Learning how to wind a bobbin is a vital part of getting the best stitches out of your sewing machine. Like any partnership, the two sides of the sewing story need to be in unison with the top thread and the bottom thread in a harmonious relationship. The bobbin is only a little piece of the action but without proper winding, there will definitely be a breakdown in communication.
How To Wind a Bobbin Tutorial
Before you begin to learn how to wind the bobbin on your sewing machine, check the handbook for the type of bobbin you have and the set of rules that apply to your make and model of machine. The principles are the same for most machines, but the type of bobbin and the position of the bobbin casing may be different.
If you have lost your manual, check out my article on sewing machine manuals for links to common sources. An instruction manual can be obtained for free from manufacturers in PDF form.
Further Reading: What is a Bobbin
How to Wind a Bobbin Step by Step Instructions
Here are the step by step instructions for winding a bobbin. While there may be small differences in your machine, this is a fairly universal way to wind bobbins. Most machines have a similar winding mechanism.
Step 1: Remove the Old Bobbin
The first step in how to wind a bobbin is to remove it from the casing. You may have a plastic bobbin or metal bobbins.
Make sure your needle is in the top position. Then set the speed of the machine at a medium or slower pace for better control. The speed settings may be on the foot control or the actual machine.
Generally, there are two types of bobbin casings situated either as a front loader with a push-in type of housing or a top loader with a drop-in mechanism.
It’s advisable to start with an empty bobbin, so remove any old thread and start a new color. Or you can buy extra bobbins for the different colors you like to use regularly. Purchasing extra bobbins for each color will save you a lot of time and frustration in having to rewind.
Step 2: Identify the Parts for Winding a Bobbin
Now you are ready to take these simple steps to wind your bobbin successfully:
Check the top of the machine for the parts you will use for the winding process. Look for the spindle (spool holder or spool pin), the bobbin winder (bobbin pin) and the thread guide. Your machine handbook should show you where all these parts are.
Different brands may use slightly different terminology.
Step 3: Disengage the Clutch for Bobbin Winding
If necessary, disengage the clutch so the needle will not move up and down. This is generally a knob inside the handwheel. Not all models will need to do this.
Step 4: Thread the Machine to Wind the Bobbin
Place the bobbin, with the holes on the top, on the bobbin winder. Put your selected spool of thread onto the spool pin.
Loop the thread around the thread guide, then pull the thread from the inside into the small hole in the top of the bobbin. Wind a bit of thread around the bobbin manually. This will put the thread under tension.
Here is how to put a thread on a bobbin. See how the thread is through the hole and the bobbin winding has been started manually to hold it in place.
Step 5: Click the Bobbin Winder in Place
Click the bobbin winder with the bobbin on it across to the right. Then you are ready to start running the machine with the foot pedal for winding. If you have a speed controller, put it on slow.
Step 6: Start Winding the Bobbin
Start slowly to make sure you are winding in the right direction and not bunching the thread.
Cut off the initial starting thread early on so that it doesn’t get caught elsewhere. Then whizz away and fill the bobbin. Most machines stop automatically when the bobbin is full but watch that you don’t go over the edge.
Step 7: Reset the Machine to Sew
Click the bobbin winder open to the left, re-engage the clutch and cut your thread – now you have a perfectly wound bobbin.
It’s time to insert your new perfectly wound bobbin into its casing again ready to start sewing.
The partners, the upper thread and lower thread, are in harmony ready to complete whatever sewing story you are working on. Like Ebony and Ivory on a keyboard, working together in perfect harmony.
Sewing Machine Bobbin Winding FAQS
Tools to Help You Wind a Bobbin
If ever in the future, the bobbin winder on your machine breaks, there is a handy tool that you can get to wind bobbins with called a portable bobbin winder.
It is also handy for winding bobbins when you don't want to remove the top spool from your machine. I had the Simplicity sidewinder for many years after my winder mechanism broke and found it to be really good. It does have mixed reviews on Amazon but mine always worked well and was a good replacement for the machine winder.
How to Manually Wind a Bobbin
If you are using a regular cotton or polyester thread, it is not recommended that you manually wind the bobbin. It is hard to get an even tension. If your sewing machine bobbin winder is broken, purchase an aftermarket bobbin winder tool. (see above)
However, when using elastic thread or thick threads, it is common to need to wind manually. Insert the end of the thread through the hole in the bobbin and wind clockwise (it should unwind counterclockwise). Try to wind evenly. If it is elastic thread, don't stretch out the elastic as you wind.
Which Way Does the Bobbin Need to Spin?
A bobbin needs to spin counterclockwise. This means that it should be wound clockwise. If you wind a bobbin the wrong direction it will not sew correctly.
How to Wind A Bobbin - In Conclusion
Now you know how to wind a bobbin, it is time to thread the top spool on the top of the machine and bring both spools together.
Here is a full article on how to thread a sewing machine.
More Articles from Sewing Machine Basics
- How to Wind a Bobbin
- How to Thread a Sewing Machine
- Sewing Machine Manuals - Free Downloadable Links
- How to Use a Serger
- How to Use a Sewing Machine
- Place the thread on the spool pin. Thread through the thread guide and back to the bobbin winder.
- Put the thread through the hole in the top of the bobbin and start winding by hand a few times to hold it in place. Place it on the bobbin winder.
- Disengage the clutch. Click the bobbin winder across to the right.
- Put your foot on the control and slowly run the machine. Stop when the bobbin is full and remove. Don't forget to re-engage the clutch and to push the bobbin winder across to the left again.