Threading a Sewing Machine Lesson Plan

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

This lesson plan will teach your students how to properly thread a sewing machine. They will also participate in a hands-on activity about sewing machines that will reinforce concepts.

Learning Objectives

After studying this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • Explain the steps involved in threading a sewing machine
  • Identify the main parts of a sewing machine
  • Physically thread a sewing machine on their own


1 - 1.5 Hours


  • Bobbins (miniature spools)
  • Image of Elias Howe
  • Internet access
  • Sewing machines
  • Sewing needles
  • Scissors
  • Thread

Key Vocabulary

  • Bobbin
  • Floor pedal
  • Hand wheel
  • Needle
  • Spool pin
  • Takeup lever
  • Tension disk
  • Thread
  • Thread guide

Curriculum Standards


Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.

Instructions and Activity


  • Inform your students they are going to be learning how to thread a sewing machine.
  • Ask them if anyone has ever threaded a sewing machine.
  • Display the image of Elias Howe. Tell your students he is credited with inventing the sewing machine although, as with most inventions, this has been disputed.
  • Review the key vocabulary terms.
  • Explain to your students:

A) The first rule to keep in mind is 'Safety First.' Sewing machines have moving parts, and the needles especially can cause injury. Make sure to UNPLUG the sewing machine before threading your needle. This will prevent you from accidentally stepping on the foot pedal and injuring any part of your hand.

B) The second thing to keep in mind is that each sewing machine threads differently, as there exist several popular brands, as well as many more models within each brand. Students should always consult the owner's manual.

Part I - Threading the Needle

1) Place a spool of thread in the spool pin, usually located on the top right of the machine, and near the back.

2) There should be a loop to wrap the thread around located on the top of the sewing machine, which is known as a thread guide. You may have to first turn the hand wheel towards your body, which will lift up the needle, as well as the thread guide.

3) Next pull the thread down and through a part known as the tension disk. It should be duly noted that while on older models this may be on the outside, on newer models this may be inside the actual casing. Run the thread around the takeup lever and then down the machine to where the needle is located.

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