How To Thread Antique Singer Sewing Machine

Part I – Threading Singer Sewing Machine

Weaving is a craftsmanship that has been around since the Middle Ages, and a key component of this heritage is the antique Singer sewing machine. Despite its age, the Singer machine has maintained its popularity due to its portability, low cost and the ability to create a huge variety of fabric-based items. Threading a Singer machine is somewhat tricky but with a bit of practice and the right steps, you will find the process easy and enjoyable.

Design and Layout

Before attempting to thread your Singer sewing machine, familiarize yourself with its overall design, features and layout as every model and brand will vary slightly. Standard Singer machines have a large, flat bed that is used for loading fabric and cutting it accurately. The bobbin is located on the far side of the machine, and is where the bottom thread is stored and fed through the fabric. Above the bobbin is an arm with a small wheel, which is used to tension the thread.

Prepping the Bobbin

Now that you understand the design of the machine, the next step is to thread the bobbin. First, you will need to select the right type of thread for the job. Most Singer machines require bobbin thread specifically, and it is important to buy the correct size as the wrong size will not fit into the bobbin wheel. Additionally, make sure that your thread is of good quality and free of knots as this may cause problems during the sewing process.
When your thread is ready, you need to hold the bobbin wheel in one hand and gently guide the thread up and around the wheel. Make sure to keep a steady tension on the thread, and do not pull it too tight or the wheel might break. Once the thread is secure, you need to wrap it around the small wheel above the bobbin wheel to secure it and place it in the wheel.

Threading the Needle

Now it’s time to thread the needle. Locate the needle near the top of the left side of the machine and remember to always use a fresh needle. If you are using a new needle, make sure to dip it in a tiny bowl of oil before proceeding. Thread the needle with the same type of thread that you used for the bobbin, and make sure to measure the thread to the correct length for your project. To thread the needle, start by passing the thread through the eye of the needle and then back around the needle in a large loop. When you feel that it is secure, pull the thread down towards the bobbin wheel.

Threading the Fabric

Now that both the needle and the bobbin are threaded, it is time to thread the fabric. Depending on the type of fabric you are using, your machine may require a specific type of thread. When you have the right type of thread, place your fabric on the bed of the machine and pass the thread through the eye of the needle. Make sure that the fabric is securely in place before proceeding, as any movement or shifting may cause problems during the sewing process.

Securely Threading the Machine

The final step in threading your Singer sewing machine is to secure the thread by tying off the end. Make sure to apply a small knot near the end of the thread and then pass the thread through the small wheel and over the bobbin wheel. This will secure the tread and prevent it from slipping or coming undone during the sewing process.

Part II – Tips for Threading Singer Sewing Machine

Adjust Thread Tension

Once you have successfully threaded the machine, you need to adjust the thread tension. This is done by turning the small wheel located above the bobbin wheel. The tension should be tight enough for the thread to securely pass through the fabric, but not so tight that it breaks. It’s also important to make sure that the thread is not loose, as this may cause it to bunch up when passing through the fabric, resulting in uneven stitches.

Stitch Quality

If you find that your stitches are not even or that they appear lumpy or uneven, then it’s likely that the thread tension is incorrect. To ensure a consistent stitch quality, check the thread tension regularly and make sure that it is adjusted to the correct level. Additionally, make sure to use a quality thread that is free of knots and snags as this can cause problems as well.


If you find that your machine is not operating properly or is producing strange stitches, then it’s likely that the thread has become tangled or knotted up inside the machine. If this happens, it’s important to stop sewing immediately and re-thread the machine from scratch. This will ensure that the thread is securely in place and that your machine is operating correctly.

Care and Maintenance

Finally, it’s important to practice regular care and maintenance to ensure that your Singer sewing machine operates correctly. Make sure to clean the machine at least once a month using a damp cloth and lightly lubricate the moving parts with a machine oil. Additionally, check the thread tension and bobbin on a regular basis and make sure that they are correctly threaded and tensioned. This will ensure that your machine continues to produce quality stitching with ease.

Part III – Extended Tasks

Setting Stitches

In addition to threading the machine, you will need to set the correct type of stitch for your project. Singer machines offer a wide variety of stitches to choose from and each project will require different types of stitch. To get the right stitch, first select the right type of stitching on the machine’s interface and then make sure that the thread is correctly tensioned and the fabric is securely in place. Once the necessary adjustments have been made, your machine should produce a perfect stitch every time.

Foot Pedals

In addition to threading the machine, you will need to learn how to use the foot pedals correctly to control the speed of the stitching. Typically, Singer machines have two foot pedals that can be used to start and stop the sewing process. The left pedal is used to start and the right pedal is used to stop. Additionally, the right pedal is used to reverse the motion of the needle, allowing for precise stitches and accurate fabric manipulation.

Adjusting Tensions

As the sewing process progresses, you may find that the thread tension needs to be adjusted in order to create perfect stitches. This is an important skill to develop as it will allow you to create finer and more precise stitches. To adjust the thread tension, use the small wheel located above the bobbin wheel and slowly turn it in one direction or the other until you find the correct tension.

Using Buttonholes

In addition to regular stitches, certain Singer machines offer the ability to create buttonholes. This is an important skill to master as it will allow you to create shirt collars, cuffs and other fabric items with ease. To create a buttonhole, select the correct type of buttonhole on the machine’s interface and make sure that the fabric is securely in place. Once you have made your adjustments, you can start the stitching process and create a perfect buttonhole every time.

Part IV – Accessories

Attachment Feet

In addition to threading the machine and setting stitches, you should also familiarize yourself with the various attachment feet and accessories offered by Singer. Attachment feet are small pieces that attach to the underside of the machine and allow for more precise control over the fabric. The most common attachment feet are the zipper foot, the blindstitch foot and the darning foot.

Blade Cutters

Singer machines also offer the option of adding a blade cutter. This is an accessory that can be used to precisely and quickly cut fabric and make accurate cuts in a fraction of the time. Blade cutters can be attached to the side of the machine and used to quickly and accurately cut fabric, as well as trim threads and fabric edges.

Automatic Bobbin Winder

Finally, Singer sewing machines offer the option of adding an automatic bobbin winder. This is a nifty accessory that will allow you to quickly and easily wind a new bobbin with the press of a button. Simply thread the thread into the bobbin and press the start button, and the machine will automatically wind the thread into the bobbin.

Part V – Care and Maintenance

Proper Storage

Proper storage of your Singer sewing machine is essential if you want it to remain in top condition and continue to function as intended. Always make sure to store the machine in a dry, dust-free environment and avoid placing it outdoors or in direct sunlight. Additionally, make sure to cover the machine with a protective cover when not in use to ensure that dust and dirt do not accumulate on its surface.

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is also essential to keep the machine running smoothly. Be sure to use a damp cloth to wipe down the machine after every use and you should also take the time to regular clean the mechanism to get rid of any dirt, lint or dust that may build up. Additionally, you should regularly lubricate the moving parts with a small amount of machine oil to ensure that it continues to operate correctly.


Troubleshooting is also an important part of maintaining your Singer sewing machine. If you encounter any problems with the machine, it’s important to stop sewing immediately and troubleshoot the problem. Check the threading, tensions and the bobbin and make sure that they are all correctly installed and tensioned. Additionally, check the interface to make sure that the correct type of stitch has been selected and that the thread is of the correct size and quality.

Replacing Parts

If any parts of the machine need to be replaced, it is important to ensure that the correct replacement part is used. Many parts can be purchased online or at local sewing supply stores, although it’s important to check with a professional before making any replacements. Installing the wrong parts or accessories can damage the machine and may result in inaccurate stitches or even worse, injury.

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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