step by step.

Basic Components and Understanding

Before learning how to thread a Singer sewing machine, it is necessary to familiarise yourself with the basic components and understand the purpose of each. The top of the machine houses the bobbin winder and tension dial, while the side houses the stitch pattern selector. The thread take up arm is located at the side of the machine, while the lower looper is located at the back. To begin threading a Singer sewing machine, the bobbin must be correctly installed in the bobbin case.

Thread the Bobbin

Once the bobbin is in place, the bobbin winder needs to be engaged. The machine’s spool pin should then be loaded with the desired thread, with the end of the thread passed through the thread guide. The thread should then be wound in a counter clockwise direction around the bobbin several times, so that it fits snugly in the bobbin winder. Once the bobbin winder has been disengaged, the bobbin should then be placed in the bobbin case.

Thread the Upper Looper

The upper looper must then be threaded. To do this, thread the needle going through the needle thread guide, then through the upper looper’s thread guide. Pull the thread around the upper looper, then make sure to keep the thread taut to ensure it does not snag. Finally, thread the needle in the opposite direction, going through the take up lever thread guide and the needle thread guide. Once this has been done, the tension dial needs to be adjusted according to the type of fabric being used.

Tread the Needle

The needle is the last component that needs to be correctly threaded. Like the bobbin, its arm must be engaged, then the needle is threaded. This is done by inserting the thread end through the needle thread guide, pulling it down, then threading it through the eye of the needle. The arm must then be disengaged, the thread should be pulled gently, then the end of the thread should be cut when the machine is in motion.

Thread the Machine

Once all the above steps have been completed, it is time to thread the machine. This is done by loading the desired thread on to the machine spool again, and passing it through the thread guides. The first thread guide should then be passed through the upper thread take up arm, then the thread should be passed through the thread guides again until it reaches the needle. The upper thread must be threaded through the needle before the lower thread. From there, the stitch pattern selector should be adjusted for the desired pattern and the machine should be ready for use.

Stitch Patterns

With a Singer sewing machine, a variety of stitches and patterns can be created, depending on the fabric and type of thread used. The stitch selection dial can be used to select the desired pattern, such as straight, zigzag, or decorative stitches. Threads and needles must be chosen according to the type of fabric and the stitch pattern. For example, a heavy-duty thread should be used with a stronger fabric.

Maintenance and Care

Proper care and maintenance of the Singer sewing machine should be routinely done to ensure smooth operation and longer lifespan for the machine. After each use, the machine should be cleaned and properly oiled to ensure maximum efficiency. Check for any worn-out or broken parts and have them replaced immediately. Also, the timing of the machine should be checked to ensure that the needle is correctly aligned to the fabric during stitching. This will help avoid any skipped stitches or snags.

Different Type of Singer Machines

Another factor to consider when threading a Singer sewing machine is the type of machine. The model and number should be checked to be sure that the instructions are specific to the machine. For example, a Singer 301 has a higher
tension than a Singer 15, therefore different thread and needle sizes should be used for each machine.

Timing and Tension Adjustments

A Singer sewing machine should be adjusted for timing and tension according to the fabric being used. To adjust the tension, the upper tension and the lower tension should both be set to the same number, which will depend on the fabric and thread being used. To adjust the timing, the need needle should be moved so that the needle and the hook of the lower looper are aligned. This should be re-checked regularly to ensure correct tension and timing.

Hook and Needle Positioning

The positioning of the hook and needle is another important factor when threading a Singer sewing machine. The hook should only move when the needle is in the correct position, otherwise the thread will break or the needle will not function correctly. The needle should be centered over the hook and the thread should not cross over the base of the hook when the needle is in motion.


If the machine is not functioning correctly, several variables can be checked such as the needle size, thread type, and tension setting. Common problems with Singer sewing machines include loose stitches due to a loose tension setting, skipped stitches due to incorrect timing, or broken threads due to incorrect needle size. All of these issues can be easily resolved if the above factors are considered and the machine is correctly maintained.

Specific Directions for Different Versions

Depending on the age and model of the Singer sewing machine, the threading process may differ slightly. Many Singer sewing machine models contain an instruction manual with directions specific to that machine. If such an instruction manual is unavailable, online manuals with detailed instructions can be found on search engines or the Singer website.

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.

Leave a Comment