How to Wind a Bobbin Correctly Every Time

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Learn tips for how to wind a bobbin correctly every time, including how to hold your thread, what speed to wind at, and what a good bobbin should look like.


Sewing Basics for the Beginner

After you first learn to sew, one of the next steps in learning how to prepare a sewing machine is learning how to wind a bobbin. Your machine may have come with a couple prewound bobbins, but that will only last you so long. ZJ Humbach shares with you several tips for how to wind a bobbin. She starts by showing what a general thread path from the thread spool to the bobbin will look like. All machines are a little different, so she recommends consulting your machine manual for the exact thread path, but in general the thread needs to go through at least one tension loop.

ZJ explains how you can hold the thread in place lightly if you find that it comes out of the tension loop while winding. She then shows how to thread the thread through the small hole on the top of the bobbin and hold it while you begin winding. While winding a bobbin, ZJ explains what speed you should wind a bobbin at and why, and how to tell what your machine is doing by listening to it.

Bobbins—How to Wind Them

After winding a bobbin, ZJ shows what a correctly wound bobbin should look like as well as what a poorly wound bobbin can look like. She also explains how the bobbin should feel and how a poorly wound bobbin can cause tension problems, bird’s nesting, thread breakage, and poor stitch quality. When it comes to sewing, there are so many parts of a sewing machine involved in the process, and knowing that you have a correctly wound and inserted bobbin can help eliminate many problems people run into while sewing.

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11 Responses to “How to Wind a Bobbin Correctly Every Time”

  1. Patricia Hotchkiss

    I have a bobbin winder which saves me from having to disengage thread, etc.
    I do know that the featherweight folks recommend only winding bobbins using the sewing machine.
    What are your thoughts, experience with bobbin winders?

    • Customer Service

      Hello Patricia,

      Great question! The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members of our online community. By becoming a member, you will have access to our expert’s knowledge. With your membership you will also receive discounts on products and hours of Premium video content.

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  2. Donna Bradley

    My bobbin never winds evenly. According to mfr there’s a screw on the part that holds the thread on to the machine. I can’t find it, any thoughts?

    • Customer Service

      Hello Donna,

      Here’s what the experts had to say about your question:


      Adjusting a screw to get the bobbin to wind evenly might be possible on some models, though I have personally not heard that advice and can’t find much information on it. I have heard that in some cases, the bobbin will look uneven as it starts out, but will look more even when it gets more full.

      The most important tip for a good bobbin is to ensure the thread is hitting the correct thread path for winding. Make sure to wind with an even speed and avoid stopping/starting a lot, which will affect the tension of the thread as it goes on the bobbin.

      If the bobbin is winding unevenly, I use the back of my fingernail to guide the thread up and down to even it out.

      Please let us know if you have any further questions

      National Sewing Circle

  3. GERI

    I notice a lot that the thread does not wind completely top to bottom. What I have always done is to guide the thread over my finger so that the thread goes up all the way snd down all the way. Have you done it that way when it doesn’t wind correctly up and down?

    • Customer Service

      Hello Eileen!

      This is the perfect post for you!

      If you have a specific question about getting your bobbin to rewind, please let us know and we’d be more than happy to help!

      Thank you!

      National Sewing Circle Video Membership

    • Regina Shea

      I didn’t know you’re not supposed to wind the bobbin at a super fast speed. I have noticed on occassion that my bobbin isn’t wound evenly as mentioned in the video so I just use it for hand basting so the thread is not wasted.

  4. Karen

    Is the reason a bobbin does not wind evenly because of going to fast. Mine seems hit and miss. Thank you,

    • Customer Service

      Hi, Karen. That depends on your machine. I personally wind my bobbins at the same speed I stitch at, which is the fastest speed, and I don’t have any issues. I would recommend winding a bobbin on your machine at each speed setting and see if one is consistently better than another. What is most important when winding the bobbin is that the speed is consistent. Stopping and starting or changing speed can make for problems when winding a bobbin.

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