How To Thread a Sewing Machine & Wind a Bobbin

How To Thread a Sewing Machine & Wind a Bobbin

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Ashley Poskin
Jul 20, 2015
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Knowing how to correctly thread your sewing machine opens up a world of creative possibilities. The process might seem intimidating, but once you get the general idea you can apply what you know (give or take a loop or twist or two) on any machine you come into contact with in the future. It's a two-part process in which you'll learn how to wind the bobbin and then thread the machine. So dust it off, plug it in, and start practicing!

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Most sewing machines basically look the same. Your Tension Disc is over on the left top side of the machine near the Take-Up Lever and Tension Wheel, with the Spool Pins and Bobbin Winder on the right . The Hand Wheel is on the far right side of the machine, and your Stitch Selector is usually somewhere on the front, or lower right side. Occasionally, the Spool Pin will be on the backside of the machine or will be placed on its side, close to the Bobbin Winder.

What You Need

Materials

  • Thread

Tools

  • Sewing machine
  • Needle
  • Empty bobbin
  • Scissors

Winding the Bobbin

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

1. Set the thread on the spool pin and place the spool cap on top. Most machines come with a plastic wheel called a spool cap. If your spool pin is vertical like the one on my machine is, you might not have to worry about a spool cap.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

2. Unwind about 18" or so of thread and bring it around the backside of the bobbin winder tension disc, wind it around the tension disc one time.

Some machines might have a thread guide before this step- if yours does, don't skip it! Be sure to place your thread through all the thread guides on your machine.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

3. Select a bobbin that works specifically with your machine.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

4. Slide it onto the bobbin winder.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

5. With the thread still wrapped around the bobbin winder tension disc, draw the tail of the thread up through the center of the bobbin, leaving a small tail on the end.

If your bobbin doesn't have a hole to push the thread through, simply wrap it around the bobbin a few times before moving on to the next step.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

6. Slide the bobbin pin over to the right towards the small, round plastic part of the bobbin winder until you hear a "click".

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

7. The bobbin pin should now be touching the bobbin winder like in the photo above.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

8. Slowly press down on your foot pedal until you reach a speed you're comfortable with.

Fill your bobbin with the amount of thread you think you'll need for your project. I like to completely fill my bobbin whether or not I'll need that much to save myself from having to start the process all over again.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

9. Slide the bobbin pin back over to the left- you should once again hear it "click" out of place.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

10. Remove the bobbin from the bobbin pin.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

11. Open the shuttle cover to reveal the bobbin housing and remove the bobbin casing.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

12. Position the bobbin so the thread is trailing off along the right side (clockwise).

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

13. Pop the bobbin into the bobbin casing and bring the thread through the small notch on the bobbin casing, as pictured above.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

14. Pull the thread towards the right side of the casing until it snaps through the slanted guide and rests in the open area.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

15. Flip the bobbin casing over, and let the thread rest on the right side of the horn.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

16. Push the bobbin casing into the bobbin housing, so the tip of the horn lines up with the notch in the shuttle hook cover. Push gently, until you hear the bobbin snap into place.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

17. Close the shuttle cover casing.

Threading Your Machine

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Most sewing machines will have a printed diagram on the front of the machine that will give you basic instructions on how to thread your machine.

Before you start, turn the hand wheel so that the take up lever is sticking up out of the top of your machine.

1. For horizontal spool pins: load the spool of thread onto the spool pin so that the thread is coming towards you from the bottom (think "under" on a toilet paper roll). Place the spool cap on.

Unwind about 18" of thread to work with.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

2. Follow the diagram by sliding the thread into the first thread guide. On some machines, this will be a small "A" shaped plastic piece that the thread can snap into, on my machine I use the bobbin winder tension disc.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

3. Bring your thread down through the channel, around the check spring holder, following the arrows printed on your diagram.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

4. There will more than likely be another thread guide as you wind your thread around towards the take-up lever.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

5. Slip the thread behind the take-up lever.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

6. Bring the thread from behind the take-up lever around so that it slides into the hole. The take-up lever piece somewhat resembles a folded "s", which makes weaving thread through easy, while keeping it all in place.

Note: I photographed my thread guide showing the inside of the machine, but you'll be able to do this without opening the door. Simply turn the hand wheel so the thread guide sticks out of the top of the machine.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

7. Follow the arrows on the diagram and bring the thread back down the tension track, towards the needle.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

8. Push the thread behind the needle bar thread guide.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

9. Push the thread through the front of the needle out to the back left side.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

10. Holding the tail of the thread you used to thread the needle, crank the hand wheel until the needle picks up the bobbin thread.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

11. Use scissors, or another small, thin instrument to swipe under the presser foot to grab both pieces of thread.

12. Bring both pieces of thread out to the left side of the machine, and you're all set!

Happy sewing!

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