How to Wind a Bobbin in 13 Simple Steps

Learn how to sew so you can make your own clothes, bags, pillows, quilts, and more! Before you can start sewing, you’ll need to wind a bobbin to go in your sewing machine. This step-by-step guide will get your sewing machine ready to go.

1. Put a spool of thread on the spool pin

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The same spool pin that you use for sewing is usually the same one that you will use to fill a bobin. On some machines, the spool pin is telescoping and pushes down for storage, so you may have to pull it up.

2. Pull the thread to the left and through the pre-tensioner from the back

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Sewing machines generally have a thread guide (or pre-tensioner) at the back. Pass the thread through the guide from the back of the machine, pulling towards you.

This is the first step for threading a needle too, but since you are filling a bobbin, you will use a different thread tensioner.

3. Wrap the thread clockwise around the bobbin thread tension disk

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The bobbin thread tension disk is a small circle on the machine’s top. Pull the thread to the right after wrapping it clockwise around the bobbin thread tension disk.

4. Pass the thread through the hole on the bobbin from the inside

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Most bobbins work best if you pass the end of the thread through the hole from the inside of the bobbin out through the top. Check your sewing machine’s manual if you are not sure.

5. Place the bobbin on the bobbin winder shaft, with the thread end on top

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A small wire or metal piece on the bobbin winder shaft usually projects into a notch into the bobbin. Rotate the bobbin until you hear that projecting wire or metal piece snap into the notch in the bobbin.

6. Push the bobbin winder shaft to the right

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The bobbin winding shaft has a lever or piece to the right that helps the thread to fill the bobbin evenly and helps the machine sense when the bobbin is full. On most machines, you will push the bobbin to the right towards this lever or piece.

On some machines, you must push the lever or piece to the left towards the bobbin. Check your sewing machine’s manual to see if neither of these suggestions works easily.

7. Hold the thread taut as the bobbin begins to fill

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Hold the end of the thread up and away from the bobbin while you press down on the foot controller to power the machine. Fill the bobbin part way.

8. Cut the loose thread end close to the bobbin

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After filling the bobbin part, you can stop and cut the loose thread end close to the bobbin. Then press down on the foot controller and allow the machine to fill the bobbin until it stops. Do not overfill a bobbin.

9. Placing the bobbin back into the machine

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These instructions apply to a drop-in bobbin case only.

Remove the bobbin from the bobbin shaft. Hold that bobbin so that the thread wraps around in a counter-clockwise direction. It should come off the bobbin from the left to the right.

Pro tip: You can place the bobbin into a drop-in bobbin case in the same orientation as it was filled if you are careful not to turn it over.

10. Insert the bobbin into the drop-in bobbin case

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Pull the end of the thread toward you and slightly toward the right. There is a small slit in the front of the bobbin case that the thread must pass through to have the correct bobbin tension.

11. Pull the thread toward you and to the left

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Move the thread toward the channel to the left of the drop-in bobbin.

12. Feed the thread through the channel and pull to cut it to the correct length

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Gently pull the thread through the channel. Then tug the end of the thread to the right, and it will cut the correct length to begin sewing.

13. Replace the bobbin cover

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Put the bobbin cover back on the machine. You are ready to re-thread the top thread and resume sewing!

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