How To Thread A Bobbin On Sewing Machine

What is a Bobbin?

A bobbin is an extremely small cylindrical spool that stores thread used in the sewing machine. It is usually made of metal, plastic, rubber or cardboard. The bobbin usually has a hole in the centre to enable the thread spools to fit snugly. Some machines feature a magnetic bobbin system which enables you to click the bobbin into place for quick and easy loading. The bobbin is often referred to as the ‘bottom thread’ as it is this thread which forms the underside of the seam.

Threading the Bobbin

The bobbin is threaded before the top thread as it forms the foundation of the seam. The first step is to make sure that the needle is at its highest position and the hand wheel is turned until a small plate is visible. The bobbin should be placed on the bobbin winder and aligned so that it is upright. It is then necessary to bring the thread through the hole in the bobbin and wind it around the bobbin a couple of times. When the spool is fully wound, it should click into place.

Once the bobbin is wound, the bobbin must be put into the machine. Some machines feature a magnetic bobbin system which means that it is just a case of clicking the bobbin into place. Other machines require the bobbin to be inserted into a small slot, so it is best to consult the user manual for specific instructions. Once the bobbin is in place, the thread should be inserted into the machine.

Threading through the Upper Part of the Machine

Once the bobbin is in place, the upper thread must be inserted through the machine. This is done by following the path indicated by the tension discs, presser foot and thread guide, which should be indicated in the user manual. The thread should be inserted through the hole in the tension disc, pulled through the thread guide, across the presser foot and then finally attached to the take-up lever. It is important to ensure that the thread is not twisted as this could cause problems when stitching.

Once the thread is in place, the hand wheel must be turned until the needle can be seen. It is important when threading the needle that the thread is passed through the small hole and then doubled back around the hook facing away from the needle. This ensures that the thread is securely in place and avoids it slipping out when sewing.

Important Tips for Threading a Bobbin

Once the bobbin is threaded, it is important that it remains in the machine throughout the whole sewing process. This will ensure that the thread tension remains even and will ensure a quality seam. If the thread is not wound evenly, then the machine may skip stitches, or the thread may become tangled.

It is also important to check that the bobbin is the correct size for the machine. Some machines require a specific size of bobbin and putting in the wrong size may cause problems. It is also important to make sure that the bobbin is not overfilled as this too can cause problems.

Test the Threading

Before stitching, it is important to test the machine to ensure that the bobbin is correctly threaded and that the top thread is securely in place. To do this, the hand wheel should be activated and the needle should be raised and lowered several times. If the threads are tangled or the needle is not moving, then it is advisable to start again. Once the machine is working correctly, then the bobbin is correctly threaded.

Caring for the Bobbin

Once the bobbin is correctly threaded and working correctly it is important to take care of it. This means that it should be kept away from heat, dust and direct sunlight. It is also important to keep the bobbin away from magnets as this can affect the magnetic bobbin system.

It is also important to ensure that the bobbin is kept clean. This means it should be wiped with a damp cloth on a regular basis and the dust and lint should be removed. This will help to prevent wear and tear and will help to keep the machine in working order.

Troubleshooting a Threaded Bobbin

If there are any problems when threading a bobbin, then it is important to consult the user manual. This will provide information on how to identify any problems and how to resolve them. It is also important to check the thread tension regularly to ensure that the threads are not too loose or too tight. If the tension is incorrect, then it can cause the machine to skip stitches or break the thread.

Other common problems can include the bobbin becoming tangled or the threads becoming knotted. If this happens, then it is important to check the user manual for step-by-step instructions on how to resolve the problem. It is also important to regularly check the machine to ensure that all of the parts are in good working order and that the needle is clean and free from lint and dust.

Take Safety Precautions

When threading a bobbin, it is important to take safety precautions. This means that gloves should be worn to protect the hands from the needle and to ensure that it does not pass through the skin. It is also important to make sure that the machine is unplugged before beginning the process, as this will prevent any shocks or electric shocks from occurring.

Finally, it is important to remember that the machine should never be used without the cover and guard in place. This will help to prevent clothes and fabrics from becoming trapped in the moving parts and will ensure that the machine remains safe to use.

Selection of the Right Bobbin

The right bobbin should be chosen to ensure that the machine is able to handle the type of material being sewn. For example, if the material is thick and heavy, then a bobbin with a thicker thread should be chosen. Alternatively, if the material is light then a bobbin with a thinner thread should be used.

It is also important to pay attention to the spool size and weight. Many machines require a specific type and size of bobbin and this should be checked before purchasing. It is also important to make sure that the spool is lightweight as this makes changing the bobbin easier and quicker.

Exploring Alternative Threads

When threading the bobbin, it is important to consider which type of thread to use. Although most machines require a lightweight standard-weight sewing thread, it is possible to use alternative threads for different applications. For example, if extra strength is required then a heavyweight thread can be used. Similarly, if extra flexibility is required then a thinner thread can be used.

It is also possible to explore the use of different types of thread. For example, nylon and cotton threads provide extra strength while synthetic threads provide extra flexibility. There are also metallic threads which can be used for decorative purposes. Within the range of threads, there are also those which are designed for specific applications such as quilting or applique.

Bobbins with Extra Features

For more advanced sewing projects, there are special bobbins available which feature extra features. Many machines now feature an automatic bobbin winding system which allows the bobbin to be wound while the machine is sewing. This is a great time-saver and allows the user to keep sewing without having to stop and re-thread the bobbin.

In addition to the winding system, some bobbins also feature built-in tension control. This enables the user to adjust the tension of the thread manually if the machine is unable to do so automatically. This ensures that the stitching is even and precise every time.

Saving Thread for Later

Once the bobbin is threaded and the user is ready to start sewing, it is important to remember to save some thread for later. This is because the thread may need to be re-threaded at some point and it is useful to have some left over. To do this, the thread should be winded around the spool and placed in a safe place.

The bobbin can also be saved to be used again at a later date. To do this, it should be cleaned and then stored in a secure location, away from heat and dust. With the correct care and maintenance, a bobbin can last many years.


Threading a bobbin is an important part of any sewing machine project, as it forms the foundation of the seam. Following the steps outlined in this article will ensure that the bobbin is correctly threaded and that the machine runs smoothly. It is also important to remember to save some thread for later and to take care when handling the bobbin to ensure its longevity.

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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