Pro Tips: Threading the Needle

Natasha Searls-Punter

Natasha Searls-Punter

I know you have threaded a needle before, you know you can do it, but sometimes when you sit down to start and sewing project do you feel like you spend more time threading the needle than actually stitching? If so, don’t worry perhaps you haven’t found your threading style just yet.

”Threading style!” I hear you say, ‘There isn’t more than one way to thread a needle!’

There absolutely is, so we have complied our favourite four for you to try and see what works best for you or that particular thread/needle combination.

  • Stick it through the eye

Technically all of them stick it through the eye, but this one is the 101:

  1. Taking the raw end of the thread
  2. Line it up with the eye
  3. Push it through the eye enough to be able to catch it on the other side and pull it through cleanly.

This is probably the one you have already been trying to do, the difficulty with this being that it can be hard to see the eye of the needle so you miss the target or you only get part of the thread through and then the other part gets all ravelled up when you try and pull the thread through so you have to start again.


  • Fold and Conquer

A popular method with professional embroiderers, this one is a good alternative if splitting the thread is you most common problem as you are threading the body of the thread through the eye not the end, therefore there is nothing to split:

  1. Take the end of your thread in a loop and use your needle to pull the loop into a tight fold
  2. Hold the fold firmly in one hand and place the fold into the eye of the needle
  3. When a little of the fold is through the eye, pull it through until the loose end from the loop is entirely clear of the eye

The problem with this one can be that if you have a small eye to your needle, or a fluffy thread, this method means you have double width of thread to pass through the eye in order to thread it which can make it tricky.


  • Rub-a-dub-dub

An interesting method, but pretty simple once you get the hang of it:

  1. Lay the thread across your palm
  2. Position it so that some of the thread is lying across a firm part (I like to use the joint of my forefinger)
  3. Place the eye of the needle over the thread, press down firmly and rub back and forth steadily
  4. When a little loop of thread forms through the eye of the needle, catch it and pull it through cleanly

Fun right?! This one can be a bit of a revelation when it works, the only problem being that works better with some threads than others. The smoother the thread the better for this method, so silks or cotton work well but other threads may not form the loop in order to pull it through easily.


  • Thread blooming

You may not have come across this method in other guides, but I personally swear by this one for small needles (goldwork 10’s and 12’s especially):

  1. Take your thread by the freshly, cut raw end right between the pads of your forefinger and thumb
  2. Squeeze your fingers closed (almost like you are rolling them shut over the raw end, like the thread was a tightly closed flower bud)
  3. Place the eye of the needle where the raw thread just disappeared between your fingers
  4. Roll your fingers back, allowing the tip of the thread to expand and ‘bloom’ into the eye of the needle
  5. Give it a little wiggle to get enough through the eye and pull it through cleanly

This one is not to everyone’s liking but it can get you out of some fluffy situations.


So there are some methods for you to try and see how you get along with them. Feel free to share your progress with us, using the #londonembroideryschool or if you have your own method you think we need to know about, let us know about it.

Happy threading!

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