How to Thread an Embroidery Needle

Embroidery needles have more prominent eyes than regular sewing needles. But this has not made threading them any easier.

Many embroiderers will agree that threading an embroidery needle remains one of the most frustrating parts of hand embroidery.

It becomes easier if you possess the lucky combination of solid eyesight, a steady hand, and a cooperative thread. Sadly, not many have this holy trinity; even if you did, there are always bad days.

Fortunately, you can easily thread embroidery needles using the four commonly used methods outlined in this article.

Types of Embroidery Threads

A primary culprit in the difficulty of threading embroidery needles is the embroidery thread or floss. 

Embroiderers use different threads of strand thickness ranging from six to sixteen. However, the most commonly used threads usually have six strands.

It is usually easy to separate most stranded embroidery floss before use. The thread’s thickness will depend on the type of design you wish to accomplish and the fabric you are designing.

Strand thickness will also affect the way you thread your embroidery needle. Needless to say, the thicker the thread, the trickier threading becomes.

Threading an Embroidery Needle With a Moist Thread

Threading an Embroidery Needle

When you moisten the thread with a bit of fluid, it becomes easier to pass it through a needle’s eyes; this has caused some people to dab the thread with saliva before threading.

Not only is this disgusting to watch, but it is also unhealthy, especially when threading a needle for someone else. You often end up with a sticky thread that won’t work as quickly as you’d like.

A far better way of doing this is by dipping your thread in beeswax or thread conditioner before attempting to thread them.

If any of these products are unavailable, use a little water. 

Step One: Cut off the tip of the thread with sharp embroidery scissors. Place your forefinger in water and rub it against your thumb to ensure it is also wet. 

Step Two: Rub the thread against your wet thumb and forefinger until the thread is a little moist. The moisture makes the end of the thread more stuff and easy to maneuver.

Step Three: Hold the needle on your weaker hand and push the thread through the eye of the needle; the thread should pass through more quickly.

How to Thread A Needle Using the Thumb and Index Finger Method

Some embroiderers prefer not to moisten their thread before working because they believe it makes the thread soggy and not necessarily easier to thread.

There are many ways of threading your needle without any moisture, and one of them is the thumb and index finger approach.

First step: Cut off the end of the thread with sharp embroidery scissors to give it a freshly nipped edge.

Second Step: Hold one end of the thread between your dominant hand’s thumb and index finger.

Hold the thread so that you barely see it through your fingers.

Third Step: The needle should be in your other hand. Bring the eye of a needle against your thumb, ensuring that it aligns with the thread.

Step Four: Squeeze the thread and push it through the eye of the needle at the same time. Pull the thread out from the other side once the thread passes through the needle’s eye.

This method takes a little time to master. But once you do, it removes the strain of relying on solid eyesight or a moist thread.

How to Thread a Needle Using The Pinch and Fold Method

The pinch and fold method is far easier to master if you wish to thread your embroidery needle without moisture.

Step One: Hold the thread in your dominant hand and the needle in the other. Place the needle in a horizontal position and fold the thread over the needle.

Step Two: Wound the thread tightly over the needle and pinch it between your thumb and forefinger.

Step Three: Carefully pull out the needle while still pinching the thread. If you did it right, your thread should have a small loop. 

Make sure you continue to pinch the end of the thread loop with your fingers. Your fingers should be loose enough to see the fold of the thread.

Step Four: Place the eye of the needle over the arching loop and push it down until your fingers envelop the needle.

Continue pushing the needle’s eye until the thread goes through. You can pull it out from the other side and commence sewing.

The pinch and fold method is very effective with floss of different strands size. You can use it for floss as low as two to even those with sixteen strands.

How to Thread an Embroidery Needle Using a Needle Threader

Using a needle threader is, by far, the easiest way to thread a needle as it involves far less hand skill than the other methods. All you need is a suitable embroidery threader.

An embroidery needle threader is a small, flat object with a thin wire loop at the end. To use it:

Step One: Hold the flat end of the threader with one hand (preferably your dominant hand). Hold the needle with another hand.

Step Two:  Push the wire loop through the eye of the needle and hold it in place with one hand.

Step Three: Place the end of your embroidery floss through the wire loop of the threader. Ensure that you’ve nipped off the floss’s end with scissors.

Step Four: Pull the thread through the loop of the threader until you have a tail of at least two inches.

Fold the tail of the thread over its main length and hold both tail lengths together.

Step Five: After adequately fastening the thread on the threader’s loop, carefully pull the threader through the needle’s eyes.

The wire loop of the threader carries the thread easily through the needle’s eye.


Threading an embroidery needle doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience. Fortunately, you can make the process easier.

The methods outlined in the article have worked for several embroiderers. Choose any method that suits you best and start making those fantastic designs.

Happy sewing!

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