Tuesday, 3 April 2018

thread a needle using chalk

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I’ve been neck deep in sewing after neglecting it for well over a year. Mostly utilitarian, nothing exciting. And I remembered a tip I wanted to share. I had taken photos back in 2013, months before I even thought of blogging, but never got around to posting.

It’s a simple tip and perhaps common; but I haven’t come across it yet.

A weak eyesight or the thread end dancing to the tune of the fan breeze can aggravate a simple task. My Singer Futura sewing machine has the needle eye facing the front. It was very efficient till I had to start using a needle threader! A very difficult/inconvenient position; see how the threader has bent in the pic below.

So here’s my 3-step solution to threading a needle (dip, snip, swipe) – it works for any kind of needle, though demonstrated for a machine one here.

All we need is a tailor’s chalk and a sharp scissors.
 There is a mix of old (2013) & new (2018) pics, hence the chalk pieces differ.  

1. Dampen about 1 cm of thread end (yeah, I use my tongue – gross but fairly universal).

2. Snip the tip with a sharp scissors to remove any frayed ends.

3. Hold the chalk in right (dominant) hand & thread in left. 
Keeping left thumb over the thread, run or swipe the chalk over the tip from left to right – 
in one direction only. Do this 4-5 times.
The lines made by the thread are clearly visible on the chalk

Voila! Your needle is ready to be threaded very easily, even with the left hand !!!
Once threaded, the chalked end can be snipped off.

Chalk powder stiffens the damp thread, weighs it down a bit, and makes it more visible too!
I use coloured chalks for better contrast.

Other materials : In a pinch, raid your kitchen for some cornflour or rice flour. 
Or, beeswax, candle wax, or a crayon, instead of chalk can be effective.

I still prefer the chalk and have used it to thread handheld needles just as effectively. There are always pieces of chalk (3 different colours) in my sewing organizer and emergency box.

What is your go-to method to thread a needle?


  1. That is a good idea to try, also since I should buy myself some tailor's chalk too. I read somewhere that some people dip the end of the thread in nail polish but I haven't tried that. The problem I often have is trying to thread a needle as small as possible for the thread size I use (good for needle tatting or hiding ends). In that case I wet the thread end and press it flat, because the needle eye is also flat.

    1. Flattening helps, Lavi !! Also trying to press the tip from the lower end of the needle (where the dent is) - I read this in one of the embroidery blogs.
      There are so many ways to skin the cat, right?
      I use the nail enamel method to string beads for tatting without a needle. It is very effective. And cut the end diagonally to get an even pointer tip - just like a needle.
      For sewing, etc, though,I don't want to wait for the enamel to dry, hence chalk works - quick and effective.

  2. That's a tip I'll have to try! I have some broken bits of tailor's chalk that I can keep right by my machine. Thanks!

    1. I'll be waiting to hear your verdict, Diane.
      What is your current method, though?

  3. great tip! Licking the needle eye helps too... but it's not recommended!

    1. Thanks, Wendy.
      Licking the eye - now that's something I've never come across before - and it kind of seems more gross than licking the thread tip ;-P

  4. I love seeing and that a great tip 🦋💛🦋thanks 🌞

    1. Carollyn, working with size 80 threads as you do, I doubt you need any such tip ;-P