Proper Use of a Built-In Needle Threader

We Carry
by Sara Snuggerud in Archives

One of the best tools the engineers of the sewing machine world have given us is the built-in needle threader. We have found that not everyone uses this unique devise, but there are several reasons why everyone should use their built-in needle threader. For those with a “maturing eyesight” it is a God-send! But, even though I have been blessed so far in my short lifetime with healthy eyesight, and I can see to thread a needle, I have found that using the needle threader, when available, is invaluable.

The time that I did not properly insert a new needle high enough into the shaft, it was the needle threader that saved me from accidentally damaging or nicking the hook. When the needle threader did not line up with the needle hole, I knew instantly that something was wrong. I was able to correct the problem before causing any damage, and before becoming frustrated with my machine.

A needle threader is a time-saver in that you will never have to have a clean cut end on your thread, and you will never have to lick the end to get it to go through the needle.

Since the hook of the needle threader must be so small to fit through an eye of a needle, it can be bent easily, or damaged if used incorrectly. It is a very small crochet-like hook that comes through the needle eye from the back towards the front. This small hook must be perfectly centered when it comes through the eye of the needle for it to catch the thread. Should this hook become bent from improper use it will go to the side of the needle rather than through the eye. If you can see the hook, and it is very small, a gentle push with your finger nail or very small screw driver can realign the needle threader hook back to the center position. If you do not want to try this on your own, bring your machine into the store and we will align it for you.

Below are steps to have a successful needle-threading experience.

First, the needle must be in the proper position. On electronic sewing machines, touch the needle position up/down button, or tap the foot control to have the machine take one complete stitch. This will raise the needle to the correct position needed for the needle threader to properly align with the needle. If the hand wheel has been turned manually, the needle may not be in the correct position.

Next, lower the presser foot to the down position.  This will allow more room for maneuvering the needle threader. Lowing the presser foot will also engage the tension disks to keep the thread from pulling freely through the machine while using the needle threader.

If you have trouble using your needle threader, try these six steps. Each step needs to be done in order, and without combining the steps. Until the flow of using a needle threader becomes a single fluid motion, do it by the numbers. Be patient with yourself at first.

1. Lower the presser foot.

2. Hold the thread to the left of the needle. Place the thread around the left prong of the needle threader and press, or pull, the needle threader straight down. Do not press the devise sideways.

3. Rotate the needle threader head to cup around the needle’s eye from the backside. Some machines do the rotation motion automatically as you press down firmly.

4. While holding the thread with your right hand with a gentle tension, cross the thread from left to right in front of the needle and into the needle threader hook. Hold the thread at a slight angle upward, about a “2 o’clock” angle. Keep the thread parallel to your body. Do not push it toward the back of the sewing machine.

5. Continue to hold the thread gently, then release, or gently turn the needle thread assembly with your left hand away from the needle eye. If you hold onto the thread too tight, the needle threader’s hook will not be able to pull the thread freely through the eye of the needle. Apply just enough pressure to the thread so that the needle threader can gently pull it out of your fingers.

6. Pull the loop of thread from the back of the needle with your fingers, tweezers or stiletto.

Please note that needle threaders do not normally work with double needles, wing needles, or a very small needle size 65/9 or smaller.

When using the needle threader becomes a single fluid motion for you, you will always want to use this wonderful invention. If you are having difficulty using your needle threader, please come in and let us check the hook to make sure it is aligning properly, and let us guide you visibly through these steps. Take the time to learn the proper technique, and save precious sewing time in the future!

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