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Donna Babylon: Quick Tip - The Care And Feeding Of Bobbins

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The bobbin on your sewing machine provides the lower thread supply, allowing your machine to form stitches. Needless to say, if your bobbin isn't set up properly, your machine won't work.

Rather than risk that, we thought we'd ask for some tips from a nationally recognized home décor sewing expert. Donna Babylon, creator of the More Splash Than Cash® brand and author of 15 books, including the recently published Decorating Sewlutions: Learn to Sew as You Decorate Your Home was happy to help.

Here are a few of Donna's tips to keep your bobbins working properly.

Winding

When you're winding thread onto a bobbin, always start with an empty bobbin. Never wind one color of thread over another color.

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Have several extra empty bobbins on hand. Don't skimp. They're cheap.

The thread on the bobbin has to be evenly wound across the bobbin spool for the machine to work properly. If your machine doesn't appear to be winding smoothly, first check to see you have it correctly threaded for the bobbin winding process. If that appears to be fine, it may be time to service your machine.

For most projects, you'll want your bobbin thread to match the thread in your spool. The exception is when the back of your fabric is a different color or you have a different colored lining. Then you'll want to use a bobbin thread that best matches the color of the back or lining.

Before you start a project, wind at least two bobbins. That way, you'll always have a spare at your fingertips.

Storage & Maintenance

Keep your filled bobbins together (and keep the threads from dangling) by storing them in a foam toe separator, the kind used for pedicures.

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Every time you change the bobbin, use a tiny brush to remove any lint that might have built up inside the bobbin case. For more handy care tips, see our tutorial: Taking Care Of Your Sewing Machine.

(Excerpted from Decorating Sewlutions by Donna Babylon.)

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Comments (7)

MoeWest said:
MoeWest's picture

I like to keep the bobbins with the thread. I cut a length of plastic straw and insert it in the middle of the spool with enough straw sticking up to hold 2-3 bobbins. Some types of thread don't stay wound very well. For these, I use the same idea as Jay noted in the comment below.

Jay from East Tennessee said:
Jay from East Tennessee's picture

I found another way to keep the thread wound on the bobbins and that is to use the little circlets that are for children's hair. They come in many colors and I tend to use the color to match what is in the bobbin making it easy to find the correct one for the thread I want to use.  They are little woven circles used to keep the youngster's hair in pig tails or pony tails.

Elizabeth Barnett said:
Elizabeth Barnett's picture

I much prefer to keep my bobbin with the spool of thread it was filled from ... I have several spools that are very similar in colour and sometimes different in fiber content....

MHills said:
MHills's picture
Love this idea. I purchased some from the dollar store and they worked out great.
Tracy @ Cotton Pickin Cute said:
Tracy @ Cotton Pickin Cute's picture
This is a brilliant idea. I have always hated having my bobbin threads all tangled up. Now I'm going to be searching high and low for tons of these that are as pretty as yours.

Thanks for sharing this amazing tip. Hugs...Tracy smilies/smiley.gif

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