What Is A Bobbin On A Sewing Machine: What To Know

Last Updated on 6 months by Susan Mayrich

The answer to what is a bobbin on a sewing machine is that it holds the lower thread. We will discuss this part in more detail to help you understand its function better. You will also learn the uses of the bobbin and if it’s necessary to have it in the sewing machine. 

what is a bobbin on a sewing machine

Do you also know how to put a bobbin in a sewing machine? It will benefit you to read that tutorial so that the bobbin will work smoothly, and you won’t have issues when sewing.  


What Does A Bobbin Do On A Sewing Machine?

The bobbin is the part of the sewing machine where the lower thread is wound; hence, the latter’s name is also sometimes called the bobbin thread. Sewing machines always use two threads for making a stitch by catching the bobbin thread with the top or needle thread. And when you look at the bobbin itself, it’s no different than cylinders that hold wires.

Without the bobbin on the sewing machine, nothing will hold the thread below the needle. Therefore, the bottom thread won’t successfully go up through the sewing machine plate to connect with the needle thread during sewing. There are also different types of bobbins, such as metal or plastic, and each sewing machine comes with its own bobbin type that you must use to avoid issues during sewing. 

If you don’t believe in the importance of using the correct bobbin, find out that it’s among the reasons why the sewing machine thread keeps breaking


What Is A Bobbin Used For In A Sewing Machine?

The bobbin is composed of several parts, and it has a cylinder where the lower thread is wrapped around. Any weaving material such as yarn or wire can be held with a bobbin, similar to a typical cone. Overall, the primary purpose of the bobbin in the sewing machine is to support the lower thread that is needed with the top thread for making a stitch. 

Can you buy a bobbin alone? The bobbin typically comes as a part of the sewing machine, but it can also be bought as a standalone accessory. And depending on the machine’s design, you’ll insert it in a designated case or use it as is. 


Tips when using a bobbin in the sewing machine

  • Always have multiple bobbins to ensure that you’ll have enough to finish the project
  • Use the correct bobbin for your specific sewing machine model, or it won’t be installed correctly
  • When switching bobbins of the same size, adjust the sewing machine tension since it’s different fo a plastic and a metal bobbin


What Holds The Bobbin In The Sewing Machine?

The bobbin case is what holds the bobbin in the sewing machine. You will place the bobbin inside it so the bobbin thread can unravel smoothly. It is also helpful for holding the thread while using the automatic cutter found in some sewing machines. 

Besides the bobbin case, the bobbin is also composed of the following parts:


Bobbin tension

The sewing machine bobbin has its own tension system. While it’s more common for sewers to adjust the top thread tension, you can also modify the bobbin thread tension for some situations. However, it’s best to leave the bobbin tension be until you gained enough experience regarding this change during sewing. 


Bobbin winder

The bobbin winder is the part of the bobbin that ensures the thread will wind smoothly and evenly. This sewing machine’s winding system will load the thread to avoid tangles and knots. The machine should always successfully have the thread spool feed directly to the bobbin, or you need to unwind the thread and redo the process. 


Do You Need To Use A Bobbin In Sewing?

You’ll always need the bobbin when sewing in the sewing machine. The sewing machine needs two threads from the needle and bobbin to form a stitch. The bobbin is also responsible for feeding the lower thread from the lower part of the sewing machine as it holds the thread below the needle so the machine can sew with the upper thread. 


Do All Sewing Machines Have Bobbins?

A sewing machine typically comes with at least three bobbins. However, it would be best if you always bought extra bobbins so that you’ll have enough to finish each project. Just make sure that you’ll buy the right type for your unit. 


Common Sewing Machine Bobbin Problems


Bobbin thread won’t come up

Check if you installed the winding spindle for the bobbin to the left, or the needle won’t successfully pick the bobbin thread up. 


Bobbin pressure always needs to be adjusted

Constantly needing to adjust the bobbin tension indicates issues on the bobbin. Check how you placed the bobbin on its case or if the bobbin itself is worn down. 


The bobbin case is stuck

To fix a stuck bobbin case, you can inspect it for damages or other debris that may be causing the issue. 



Was this article helpful? We just answered what is a bobbin on a sewing machine and found out that it holds the lower thread. You’ll always need it in the sewing machine since the machine always needs two threads to form a stitch. 

In general, you should also own multiple bobbins. First, however, familiarize yourself with each type since every machine differs in what bobbin is compatible for them. 

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