Sewing Glossary

What is a Bobbin in Sewing? (And What is Its Purpose?)

March 20, 2023 by

In this guide, we’ll be diving into everything you need to know about bobbins in sewing.

We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section):

Table of Contents

What is a Bobbin in Sewing?

A bobbin is a small, spool-shaped object that holds thread or other materials used in sewing.

It is typically made of plastic or metal and has a hole in the center so that it can be wound with thread. Bobbins are used in a variety of sewing machines and are an essential part of the sewing process.

When the machine is sewing, the bobbin’s thread passes through a small hole in the needle plate and is used to stitch together the fabric. Bobbins can be purchased individually or as part of a set, and they come in a variety of sizes depending on the type of machine they are used in.

Most bobbins have a metal shaft that screws onto the machine’s spindle, and they are typically filled with enough thread to sew a few inches of fabric.

Bobbins can be a little confusing for beginners, so it’s important to understand their purpose and how to use them. When winding the bobbin, make sure to do it slowly and carefully so that the thread doesn’t tangle.

You can also use a winder to help you wind the bobbin more quickly and easily. When sewing, always make sure that the bobbin is inserted correctly into the machine and that the thread is threaded through the right hole. If the thread isn’t properly threaded, your stitches will be uneven and sloppy.


What is a Bobbin Used For?

A bobbin is a small, cylindrical spool of thread used in a sewing machine. The bobbin holds the lower thread that forms the stitch on the fabric being sewn.

It is inserted into the bobbin case, which is then inserted into the sewing machine. The upper thread from the sewing machine needle interlocks with the thread on the bobbin to form the stitch.

Different types of fabrics and threads require different types of bobbins. For example, heavier fabrics require a stronger thread, such as nylon or polyester, which in turn requires a heavy-duty bobbin.

Lighter fabrics require a lighter thread, such as cotton or linen, which in turn requires a lightweight bobbin. There are also many different types of bobbins for specialty fabrics, such as satin or lace.

When the bobbin is empty, it can be removed from the bobbin case and replaced with a full bobbin. The bobbin should always be wound in the same direction as the thread is pulled from the spool. If the thread is not wound correctly, it can cause the stitches to unravel.

When Do You Need to Use a Bobbin in Sewing?

You’ll need to use a bobbin when sewing on most fabrics, especially lighter weight fabrics. Bobbins help to distribute the tension evenly, which prevents fabric puckering and uneven stitches.

To use a bobbin, first thread the needle with your chosen thread. Then, wind the thread around the bobbin a few times. Once the bobbin is wound, insert it into the sewing machine.

Sewing with a bobbin is just like sewing without one. The only difference is that you’ll need to periodically stop and wind more thread onto the bobbin as you sew. This is because the bobbin runs out of thread faster than the needle.

Need to Use a Bobbin

How Do You Put Thread on a Bobbin?

  1. Place a spool of thread on the spool pin.
  2. Slide the spool pin holder/cap firmly over the rim of the spool to prevent the thread from tangling.
  3. Push the bobbin winder pin to the far left if it is not already there.
  4. Pass the thread from the spool through the thread guide.
  5. Pass thread end, from inside, through the small hole in the rim of the bobbin.
  6. Place bobbin onto the pin.
  7. Push the bobbin winder pin to the right. As this will stop the needle from moving.
  8. Hold the thread end, step on the speed controller to run the machine until the desired amount of thread is wound. (Winding stops automatically once bobbin is full.)
  9. Cut thread; push bobbin to the left and remove it from bobbin winder pin
  10. Trim thread ends from the top of the bobbin.

Follow the videos for the practical procedure.

How Do You Know What Size Bobbin to Buy?

The easiest way to identify the size of a bobbin is to consider its thickness.

You must take into account the type and the class of your machine and then you can try out each bobbin.

It’s suggested to only use bobbins that are specific to the same class/style as those that come with your machine.

To further explore the subject of bobbin sizes, we recommend this video by the National Sewing Circle:

Difference Between a Bobbin vs. Spool

A bobbin is a small, cylindrical spool that holds thread or yarn. It is used in a sewing machine to help weave fabric together. A spool, on the other hand, is a large, cylindrical spool that holds thread or yarn. It is used to make string or rope. So, what is the difference between a bobbin and a spool?


A bobbin is smaller than a spool and has a hole in the middle so that it can be attached to a sewing machine.


A spool is larger than a bobbin and does not have a hole in the middle. A spool is typically used to make string or rope, while a bobbin is typically used to weave fabric together.

Final Remarks

The bobbin plays a vital role in sewing. We hope you learned something new about the bobbin!