how to thread a bobbin - image of several bobbins on a table


Not sure what a bobbin is or how to thread it?

If you’re wanting to learn how to thread your new sewing machine the right way, I’ve got you covered!

In this sewing machine threading tutorial for beginners, I’ll show you step-by-step how to thread a bobbin on a Brother sewing machine so you get a perfectly filled bobbin every time.

But don’t let the fact that my machine is a Brother fool you.

You can use these exact same steps to learn how to thread a bobbin on a Singer sewing machine as well. Or really, any sewing machine for that matter!

That’s because they all have really similar built in bobbin winders that makes threading your bobbin super simple.

I know that the sewing machine can feel really intimidating in the beginning, but I promise with this sewing tutorial, you’ll master your sewing machine bobbin.

So what are we waiting for?

Let’s jump into threading this bobbin!


How to Thread a Bobbin Video tutorial

Prefer video tutorials? Check out my how-to video here!

How to Thread a Bobbin YouTube Video Link

If not, no worries. You’ll find the whole written blog post below!


Supplies List for How to Thread a Bobbin
Here are the tools you’ll need to thread your bobbin!

What is a bobbin? why do you need it?


A bobbin is really just a miniature version of the spool of thread you buy from the fabric store.

Nothing to 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.

Several Bobbins on a Table
A Bunch of Filled and Empty Bobbins!


Now, you can buy a spool of thread from the fabric store, but you can’t by a fully filled bobbin.

You get to make it yourself!

And that’s exactly what threading (or winding) a bobbin is – it’s creating your very own tiny spool of thread!

So to thread our bobbin, we’ll take a bunch of thread from the spool you bought and move it onto the empty bobbin that came with your sewing machine.

Let’s see how to do it.

How to Wind a Bobbin on a Sewing Machine


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: Place the spool on the sewing machine

Next, we’ll take our store-bought spool of thread and place it on the spindle on the top of our sewing machine.

Once the spool is in place, hold the end of your thread and pull it towards the left of your sewing machine.

How to Thread a Bobbin Step 2- Place spool on top spindle of sewing machine
Place spool of thread on the spindle on the top of your sewing machine.
Pull thread from spool towards the first thread guide on your sewing machine
Pull the thread from the spool towards the left side of your sewing machine.

Step 3: follow the first thread guide

On the top left of your sewing machine, you should see two diagrams.

One diagram will have a solid arrow, while the other will have a dashed arrow.

The solid arrow is the directions you need to follow for threading the needle on your sewing machine, but that’s now what we’re trying to do right now. So ignore that one.

The dashed arrow is the directions you need for threading your bobbin. So that means we are going to follow the dashed arrows.

Two Threading Diagrams on top of a sewing machine - one for threading the needle and the other for threading the bobbin

So my dashed arrow shows that I need to go under the thread guide here.

Following the first thread guide and going under the metal plate

Then I need to go clock-wise around this circular piece and finally towards the front of my machine at a 45 degree angle.

Do you see how I simply followed the diagram that was written on my machine? It really can be this easy.

Following the first sewing machine thread guide and going around the metal disc. (Photo 1)
Following the first sewing machine thread guide and going around the metal disc. (Photo 2)
Following the first sewing machine thread guide and going around the metal disc. (Photo 3)

Don’t worry if your thread guide and diagrams look different than mine.

Follow the diagrams that are written on your machine and you’ll get this done perfectly. I believe in you!

But if you still have questions, please post them in my FB group so I can help you.


Now that we’ve finished the first diagram, we’ll keep working on the top of our sewing machine, but we’ll move over to the right side.

Right top side of a sewing machine that contains the bobbin winder, bobbin spindle and bobbin stopper

Step 4: Follow the second thread diagram

Here we’ll see a second diagram – still with dashed arrows!

This diagram shows the arrow going through the bobbin.

So if you look at the top of your bobbin, you should see a tiny hole like in the first picture below. You’ll want to take your thread and push it through that hole, starting from the center of the bobbin and up towards the top.

Close up of bobbin with hole in the top
How to fill a bobbin - pulling the thread through the hole on the top of the bobbin

Once you’ve pushed the thread through that hole, we need to place the bobbin onto the bobbin spindle.

Usually it’s a small plastic circle with a rod sticking up from the middle that’s a perfect comfy home for the bobbin.

How to wind a bobbin - place the bobbin with the thread through it on the bobbin spindle or bobbin winder

This next part is SUPER IMPORTANT!

We need to move the entire bobbin spindle towards to the right.

I know, it seems a little weird, but just place your fingers on either side of the bobbin and pull towards the right side of your machine.

The entire bobbin should move about 1/4″ (or half a cm)

How to wind a bobbin - pull the bobbin winder towards the right side of the sewing machine (photo 1)
How to wind a bobbin - pull the bobbin winder towards the right side of the sewing machine (photo 2)

Why do we need to move the bobbin spindle?

The motor on your sewing machine has two functions:

  • To move the needle on your sewing machine up and down
  • To spin the bobbin spindle

When the bobbin spindle is pushed to the left – the motor will move the needle on your sewing machine up and down when you press the foot pedal. This is the position it should be in most of the time.

When the bobbin spindle is pushed to the right – like we just moved it – the motor will spin the bobbin spindle when you press the foot pedal. This is what will allow us to quick and easily thread perfect bobbins.


Step 5: How to Wind the bobbin

Now that the bobbin:

  • has the thread pulled through the hole on the top
  • is placed on the bobbin spindle
  • and has been moved to the right-most position

All we need to do is hold that thread straight up from the sewing machine and gently press the foot pedal.

The bobbin should automatically start winding.

hold thread directly up as you press the presser foot on the sewing machine

After the bobbin has wound around 10-20 times, you can snip off the thread that you’re holding.

Be sure to cut as close to the bobbin as you can, otherwise the thread could get tangled and mess up your bobbin.

snip the vertical thread

Step 6: how to know when the bobbin is full

Keep pressing the foot pedal until the bobbin stops moving. When it is full enough, the bobbin will press again the bobbin stopped which prevents it from spinning even though you’re still pressing the foot pedal.

Another option is to visually look at the bobbin.

If you’re doing a small project or just want to practice this skill, you can fill your bobbin half way or whatever amount you want.

So, once the bobbin has the amount of thread on it that you want, stop pressing the foot pedal.

full bobbin on bobbin winder

Step 7: How to finish threading a bobbin

Now that your bobbin is full, push the bobbin spindle back to the left.

Remove the bobbin from the bobbin spindle.

Cut the thread.

push bobbin winder to the left of the sewing machine
remove bobbin from bobbin spindle/bobbin winder
cut thread between spool and bobbin

And voila! You now have a perfectly threaded bobbin!

How to thread a bobbin - Pinterest image 2

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