how to put a bobbin in a sewing machine

How to Put a Bobbin in a Sewing Machine: A Comprehensive Guide

In the captivating realm of sewing, few tasks instill as much trepidation in novice sewists as loading a bobbin into a sewing machine. This seemingly innocuous procedure is often the culprit behind a myriad of common sewing machine problems, from uneven stitches to thread bunching.

However, fear not! In this article, we’ll demystify the intricate process of how to put a bobbin in a sewing machine, equipping you with the knowledge and finesse to navigate this crucial step with unwavering confidence.

Understanding the Bobbin’s Role

Before we delve into the intricacies of bobbin loading, let’s first comprehend the pivotal role this diminutive component plays in the sewing process.

The Bobbin’s Anatomy

A bobbin, a small, cylindrical spool designed to hold the lower bobbin thread in a sewing machine, is an unassuming yet vital component. Its unassuming appearance belies its crucial function, as it works in tandem with the upper thread to create the interlocking stitches that bind fabric together.

Interplay Between Bobbin and Upper Thread

The bobbin thread, neatly coiled within the bobbin case, intertwines with the upper thread in a synchronized dance, forming the lockstitch that is the hallmark of most sewing machines. This intricate interplay between the two threads is what creates the consistent, secure stitches that are essential for any sewing project, from machine sewing to machine embroidery.

Preparing the Bobbin

Preparing the Bobbin
Photo credit: freepik

Before you can commence the loading process, you must first ensure that your bobbin is properly prepared.

Choosing the Right Bobbin

Not all bobbins are created equal, and selecting the appropriate one for your sewing machine is crucial. Consult your sewing machine manual or seek guidance from a knowledgeable salesperson to determine the correct bobbin type and size for your specific model. While plastic bobbins are common, some machines may require metal bobbins or even proprietary options like Bernina bobbins.

Winding the Bobbin Properly

A bobbin’s usefulness hinges on its ability to hold thread tautly and evenly. To achieve this, you must wind the bobbin correctly, a process that can be accomplished in two ways:

Using the Built-In Bobbin Winder

Many sewing machines are equipped with a built-in bobbin winder, a convenient feature that streamlines the winding process. Refer to your machine’s instruction manual for step-by-step instructions on how to utilize this handy tool effectively. Typically, you’ll need to place the thread spool on the spool pin, route the thread through the designated thread guides, and engage the bobbin winder shaft to commence the winding process.

Employing a Separate Bobbin Winder

If your sewing machine lacks a built-in winder, you can opt for a separate bobbin winder, a nifty device designed specifically for this purpose. These winders typically feature adjustable tension settings, allowing you to wind bobbins with precision and consistency. When using a separate winder, ensure that you wind the bobbin clockwise to achieve the correct thread tension.

Loading the Bobbin into the Bobbin Case

With your bobbin properly wound, it’s time to embark on the loading process.

Accessing the Bobbin Case

The first step is to locate and access the bobbin case, a small compartment within your sewing machine that houses the bobbin. Please consult your machine’s manual for exact instructions on how to access this component, as the procedure can vary depending on the model. Some machines feature a bobbin cover or needle plate that must be removed, while others require you to lower the presser foot or turn the hand wheel to gain access.

Inserting the Bobbin Correctly

Once you’ve accessed the bobbin case, it’s crucial to insert the bobbin correctly. This may seem like a straightforward task, but attention to detail is essential to prevent future stitching woes.

Front-Loading vs. Top-Loading Bobbins

Depending on your sewing machine’s design, the bobbin case may accommodate either front-loading or top-loading bobbins. Front-loading bobbins are inserted horizontally while top-loading bobbins are inserted vertically from above. Consult your manual for detailed instructions on the loading method specific to your machine.

Adjusting Bobbin Tension

Proper bobbin tension is crucial for achieving consistent stitches. Most bobbin cases feature a tension adjustment mechanism, typically a small screw or dial. Consult your machine’s manual for guidance on adjusting the tension to the recommended settings for your specific project and fabric type. Improper bobbin tension can lead to a host of sewing problems, such as skipped stitches or thread breakage.

Placing the Bobbin Case in the Machine

With the bobbin loaded into the case, it’s time to return the case to its designated compartment within the sewing machine.

Locating the Bobbin Case Compartment

Locate the bobbin case compartment, typically situated near the needle plate or underneath the machine’s extension table. Please consult your manual for the precise location and insertion method applicable to your specific model.

Ensuring Proper Bobbin Thread Alignment

As you insert the bobbin case, pay close attention to the alignment of the bobbin thread. It should feed smoothly through the designated thread guides and tension mechanisms without any twists or tangles. Proper thread alignment is crucial for preventing frustrating snarls and knots during the sewing process.

Threading the Upper Tension

With the bobbin case securely in place, it’s time to turn your attention to the upper thread.

Referring to the Machine’s Threading Guide

Most sewing machines feature a detailed threading guide, either printed on the machine itself or included in the manual. Follow these instructions meticulously, ensuring that the thread is correctly routed through each tension disc, thread guide, and hook.

Adjusting Upper Thread Tension

Just as with the bobbin tension, the upper thread tension must be properly adjusted to achieve optimal stitching results. Consult your machine’s manual for guidance on adjusting the upper thread tension to the recommended settings for your specific project and fabric type. Improper upper thread tension can lead to a variety of sewing woes, such as looping or puckering stitches.

Addressing Common Bobbin Problems

Even with diligent efforts, you may occasionally encounter issues when working with bobbins. Fear not, for we’ve compiled some troubleshooting tips to help you overcome common bobbin-related woes.

Uneven Stitches

Uneven stitches can be a frustrating issue, often caused by improper bobbin or upper thread tension. If you encounter this problem, try adjusting the tension settings on both the bobbin case and the upper thread guide. Additionally, ensure that the bobbin is loaded correctly and that the thread is feeding smoothly through all guides and tension disks.

Thread Bunching or Tangling

Thread bunching or tangling can be a headache, but it’s often a symptom of a more significant issue. Check for any obstructions or debris in the bobbin case or tension mechanisms, and ensure that the bobbin is wound evenly and tightly. If the problem persists, consult your machine’s manual or seek professional assistance, as the issue may be mechanical in nature.


Can I use any type of bobbin in my sewing machine?

No, you should only use the specific type of bobbin recommended for your sewing machine model. Using an incorrect bobbin can cause tension issues, jamming, and potential damage to your machine.

How do I know if I’ve wound the bobbin correctly?

A properly wound bobbin should have evenly distributed thread layers without any loose or crossed threads. The thread should also unwind smoothly without resistance or tangling.

My bobbin keeps getting stuck or jamming in the bobbin case. What could be the issue?

This could be caused by incorrect bobbin installation, debris or lint in the bobbin case area, or a bent bobbin case. Clean the area thoroughly, and check if the bobbin case or bobbin itself is damaged or warped.

Can I use pre-wound bobbins instead of winding my own?

Yes, pre-wound bobbins are a convenient option, especially for projects requiring frequent bobbin changes. Just ensure you purchase bobbins that are compatible with your machine’s specifications.

How often should I change the bobbin thread?

It’s recommended to change the bobbin thread whenever you start a new project, switch fabric types, or notice any signs of wear or fraying on the existing thread.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the intricate process of how to put a bobbin in a sewing machine. By understanding the bobbin’s vital role, preparing it properly, and following the step-by-step instructions for loading and threading, you can confidently tackle this crucial task and achieve flawless stitches on every project. Do you have any additional tips or tricks for loading bobbins smoothly? Share your insights in the comments below!


Main image: freepik

Priti Nandy
Priti Nandy
Articles: 249

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