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Tips & Techniques > Bobbin - how much thread does it hold?

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Posted by: SewVeryTall
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Posted on: 3/23/06 6:56 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 6 people   Very Helpful by 14 people   
The question of how many yards of thread a bobbin holds has come up over the years many times. I finally decided I wanted to know, once and for all.

Example...you've stay-stitched, understitched, topstitched, zigzagged, sewn most of a garment, and it's time to do the buttonholes. You don't want to run out of bobbin thread during buttonhole making. Is there enough left on that spool to fill another bobbin and still have enough left on the spool?

I searched online and found no answer.

I also realize there are variables...different machines use different sized bobbins...thread weight...and a balanced stitch [so you can assume you've used the same amount from the spool and the bobbin as you sewed].

My machine uses a very common bobbin that fits many different machines, so this test is based on that.

I used a brand new spool of thread from my stash, 40 weight, 100% polyester, 150 yards. I just kept filling bobbins until the spool was empty. It filled 2 1/2 bobbins. The "half bobbin" is, of course, a judgement call...it actually looked fuller than half, but the center of a bobbin is smaller than the outside.

So it turns out that a bobbin must hold approximately 60 yards of thread. By the time you've emptied a bobbin, you've used 120 yards from the spool. So if your spool originally had 240 yards or more, you can safely rewind another full bobbin.

For our metric members...60 yards is equal to 54.86 meters.


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8 Comments
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Giseleg said... (10/7/13 11:40 AM) Reply
I tried the same experiment. I have regular bobbins too, the fat kind not the skinny kind. I used a spool of 100 yds. It resulted in 2 full bobbins and about a 1/3 or 1/4 on the 3rd bobbin.
SuellaP said... (3/30/12 3:13 PM) Reply
This is well worthwhile knowing. Thanks!
Silknmore said... (1/16/10 4:59 PM) Reply
This was incredibly helpful - simple solutio to a tough problem. Annette http://fabricateandmira.wordpress.com/
AuntyqLace said... (3/29/06 6:10 PM) Reply
I have often wondered if I have enough thread to fill another bobbin-thanks for this very helpful tip!
Em's Summer said... (3/28/06 1:23 PM) Reply
Thanks for the tip. I love trivia, and found your tip really interesting. I really like no fuss no muss easy sewing and will usually just look to see if I have enough thread on the bobbin before starting buttonholes as I usually start with used spools or bobbins already threaded. But I do think your tip is a fun cerebral one that's interesting!
ColoSew said... (3/23/06 8:14 PM) Reply
Thank you -- for taking the time to check out so many useful things. I love your tips.
Renee' S said... (3/23/06 5:49 PM) Reply
A 50wt thread is actually thinner than a 40wt thread, so your bobbin would hold a little more.
regine said... (3/23/06 1:57 PM) Reply
Thanks for that information but how much thread does one use for 1. a straight seam 2. a buttonhole 3. zig zag ? for example That information would also help in assessing if one has enough thread on the bobbin.
 
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