How to Wind a Bobbin in 13 Simple Steps

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

1. Place a spool of thread on the spool holder

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The same bobbin pin you use to sew is usually the same one you'll use to fill a bobbin. On some machines the spool holder is telescopic and pushes down for storage, so you may need to pull it up.

2. Pull the thread to the left and through the pretensioner from the back.

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

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

3. Wind the thread clockwise around the bobbin thread tension disc.

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The bobbin thread tension disc is a small circle located on the top of the machine. Pull the thread to the right after wrapping it clockwise around the bobbin thread tension disc.

4. Pass the thread through the bobbin hole 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 upwards. Check your sewing machine manual if you are unsure.

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

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A small thread or piece of metal on the bobbin winder shaft usually protrudes into a notch in the bobbin. Rotate the bobbin until you hear the thread or protruding piece of metal click 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 part on the right that helps the thread fill the bobbin evenly and helps the machine detect when the bobbin is full. On most machines, you will push the bobbin to the right toward this lever or part.

On some machines, you have to push the lever or coin to the left toward the bobbin. Check your sewing machine manual to see if any of these suggestions work 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 the foot pedal to feed the machine. Fill the can halfway.

8. Cut the end of the loose thread near the bobbin.

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After filling the bobbin part, you can stop and cut the end of the loose thread near the bobbin. Then press the pedal and let the machine fill the bobbin until it stops. Do not overfill a can.

9. Return the bobbin to the machine

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These instructions apply only to a removable bobbin case.

Remove the bobbin from the bobbin shaft. Hold this bobbin so that the thread winds counterclockwise. It should come off the bobbin from left to right.

Pro Tip: You can place the bobbin in a bobbin case in the same orientation it was filled if you are careful not to turn it upside down.

10. Insert the bobbin into the bobbin case

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

11. Pull the thread towards you and to the left

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Move the thread to the channel on the left of the insert bobbin.

12. Pass the wire through the channel and pull to cut it to the correct length.

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

13. Replace the bobbin cover

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Place the bobbin cover back on the machine. You're ready to rethread the top thread and get back to sewing!

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