Great tips and tricks to thread a needle | Madam Sew

Great tips and tricks to thread a needle

Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you just try, lick the thread, try, cut an end off, try again, sigh heavily and pray the thread will go through the tiny eye of the needle… sound familiar?

Most people thread a needle by holding an inch or so of thread between their fingers and try to guide the thread through the eye of the needle. When the thread is flimsy and floppy and the eye is tiny and your eyesight isn’t great and your hand not that steady… this can be a frustrating job.

In this post, I will share some tips and tricks, as well as show you a threading hack that will work for threading hand needles, sewing machine needles, and serger needles.

These first tips will help you with threading a needle the ‘traditional way’. There are some context and preparatory elements that will already save a lot of frustration:

1. Stiffen the thread end.
Spray it with hairspray, rub it over a piece of beeswax, or just stick it in your mouth.
2. Cut your threads in a 45° angle with sharp scissors so you get a clean cut.
3. Make sure you have enough light when you thread a needle.
Have you checked out our sewing machine l.e.d. strip?
4. A white background will make the needle eye more visible. Keep a small piece of white cardboard pinned to your pincushion so you always have a background at hand to place it behind the eye of the needle when you’re threading. You can do this with a hand needle or place the card behind your sewing machine needle.A white background will make the needle eye more visible. Keep a small piece of white cardboard pinned to your pincushion so you always have a background at hand to place it behind the eye of the needle when you’re threading. You can do this with a hand needle or place the card behind your sewing machine needle.

light when you thread a needle

Instead of bringing the thread to the needle, you can also bring the needle to the thread and pinch the tip of the thread between your thumb and index finger. Now push the eye of the needle onto the tip of the thread. Pinching the tip means you can barely see the tip of the thread between your fingertips so it holds shape and doesn’t fray.

For a sewing machine needle, you can unscrew the needle, thread it and then put it back on your machine.

Did you already bump into the instagram threading hack…rubbing on your hand with the needle... did you see it?

I tried it with a hand needle with a small eye.

Place the thread on your palm and run the needle back and forth over it. This should make the thread push itself through the eye of the needle ‘with minimal effort’.

Well, it took some effort. Let’s say 50 seconds of rubbing my hand before something happened but a second time it only took 10 seconds, so, if you practice a little, this might be a good solution for you.

If all of this doesn’t satisfy you, or you like nifty sewing tools, I will list a couple of them here:

1. Tweezers to grab the thread when it has gone through the eye of the sewing machine needle.


2. I never use my built-in sewing machine threader but I tried it for this post and it works just fine :-). Yours might be slightly different. If you see something completely different, check your machine’s manual.

sewing machine threader

Join our Sewing Club!

Save 10% on your first order

Be the first to know about our tutorials, weekly deals and so much more!

Value is required
Thank you!

Put your needle in its highest position to line up the eye of the needle with the threader. Hold the thread to the left of the needle. Draw the thread down around the threader guide and bring it from left to right in front of the needle. Push the threader knob down as far as possible. A small hook will come through the needle eye from the back. Place your thread under the small hook, keeping the thread parallel to the table. Release the threader knob slowly while holding the thread end with your hand. There is a loop pulled through the needle eye now. Remove the loop from the threader and pull out the thread end through the needle eye.

3. If your machine doesn’t have this feature, you can purchase this sewing machine needle threader. This is a little universal tool that you can use for any sewing machine needle or serger needle. The tool pushes a thread loop through the eye and with the little hook you can grab the loop easily.

needle inserter
push threader knob

You can find a detailed manual here:

You can also purchase one in our shop: HERE

4. For hand needles, I have these 2 needle threaders: The wire loop needle threader and the desktop hand needle threader.

Wire loop hand needle threader

This one very often comes with basic sewing sets or travel kits. You just push the loop through the needle eye, then push your thread through the loop and pull the loop and thread back through the eye.

The only downside is that these little tools aren’t always very durable and when the eye of the needle is really tiny, the wire loop of my threader won’t pass. It doesn’t work for my machine needle.

Desktop hand needle threader

This is a vintage looking little plastic box made for 2 sizes of needles, big eyed needles and tiny eyed needles. All you have to do to use this is to place the needle eye down in the appropriate funnel, lay the thread in the gulley, push the slider over, and pull the thread through the eye. Voila! Your needle is threaded.

hand needle threader

You can find a detailed manual HERE

You can purchase one in our shop HERE

5. And there are self threading needles for hand sewing as well as for your sewing machine.. Yes. I haven’t tried them. Does anyone have any experience with these needles?

Any more questions about threading? Shoot!
Be sure to take a look in our store if you need a needle threader tool!

Have a nice day!


Sewing enthusiast and sewing blogger/vlogger for Madam Sew
I share all my projects on Instagram @an_madamsew
If you don’t want to miss out on our videos, you better subscribe to the MadamSew YouTube channel too :-)

Back to blog


I started using the ‘self-threading’ needles because of my arthritis. There are multiple types of self-threading needles out there. I found the hook ones like to snag fabric. The V-shaped ones don’t snag the fabric but they tend to snag or break the thread. So, I use the v-shaped ones and a lot of thread conditioner.

Mea Cadwell

Great tips for a frustrating task! Thank you. Really enjoy your posts and products..

Sherie Black

Just my report on something mentioned in the above blog posting. I thought I had struck gold when I found those needles that are easy to thread, as they are basically an open type of loop and you just hook them onto the thread. They work! However, I hand hem my handwoven items, and the hook gets caught in the handwoven fabric as I’m pulling the needle through. It kept catching and snagging pretty badly the one and only time I used them, so I’ve abandoned them for this purpose. Maybe these would work well on a tightly woven quilt fabric but I wasn’t happy using them for my handwoven towels.

Geri Rickard

The ones I bought for my mother would work, but most of the time would unthread.
My way of threading a needle is to put a spot of water on the back side of the needle and the water would draw the thread through

Stella Boudreaux

Thank you for the hints on threading a needle very helpful


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.