Learning how to wind a bobbin is a vital part of getting the best 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
Before you begin 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. A lot of manuals can be obtained for free from manufacturers in PDF form.
Types of Bobbin Casings
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.
Step 1: Remove Old Bobbin
The first step in how to wind a bobbin is to remove it from the casing. Make sure your needle is in the top position. Then set the speed of the machine at a medium pace for better control.
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
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 (or spool pin), the bobbin winder 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
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
Place the bobbin, with the holes on the top, on the bobbin winder. Put your selected 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.
Step 5: Click in Place
Click the bobbin winder with the bobbin on it across to the right. Then you are ready to start running the machine for winding.
Step 6: Start Winding
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
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.
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.
What is Next?
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.