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Embroidery Tips & Techniques

The Humble Bobbin

Bobbins are an important ingredient for all types of sewing, including embroidery.  They are usually the last item to consider so let’s talk about some things to look out for in the humble bobbin.

First, you want to be sure to use the right size and type in your machine.  There are many types of bobbins available so be sure to refer to your owner’s manual or talk to your local machine dealer for the right size and type for your machine.  A good tip is to keep one of your original bobbins available when getting more bobbins.

There are Style L bobbins for cylinder arm machines and multi needle machines.

Style A or Class 15 bobbins are for tabletop machines or single needle machines.  These are the most common.  Style M bobbins are for long arm machines and Janome multi needle machines.  Again, if you are unsure which bobbins to use, then refer to your owner’s manual or discuss with your local dealer.

Next, let’s look at prewound or winding your own bobbin?  You may want to wind your own thread for a couple reasons.  One would be to match the thread to your top thread for lace jewelry or lace ornaments.  Or maybe to use a different type of thread that is not available on a prewound bobbin.

Prewound bobbins are popular because they have more thread and provide consistent tension as they are precisely wound.  Do remember that the prewound bobbins are for single use as the bobbin itself is not as sturdy as your refillable bobbins that came with your machine.  So, can you reuse the prewound plastic bobbin?  How do you know if you have a refillable bobbin?  Listen in as Eileen Roche and Deborah Jones answer these two questions.

What type of thread is available on the prewound bobbins?  Steady Stitch Bobbins come in black or white thread.  The thread options are polyester continuous filament 70/2 or spun polyester 60/2.  The continuous filament is smaller than the spun polyester.  The spun polyester has more texture and is more friendly with your top thread.  It acts more like a cotton thread.

Last, let’s look at keeping the bobbin thread on the bottom.  How do you have properly balanced tension for embroidery?  Stitching out a satin stitch block letter “I” is one way.  Make sure 1/3 of the bobbin thread is down the middle of the “I” with top thread evenly on either side of the “I” on the back.  Also, stitch out a satin stitch word like “box” as it has the different directions needed for seeing the tension on the back.

So, as you can see the Humble Bobbin is very important in successful sewing and embroidery.  To learn more about bobbins, watch Eileen Roche and Deborah Jones on Facebook Live from October 28, 2021.  Enjoy!




  • Alexis Jimenez

    I am so confused. I ordered prewounds for the first time when I watched this live on Facebook. I use 60wt. bobbin thread in my Solaris for embroidery. I thought I ordered 60wt. thread but the container of bobbins only says 70D/2. Is this 60wt. thread?