Looking for instructions on how to thread a serger? You are in the right place! Refresh your memory with these simple instructions and you will be overlocking again before you know it.
The machine used for this tutorial is a Kenmore Model 385.16622. Other machines will be similar, but may have slight differences. If you have questions, please refer to your specific machine’s manual.
How to thread a serger
This tutorial will cover threading a simple serger with four threads. You can follow this tutorial for a three thread stitch as well, omitting the instructions for the fourth needle as indicated in your machine’s manual.
You will need:
- 4 thread spools
- Scrap of fabric for testing
- Recommended: Your machine’s manual
Step 1: First, place the spools of thread
Turn off and unplug your serger. View your serger from the top and add one spool of thread to each spool holder. Pull up the telescoping thread guide (A) to prepare it for threading.
Step 2: Thread the left needle
Bring the left-most spool thread up and through the thread guide (A) from back to front and then back again.
Take the thread through the guide plate (B). The thread goes down through the left hole and back up through the right hole.
Next, use two hands to pull the thread back and forth over the tension dial (C). Pull the thread toward the left and back and forth gently four or five times to engage the tension discs.
Draw the thread over and down through the take-up lever (D).
Bring the thread down through the thread guide (E)…
…and then through the left needle (F).
Finish by pulling the left needle thread under the presser foot and to the back of the machine.
Step 3: Thread the right needle
Working with the second spool from the left, bring thread up and through the right needle’s thread guide position (G), guide plate position (H) and finish by engaging the right needle’s tension dial (J).
Draw the thread down and to the left through the right needle thread guide (K).
Bring the thread over and down through the take-up lever (L), thread guide (M) and thread the right needle (N). Draw the thread under the presser foot and to the back of the machine.
Step 5: Thread the lower looper
This is the most involved part of threading a serger. Follow the steps carefully. You are almost finished!
Use thread from the rightmost spool to thread through the lower looper’s position on the thread guide (O) and guide plate (P).
Bring the thread through the looper thread guide (Q) and engage the lower looper tension dial (R) as with the needle threads before.
Move the thread to the left and up and over thread guide 1 (S).
Open the machine’s looper cover (T).
Continue to draw the thread through thread guides 2 (U)…
…and then through the lower looper take-up lever (V), and thread guide 3 (W).
Open the left side cover. Rotate the hand wheel until you can see thread guide 5 (X). It is behind the silver knife release knob (Y).
Draw the thread through the machine from right to left with your tweezers.
Draw the thread through the hole in thread guide 5 (X).
Bring the thread back to the right side of the machine with your tweezers.
Hold the thread and rotate the handwheel (Z) until the lower looper (AA) appears on the right side of the machine.
Thread the lower looper (AA). Draw the thread under the presser foot and to the back of the machine.
Step 5: Finally thread the upper looper
Only one more thread to go — you’ve already threaded three-quarters of your machine!
As with the other three threads, bring the last spool’s thread (second from the right) through the thread guide and guide plate (BB). Also, draw it through the upper looper thread guide (CC).
Engage the thread in the upper looper tension dial (DD)…
…and up and to the left through thread guide 1 (EE).
Bring the thread down through thread guide 2 (FF)…
…and upper take-up lever (GG).
Thread the upper looper (HH) from front to back.
Draw the thread to the back of the machine.
Your serger is threaded!
Now it’s time to test your machine
Turn the machine on and stitch through a small scrap of fabric. If all is well, you will be rewarded with a neatly stitched row of overlocked stitches!
Tip: If your stitching does not look as it should, check your machine manual and go over the thread paths to ensure they are all correct. Your tension, stitch length and differential feed can make a difference, so double-check that they are correct as well.
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