Threading the needle and securing the thread in a knot is the first step in hand sewing, whether with a small or large needle. Learn how to use two different methods.
Step 1. Choose the appropriate needle for the thread
Needles come in a variety of sizes, and it's important to choose a needle with a hole or opening large enough for the thread you're using.
- Consider buying needles in a variety of sizes, so you can try many needles until you find the right size.
- Check with the dealer at the fabric or sewing store where you bought the needles if you want to find out what size needle to use.
Step 2. Cut the thread as long as you need
A thread longer than 36 inches (91 cm) can become tangled when sewing, a short thread can run out quickly, and you'll have to thread it again later. Determine the correct length of thread.
- If you are not sure how long the thread was cut, or the thread is too short, then you can re-thread later, but a tangled thread can be very difficult to straighten.
- Cutting the thread at a 45-degree angle with sharp scissors will create an easier path for threading the needle.
Method 1 of 2: Threading and Tying the Knot Using Fingers
Step 1. Thread the thread through the eye of the needle
Hold the needle between your thumb and forefinger with the hole pointing up. Hold the end of the thread between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand. Thread the thread through the eye of the needle.
- If you have trouble seeing the pinhole, turn on the light for better visibility.
- Wet the end of the thread with your tongue, then smooth it with your lips, this will make the end of the thread stiffer and easier to insert into the hole.
Step 2. Pull the thread through the needle
Pull the thread a few inches through the eye of the needle so you have a long thread hanging down. This will help keep the needle out of the hole as you tie the knot.
Step 3. Grasp the tip between your thumb and forefinger
Make sure the thread doesn't slip through the needle as you hold the tip.
Step 4. Tie the thread around the finger
Use your thumb to hold the free end of the thread in place against the index finger. Use your free hand to wrap the yarn once around the index finger, so you have one perfect loop of yarn around the finger.
Step 5. Rub the yarn loop
Use your thumb to start rubbing the loop of yarn against your index finger. Continue rubbing and scrolling towards the fingertips, then carefully tucking in to keep the loop intact.
- The loop of thread should now tie itself like a vine, with the ends sticking out of the loop.
- If the loop fails, try again. A lot of practice will be trained.
Step 6. Pull the loop to the knot
Use your fingers to grip the end of the thread sticking out of the loop. Hold the other side of the thread, which should be threaded through the needle, between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand. Pull the thread from both sides with both hands so that the loop is reduced and becomes a knot.
- If the loop doesn't knot, the thread wasn't woven correctly in step 4. Repeat the process and focus on making loops.
- For large knots, repeat the process to make sure the knot falls into the loop of yarn. When you shrink the loop into a knot, the loop should fall directly over the first node.
- To make the strands more durable, use the double strand method. Instead of leaving the tail after you've threaded the needle, pull the thread through the needle and hold the ends of the thread together. Follow the same instructions for tying a knot with one strand, keeping two strands in place throughout the process.
Method 2 of 2: Threading and Tying the Knot Using a Threader and Needle
Step 1. Insert the needle threader through the eye of the needle
The tapered, bent piece of metal should fit through the hole and return to its original shape on the other side, creating a larger hole for threading.
Step 2. Place the thread through the threader
Hold the end of the thread to the threader and thread it through the hole. Grasp the end of the thread and pull it through the threader so that a few inches of thread will hang through the threader.
Step 3. Pull the threader out of the eye of the needle
Gently remove the threader from the hole. When the threader comes out of the hole, the thread will also be pulled. Remove the threader from the end of the thread. Your needle should now have thread.
Step 4. Wrap the thread around the needle
Hold the longer end of the thread perpendicular to the needle. Wind the thread around the needle twice. For a thick knot, twist it about three times.
Step 5. Pull the loop of thread toward the needle
Carefully pull the loop on the needle into the hole, then continue pulling the loop along the length of the thread.
Step 6. Tie the knot
When you've reached the end of the yarn with a loop of yarn, secure it into a knot.
- Not everyone chooses to tie the knot. Another way is to repeat the first stitch several times through the same hole (to "nail the thread").
- Some people choose to use knots instead. This is done by tying a simple knot (the first knot to tie a shoe…), sewing the single stitch but not pulling it all the way through, and passing the needle through the loop between the knot and the fabric.