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Learn How To Sew: Threading and Winding

Now you know all the basic parts of your sewing machine, you think you’re ready to start?

threading and winding

First you have to know how to thread your machine.

There are many different kinds of machines, some of which use an automatic threading and others that you have to manually thread. Those that offer automatic threading are electronic, and have a selector to do so in your options menu. It is best to consult your specific manual if you have an electronic machine.

For those that need to manually insert the thread, here are the steps and procedure to do so. And by the way, there is no set time frame to do this, so practice it as many times as it takes to get it right. You can do this, and once you have completed it without help, you are on your way to starting the first project.


You will need a spool of thread to complete this action.

best home use sewing machine 2


This is going to be the thread that you will use to sew your project, so choose a color that matches the material you are using. If your pattern calls for a different colored thread so as to stand out and be seen as an embellishment, use a contrasting color to make it more visible.

Step By Step Bobbin Winding

You can watch this video or read my step by step instructions below it.

1. You need to have a bobbin, so now is the time to use the information from the last lesson to do so. Take your bobbin out of the metal or plastic casing that it comes in. You will need to thread it, so now you put the thread color you will use for the bobbin onto the spool pin. Make sure when you put it on, that the thread actually unwinds in a counter-clockwise fashion or it will not work properly.

2. Pull the free end of the thread out and holding your bobbin in the other hand, you will see there is a small tension ring or a hole at the top of the bobbin. Pull your thread through here and then wrap it around the inner body of the bobbin three or four times. Next put your bobbin onto the bobbin pin on top of the machine. (Sometimes this pin is movable, and if so, you want to push it all the way over to the side so it holds your bobbin safely while winding.)

3. Keep hold of the free end of thread that is hanging off the edge of your bobbin, and start winding by either holding down your foot pedal or using the hand wheel to advance the sewing machine and begin winding. If you hold on to the thread tightly, it will break off and this is normal and will not affect the bobbin. If you only need a little thread, you can stop on your own. If you will use this color frequently, keep using the foot pedal until the winder stops as this means the bobbin is full.

4. Push the pin all the way back over, and take your bobbin off. You now have a full bobbin, and need to put it back into the case you originally took it out of. There is a small slit in the side of this case, and you will want to pull your new free end of thread through this, and hold the lever open while sitting the bobbin back inside. Place your bobbin into it’s housing to be ready to thread. (Some housings are hidden in the free arm or storage compartment.) Now it’s time to thread that machine!

Threading Your Machine

Again, if you are a visual person this video will help you.

1. The spool pin on top of the machine should hold the color of thread you want to use. (Some people use the same color for the bobbin and regular stitching, and if this is the case you can leave the thread you just used to wind your bobbin on the pin.) Pull a few inches or so of thread out of the bobbin and leave out so you can put this to work in a minute.

2. Grab the free end of the thread that is on the spool pin on top of your machine. This will be fed through a silver metal loop on the left top side of your machine. This is called the thread guide, and all machines have them. Some machines will have a diagram on the front or top next to this guide, showing you how to thread your specific machine. If it differs from this guide, please do as your machine indicates. Your thread goes from the spool on the right, through the silver loop on the left. Hold the thread in your left hand once it is through this guide.

3. There will be directional arrows on the front of your machine, and these you will have to follow specific to your machine. Some only have one, while others have two or three. Always follow them in order as they are seen. When coming down with the thread through the space, you will see a disc at the bottom. This is where your thread will pull under, and then still holding it tight, pull it back up towards the silver lever on top which is another thread guide. (Now your thread makes the shape of the letter ‘U’.)

4. That lever is called a takeup lever, and this is where the thread ends up at the top. There is a tiny hole in this lever, and you will pass the thread through this hole, and then immediately down towards the needle.

5. Pull the thread down to the needle, and it will feed into the needle normally behind a backwards ‘U’ shaped piece of metal that surrounds the area of the needle closest to you. Feed the thread through the eye of the needle from the right side. Pull a few inches of thread through, as a tail and pull that under the pressure foot. Make sure to drop your needle and pressure foot by using the pressure foot lever on the rear of your needle housing.

6. Lastly, use your hand wheel on the side of the machine and rotate it three to four times towards your body. This pushes the thread in the needle down into the bobbin area to pull the bobbin thread up. Once you get the bobbin thread up and visible, pull a few inches out and put it with the tail of your needle thread behind the edge of the machine and you are ready to go.

If you have problems threading the machine because the thread is too tight and keeps breaking off, use the tension wheel or adjustment to loosen the thread tension so that it is easier to work with.

Now you are threaded, let’s get started on your first project!

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