Sewing machine bobbin questions are a regular topic around our sewing machine store. Here are the most common questions and answers.
1. How many bobbins do I need?
You always need MORE sewing machine bobbins.
How many bobbins do you really need? We took a survey at a recent Club in our store and the average amount of bobbins our club members said they had was between 20 – 30 bobbins for each of their machines. Yes, many of them own more than one machine!
Buy a pack of bobbins every time you visit your favorite sewing machine store. Most sewing machines come with 3-5 bobbins in the box. Many people say that is enough bobbins when they are just starting out, but then we see them back within a few days needing a few more. Keep buying sewing machine bobbins at each time you visit our store. You eventually will have enough!
2. All machines use the same bobbin right?
You MUST use the bobbins that are made for your machine. Check your owner’s manual or stop into your local sewing machine store for advice. The wrong bobbin can really goof up your tension!
Just because you like the blue bobbins does not mean you can use them. Those bobbins are made specifically for a Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC sewing and embroidery machine.
3. Can I wind a bobbin too tight?
The short answer is YES!
Filling a sewing machine bobbin too tightly can make a plastic bobbin bulge or stretch the thread if you are using a metal bobbin. This may be hard to see but can cause all kinds of problems. Plastic bobbins can become compressed in the center causing the bobbin to distort. With metal bobbins, the thread may get “stuck” causing increased bobbin tension or even causing the bobbin to “jump” in the bobbin case.
4. Can I interchange metal and plastic bobbins if they are the same size?
Metal bobbins and plastic bobbins of the same size can NOT be swapped. Machines are set for a very precise tension setting. If they are set for a lighter plastic bobbin, the tension will change if a heavier metal bobbin is used.
5. Are all bobbins created equal?
Bernina bobbins are milled and generic bobbins are stamped. The difference is night and day. If your machine takes a generic metal bobbin you CAN use a Bernina bobbin. It might even run smoother than the original bobbin in your machine.
6. Can I put my bobbin in backwards?
Bobbins should always be inserted to spin in the correct direction for your machine. Many machines have a picture to remind you which way a bobbin should spin in the machine.
Side note: If you sew on a Bernina 7 or 8 Series or a newer Husqvarna Viking with green bobbins you are in luck, your bobbin cannot go in backwards!
7. What about thread tails?
Tails are bad! Do not leave this thread tail sticking up through the hole in the top of the bobbin it can interfere with how the stitch formed. Be sure to cut this tail off so the thread can ride smoothly across the top of the bobbin.
8. What makes a sewing machine tech cringe?
When a sewing machine mechanic opens your machine and sees a variety of bobbin types mixed together and none of them is the correct bobbin for the machine, this is a guaranteed way to make them cringe. This is a huge NO-NO! Just because the bobbin “fits” in the bobbin case does not mean that it is the correct bobbin. Do you really have the right bobbin? Double check the manual or with your local sewing machine store as to which bobbins are right for your machine.
9. This is another thing a sewing machine tech sees that makes them cringe.
Now granted sometimes it will work but there are just too many variables! Bad wind, tails you name it! Please just clear the thread off the bobbin or better yet get more bobbins!
10. But I hate to wind bobbins!
No one really likes to wind bobbins but it is part of the job of sewing. We like to batch wind around here. We always get two spools of thread instead of one and take the time to wind one completely onto bobbins.
When we open a spool of bobbin thread for embroidery we will wind the who thing onto bobbins and store them in a bobbin ring. It really does save time and is less expensive than purchasing pre-wound bobbins and gives us the correct tension.
BONUS BOBBIN INFO…
Husqvarna Viking users – want to learn a cool trick about filling your bobbins? Watch this video!
Have a sewing machine bobbin question?
Post it in the questions below and we will answer them.