How To Thread Your Sewing Machine


Tutorial No. 2 in the series, Learn to Sew at Oliver Rabbit

This post presumes you have read the Series Introduction and Tutorial No. 1, How To Set Up Your Sewing Machine 

Your sewing machine is threaded from two sources. The upper source is your spool of thread. It is mounted on the spool pin located on the top of your machine. The lower thread comes from a bobbin down below. A bobbin is a small accessory spool that provides thread for the underside of your stitches. For most sewing projects you will use the same thread on your bobbin as you are using from your spool on the top. 

You will wind thread from your spool around your bobbin and secure the bobbin below, inside your sewing machine. Next, you will take your upper thread through a series of eyes and tension devices on your machine, ending with the needle. With a magical "dip and pull," the two threads will meet just under your presser foot and, voila! You'll be ready to start stitching!



  • Pull your hand wheel out. This will keep your needle from going up and down while you are winding the bobbin.
  • Put your spool of thread onto the spool pin on the top of your sewing machine. The spool pin will be either vertical or horizontal, depending on your machine. If it is horizontal, there will be a little end cap to hold the spool in place. (Check your accessories for this piece.) Make sure your thread is coming off the spool from behind (vertical pin) or from underneath (horizontal pin).
  • Bring your thread off your spool toward the left and wrap it around the bobbin tension knob, heading back to the right toward your bobbin winder. Your machine manual may specifically instruct you to wrap the thread clockwise or counterclockwise as it travels around the bobbin tension knob. I personally find no difference in the effectiveness of either direction.
  • Insert the end of your thread through the hole in your bobbin rim from the inside out and pull a few inches of thread through the hole. 
  • Place the bobbin on the bobbin winder pin. Make sure it is pushed all the way down and then push it toward the right, locking it in place.
  • Turn on your sewing machine. Now here's the tricky part! Hold your bobbin thread (where it comes out of the hole in your bobbin rim) upright, a little taught. Put pressure on your foot pedal and wind the bobbin.
  • TIP: Keep holding the tread for a few revolutions - until your bobbin gets winding, then let it go. Try and keep a steady speed on your foot pedal.. 
  • Your bobbin will adjust the evenness of its winding as it goes and stop when it is full. If you don't want a full bobbin, you can stop at any time. 
  • When your bobbin has stopped winding, release your foot pedal and turn off your machine. Push the bobbin to the left. The bobbin pin will move with it. Push your hand wheel back in toward your machine.
  • Remove your bobbin from the winding pin and snip the thread from the spool. Also clip the end of the thread you held onto to get the bobbin going as close to the rim as possible.


  • Access to your bobbin holder is either through the top of your needle plate or the front of your hook cover. 
  • If you have top access, remove the little cover plate and set your bobbin into its case with your bobbin thread going counterclockwise.
  •  Pull the thread toward you up into the little opening and hook it around to the left as shown. Leave it there for now.
  • If you have front access, you will need to slide off the free arm of your machine and open the hook cover in the front. Remove the bobbin case with the release lever on the case itself.
  • With your thread going clockwise, place your threaded bobbin inside the case. Pull the thread up through the little slit, over to the left underneath the outer plate of the case, and around the little "hook" on the left, just under the pointy piece.
  • Place your bobbin case back inside, positioning the "finger" of the case upright where the cutout is. Push it firmly in place. Leave your thread end for now


  • This is the fun part of the threading process! From either the back of your vertical spool or the underneath of your horizontal spool, lead your thread across the top of your machine toward the left. It will travel first through a tension device located on the top of your machine right above the first vertical ditch.
  • Your thread then travels down into the ditch, around the bottom and upwards through the next ditch.
  • Turn your hand wheel until you see the second metal tension device appear at the top of the left ditch. Your thread needs to go through this. Either lead it through (right to left) or grab both sides of your thread and pull it forward into the back of the tension device. Your thread will be coming out of the left side of this metal device.
  • Send it back down through the second ditch.
  • When it comes out the bottom, hook it behind the horizontal metal bar.
  • Then bring it over to the left side of your needle holder and hook it around the little wire piece sticking out on the left side.
  • The last step is to thread the needle, front to back.
  • TIP:  Clip the end of your thread and hold it close to the edge when threading your needle. Putting a small piece of white paper just behind the eye will make it easier to see! 


  • Hold your upper thread slightly taught out to the left.
  • Using your hand wheel, lower your needle all the way down and bring it back up again, giving it a full rotation. This is the "dip and pull."
  • Give a little tug to your upper thread, pulling it away from your machine. Your bobbin thread will emerge in a loop onto the surface of your needle plate.
  • Using a skinny object, reach under and grab the bobbin thread, pulling it up and away.

And now your threads are together.

fabric runway!

fabric runway!

You are ready to begin sewing on your machine. YAY!