Everything you wanted to know about machine embroidery bobbin thread, but were afraid to ask.

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What is Bobbin Thread?

In a previous blog, (All About Machine Embroidery Thread) we talked about different thread types used for machine embroidery like Polyester and Rayon. Now, let’s talk about bobbin thread.

Just as when sewing, you would think that you would just use the same embroidery thread color as your bobbin thread. That isn’t always the best, although you can. The problem with this is if you are stitching out a design that uses 10 different thread colors, you would have to make 10 different bobbins. That is a lot of extra work I know I do to not want to do. The only time I would recommend using the same thread for both bobbin and upper is doing a finished Satin Stitch where the bobbin thread will show.

Bobbin thread is lightweight and specially designed for machine embroidery. It is strong enough to withstand the stress of high-speed stitching, yet fine enough to keep densely embroidered designs from being too stiff. The fineness of a bobbin thread allows the back of the embroidery design to be much less dense than the front of the design. This prevents lightweight fabrics from puckering. It prevents the already dense embroidery from being even more dense and rigid than the fabric and keeps it more pliable than it would be with regular thread in the bobbin. The fineness of these bobbin threads means more thread can be wound on the bobbin.

Bobbin Thread weights?

Bobbin thread most commonly comes in a 60 weight thread which means it is very light weight, but is still very strong. It also comes in a 40 weight thread, which is slightly heavier than the 60 weight. The 60 weight thread is great for denser designs with, usually, no breaks. Because it is polyester, it’s very strong in either the 60 or 40 weight. The 60 and 40 thread weights are the most common. When I bought my Husqvarna/Viking Designer SE, I started using the 60 weight bobbin thread, resulting in less thread breakage for me.

Bobbin Thread colors

The most commonly used bobbins come in basic black and white color, but you can find it in colors in some places. Most people choose either black or white because of the light and dark shades. They will use white under lighter colored thread & black under darker thread. You do NOT want to stitch a design on a light colored fabric with a light colored top thread with a black bobbin. The darkness of the black bobbin will shadow the light top thread & make it look darker.


Pre-wound Bobbins

Most embroidery thread manufacturers also make bobbin thread, giving you a lot of great choices that will work well with your machine. You can buy spools of bobbin thread and wind your own bobbins or take a faster route with pre-wound bobbins. Babylock/Brother, Janome, Husqvarna, Singer, and Pfaff , to mention a few, give you the option of using pre-wound bobbins. Buying pre-wound bobbins is such a time saver. I would much rather spend my time stitching on my project, than having to stop and wind a new bobbin. Sometimes my TIME is worth more than the extra cost of buying pre-wound bobbins. You will find them in different quantities as well as different colors.

Pre-wound bobbins are for single use only. When the bobbin thread is gone, you toss the plastic (or paper) spool. Do not try to rewind. When purchasing pre-wound bobbins, you MUST verify what type your machine takes. You can find that information in your machine’s manual. Unfortunately, not all machines can use pre-wound bobbins, so take this into consideration if you’re in the market for a new machine, or when purchasing a new supply of bobbin thread. Most brands of bobbin thread can be purchased online at a great price. You can also ask your fellow embroidery friends and find out what brand they use and where they get theirs. I have found that I LOVE the Metro brand of thread and pre-wound bobbins. They work very well for me.

Bobbin Thread and our machines tension?

The perfect tension between upper thread and bobbin thread is very important to the look of your finished embroidery design.

You might find this chart helpful when it comes to your thread tension. I know it’s sometimes hard to figure out your tension on your machine. You can read your manual to see what the average settings are. Once you see the issue yourself, you can use this chart along with your manual to figure out how to correct the issue. I hope this chart will help you figure out if it’s your top or bottom tension that is off. Once you have decided whether it’s the top or bottom tension. You can adjust that tension. MOST machine bobbins have a tiny screw to adjust bobbin tension. This chart should help you if the perfect tension.









Click on any of the bobbin photos above to be taken directly to Amazon to complete your thread purchase.

Bobbin thread can also be found at walmart.com by clicking this link



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