How to Thread an Antique Singer Sewing Machine

Updated April 17, 2017

Singer has been creating and selling sewing machines in the U.S. since 1851. I.M. Singer & Company was named for the inventor of the first Singer machine, Isaac Merritt Singer. He invented the Singer sewing machine in 11 days and at the cost of £26 American dollars, which was a lot of money in 1851, in an attempt to create a more practical sewing machine--one devoid of a shuttle rotating in a circular fashion to improve function. Following his first invention came many machines from Singer, including the treadle, the world's first electronic sewing machine; the world's first computer-controlled machine; and many of the most advanced home sewing and embroidery machines in the Quantum series, according the Singer Sewing Company.

Unwrap the spool packaging and find the end of the thread. Unravel the thread a few inches and place the spool on the spool holder, which is usually located on the top right of the machine near the wheel or the hand crank.

Pull gently on the thread and guide it to the left back thread guide. Then pull it through to the front guide. See the Resources section to view an illustration of the Singer threading diagram.

Guide the thread down the front of the sewing machine to the left of the tension discs, then pull it around the bottom and up. Some antique machines have a little hole or loop to guide it on the right of the tension discs/wheel.

Bring the thread from the front of the machine toward the back and through the loop, which is usually on a lever that moves up and down. This lever is located on the front or side of the antique Singer sewing machines, depending on the year of the model.

Gently pull the thread down through the spiral guide. This guide is usually to the upper left of the needle, and it can be located on the machine body or right above the needle.

Thread the needle. It is helpful to trim the thread right before threading to cut off any fray ends, leaving a blunt end that is easier to thread. If your vision is not perfect, use a needle threader by inserting the threader into the needle, putting the thread through the needle threader loop, and then pulling the needle threader back through the machine needle.


Don't forget to wind and thread the bobbin too. Run the antique Singer sewing machine slowly if it has not been used in a long time.


Take your antique Singer sewing machine to an authorised, experienced sewing machine repair shop for cleaning and servicing if it is jammed--don't try to force anything because you don't want to break any antique sewing machine internal parts.

Things You'll Need

  • Antique Singer sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Fabric
  • Needle threader
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About the Author

Heather Inks is a social entrepreneur who educates on improving communities and the world. She is an educator, writer, photographer, artist and model who has taught K6-12th grade and public educators. Inks is a life coach specializing in personal, career, educational, dating, health and fitness, and gifted children issues. She has been educated at fine universities including graduate work at Stetson University.