How To Bobbin A Sewing Machine

What is bobbin and why is it used?

Bobbin is used for sewing machines to form a stitch with two threads. It is an integral part of any sewing machine, that allows the user to create a strong and tightly woven final product. By using the two separate threads that make up the bobbin-stitch, the fabric will not be able to unravel. It is used to create various stitches, such as the lockstitch, straight stitch, overlock stitch and coverstitch. The bobbin is usually round in shape and is made up of a hollow tube with a spool attached to it. It also has a spring-loaded piece of metal on the spool that holds the threads in place.

The traditional bobbin consists of wound thread wrapped around a small core, usually made of plastic. The core helps to control the tension of the bobbin thread, while the thread itself is kept in place by the spring-loaded piece of metal. In order to sew, the bobbin has to be loaded into the machine prior to the beginning of each stitch. Without a loaded bobbin, your sewing machine will not be able to create a stitch.

Bobbin Types and Sizes

Bobbins come in different materials and sizes to accommodate different types of fabrics and machines. Typically, the most common bobbin types are plastic and metal. Plastic bobbins are the most common and can be used in most machines, while metal bobbins are designed specifically for more powerful and industrial machines.

The size of the bobbin also varies depending on the type of machine and the type of fabric. Most machines are designed to use a standard size bobbin, which is usually a type A. If you are unsure of the size of bobbin that your machine needs, it is usually indicated on the machine’s instruction manual.

Choosing the Right Thread for the Bobbin

Once you have chosen the type and size of bobbin you need, you must then choose the right type of thread for the bobbin. It is important to select a thread that is strong enough to properly hold the fabric in place and also compatible with your machine. You should also pay attention to the type of finish that the thread has, as this will affect its durability and the overall quality of the stitch.

The most common types of threads that are used for bobbins are cotton, nylon and polyester. Each of these thread types has both advantages and disadvantages. Cotton thread is known for its strength and is often used for creating quilts and heavier fabrics. Nylon thread is also strong and can give a secure hold, but it is usually a bit more expensive than cotton. While polyester is less durable than the other two, it is usually the cheapest option and is often used when working with lighter fabric.

Loading the Bobbin

Once you have chosen the correct bobbin and thread, you will need to load them into the machine. The exact steps will vary depending on the type and size of bobbin that you are using and the machine you are sewing with. Generally however, you will need to open the bobbin case and place the bobbin inside, ensuring that the bobbin is sitting in the correct orientation and that the thread is wound in the proper direction to form a tight Stitch.

You will then need to insert the threaded end of the bobbin into the tension spring and close the bobbin case. Once the bobbin is loaded and the tension is correct, your machine is ready to sew.

Checking the Tension of the Bobbin Thread

Once the bobbin is loaded, the tension needs to be checked to ensure that the thread is being properly held in place. Improper tension of the bobbin thread can result in the fabric puckering or the tension of the stitch being too loose or too tight. To check the tension, simply sew a few sample stitches and adjust the tension accordingly.

When adjusting the tension, you should start by decreasing the tension, rather than increasing it. To ensure that the tension is correct, you can use a special gauge or simply hold the fabric up to the light and observe how the thread looks. If the stitches look too loose or too tight, the tension needs to be adjusted accordingly.

Cleaning and Maintenance

It is also important to keep the bobbin and its threads clean, in order to ensure that the stitches remain strong and the fabric does not become damaged. Regular maintenance of your bobbin will also help to prevent clogging, which can often occur when debris and lint accumulate on the bobbin case.

To clean a bobbin, simply detach it from the machine and use a lint brush or damp cloth. You can also use a small amount of rubbing alcohol to further clean the bobbin case. Be sure to avoid using any harsh chemicals on the bobbin as this can damage it.

Inspecting the Bobbin For Wear and Tear

It is also important to inspect the bobbin for any signs of wear and tear. Bobbins typically last for a few years, however, some fabrics may require more frequent replacement. If you notice any frayed threads or significant signs of wear and tear, it is important to replace the bobbin as soon as possible.

Troubleshooting Bobbin Issues

If your machine is experiencing issues with the bobbin, there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot them. Be sure to check that the bobbin is properly wound, that the tension is adjusted correctly, and that the bobbin is clean and free of any debris. If the issue persists, you may need to consult the machine’s manual or take it to a professional to have it serviced.

Tips to Remember

While bobbin is an essential part of any sewing machine, it doesn’t have to be difficult to learn how to use it. With the right tools and knowledge, you can become an expert in no time. Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind when loading and using a bobbin:

  • Always use the type and size of bobbin that is indicated in the machine’s manual.
  • Choose a thread that is compatible with your fabric and machine.
  • Make sure the thread is wound correctly in the bobbin.
  • Adjust the tension of the thread for the desired stitch.
  • Periodically inspect the bobbin for signs of wear and tear and clean regularly.


Learning how to bobbin a sewing machine may seem intimidating, but with the right tools and some practice, you can soon master the technique. Simply select the right bobbin, thread and size, load it correctly and make sure the tension is set correctly. Regular maintenance of the bobbin will also help to keep your stitches strong and the fabric safe. With these tips, you should soon become a pro at bobbin your sewing machine.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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