How To Thread a Serger Quickly

Before we look at How to Hem Stretchy Knit Fabrics, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you a quick way to thread your serger. The post on hemming will cover how to hem with and without a serger.

Until I learned this threading shortcut  myself, it took forever to thread one. Now, it’s a piece of cake.

I have a 3/4 thread serger, but you can adapt this technique to however many threads your serger has. On my serger, two threads are threaded through the needles and two threads make up the loopers. The loopers are hidden inside the machine and you can see them if you open up the bottom portion of your serger. The thread from the loopers make the loops on the fabric that connect with the threads from the needles.

So, to change the thread to a different color, have your serger  threaded already. (If it is not, be sure to read your manual and thread it correctly, the way your manual indicates.) Each machine is threaded differently and most have a color diagram to follow. I open the bottom covers of my machine and the diagram is located on the lower right side.

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I was having trouble threading my machine so that it would serge a nice seam correctly. So, I tried threading the threads in a different order. With my machine, I have to thread the looper that is on the far right first.

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Then, I thread the one that is second from the far right.

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My manual didn’t tell me this important information. So, if you’re having trouble threading your machine, my suggestion is to keep trying different sequences until it works and then write down what you did so you can repeat it next time.

Commercial break: Use one of these long handled pair of tweezers to help you thread your machine. Most , if not all, machines come with them. They are great at helping you reach into tiny places to thread the needles or the loopers.

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Now let’s look at how to thread the serger quickly. (There is no shortcut to threading the serger for the first time, but after that, this technique will save you alot of time threading it in the future).

There is no shortcut to threading the needles, either, but you can thread those fast anyway.  This technique will teach you to thread the loopers quickly. That is the part that used to take me forever!

As you can see, my serger has black thread in it and I am going to change it to a cream color.

First, cut the last two threads (the looper threads), which are on the far right of the machine, about 6-8 inches up from the tension dials.

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(My sewing machine is behind my serger in the last photo, so I hope that doesn’t throw you off.)

Next, cut the thread that comes out of the two needles. Cut it just under the needles:

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In the above photo, do you see the thread tail (or thread chain) coming out of the needle area? Make a mental note of that because we will talk about that in the next few steps.

Now, take off those 4 cones of thread and replace them with 4 cones of the color you plan to use.

Thread all four threads through the telescopic thread stand first:

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Remember the two black threads that you cut 6-8 inches above the tension dials?

You are going to take each one and tie it to the new thread with at least three knots. Make sure you tie at least three knots because you want the threads to stay together for the next step. Tie them tight.

Do you see the old black thread being tied to the new cream one? Do this for both of those black threads:

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Next, set the far right tension dials to zero.

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Gently, pull the old black thread chain (remember the photo above?) until you see the new cream thread coming out of  the serger. To clarify this, you are going to pull the thread chain that comes out of the serger near the needle area. As you pull these black threads, the new cream threads are getting threaded through your machine so that you don’t have to do it manually. The knots that you tied should stay tied all the way through and you shouldn’t have any snags. If you do encounter a snag, check to make sure that your tension dials are set at zero and your needle thread has been cut.

You can see the spot where the black threads are knotted to the cream:

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Sorry, that’s not the best picture, but hopefully, you can see that the black thread is to the left and the new cream thread is on the right.

*Be sure to set the tension dials back to the desired numbers.

Now, thread the two needles, following the diagram, with the corresponding threads.

You can’t tie the new colored threads onto the old threads when it comes to the needles because the knots won’t fit through the eyes of the needles.

You are ready to serge. Wasn’t that easy?


17 Responses

  1. You can actually thread your serger all the way through the needles, if you tie the two needle threads as square knots and very slowly sew and gently pulling the serged thread until all the colors have changed to your new color. Once in a while the needle threads will break if the knot is not tight enough or you are trying to sew too quickly.

    • I have tried to thread my needles that way, but the square knot doesn’t fit through the eye of my needles, so that’s why I thread the long way with just the needles.

      I hope readers will try your way because it will save them more time and it sounds like every machine is different. Thank you for the tip!

  2. I have always tied off with (right over left & left over right) pull tightly & goes through needle. Having another problem. After threading where do you pull the thread to?? on top of plate? My first time having to rethread!!

    • Hi Virginia, I’m having a little trouble understanding what you mean on the first part of your comment. Do you mind spelling it out for me with a little more detail? What exactly are you tying off>

      As to your question, yes, pull the thread to the back of the machine on top of the plate, just like you do with a sewing machine. When you start the serger, I usually hold those threads to the back for just a second. All those threads will form a chain as you serge.

      Hope that helps, but let me know if you need more clarification.


      • now how to make this clearer for you.When I tie the old and new thread together I put the right hand thread over the left hand thread and pull under, now put left hand thread over the right hand thread and pull into a knot. Will not slip and will go through needle. A reef or square knot. ( girl guide training) Hope you can get this, really a very usable knot.Thanks for help, I did get it together and all is well!!

      • Ok, yes! That’s the same knot I use, but I do one more half knot after the square knot just to make sure it holds. Nothing worse than one of those puppies coming apart while you’re threading it!

        Thanks for the clarification! Linda

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    Great website, keep it up!

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    clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
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  6. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day.
    It will always be exciting to read through content from other writers and
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  7. Used your instructions to re-thread my serger. Perfection! Thank you so much!

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