Tips & How To’s

Step by Step Guide on How to Thread a Bobbin

Tim Parry


How to thread a bobbin

The sewing machine is definitely one of the most genius and useful inventions ever. One technique that enables the machine to perform its task is how the thread is set up to create a seam when sewing. One thread is passed through the needle up top, while the other is the bobbin thread found under the needle plate. The two threads are woven together to form a weave, which creates a seam. However, the bobbin thread tends to be a challenge for most people as most sewing machines use the bobbin thread.

There are different sewing machines, and you may need to check your sewing machine manual to see how to set up the bobbin in the bobbin winder. However, the technique for threading a bobbin is universal, and we will show you how to thread a bobbin successfully.

How to Thread a Bobbin

The first things you will need are an empty bobbin and a spool of thread. Next, you will need a spool pin to securely hold the spool of thread while you insert it into a bobbin. Finally, you will need an empty bobbin holder to ensure your work flows smoothly. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you thread a bobbin successfully.

Step 1: Set Up Thread and Bobbin

Before starting to thread a bobbin, everything needs to go to its rightful place. Find the empty bobbin holder and place it on the bobbin pin. Ensure the bobbin holder is compatible with the sewing machine. Otherwise, you will run into problems while sewing. You should never use a half-full bobbin either. If the bobbin is incompatible, you will have issues with the bobbin cover plate or the bobbin holder. You need an empty bobbin that will eventually be fully wound with the same thread. Empty bobbins are easier to work and will create a more consistent workflow.

The spool of thread goes on the machine thread pin. Use a spool cap to secure the spool of tread on the spool pin. The spool cap helps prevent vibrations when sewing, securing the thread in place. The spool cap can come in many forms, including a plastic cone, felt, or foam.

Step 2: Pass the Thread Under the Bobbin Winder

Most machines have pro-tension discs to the left side of the machine to correctly pull the thread and ensure that it is properly wound. In some cases, there is a loop at the top of the machine that holds the thread before you wrap it around the disk. You mostly do not have to worry about this method because most machines have an image showing you the bobbin winding path or where things like the bobbin winder pin are located.

You need to wrap the thread in the right direction. Before you thread a bobbin, you need to investigate how to thread a bobbin and what direction is appropriate for the bobbin to function properly. The bobbin thread needs to have a given tension to function optimally on the sewing machine.

Step 3: Secure Thread on Bobbin

Once you have threaded the sewing thread correctly onto the machine, the thread needs to be secured properly on the bobbin to ensure seamless functioning. First, you need to secure the thread tail through the holes on the bobbin. Next, wind the thread on the bobbin pole at the center and ensure the thread is secure before you insert the bobbin into the bobbin case.

You can trim any excess bobbin thread with a pair of scissors. Once you are done, you can place the bobbin on the bobbin winder spindle. In some cases, you will realize that the bobbin sides are solid and passing the thread on the side is impossible. If this is the case with the bobbin, you should place it on the spindle and wind it a couple of times before setting it up on the sewing machine. For this sewing machine bobbin, you need to leave the excess thread for you to hold when winding. However, do not leave too much thread.

Once the thread is secured, you need to go to the next step.

Step 4: The Bobbin Winder

You will not be able to wind a bobbin thread without the bobbin installed onto the sewing machine. Before you begin winding, attach the bobbin to the bobbin winder spindle. In some sewing machines, the bobbin will click once you turn it in a given direction. Once you have inserted the bobbin, the bobbin might move towards a brake or vice versa.

You might need to loosen the center of the hand wheel to engage the winding process on the machine.

Step 5: Secure the Bobbin

Once you have secured the bobbin onto the winder, you need to ensure the winder is locked onto the sewing machine. Any excess thread on the bobbin will require to be pulled out through the slit found on the bottom of the bobbin. Once you have reduced the thread, you need to cut the tip, keeping in mind that you will need to take it through the eye of a needle.

Remember that if the bobbin is not secured on the sewing machine and is not tight, it might not fit on the bobbin case. You might end up having tension issues if the bobbin does not fit well into the case. Double-check your installation after every step.

Step 6: Wind!

While pressing on to the pedal, hold the thread end to tightly wind the thread on the bobbin right from the start. About three inches of the string is enough to hold the bobbin while you wind it. Once enough string has been wound, you can let go of the string you were holding and wind the rest of the bobbin thread.

In some cases, you will be using an electric sewing machine that does not need a pedal to control the machine. If you are using an electric machine, you will need to press start and stop where necessary.

Step 7: Load the Bobbin

Once the bobbin is full, you must load it into the bobbin case. The bobbin works as the lower thread, wound with the upper thread when creating a seam. Be careful when loading the bobbin to the sewing machine because the sewing machine needle might be in the way of you loading the bobbin. Once you are done with how to thread a bobbin, setting up the bobbin is an easier task.

To set up the bobbin on the sewing machine, lift the presser foot pedal to the highest position to avoid getting pricked before you insert the bobbin. You can use the hand wheel to lift the needle and the take-up lever to ensure the needle goes as high as it can.

Remove the bobbin cover plate and insert the bobbin. The sewing machine manual has a clear way of doing this shown in images. You should also find an illustration on the sewing machine on how to insert the bobbin and which direction it should face. Remember to pull the thread on the wound bobbin through the tension spring. Once you install the bobbin, you can replace the bobbin cover.

There are two types of bobbin positioning on the sewing machine. One method involves a vertical installation, while the other has a horizontal setup. The vertical installation of the bobbin will be shown on the sewing machine manual and the horizontal setup.

Tips on Using the Sewing Machine Bobbin

a) Buy Good Quality Thread

When threading a bobbin, you need to use the strongest and most appropriate thread that you can find. Before you start sewing, you need to be sure that the thread will take you to the end of the session. In addition, both the bottom and the top thread need to be of a similar quality to have a consistent seam on the garment or material. This is especially true for projects like embroidery, where you need threads of the same type.

Before you insert a bobbin onto the machine, ensure the thread will not break every time you thread a bobbin or sew away.

b) Trim off the End of the Thread

Nothing is more frustrating than threading a needle. Getting the thread through the eye of the needle can be one of the most trying moments you can ever have if you are a first-timer. The eye of the needle is a small hole, and the task might make it easier to wind the bobbin than to thread a needle. Trimming off the end of the thread saves you a lot of time. Avoid using your teeth to bite off the thread, as that will leave tiny threads that will make you mad every time you try to pass the needle through the hole.

c) Know your Sewing Machine

Before you learn how to thread a bobbin, you need to know how your sewing machine works and where things are. For example, we might tell you to insert bobbin here and use the tension disc there. However, if you do not know where these are, your sewing projects will not start as soon as you want them to. It might seem obvious that you know the parts of the machine before you start machine embroidery or sewing in general. However, not everyone knows all the parts or where the thread guide is located.

Using your sewing machine manual, you can tell where the thread guides are located on the machine. For example, the bobbin area is sometimes located under the extension table that you may have to lift when inserting front-loading bobbins. Remember to sit on a comfortable chair.

d) Bobbin Thread Size

The bobbin thread size should not exceed the size of the bobbin itself. An overwound bobbin thread might cause you trouble with the brakes involved. The brakes may end up being adjusted if the size of the bobbin thread exceeds the size of the bobbin itself. You can find a bobbin winder that will stop before the thread exceeds the bobbin. You will have to wind several layers before the bobbin is full. However, you will need to be careful not to overwind the bobbin.

Avoid winding the bobbin thread loosely on the bobbin. You may want to take the bobbin winding a bit more seriously, as this will give you an easier time when sewing time has come. The bobbin thread tightness should be average as you do not want excess tension on the thread, and you do not want it to be extremely loose either.

e) The Right Bobbin

Rusty bobbins will give you a hard time on the sewing machine. However, bobbins are not the most expensive of accessories, and you can have plenty lying around in the house. While buying plastic bobbins might look like a viable option, you can still do well with metallic bobbins if you take good care of them. In addition, a metallic bobbin will last you longer compared to its plastic counterparts.

Different types of bobbins are specific to each machine. You need to read the manual to avoid buying incompatible bobbins. Getting the right bobbin saves you the time and money you could use on a wrong bobbin. You might end up thinking you do not know how to thread a bobbin to thread a bobbin when the bobbin type was the problem. The sewing machine bobbin specific to your sewing machine is the best thing you can do to make your work easier.

Final Take

Learning how to thread a bobbin will be the most fulfilling part of your sewing journey. There could be nothing more exciting than to know how to thread a bobbin. There are many hacks and tricks you can use. If you are unsure, you can use a video tutorial to save yourself time and frustration of any kind. Gentleness is all you need throughout the process because you are dealing with a thread that could break. Gently pull the thread in every step of the way.

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Tim Parry

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