Clever Uses for Colored Bobbin Thread

Do you have a significant amount of colored bobbin thread on hand? I’ll show you how you can put it to good use!

Freestanding applique is one of my favorite embroidery techniques.

This is a picture of embroidery on candles using a Nativity set of machine embroidery designs.

You may remember the Nativity Candles project


A picture of free-standing applique using Christmas cookies machine embroidery.


and the Christmas Cookies project. Using the same color thread in the bobbin as that with which you are stitching, ensures that the back and sides of the embroidered piece look just as good as the front.­

Picture of embroidery thread on bobbin on top of machine.


You might think that these leftover bobbins are just taking up space, but you can actually put them to good use in a variety of ways by treating them as if they were a spool of thread. Here are just a few ways that your colored bobbin threads are useful.

Basting Stitches

Basting stitches are a wonderful tool for helping to hold embroidery to hooped stabilizer and for holding bulky items, like toweling or quilt batting layers, as well as slippery fabrics like organza, securely in place. Because they will be snipped and removed, it really does not matter what color basting stitches are. 

When embroidering towels or blankets, it is necessary to add an embroidery topper to keep stitches from sinking out of sight. Basting stitches hold toppers in place.

Since they outline the design area, basting stitches not only help to hold items in the hoop, they can also be used as a check against proper design placement. If the basting stitch (design area) is not lined up properly, snip, re-hoop, and baste again.

Placement Stitches

Placement stitches are essential in applique. They show where to place the applique fabric (i.e., GlitterFlex) and how large it should be cut. Because they won’t be seen under the applique fabric, the placement stitch thread color really doesn’t matter.

Tack-Down Stitches

Once applique fabrics are properly placed, they must be tacked down on the base fabric before trimming. The stitching will be hidden under the satin-stitch edging so, once again, the tack-down color does not matter. Plus, if you are using GlitterFlex, you want your tack-down thread to contrast with the GlitterFlex so it can be seen through all the sparkle.

How do you use your leftover colored bobbin threads?

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  • Bonnie Welsh - November 10, 2020

    Bevyjean—You’re most welcome! Debbie is quite clever and creative. I’m lucky to have her. =)

  • Bevyjean heyrman - November 09, 2020

    Thank you Bonnie, like always I always find something useful on your tips—bevyjean

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