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Unusual Uses for Bobbin Thread!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

One evening I was stitching happily when the bobbin case exploded.  What an incredible… fascinating… MESS!  I quickly grabbed my camera to take photos.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The unwound thread – in its loose spirals – intrigued me.  What a waste of thread… but surely I can turn this into something positive.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

And that’s when I realized fairy hair comes from serendipitous moments such as these!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

This week’s assignment:  It’s easy to loose your cool when things go terribly, unexpectedly wrong.  Share a time when you were able to turn lemons into lemonade.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

About the Model
Mavis, with her beautiful bobbin hair, is inspired from the book, Wee Felt Folk – New Adventures by Salley Mavor.  She is wearing a designer skirt from the great fashion house, “Daffodil Fashions,” a fictitious high-end fashion designer in a far-away place known as Fairyland in the country of Lambicornia.  The garment top is a pattern from Mavor’s book.  I added the decorative stitching using a built-in stitch from the Baby Lock Ellisimo, then I hand stitched beads.. because, well, Fairies like to dress over the top!




  • Donna Fecteau

    She is so cute! I’ve had several lemon moments in my stitching moments. i started out to make a table runner for a present. The machine jammed while placing the design that I had planned for the middle section of the runner. I cut the center section out and turned the two end sections into placemats, I made two more to match and the gift was saved.

  • Lulu

    What a great idea! I usually just toss things out in frustration.

  • Wanda Leffingwell

    I had this to happen several times! I just add them to my thread cuts jar! Makes a pretty décor for my Sewing Room

  • Sharon R

    Awesome save! I haven’t experienced a bobbin blowout {knock on wood!} but I’ve made plenty of mistakes in the sewing room. I think my only significant save was after getting a terrible thread nest in a high-density heart design on a bag I was making for my granddaughter. After spending a few hours carefully pulling stitches, the material had too many small holes and just felt thin. I didn’t have enough fabric to redo the bag I was making. I redid the design on another swath of material and turned it into a patch pocket. The bag turned out well, the pocket was a nice addition, and my granddaughter’s gift was well received.

  • Kathy E.

    Mavis is your good luck sewing fairy! Speaking of lemons, my daughter once washed and DRIED a wool sweater with her regular load of laundry. She was embarrassed, along with being very upset. Oh, it’s only a sweater, I told her. I have used pieces and scraps of that sweater for many projects and the memory of where it came from makes me smile of my now grown daughter.

  • Sara Redner

    My worst mistakes come from being careless when cutting away the cut-away stabilizer, and my best lemonade from a lemon was being able to patch the hole I clipped in my grandson’s Halloween Trick-or-Treat bag by embroidering a tiny bat over the hole.

  • debe

    I actually spent the time & re-wound a bobbin onto a new bobbin, lol. Don’t have any idea WHY I would spend that amount of time doing that, it was tedious. My worst lemon was cutting a coat for my 5 yr daughter. I had spent a long time trying to get all the pattern pieces onto the fabric, turning & retrying. Well I finally got them on & cut out coat thinking “I have a lot more fabric than I thought” then realized I’d missed the sleeves!! I had enough fabric to piece the sleeves,did flatlocking wtih pearl cotton, & had so many compliments. This blooper turned into a designer detail.

  • Doreen Linehan

    My best save happened at an embroidery class. We had a sewing project to complete from the last class and then if we had time we could do the embroidery project. Well, I only had the binding to do on the sewing project so I decided to do the embroidery project. For whatever purpose my machine decided to act up and the thread kept breaking and the broken thread was hopelessly stuck in the thread path. The owner took the machine apart and pulled out a little piece of the thread that she thought was causing the problem. Unfortunately the problem kept happening. I stopped trying to complete the project and left. The machine is no longer under warranty and had been in for a cleaning recently. I decided if I have to bring it in for service again that I would attempt to fix it myself. After taking three of the cover pieces off, shining a flashlight in the thread path. Brushing a little bit of lint out and finding some gunky stuff, I put it all back together. First attempt was not put back quite correct. Second attempt everything in place. But I still had a problem…..ah. Then it dawned on me change the needle, rethread everything and use a new bobbin. Not sure what solved the problem but it’s been working fine ever since. Of course it would have saved me hours by doing the last steps first but now I know I can do some minor stuff myself.

    • Denise Holguin

      Wow! That’s quite a hands-on approach! So glad you were able to fix your machine.


  • [email protected]

    I had a similar experience with invisible thread wrapping around the hand wheel of my machine the first night of a five-day retreat. I figured my machine wasn’t working anyway, so I couldn’t hurt it. I didn’t want to go home and miss the retreat so I took my machine apart and started surgery. After several tedious hours removing thread from the machine, I put it back together and was back in business. Two very dear friends were assistants, holding lights and handing me tweezers and snips as needed. Best sewing machine nurses ever!

    • Denise Holguin

      Oh my, what a tedious process! Sooooo glad you were able to fix your machine!

      If I have future embroidery machine disasters, I’ll call upon you and your sewing machine nurses!

      – Denise

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  • Jean Hollis

    Was making a fleece blanket with personalized embroidery for my daughters’ friend’s new baby when I realized half way through the embroidery pattern that I had hooped the blanket upside down. Finished the embroidery pattern, cut off the corner square and made the original blanket probably a more manageable, smaller size. Put blanket binding around the corner square That I’d cut off and made a carry along, “feelie” blanket. Now all baby gifts for my daughters’ friends get ordered with the additional feelie blanket. I attach a ribbon and a poem “Take me with you, where ever you go. Tie me to the stroller so you’ll always know, baby has her/his blankie, where ever she/he may go. My daughter loves that she can give these personalized gifts to friends and co-workers and usually comes up with a theme for each gift that includes the large blanket, the feelie blanket and a bib or two.