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Threading a Singer 12

Model 12 needle and shuttle instructions

Threading the Shuttle

The bobbin should be placed in the shuttle so that the thread feeds off the bottom towards the two long slots.
The thread goes out through the lower slot, in through the upper, over the bobbin and out through the small hole nearest the rounded end of the shuttle.
At this point it can go directly under the spring, or in and out through other holes to increase the tension.
If just a little more tension is needed go out of the first hole, in through the next and then out the short slot before going under the spring. For most modern thread out through the one hole and under the spring is usually about right. You may find that light colors of thread require more holes than darker shades, and different manufacturers will require different threading. I prefer to use Coats Mercerized Cotton size 50 machine and hand sewing thread (it has the blue and gold label on the spool end). Don't use glazed hand quilting cotton - the glaze will gum up in the shuttle.

Setting the Needle

NF machines were made before needle production was entirely mechanized, so the needles tended to vary in length and in the distance from the point of the needle to the eye. Since it is critical that the eye be positioned correctly for the upper thread loop to be in the right place and the right size for the shuttle to go through, there are instructions in the manual on how to properly position the needle.

Basically, it goes like this:
1. Look at the outside (left-facing) side of the needle bar where it emerges from the top of the faceplate. About an inch from the top, there should be a line engraved across the bar (this may be a little different on some of the clones, but there will probably be some sort of marking). If there is no marking, chances are the machine was made late enough that there is a stop to prevent the needle from being placed too high.

2. Loosen the needle clamp, and make sure that the long groove on the needle is facing towards the front of the machine.

3. Place the point of a thin sewing needle in the eye of the machine needle. Point this sewing needle straight back. The long groove is forward, the short groove is towards the back of the machine.

4. Hold the sewing needle (still in the eye of the machine needle) flat on the throatplate of the machine.

5. Turn the handwheel of the machine slowly until the engraved line on the needlebar is just even with the top of the face plate.

6. Tighten the needleclamp.

You might find that you need an extra hand (at least the first few times you attempt this), but it gets easier with practice. If you find that the machine STILL won't form a stitch, you might need to lower the eye just a bit (about 1/16 of an inch), especially if the machine is a later clone that requires a 13x1 rather than a 12x1 needle. To lower the eye, you want to have the line on the needlebar just ABOVE the edge of the faceplate, and test again. I have five machines (3 NF's and 2 clones) that require this sort of adjustment, and one of them likes the needle lowered a tad. You'll soon get the hang of it.........

Katrina Worley