10 Things You Need to Know About Sewing Machine Bobbins

We Carry
by Sara Snuggerud in Sewing Machines, Sewing Tips

Read the Updated Version of this post on

Sewing machine bobbin questions are a regular topic around a sewing machine store. Here are the most common questions and answers we help be with on a regular basis.

1. You always need MORE sewing machine bobbins.
How many bobbins do you really need? We took a survey at a recent Sewtopia Sewing Club and the average amount our club members said they had was between 20 – 30 sewing machine bobbins for each machine they owned. Yes, many of them own different brands of machines. Many of our customers SEW on Bernina sewing machines and EMBROIDER on a Husqvarna Viking machine. Wonder why so many of our customers are multi-sew-lingual? Come in and see for yourself!

2. Buy a pack of bobbins every time you visit your favorite sewing machine store.
Most sewing machines come with 3-5 bobbins when buy them. So many people say that is enough bobbins when they are just starting out, but then we see them back within a few days saying they need more. Keep buying sewing machine bobbins at each time you visit our store. You eventually will have enough.

3. You MUST use the bobbins that are made for your machin

Just because you like the color blue does not mean you can use these bobbins. These bobbins are made specific for a Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC sewing and embroidery machine.

4. Plastic bobbins can bulge if filled with too much tension or too tightly.
Filling a sewing machine bobbin too tightly can make a plastic bobbin bulge. This is hard to see the problem, but the bobbin ends up too tall for machine and will cause an awful mess in the bobbin area.

5. Plastic bobbins and metal 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.

6. Bernina Users – This is NOT your bobbin!
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 will be much smoother for your machine.

Sewing Mishaps Happen…
Ensure every project is a success with simple, creative ways to prevent slip ups and fix common errors with this online Craftsy class “Sewing Mistakes: What can go wrong and how to make it right”.

7. Bobbins must be inserted to spin the correct direction.
Many machines have a picture to remind you which way a bobbin should spin.

8. Do not leave this thread tail sticking up!
This tail will interfere with the forming and the connecting of the top thread with the bobbin thread with EVERY stitch made. Be sure to cut this tail off so nothing sticks up.

9. This is one of the WORST things for a sewing machine mechanic to find in a sewing machines’ accessory box.
What is wrong with this picture?

When a sewing machine mechanic opens your machine and seeing a variety of bobbin types mixed together and none of them are the correct bobbin for the machine, this is a guarantee way to make them cringe. This is a huge NO-NO! Just because bobbins came with the machine when you received it second hand, does not mean that last person was using a correct bobbin. Do you really have the right bobbin? Double check with your local sewing machine as to which bobbins are right for your machine.

10. Buy more bobbins.
Tired of winding more than one color on a bobbin? Refer back to #1…Buy more bobbins!

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 it.

Want to learn more about sewing and quilting? Join us online at BluPrint for great classes you can take at your leisure including two from Sara Snuggerud.