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August 2015
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Bobbin Basics

The bobbin winder unit may be located on the side of the sewing machine or on top of the machine or some types have the rewind right in the machine.  Regardless of “where” you wind the bobbin, there are some general rules that apply to every bobbin on every machine.

** Always start with an empty bobbin.  Never wind one color over another color.

** Check the bobbins frequently to insure there are no nicks along the edge (which would have happened when the machine jammed or you broke a pin while sewing).  If there is a nick or the bobbin doesn’t roll smoothly on the sewing table, discard it immediately because it will cause future sewing problems, such as breaking thread and jamming in the bobbin area.

** Be sure to use the RIGHT bobbin for your machine.  If you’ve gotten some bobbins from another person, or perhaps extera bobbins from a machine you’ve bought, double check to make sure the bobbins are the correct type your machine calls for.

** Choose thread for the project that is identical in color and type as the one to be used for the upper thread.

** Wind the bobbin evenly across and in level layers.  The following illustration shows the “right” and “wrong” way to fill a bobbin.

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** Don’t wind the bobbin so full that it would be tight and hard to insert into the bobbin case.  Most machines have an automatic “shut off” when the bobbin gets full, but if yours does not, be careful not to fill it too full.

** Keep the lint out of the bobbin area.  Lint and broken or frayed pieces of thread accumulate in the bobbin area, and can cause problems with sewing, so be sure to keep that area cleaned out.

** It is good to have extra bobbins on hand so you won’t be tempted to put one color thread on top of another color.  In addition, if you’re going to be involved in a rather long project that will require a lot of thread, such as quilting, or perhaps something that will need a lot of “satin” stitching, it would be a good idea to fill 2 or 3 bobbins with the thread that you’ll be using for the project so you won’t have to stop in the middle of the project and start filling bobbins.

Bobbin Basics is an excerpt from the Learn How To Sew book as well as in the Sewing Machine Repair For The Home Sewer book.

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Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author

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