Machine Embroidery Bobbins 101

Bobbins 101 blog with

Bobbins are essential to sewing and embroidery and not using the right one makes all the difference in the world! Who knew such a little thing could be such a big deal?

There are so many bobbin types that it is no wonder that we get overwhelmed when trying to figure it all out. Refer to your manual to determine the style you should use as they are not all interchangeable. You can also find out which bobbin your machine uses here.

Bobbin Styles

For home machines, bobbins come in three basic types: Class 15, L-Style, and M-Style. Different machines use a different type. Mine both use the L-style.

Just because a bobbin fits, doesn’t mean it will work with your machine. If you use different brands of machines, it is easy to grab a bobbin from another machine by mistake. If you have problems with tension or stitch quality and you own more than one machine, check the bobbin.

There are also different types of bobbins, like metal, plastic, cardboard, and even sideless. Again, the type you can use will depend on your machine.

Sewing vs. Embroidery Bobbin Thread

Bobbin thread is different between sewing and machine embroidery. Sewing bobbins are wound with the same thread as that with which you are stitching, 50 weight and probably cotton or cotton-wrapped polyester thread.

Machine embroidery thread is 40 wt. The thread weight for embroidery bobbins is typically 60 wt. The exceptions would be when stitching freestanding lace (FSL) and delicate heirloom projects.

With FSL, you would wind the same thread in the bobbin as that with which you are stitching. That way, the front and back of the lace look nearly the same.

Heirloom stitching often necessitates using delicate fabrics with tiny designs and fonts. In those cases, you may prefer to use a 90- or even 100-wt. bobbin thread.

Bobbin Thread Types

Using a polyester bobbin thread helps to avoid a buildup of fuzz in your bobbin case, which saves a lot of headaches. Even so, you should clean your bobbin area every time you change bobbins.

Prewound or Wind Yourself?

Prewound bobbins will give you about three times more thread than if you wind it yourself. You can get more info on prewounds here.

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired by Bonnie




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