Learn How to Thread an Industrial Sewing Machine | Step-by-Step Guide

Are you ready to unlock the secrets of mastering your industrial sewing machine? If so, you’re in the right place! Learning how to thread an industrial sewing machine might seem like a daunting task, but fear not. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process step by step, making it easy and accessible for everyone, regardless of your experience level.

Whether you’re a seasoned seamstress looking to enhance your skills or a newcomer eager to dive into the world of sewing, understanding the intricacies of threading is essential for smooth and flawless stitching. Let’s dive in and unravel the mystery together!

Key Highlights

  • Understand the different parts of an industrial sewing machine, such as the needle bar, bobbin case, tension discs, feed dogs, and presser foot.
  • Learn how to properly prepare the bobbin and bobbin case, including selecting the correct size, winding the bobbin evenly, troubleshooting common issues, and ensuring proper fit and movement.
  • Follow the steps to thread the upper thread through the machine, including releasing tension on the presser foot, guiding the thread around pre-tension discs or guides, passing it through the take-up lever and various guides, until reaching the needle.
  • Properly position the thread tension by understanding the concept of optimal tension, adjusting it based on fabric type and desired stitch quality, consulting the machine’s manual for instructions, and checking and maintaining the bobbin tension.

What is an Industrial Sewing Machine?

An industrial sewing machine is a specialized piece of equipment used in manufacturing settings to sew fabric and other materials together with precision and efficiency. Unlike regular sewing machines used at home, industrial machines are designed for heavy-duty tasks and prolonged use. They typically have stronger motors and sturdier construction to handle the demands of high-volume production.

These machines come in various types, each suited for different sewing tasks. Some common types include lockstitch, overlock, and coverstitch machines. Each type has its own unique functions and features, catering to specific stitching needs in industries like apparel manufacturing, automotive upholstery, and home furnishings production.

One distinguishing feature of industrial sewing machines is their ability to sew through thick and dense materials with ease. This capability is crucial for industries where heavy fabrics or multiple layers need to be stitched together, such as in the production of denim jeans or leather goods. The speed at which industrial machines operate is also significantly higher than that of domestic machines, allowing for faster production rates in factory settings.

Moreover, industrial sewing machines often come with specialized attachments and accessories to facilitate specific sewing tasks. For instance, a machine used for sewing buttonholes may have an attachment specifically designed for that purpose, ensuring consistent and precise results with each stitch.

Overall, industrial sewing machines play a vital role in the manufacturing industry, enabling efficient and precise stitching of various materials to create a wide range of products that we use in our daily lives.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Thread an Industrial Sewing Machine

How to Thread an Industrial Sewing Machine?

Threading an industrial sewing machine is essential for proper stitching and ensuring smooth operation. Follow these steps carefully to correctly thread the machine.

  1. Prepare the Machine:
    • Turn off the sewing machine and unplug it from the power source for safety.
    • Raise the presser foot to release tension on the thread.
  2. Wind the Bobbin:
    • Wind the thread onto an empty bobbin using the bobbin winder mechanism on the machine.
    • Place an empty bobbin onto the bobbin winder spindle and follow the machine’s instructions to wind the thread evenly.
  3. Thread the Upper Thread:
    • Raise the needle to its highest position using the hand wheel.
    • Place a full bobbin onto the bobbin holder and guide the thread through the thread guides leading to the needle.
    • Follow the machine’s threading diagram, typically indicated by numbers or arrows, to guide the thread through the correct thread guides and tension disks.
    • Insert the thread through the needle from front to back and leave a tail of about 6 inches.
  4. Pull the Thread:
    • Hold the thread tail firmly and turn the hand wheel towards you to lower and then raise the needle, which will pick up the bobbin thread.
    • Use a pair of tweezers or the built-in bobbin threader to pull the bobbin thread up through the needle plate.
  5. Pull Both Threads:
    • Once both upper and bobbin threads are pulled to the top of the machine, gently pull them towards the back of the machine.
  6. Place the Threads:
    • Slide both threads under the presser foot and towards the back of the machine.
    • Close the cover over the bobbin case.
  7. Test the Thread Tension:
    • Lower the presser foot and gently pull both threads towards the back of the machine.
    • The thread tension should be balanced, meaning neither thread should be too tight or too loose. Adjust the tension if necessary.
  8. Final Checks:
    • Double-check that the threads are properly placed and tensioned.
    • Lower the presser foot and test the machine on a scrap piece of fabric to ensure smooth stitching.

By following these steps, you can correctly thread an industrial sewing machine for optimal performance and stitch quality.

How to Thread an Industrial Sewing Machine

Let’s discuss these steps in detail now.

1. Prepare the Machine:

Before you begin threading the industrial sewing machine, it’s crucial to ensure it’s properly prepared for the process.

  1. Turn Off and Unplug: Start by turning off the sewing machine and unplugging it from the power source. This ensures safety during the threading process.
  2. Raise the Presser Foot: Locate the presser foot lever, usually positioned behind or to the side of the machine. Lift the presser foot to release tension on the thread and allow for easier threading.

2. Wind the Bobbin:

Next, you’ll need to prepare the bobbin by winding it with thread.

  1. Select the Thread: Choose the appropriate thread for your project and place it on the spool pin located at the top of the machine.
  2. Wind the Thread: Take the end of the thread and guide it through the bobbin winding mechanism. Secure the thread by wrapping it around the bobbin a few times manually.
  3. Place the Bobbin: Once secured, place an empty bobbin onto the bobbin winder spindle. Make sure it’s positioned securely.
  4. Engage the Bobbin Winder: Follow the instructions provided by your machine’s manufacturer to engage the bobbin winder mechanism. This usually involves pushing or turning a knob or lever.
  5. Start Winding: With the bobbin winder engaged, press down on the foot pedal or start button to begin winding the thread onto the bobbin. Ensure that the thread winds evenly and smoothly.
  6. Stop and Trim: Once the bobbin is adequately filled, stop the winding process and trim the excess thread. Remove the bobbin from the winder spindle.

3. Thread the Upper Thread:

Now it’s time to thread the upper thread of the sewing machine.

  1. Raise the Needle: Turn the handwheel located on the side of the machine towards you to raise the needle to its highest position. This will make threading easier.
  2. Guide the Thread: Take the end of the thread and follow the threading path indicated by the machine’s threading diagram. This typically involves passing the thread through various thread guides and tension disks.
  3. Thread the Needle: Once the thread is properly guided through the machine, insert it through the eye of the needle from front to back. Leave a tail of about 6 inches.
  4. Lower the Needle: Use the handwheel to lower the needle and then raise it again. This action will pick up the bobbin thread.

4. Pull the Thread:

After threading the upper thread, you need to pull up the bobbin thread.

  1. Hold the thread: Hold the upper thread firmly, ensuring it doesn’t slip out of your grasp.
  2. Turn the handwheel: Slowly turn the handwheel towards you, lowering the needle and then raising it back up. This action will catch the lower thread and bring it to the surface.
  3. Retrieve the bobbin thread: Use a pair of tweezers or the built-in bobbin threader (if available) to pull the bobbin thread up through the needle plate. Pull out a few inches of the bobbin thread and place it alongside the upper thread under the presser foot.

5. Pull Both Threads:

Once you’ve pulled up the bobbin thread, it’s time to ensure both threads are accessible for stitching.

  1. Gently Pull Threads: After the needle has been raised, gently pull both the upper and bobbin threads towards the back of the machine. This helps ensure that both threads are free and ready for stitching.

6. Place the Threads:

Proper placement of the threads is essential for smooth stitching.

  1. Slide Under the Presser Foot: Slide both the upper and bobbin threads under the presser foot towards the back of the machine. Ensure that the threads are positioned correctly and are not tangled.
  2. Close the Bobbin Case Cover: If your machine has a removable bobbin case cover, make sure to close it securely. This helps protect the bobbin and prevents it from dislodging during sewing.

7. Test the Thread Tension:

Checking and adjusting the thread tension ensures even stitches.

  1. Lower the Presser Foot: Lower the presser foot to engage the tension disks and prepare for stitching.
  2. Gently Pull Threads: With the presser foot lowered, gently pull both the upper and bobbin threads towards the back of the machine. Observe the tension on both threads.
  3. Adjust Tension if Necessary: If the tension on either the upper or bobbin thread is too tight or too loose, adjust the tension settings accordingly. Consult your machine’s manual for instructions on how to adjust thread tension.

8. Final Checks:

Before starting your sewing project, perform a few final checks to ensure everything is set up correctly.

  1. Double-Check Thread Placement: Take a moment to double-check that both the upper and bobbin threads are properly placed and threaded through the machine. Ensure there are no tangles or snags.
  2. Test Sewing on Scrap Fabric: To ensure everything is functioning smoothly, test the machine on a scrap piece of fabric. This allows you to check for any issues with tension or stitching before starting your actual project.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your industrial sewing machine is correctly threaded and ready for use, leading to smooth and professional-quality stitching.

Troubleshooting Common Industrial Sewing Machine Issues

When using industrial sewing machines, encountering issues can disrupt production and cause frustration. Here’s a guide to troubleshooting common problems:

IssuePossible CauseSolution
Thread BreakageIncorrect tension settings.– Adjust the tension discs according to the thread type.
Dull needle or wrong needle size.– Replace the needle with the correct type and size.
Thread quality issues.– Use high-quality thread suitable for the material.
Uneven StitchesIncorrect tension settings.– Re-adjust the tension for balanced stitches.
Dirty or damaged feed dogs.– Clean or replace feed dogs as necessary.
Worn or bent needle.Replace the needle with a new one.
Machine JammingThread buildup in the bobbin area.– Clean the bobbin area regularly to prevent buildup.
Incorrect needle insertion.– Ensure the needle is inserted correctly and tightened.
Machine misalignment.– Consult a technician to realign the machine parts.
Skipped StitchesImproper needle threading.– Rethread the needle following the correct path.
Incorrect needle size for the fabric.– Use a needle appropriate for the fabric thickness.
Machine timing issues.– Have a professional adjust the timing if necessary.
Fabric PuckeringIncorrect tension settings.– Adjust the tension for smoother fabric feed.
Incorrect presser foot pressure.– Adjust the presser foot pressure according to fabric.
Dull or damaged needle.– Replace the needle regularly to prevent puckering.

Remember, regular maintenance and cleaning can prevent many of these issues. If problems persist, consult the machine manual or seek assistance from a qualified technician.

Industrial Sewing Machine Maintenance Tips

Maintaining an industrial sewing machine is crucial for ensuring smooth operation and longevity of the equipment. Here are some maintenance tips to keep your machine running efficiently:

  • Clean regularly: Dust and debris can accumulate, affecting the machine’s performance. Use a brush or compressed air to remove dirt from the machine’s exterior and interior components.
  • Oil moving parts: Lubricate moving parts regularly as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. This includes the needle bar, presser foot lever, and bobbin case. Proper lubrication reduces friction and prevents wear and tear.
  • Check tension regularly: Incorrect thread tension can result in uneven stitches or thread breakage. Ensure the tension discs are clean and adjust the tension according to the fabric being sewn.
  • Inspect needles: Worn or bent needles can damage the fabric and affect stitch quality. Replace needles regularly, especially after sewing heavy materials or if needles become dull.
  • Keep the workspace clean: A clutter-free workspace reduces the risk of accidents and allows for efficient operation. Dispose of fabric scraps and thread waste regularly.
  • Monitor belt tension: The drive belt transfers power from the motor to the sewing mechanism. Check the belt tension periodically and adjust it if it’s too loose or too tight to ensure smooth operation.
  • Calibrate machine settings: Periodically check and adjust stitch length and speed settings to suit the sewing project. Improper settings can result in poor stitch quality or fabric damage.
  • Schedule professional maintenance: While regular maintenance can prevent many issues, it’s also essential to have the machine serviced by a professional periodically. They can identify and address any underlying problems.


In conclusion, mastering How to Thread an Industrial Sewing Machine is a fundamental skill for any aspiring or seasoned seamstress. A correctly threaded machine is the first step towards achieving impeccable stitching results. With our detailed guide, you’ve gained the knowledge and confidence to navigate the threading process with ease. 

As you embark on your sewing endeavors, let this guide serve as a trusted companion, ensuring that your industrial machine is always ready to bring your creative visions to life. With practice and precision, you’ll be on your way to crafting stunning garments and textiles that showcase your unique style and craftsmanship. Happy sewing!


  1. Mechanisms of sewing machines
  2. Association of individual and work-related risk factors with musculoskeletal symptoms among Iranian sewing machine operators
  3. Reduction of work-related musculoskeletal risk factors following ergonomics education of sewing machine operators
  4. A randomized controlled trial evaluating the effects of new task chairs on shoulder and neck pain among sewing machine operators: the Los Angeles garment study

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Regular Thread in an Industrial Sewing Machine?

It is recommended to use thread specifically designed for industrial sewing machines to ensure optimal performance and avoid potential issues with tension. Using regular thread may result in inconsistent stitches and require troubleshooting of thread tension.

How Often Should I Oil My Industrial Sewing Machine?

The frequency of oiling an industrial sewing machine depends on various factors such as machine usage and operating environment. To maintain the machine’s optimal performance, it is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for routine maintenance, including regular oiling intervals. Troubleshooting common issues may also involve inspecting and lubricating specific parts of the machine.

What Type of Fabric Is Best Suited for an Industrial Sewing Machine?

When considering the best fabric for an industrial sewing machine, factors such as thickness, weight, and weave must be taken into account. Fabrics like denim or canvas are often suitable due to their durability and ability to withstand the machine’s high speed and tension.

How Can I Prevent Thread Breakage While Using an Industrial Sewing Machine?

To prevent thread breakage while using an industrial sewing machine, it is important to adjust the tension properly. Troubleshooting thread bunching can also help ensure smooth operation. These techniques contribute to a seamless and efficient sewing process.

What Are Some Common Problems That Can Occur With an Industrial Sewing Machine and How Can I Fix Them?

Common problems with industrial sewing machines include thread tension issues, needle breakage, and machine jams. To troubleshoot, check the thread path for obstructions, adjust tension settings, replace broken needles, and clear any debris causing jams.

Leave a Comment