Learning to use a sewing machine has challenging moments. Learning to properly wind and load a bobbin is critical to the smooth operation of your sewing machine. Each machine has its own bobbin winding system; however, some general guidelines can help you easily wind a sewing machine bobbin on any machine. There are two basic bobbin loading systems, and familiarity with these will allow you to sew effectively even if you are not familiar with the sewing machine.
How to Load a Bobbin on a Sewing Machine
Remove the bobbin from the sewing machine. Note whether you have a drop-in, front or side-loading bobbin on your sewing machine. A drop in bobbin will load from the top, typically via a removable bobbin case cover near the machine-fed dogs. A side or front loading bobbin needs to be loaded into a removable bobbin case under the machine.
Choose the right size bobbin for the sewing machine. Check your manual or carry a bobbin to the fabric store with you to purchase additional bobbins. Metal bobbins are common for older machines, but newer ones typically use plastic bobbins. Make sure you also have good quality thread that will not break easily.
Wind thread onto your bobbin. Your sewing machine should have a standard thread spool to hold the thread and a short, squat post wide enough for a bobbin. Look for these two elements, as well as a post or guide for the bobbin thread. In newer machines, the bobbin winder apparatus is most often on the top of the sewing machine. Older sewing machines may have the bobbin winder mounted alongside the handwheel or on top.
Put the thread and empty bobbin into position on your sewing machine. Wrap the thread around the bobbin to start it. On most machines, disengage the needle by turning the smaller handwheel on the machine toward you. Push the bobbin post into position, securing the bobbin into place. Press gently down on the foot pedal. Thread should begin to wind neatly onto your bobbin.
Break your thread, push the bobbin post back into an inactive position and remove the bobbin. Tighten the handwheel. Thread your sewing machine again if necessary before loading the bobbin.
Remove the bobbin case cover and put the bobbin into position if you have a drop in style bobbin case. The thread should slide through a catch on the bobbin case and up through the cover.
Access the bobbin case for a front or side mount bobbin. Lift the catch and remove the removable bobbin holder. Put the bobbin into the holder and run the thread through the holder, bringing it to the front. Lift the catch and slide the bobbin holder back into the case. Hold your needle thread gently forward with your left hand and turn the handwheel with your right. The needle thread will pass down into the machine and catch a loop of the bobbin thread. Pull this loop up and slide both threads to the back before beginning to sew.
Keep basic colors of bobbins wound in your sewing box for quick projects. When working on larger projects, wind several bobbins to save time.
With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.