Not sure what a bobbin is? Wondering how to load a bobbin into your sewing machine?
Perfect, you’re in the right place.
In this blog post I’m going to show you step-by-step how to insert your bobbin the right way.
So, let’s start with…
What is a Bobbin?
A bobbin is really just a miniature version of the spool of thread you buy from the fabric store.
Nothing too complicated.
But why do you need it?
When you’re sewing with a sewing machine, you need to have two threads.
One thread on top of your fabric and one thread on the bottom.
These two threads work together to create a knot every time the needle goes down into the fabric and it’s these knots that hold the fabric together.
So if you don’t have two threads, you won’t be able to sew anything!
That’s why having a bobbin is SO important.
But before we jump into inserting this very important bobbin, I need to ask you a few quick questions to make sure I get you the right information.
Do You Know How to Fill or Thread A Bobbin?
Before we can insert a bobbin, we need to make sure that the bobbin has thread on it.
If you have an empty bobbin and you’re not sure how to put thread on it, then check out The Secret of How To Thread a Bobbin Perfectly Every Time.
What type of bobbin does your sewing machine have?
There are two main types of bobbins in the sewing world.
Later on in this blog post, I’ll be showing you step-by-step how to insert a Front Load Bobbin.
If your machine looks like the Top Load Bobbin below, then check out this blog post on How to Insert a Top Load Bobbin
Front Load Bobbin (the option we’ll be covering in this blog post!!)
This is the type of bobbin that you will typically see on older sewing machines or sewing machines that are all metal / heavy duty.
It is a little trickier to load than a top load bobbin but nothing you can’t handle.
And, the really nice thing about a front load bobbin is that adjusting the tension is really easy.
Top load bobbins have almost no options for adjusting their tension, other than having them professionally worked on.
Top Load Bobbin (check out my top load bobbin blog post here!)
Almost every new sewing machine is a top load bobbin.
And for really good reasons.
This style of bobbin is typically easier to insert and it’s definitely faster.
Plus you get the added bonus of actually being able to see your bobbin. That means you can see when the thread is low and make the decision to take it out and add more thread.
With the front load bobbin, I typically am just happily sewing and then out of no where, my bottom thread will run out. Then I’ll have to wind my bobbin right in the middle of trying to sew something.
Not very fun..
Supplies For Loading a Front Load Bobbin
Like I already said, you’ll need a front load sewing machine (like in the photo above) and a full bobbin for the following steps!
- If your bobbin is empty and you need help filling it, check out How To Thread a Bobbin Perfectly!
- If you have a top load bobbin, check out How to Insert a Top Load Bobbin!
How to Load a Front Load Bobbin
I’m going to show you step-by-step how to insert a front load bobbin on a Brother sewing machine.
Don’t let the fact that my machine is a Brother fool you.
You can use these exact same steps to learn how to insert a bobbin on a Singer sewing machine as well. Or really, any sewing machine for that matter!
That’s because they all have a really similar bobbin housing that makes inserting your bobbin super easy.
So let’s see how to insert this bobbin!
How to insert a front Load Bobbin Video tutorial
Prefer video tutorials? Check out my how-to video here!
If not, no worries. You’ll find the whole written blog post below!
Step 1: Set Up Your Sewing Machine and power it on
First, you need to have your sewing machine set-up on a table and have it powered on.
If you need help with this step, check out my 5 Steps to Start Sewing with Confidence Guide.
It will show you step-by-step how to unbox your sewing machine and get it set up the right way.
Step 2: Remove the Storage compartment
Every front load sewing machine I’ve ever worked with (over 10 different models and brands) has a storage compartment on the front left corner of the sewing machine.
And the bobbin is hiding behind this storage.
So we start be removing it.
To do that, simply place your hand on the front left corner of your sewing machine (see the arrow placement below) and gently press down and towards the left.
The storage compartment should slide off of the sewing machine.
Once the storage compartment is out of the way, you should see a plastic wall that was previously hidden.
Place your finger on the left side of the sewing machine as shown below and pull towards you.
That plastic wall should rotate forward, revealing the bobbin housing
We have almost made it to the bobbin.
Step 3: Remove the Bobbin housing and Bobbin
On the bobbin housing, you can see two dark cut-out lines (highlighted in the first image below).
These are actually the sides of a little flap that locks that bobbin housing into the sewing machine.
To unlock it, we need to place our finger on the left side of this flap, gently pull forward (as shown in the second image below).
Once you have the flap open, hold it between your pointer finger and your thumb and pull the entire bobbin housing towards you until it is completely free of the sewing machine (as you can see in the third image below)
If you flip the bobbin housing that we just removed over, you should find the bobbin!
The bobbin should easily slide out of the bobbin housing if you hold it upside down.
Now that we have removed the empty bobbin, it’s time to insert the new, full bobbin!
Step 4: Place full bobbin into bobbin housing
With the full bobbin in hand, we’ll need to check which direction the thread is coming off of the bobbin.
Make sure that you bobbin is coming off in a counterclockwise direction, then place it back into the bobbin housing.
THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!
The direction the thread comes off of the bobbin effects the tension (aka how nice your stitches look) so if you put your bobbin in backwards, you can negatively impact your stitches.
Now we want to pull the end of our bobbin thread, up through a little cut-out that you can see on the bobbin housing.
And continue pulling it up and under this metal flap on the bobbin housing.
When you first pull the thread up and under this flap, it’s going to want to get caught under lower arm as shown in the middle image below.
This IS NOT CORRECT.
You need to keep pulling up until the thread jumps past that little arm and sits directly under the center of the metal flap as shown in the third image.
Step 5: How to Adjust the Bobbin Tension
How that your bobbin and bobbin thread are seated correctly in the bobbin housing, we need to check the tension.
Having the right tension on your bobbin will ensure you have even stitches, which is critical for sewing things that actually stay together and don’t fall apart at the seams.
So, how do we adjust the tension?
Remember this metal flap that we just pulled the bobbin thread under?
It can be tightened or loosened using that little screw you can see in the image below.
Tightening and loosing this screw will adjust your bobbin tension.
To check the current tension of your bobbin, we need to hold just the bobbin thread and let the bobbin housing hang down like a yoyo.
In this position, firmly grip your bobbin thread and gently throw your bobbin housing downward (again, imagine what you would do with a yoyo)
If this is confusing, I highly recommend watching YouTube video for this step.
If, when you do this yoyo motion with your bobbin housing, the bobbin:
- Doesn’t move at all, then your bobbin is TOO TIGHT and you should LOOSEN the screw
- Falls more than 1-3″ ( 3-8cm) then your bobbin is TOO LOOSE and you should TIGHTEN the screw
- Falls in the range of 1-3″ (3-8cm) then your tension is PERFECT!
This can feel really odd if it’s your first time doing it, but I promise after a few times of adjusting your bobbin tension this will all happen very easily and quickly.
Also, once you set your tension, you really shouldn’t have to adjust it again unless your stitches start to look weird.
Step 6: Insert bobbin housing back into sewing machine
Now that our tension is perfect, we need to put the bobbin housing back into the sewing machine.
We’ll start by lining up that hole in the middle of the bobbin with the post sticking out of the sewing machine.
Once the bobbin housing is on that post, you’ll notice that it can spin in a full circle.
This means that it is NOT seated correctly.
We need to line up that arm on the bobbin housing so that it faces straight up and is aligned with the cutout in the sewing machine as shown in the third image below.
Once the arm is lined up with the cutout, push the bobbin housing directly into the sewing machine.
You should hear a click and the arm coming off of the bobbin housing should be stuck inside the cutout.
This means that the bobbin no longer rotates in a full circle.
So when you remove your finger, the arm should stay in facing up (like it’s pointing to 12 on a clock face).
This is the correct position for the bobbin housing.
Step 7: Pull the Bobbin Thread Into Sewing Position
We are very close to being done with loading this bobbin.
But before we can put everything back together, we need to pull the bobbin thread up to the top of the sewing surface (aka the needle plate).
To do this, we are going to manually move the needle down by turning the handwheel.
The handwheel is that big circular knob on the upper right side of your sewing machine and you ALWAYS want to turn it towards the front of the sewing machine.
Once the needle is all the way down, we’ll keep turning slowly AND keep an eye on our bobbin housing.
As the needle comes up, you will see the top thread creates a loop around the bobbin thread.
Once you have this loop created, gently pull on the top thread.
The top thread loop will pull the bobbin thread up through the metal plate (aka needle plate).
Once you can see the bobbin thread on the top of the needle plate, grab it and pull it until the you have the end of the thread above the needle plate.
Step 8: Close the Bobbin Housing and start sewing!
This is it! The last step.
Again, I know this can seem like a lot of it’s your first time, but with a little practice and some repetition, you can actually change out your bobbin in about a minute.
So it really doesn’t take too long once you get the hang out it.
So with both threads above the needle plate, we can close the plastic door.
Slide the storage compartment back into place.
Pull both threads towards the back of the sewing machine…
And you’re now ready to start sewing!