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How to Thread a Needle by Hand

The first step in any sewing project is threading a needle. Here's how to do it—no headaches involved.


  • Step 1: Choose your thread Choose appropriate thread for your project. The thread should match both the fiber content and color of your fabric.
  • TIP: If you can't find an exact color match, use a slightly darker shade--a lighter shade will stand out.
  • Step 2: Choose your needle Choose the right needle. The eye should be large enough to insert the thread, but not so large as to damage the fabric.
  • Step 3: Cut the thread With sharp scissors, cut an appropriate length of thread at a 45-degree angle. This will give you a clean cut, making it easier to pass the thread through the eye of your needle.
  • TIP: Try to keep the length of thread shorter than two feet. Anything longer will be difficult to manage and may become tangled.
  • Step 4: Hold needle and thread Hold the needle between your thumb and index finger while holding the thread in your other hand.
  • Step 5: Pass thread through eye Hold the needle steady and pass the thread slowly through the eye.
  • TIP: To pass the thread through the eye with ease, wet the end of your thread or coat it with beeswax.
  • Step 6: Leave a tail Once the thread is through the eye, pull it down to create a tail about four inches long. This end will remain unknotted.
  • Step 7: Wrap thread around index finger With your thumb and index finger, grab the other end of the thread. Loosely wrap the thread around your index finger a couple of times and hold in place with your thumb.
  • Step 8: Twist threads together Twist the threads together by sliding your index finger along the length of your thumb. Keep this motion up until the loop of thread slides off the end of your index finger.
  • Step 9: Knot the end Grab the loops with two fingers and pull down. You just formed the perfect knot. And now you’re ready to sew like a pro.
  • FACT: The earliest-known iron sewing needles were found at the Celtic fort at Manching, Germany, and date to the third century B.C.

You Will Need

  • A needle
  • Some thread
  • Scissors
  • Water or saliva
  • Beeswax

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