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How To Thread A Bobbin

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Are you threading a bobbin correctly? Sewing is a hobby many people want to learn and be great at. 

Sewing offers the flexibility of choosing what we want to make, be it easy upcycle t-shirts or a side slit midi dress to wear on a fancy outing. However, operating a sewing machine may look a little complicated as a beginner, and it will take a little practice to learn how to wind and thread a bobbin.

How do you thread a bobbin? A thread a bobbin by hand or with an automatic bobbin winder. A bobbin needs to be wound evenly with careful attention to no overfill the reel.

Whether you own a Singer or Brother sewing machine, learning the proper ways to thread a bobbin saves you time, avoid skipping stitches and prevent broken thread while you sew. 

A bobbin is a mini cylinder that used in the any sewing machine to catch the top thread, and where the lower thread is wound. Winding and threading a bobbin should be done carefully and precisely to avoid mistakes while stitching.

This article covers everything you need to know about winding thread onto a bobbin. Covered below are the frequently asked questions about threading a bobbin so that you have all the information to execute the task without any hiccups. 

Do I need to use the same thread in the bobbin as the top?

It is recommended to use the same thread in the bobbin as the one used on the top spool. However, if you use different quality of threads on both spools, you might need to adjust the tension of the bobbin thread for top and bottom.

This process is a bit time consuming and difficult, and it may take you multiple tries to find the correct match.

Using threads of different materials causes variance in the weights of the bobbin thread and the top thread. This will eventually lead to stronger friction between the two threads.

This is a primary reason why the thread keeps breaking on sewing machine and also causes uneven stitches on your fabric. To allow both the threads to slip easily, you will have to adjust the tension settings. 

When using the same threads, it is not really necessary to adjust the setting, therefore same threads are simpler to work with.

On the other hand, when it comes to color choices, you can use whatever color you want but make sure you select correct type of thread to accomplish your sewing project. 

It is not necessary to change color to match the top thread as the bobbin thread does not show through the top layer of stitching. If you have same color that is great, if not go with a close match to the shade of color you have.

Expert Advice: If you are using cone thread to thread or wind the bobbin, make sure to properly setup and wind the bobbin correctly to avoid any bobbin tension issues.

spool of thread on a sewing machine

How do I adjust the tension of the bobbin thread?

Depending on the kind of sewing machine you have, adjusting the bobbin thread can be done by adjusting the tension of the sewing machine or the bobbin case. The tension is adjusted to have even stitches and prevent grabbing of the threads.

If your sewing machine does not require bobbin case, then easiest way to adjust bobbin tension is by setting up the presser foot tension. By doing so, it will change the tension in the bobbin.

However, if you have a sewing machine that requires a bobbin case, a small tiny screw on one side is the part that adjusts the tension of the bottom thread. 

By testing whether the thread is taut or loose, you can adjust the tensioner of your sewing machine. 

  • If the bobbin thread is taut, the bobbin case does not move, whereas it should be dropping in an inch. 
  • If the bobbin thread is too loose, the bobbin case drop to very low height. 

To adjust the bobbin thread tension on the sewing machine:

  • For tightening the tension, turn the tension screw, clockwise. 
  • For loosening the tension, turn the tension screw counterclockwise. 

Always start with quarter turn increment to start changing the tension.

How much thread do you put on a bobbin?

The trick for better sewing experience is to have the right amount of thread on the bobbin. You should never allow the bobbin to overflow with thread or have too little thread.

The bobbin needs to have the right amount of thread, as too much thread will make the bobbin taut and create a friction that will affect the tension settings. It will also be a hassle to fit in its case and may rub against the housing and break the thread. 

Usually, the machine automatically stops winding on the bobbin once it is done. However, if you are doing it manually you may want to be careful. 

It is recommended to have a length of 3-4 times the width of the fabric based on the project, therefore it will be easy to work with.

How to wind a bobbin on sewing machine?

To wind the bobbin on a sewing machine, you will need to follow a few simple steps with precision in order to avoid mistakes while sewing. Make sure the sewing machine is always switched off before you prepare to setup and wind the bobbin.

  • Choose your thread and insert the spool on the spool pin.
  • Pull out the thread and pass it through thread guide before pulling it out from the tiny hole on the bobbin.
  • Insert the bobbin on its pin and lock it, so that the needle stops moving.
  • Lightly hold the end of the thread, turn on the machine and press on the foot stepper to start winding the bobbin.
  • Winding automatically stops just before it overflows.
  • Cut the thread close.

Expert Advice: If you have mini sewing machine, wind the bobbin about five times by hand around the empty bobbin and pop the spindle on the hand wheel. 

How to wind a bobbin by hand?

If you are sewing with elastic to make smocking or shirring, it is recommended to manually thread a bobbin when using invisible thread to sew a blind stitch or thick thread such as yarn, ribbon, or embroidery floss.

Winding a bobbin by hand may seem complicated, but all you need is practice and precision. Following the steps properly will help you easily wind a bobbin:

  • Take a spool of thread and insert one end through the hole on the rim of the bobbin.
  • Hold the tail of the thread in one hand and begin winding the bobbin with the other.
  • Wind the thread evenly on the bobbin by using equal tension and going back and forth across cylinder.
  • Don’t allow the bobbin to overflow with thread. It makes it difficult to fit into the case and the thread becomes too taut.
  • Cut the thread close, once you are done winding the bobbin.

Expert Advice: When using stretchy elastic thread on a bobbin, be careful not to pull or stretch the thread as you wind. 

How to use bobbin winder?

Whether you have built-in sewing machine winder or a portable machine, it helps to thread the bobbin and distribute the thread evenly so it is compatible with the tension of the top sewing machine thread. 

Using bobbin winder makes winding a lot easier and also reduces tension issues, thread jams, thrown off stitches, and other sewing machine problems. Understanding how to use a bobbin winder properly will make the process hassle free. 

A bobbin winder is easy to use and comes with its own thread guide and thread cutter. Here are simple instructions for using the tool:

  • Take the spool of thread and place it on the pin.
  • Pull out the thread and run it on the thread guides, around the tension knob and into the hole on the rim of the bobbin.
  • Secure the thread and adjust the thread capacity.
  • Adjust your speed control and start the machine.
  • The machine automatically stops once the bobbin is filled.
  • Cut the thread close, once the winding is done winding.

Threading a Bobbin Tips

  • Always own plenty of empty bobbins extras to wind thread to match the color of your topstitch.
  • Only use recommended type and size of bobbins that came with your sewing machine model.
  • Avoid using a broken or rusted bobbins in a sewing machine.
  • Do not exceed the size of the bobbin when threading on a bobbin and follow the manufacturer recommendation in the instruction manual.
  • Thread the bobbin smoothly, similar to a purchased spool of wound thread.
  • Empty and clean out before threading empty bobbins.
  • Do not interchange between metal and plastic bobbins on a sewing machine.
How to thread a bobbin

Threading a Bobbin: Final Thoughts

Preparing your machine by threading and winding a bobbin in a proper way is critical component in the sewing. Every sewing machine comes with specific bobbin types. 

Practice threading a bobbin if you are a beginner to help you create beautiful straight stitch. Use these tips and techniques to start your preparation so that you enjoy the time sewing.

Bobbins can be wound by hand or by using bobbin winders. Always wind a bobbin evenly, don’t overfill the bobbin with thread and make sure the thread is neither too tight nor too loose.

After threading a bobbin, test the stitching on a scrap piece of fabric. If necessary, adjust the tension settings to get the results you are looking for before beginning to sew the final garment.

There you have it, all the important details about how to thread a bobbin. Setting up your sewing machine is part of the preparation that ensures success for all the DIY clothing project that you will make.

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