How to set up your sewing machine

The best place to learn how to thread your individual machine is shown in your instruction manual. However, since many machines may be sold second-hand and purchased cheaply for a sewing beginner, manuals and instruction booklets may be missing or lost! In this guide, we’ve put together a generalised step-by-step that will apply to most machines.

Threading your sewing machine:

Threading your machine properly is necessary to create neat and secure stitches. Although machines come in many different types, the stitching mechanism is essentially the same in all machines, creating stitches by combining the motions of the needle thread and bobbin thread.

Winding the bobbin:

  1. Place your empty bobbin onto the bobbin winder shaft, pressing down until it snaps into place.
  2. Slide the bobbin winder in the direction of the arrow, until it snaps into place.
  3. Remove the spool cap that is inserted onto the spool pin.
  4. Place the spool of thread for the bobbin, onto the spool pin, and re-insert the spool cap.
  5. Follow the guides on your machine to pass the thread through the thread guide plate and bobbin pretension disc.
  6. Whilst holding the thread with your left hand, wind the thread that was pulled from the bobbin pretension discs, clockwise around the bobbin 5 or 6 times with your right hand.
  7. Slide the machine speed control, all the way to the right to the fastest speed.
  8. Turn on the machine.
  9. Press the foot control down to begin to wind the bobbin.
  10. Eventually the fill will become slower, and the bobbin may snap back across to the left when full.
  11. Trim the thread on the bobbin and remove from the shaft.

Threading the needle:

  1. Thread the machine to the needle bar thread guide.
  2. Lower the presser foot lever.
  3. Insert the thread through the eye of the needle, from front to back.
  4. Raise the presser foot lever, pass the end of the thread through and under the presser foot, and pull out approximately 5cm of thread towards the rear of the machine.

Installing the bobbin:

  1. Raise the needle and lower the presser foot lever.
  2. Remove the bobbin cover.
  3. Hold the full bobbin in your right hand, while unwinding the thread to the left. Hols the end of the thread with your left hand and place the bobbin in the bobbin case.
  4. Lightly hold down the bobbin with your right hand and guide the end of the thread around the tab of the needle plate cover. Some machines will require you to thread the end of the bobbin thread around a series of guides, whilst for others this will be the final step before bringing up the bobbin thread.

Raising the bobbin thread:

  1. Pass the bobbin thread through the slot, do not trim.
  2. Lower and raise the needle.
  3. Carefully pull the upper thread upwards, to pull out the end of the bobbin thread.
  4. Pull up the bobbin thread fully and pass it under the presser foot. Pull the thread about 10cm towards the back of your machine and trim.
  5. Reattach the bobbin cover.

You’re now ready to sew!

Before you begin sewing -and the machine inevitably becomes unthreaded again- it may be worth practising rethreading the machine a few more times, so that it becomes a natural and easy process, not something that will make you pull out your hair!

This guide may seem incredibly complicated – but even as a beginner you will eventually get used to following this process with no help! After all, you need to do this almost every time you use your machine.

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