Threading your sewing machine
Need some help setting up your machine? Follow our guide and you'll be stitching up a storm in no time!
How to wind the bobbin
A properly wound bobbin will help create neat, perfect stitching. Use the bobbins provided with your machine and follow these simple steps.
Place the thread on the spindle, then follow the marked path to take the thread round the bobbin winding tension on the left and bring it back towards the bobbin.
Feed the thread end through the hole in the bobbin, from inside to outside, then place the bobbin on the spindle. Push the spindle over, or the lever towards the spindle (depending on your model).
Hold the thread tail while you start winding the bobbin. Once a little of the thread is wound round the bobbin, stop winding and cut off the thread tail. Continue to fill bobbin.
All sewn up!
On some machines you need to disengage the needle manually to prevent it going up and down as the bobbin winds. To do this, you will need to either pull out a section of the balance wheel or move a lever. Remember to put it back when the bobbin has been wound.
How to fit the bobbin
It is very important that the bobbin is dropped into the bobbin casing correctly even though it looks as if it can go either way up.
The thread must come off the bobbin anticlockwise, as shown in the diagram on the bobbin cover.
Drop the bobbin in place. Take the thread round the little notch and pull it round clockwise, as shown in the diagram.
All sewn up!
Lower and raise the needle to pick up the bobbin thread before replacing the plastic cover, to avoid trapping the thread tail in the cover, which can prevent it being picked up.
Fitting a front-loading bobbin
Place the bobbin in the bobbin case with the thread coming off clockwise.
Pull the thread through the bobbin tension.
Give a little tug on the thread to ensure it is through the tension.
Push the bobbin case into place in the machine, matching the arm to the notch hole.
Most machines are threaded in a similar way, following four or five steps. Make sure the needle and presser foot are raised.
Follow the diagram on the top of your machine to begin threading the top thread. Take it round the notch as shown.
Take the thread down and round the rectangle marked with an arrow in the direction shown. This takes it through the tension discs.
Take the thread up to the metal hook, which should be raised and visible. If it is not, turn the balance wheel on the right to raise it. Pull the thread round the hook from right to left and down to the needle.
Feed the thread behind the hook above the needle. Lower the presser foot.
If you have a needle threader, pull it down fully with your left index finger and hold it down. The threader arm will wrap round the needle.
Holding the thread in your right hand, hook it under the left fork of the threader, then under the smaller right fork.
Release the threader. There should be a loop of thread coming out of the back of the needle. Pull on the loop.
To pick up the bobbin thread, turn the balance wheel by hand towards you. This takes the needle down and up again and brings up the bobbin thread. Pull the loop free to pull out the thread end.
Hold both threads to the back and put on the lid to the bobbin compartment.
Once you have threaded your machine, test the stitch to ensure it is working perfectly. It is a good idea to do some test stitching every time you change your stitch selection.
Choose a stitch from the diagrams on your machine and turn the dial to the correct setting.
Choose a stitch length and turn the dial. For most stitching, 2.2mm–2.5mm (13 stitches per inch) is a good choice.
It is best to leave the tension setting on your machine alone. On this machine, a line shows on the dial when it is set to the right tension for most stitching. Beyond that line in either direction, you are loosening or tightening the tension.
Place the fabric under the presser foot, using the right edge or the markings on the throat plate as a guide. These markings denote the distance from the needle when it is in its automatic default position. Arrange your fabric accordingly. Hold the threads at the rear, put the presser foot down and turn the balance wheel to lower the needle. Holding the thread tails in your left hand, start stitching. Guide the fabric through with both hands, neither pulling nor pushing it.
To reverse the direction of the stitching, to secure a seam, push down the reverse button, hold it down and go back two or three stitches. Release the button and continue forwards as required.
To finish a line of stitching, turn the balance wheel by hand to raise the needle, raise the presser foot, pull out the fabric and trim the thread ends very close to the stitching.
The stitching on the left has come out wrong. This could mean that the machine was not threaded properly, or that the bobbin is the the wrong way up.
This shows the stitching as it should come out: the top pink thread on the top of the fabric and the yellow bobbin thread showing on the back.
All sewn up!
If something is wrong with the stitching, try rethreading the machine rather than changing the tension as it is more likely to be a problem with the threading.
Get the book
For how essential how-tos, take a look at The Very Easy Guide To Using Your Sewing Machine by Wendy Gardiner (£12.99, Search Press).