Step by Step – How to Thread Your Sewing Machine

Step by Step – How to Thread Your Sewing Machine

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links meaning I earn a small commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. This comes at no additional cost to you and helps me keep SewingBeginner running.

Hello and welcome back to SewingBeginner! How are you doing so far? Today, we want to cover one of the most important basics: how to thread your sewing machine. Without this, you can’t make a single stitch😉So, let’s see how I get my Janome ready!

Threaded Sewing Machine
My Threaded Sewing Machine

The process might seem rather confusing and complex at the beginning but believe me, it will be a simple routine after you’ve done it a few times. Just keep practising!

Important☝: the details might vary slightly depending on the sewing machine and model you’re using (I have a Janome CXL301). If unsure, always pick up your instruction booklet and look it up in there📑

The 4 Steps

When we are sewing, we always work with two different types of threads: an upper thread that we call the spool and a lower thread that we call the bobbin. To thread your sewing machine, you need to prepare both threads.

Spool (Upper Thread) and Bobbin (Lower Thread)
Spool (Upper Thread) and Bobbin (Lower Thread)

The process can be divided into the following four steps:

  1. Wind the Bobbin (Lower Thread)
  2. Insert the Bobbin (Lower Thread)
  3. Thread the Spool incl. Needle (Upper Thread)
  4. Drawing up the Bobbin Thread

All of them are described in more detail below. Alright, with that in mind, let’s get started 🙂

Step 1: Wind the Bobbin

When you purchase a thread, you will usually just get a spool which means that you will need to wind your own bobbin. Or in other words: you need to get some of the thread from your spool (upper thread) onto your empty bobbin (lower thread).

Tip💡: I recommend you purchase a set of empty bobbins as part of your basic sewing equipment. You can get them online (e.g. here) or in a sewing store.

  • Place your spool (upper thread) onto the so-called spool pin (see picture below). Use the spool holder (the round attachment piece) to ensure your thread doesn’t slide off.

    Spool in Sewing Machine
    The Spool on The Spool Pin with The Spool Holder
  • Unwind a bit of thread from the spool and guide it around the so-called bobbin winding tension disk. That’s the little knob on the left side of your spool pin.

    Spool Around The Bobbin Winding Tension Disk
    Guide The Spool Around The Bobbin Winding Tension Disk
  • Take your empty bobbin and pass the end of the thread through the tiny top hole of your bobbin. Then wind the thread a few times around the bobbin (clockwise direction).

    Passing the end of the thread through the bobbin hole
    Pass The End of The Thread Through The Hole of Your Bobbin
  • Hold that in place and put the bobbin onto the bobbin winder spindle. That’s the small pin usually on the top right side of your sewing machine.

    Putting the bobbin onto the bobbin winder spindle
    Put The Bobbin Onto The Bobbin Winder Spindle
  • In order to lock the bobbin in place, slide the pin to the right. A special bobbin mark symbol should appear on your display after you’ve done this.

    Sliding the pin to the right
    Slide The Bobbin Pin To The Right
  • Time to start up your sewing machine! Press down the foot pedal and your machine will start winding. Tip 1💡: hold the thread sticking out of the small bobbin top hole for the first few rounds and then cut it off. Tip 2💡: slide your speed controller to the fastest possible and keep winding with full speed. Most machines stop automatically when the winding is done.

    Holding the bobbin thread for the first few rounds
    Hold The Bobbin Thread for The First Few Rounds
  • Remove your bobbin from the winder spindle and snip through the thread. Keep in mind to return the bobbin pin by sliding it to the left.

    Removing the bobbin and cutting through the thread
    Remove The Bobbin and Cut Through The Thread

Step 2: Insert the Bobbin

Now that we have the bobbin ready, it’s time to insert it. My machine has the bobbin holder at the top of the of the bottom part, it’s the little chamber in front of the needle plate. You need to do the following to insert your bobbin:  

  • Take off the plastic cover from the bobbin holder. To do that, just slide the little switch to the right and the cover opens.

    Taking off the plastic cover from the bobbin holder
    Take Off The Plastic Cover from The Bobbin Holder
  • Unwind a few centimetres/inches of the thread from your bobbin. Hold the bobbin and the thread so that it shapes the letter “p” (see picture). Or in other words: when you look at it from above, the thread should be running off counterclockwise. Then place or rather slide the bobbin into the bobbin holder.

    Placing the bobbin into the bobbin holder
    Place The Bobbin Into The Bobbin Holder
  • Pull the thread from your bobbin through the front notch of the holder and pull it off to the left. Your thread should then come out from the side notch of the bobbin holder.

    Pulling the thread through the front notch
    Pull The Thread Through The Front Notch; Pull It To The Left

Step 3: Thread the Spool incl. Needle

My first piece of advice☝: turn off the power switch of your sewing machine before you start with the threading. Especially as a beginner that’s a good precaution.

My second piece of advice☝: while threading your machine, think about making a capital “N” but the other way around, so starting at the end line and moving toward the front line of the letter. If your sewing machine has arrows for the threading, follow those.  

Here’s a step-by-step guide (note that this might vary slightly depending on your machine):

  • Before you start threading, make sure that your take-up lever is standing out. That’s the silver thing which goes up and down when you turn on the hand wheel on the left side of your machine (it’s moving together with the needle).

    Take-up lever standing out
    Make Sure Your Take-Up Lever Stands Out
  • In case you removed your spool, place it back onto the spool pin and attach the spool holder (see step 1). But make sure that your thread is no longer around the winding tension disk that you used to wind the bobbin.

    Spool in Sewing Machine
    Place Your Spool Back Onto The Spool Holder
  • Guide the end of your thread around the so-called upper thread guide. That’s just behind the bobbin winding tension disk.

    Guiding the thread around the upper thread guide
    Guide The Thread Around The Upper Thread Guide
  • Then we start the “N” from the back: go down through the first split in direction needle and guide the thread to the left to go around the check spring holder. Then it goes up from right to left over the take-up lever (the silver thing that’s moving together with your needle). Guide your thread through the eye of that hook before going down through the second split.

    Guiding the thread around the check spring holder
    Guide The Thread Around The Check Spring Holder and Then Up.
  • Above your needle is another hook. Slide your thread behind that needle bar. Then there is one last hook on the left side of your needle. Make sure to slide your thread through that one too.

    Sliding the thread behind the two hooks next to the needle
    Slide Your Thread Behind The Two Hooks Next to The Needle.
  • Last but not least, you can finally thread the needle from your sewing machine (from the front to the back).

    Threading the needle from your sewing machine
    Thread The Needle From Your Sewing Machine

Step 4: Drawing up the Bobbin Thread

We have reached the last step! The last thing we need to do is to draw up the bobbin thread so that it’s sticking out on the surface. You need to do the following:

  • Hold the needle thread (so the upper spool thread) with your left hand.

    Holding the needle thread with the left hand
    Hold The Needle Thread With Your Left Hand
  • Next, you need to lower and raise the needle to pick up the bobbin thread. To do that, use your right hand to turn on the hand wheel.

    Lowering and raising the needle
    Lower and Raise The Needle To Pick Up The Bobbin Thread
  • Pull slightly on the thread needle thread that you are holding with your left hand. The bobbin thread should be looped into this thread. Tip 1💡: use a small scissor or something similar to get the thread away from the foot. Tip 2💡: there is a slit on the left side of your sewing machine that you can use to cut your two threads to the same length.

    The Bobbin Thread Is Looped Into The Upper Thread
    The Bobbin Thread Is Looped Into The Upper Thread
  • Last but not least, keep in mind to cover the bobbin holder again with the plastic cover. Just slide it into the hooks on the left side and push it down.

    Closing the cover
    Close The Cover

Read, Steady, Go

Well done, you’ve made it 😃 As mentioned at the beginning, this will be a super easy process after you’ve done it a few time – it just needs a bit of practice.

Happy sewing✂️


Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.