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Wind the Bobbin and Finish Threading the Machine

Loading and Threading the Bobbin

This step differs between "drop-in" and "front-loading" bobbins. I have one of each, so I will show you how the bobbin is loaded into each one.

Threading the Front-Loading Bobbin

My Pfaff machine has a front-loading bobbin which is stored in the compartment directly underneath the needle plate. I have swing open the storage arm and then open the bobbin compartment door.
Removing bobbin


To remove the bobbin case, pull on the lever going across the bobbin case and it will drop out of the compartment. Remove the bobbin, if there is one.
removing the bobbin


Hold the empty bobbin case with the open side facing toward you. Hold the bobbin so that the thread is winding around in a clockwise fashion.
inserting bobbin


Drop the bobbin into the case and pull the free end of the thread through the opening and tension spring on the side of the bobbin case. Leave several inches hanging loose. The bobbin thread should be coming out of the slot in the bobbin case with slight resistance.
Loading the bobbin


You can check the tension of the bobbin thread by holding the end of the thread, suspending the bobbin in its case. Gently snap your wrist, bouncing the bobbin at the end of the thread (move your hand kind of like you are dipping a tea bag). About 2-4 inches of thread should move out of the bobbin case. If your bobbin drops much further than that, it is too loose. If the thread won't come out of the case very easily, it is too tight. You can adjust the bobbin tension by adjusting the screw on the side of the bobbin case.
checking bobbin tension


Insert the filled bobbin case into the bobbin compartment and snap it in place. Make sure that the thread isn't trapped underneath the case.
loading bobbin


The final step of threading the bobbin is done after the upper thread is passed through the machine and the needle.

Pull 3-4 inches of thread through the needle.

Hold the free end of the upper thread with your left hand.

With your right hand, turn the handwheel until the threaded needle passes through the compartment and back to the top. In the photo on the right, you can see the thread looping around the bobbin case (please ignore the dust, the Pfaff is on a break).

Tug gently on the loose end of the upper thread and the bobbin thread will pop up through the needle plate.

Now you are ready to sew!
threading the bobbin


Drop-In Bobbin

A drop-in bobbin is stored next to the needle plate. To load it, you simply open a flap or remove the bobbin cover and place the bobbin in the opening with the thread going in the correct direction as indicated by your machine diagrams (as on this machine here) or in the sewing machine manual. To bring the bobbin thread up through the plate, lower the needle as described above to catch the bobbin thread.
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Threading the Upper Thread

The upper thread on a sewing machine typically goes through several guides including a metal guide or loop to hold the thread in the proper position for entering the next area, the tension discs. After the thread is run through the tension discs, it is looped back up so that it goes through the thread take-up lever and then back down toward the needle. At the top of the needle holder, there is a final thread holder for the thread to pass through before going through the needle. I have drawn (badly) the path that the thread takes through the machine.
how to thread a sewing machine


I hope this helps you to better understand how to thread your sewing machine!

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This content was written by Tamara Bostwick. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Tamara Bostwick for details.



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