We’ve all been there. You need to mend the lining of your favorite jacket just before a party so you find that old sewing kit that you have stashed away in a corner of your drawer. You’re not an expert, but you know the basics and you should be able to sew two ripped pieces of fabric together.
The problem is, you just can’t seem to actually thread the needle! You bring the eye and thread together and they keep missing every time! Ten minutes go by and you still can’t get the thread through the eye. You can’t mend the jacket in time, and so you have to take your old tattered jacket to the party. Sad you.
To save you from this fate, we asked the sewing and fabric arts teachers who use our site to promote their classes on their advice for threading a needle easily. And from their advice we came up with a great list of techniques to effortlessly thread a needle:
1. Ensure the thread is sharp -- a thread with frayed edges will be extremely difficult get through the eye of the needle. If you find that the thread is frayed, simply cut off the frayed end with scissors and you’re good to go. Be sure to cut the thread at an angle rather than straight across to prevent further fraying.
2. Use Beeswax -- If you rub a little beeswax at the end of the thread that will stiffen it somewhat, making it easier to get through the eye.
3. Moisten the thread and eye -- Just use your saliva! If you moisten the eye it will be much easier for the thread to fall on the inside of the eye. All you have to do then is pull it through!
4. Use a contrasting background -- Sometimes it can be difficult to see the edge of the thread or the eye, let alone thread it. If you have a black thread, use a white piece of paper as a background so that you can clearly see the angle of the thread. Conversely, if you’re using white thread, use a black piece of paper as your background.
5. Use a magnifying glass -- This can be difficult if you’re threading the needle on your own, but if someone is nearby, just have them hold the a magnifying glass above the needle and thread. This should make both the eye and the thread easier to see.
6. Move the eye, not the thread -- Keep the thread still in one hand, while you move the eye towards it. If you move both eye and thread at the same time, they’ll often miss each other. If you’re right handed, hold the thread in your right hand. If you’re left handed, hold it in your left.
7. Finally, use a self threading needle -- If all else fails, don’t abandon hope! Self threading needles make threading a needle simple and easy. Self-threading needles, or handicap needles as they’re sometimes called, have a special guiding notch at the top that makes it easy to pull the thread through.
Hopefully by the end of this you’ll agree threading a needle isn’t as hard as it may seem. Now you’ll be prepared for the next great sewing emergency.