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Tips & Techniques > Hand winding a bobbin by machine

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Posted by: Janie Viers
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About Janie Viers star
Member since: 4/8/02
Reviews: 61 (tips: 29)
Skill level:Advanced
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Posted on: 12/9/04 11:35 AM
Review Rating: Very Helpful by 3 people   
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I was so confused when I used to hear "hand wound bobbin". I spent months holding the bobbin in one hand and winding the thread around and around and around and, as Yul Brenner used to say, Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera! I use so many bobbins of thread that I would actually take the spool and the bobbins to the family room to wind while I watched TV! I finally reallized I could get the same even effect by using my machine to hold the thread and the bobbin, BUT run the machine slowly to wind slowly and hand hold the thread rather than let it go through the guide. I haven't had a problem with this method, which I have used for decorative ribbon and yarn to use in bobbin work as well as plain old thread!

So, slowly run the machine and hand guide the thread.


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jo123 said... (9/14/10 9:55 AM) Reply
Thanks for the tip.
Schaz said... (6/20/09 6:16 PM) Reply
I decided to try elastic thread, which the tips online say you should hand wind on the bobbin. I was not looking forward to it, so I'm glad I looked here and found an easier method than "holding the bobbin in one hand and winding the thread around and around"!
LiZ said... (1/5/06 12:53 PM) Reply
On both of the machines that I have and ones that I have owned previously owned there is a little disc that the thread goes through before before the bobbin. this is a tension disc and can be adjusted with a screwdriver. I loosen this when winding woolly nylon and it can be wound on loosely by machine. I have used it for lots fo twin needle hemming on cotton lycra skirts and tops and the hem is very stretchy with no complaints of broken hems.
candyo said... (12/13/04 8:10 PM) Reply
LOL Karla- agreed!
NancyDaQ said... (12/13/04 2:13 PM) Reply
I would only use this technique for specialty threads. If a machine is in good working order and you follow the instructions in the manual, you should be able to get good results with your machine's bobbin winder. I have used several different brands of machines over the years and have never had problems with the bobbin winding too tightly, unevenly, or breaking threads unless I had the machine threaded wrong.
Mini said... (12/12/04 1:48 PM) Reply
I have been sewing for many years, and have never had to hand wind my bobbins. Like Karla, I would have quit sewing long ago! It may be necessary for wooly nylon or other secialty threads, but a sewing machine in good working order should be able to wind bobbins evenly when using normal thread. It is important to follow your machine manual's instructions for the correct type of bobbin, and use the recommended speed. My Janome manual says to use the lowest speed, and to use the same size of plastic bobbins that came with the machine. I do use my fingers if I see the thread getting out of balance, but it has rarely happened. If it happens a lot, the machine should be checked by a technician.
Karla Kizer said... (12/12/04 12:52 PM) Reply
I hand-wind only specialty threads - ribbon thread, Wooly Nylon, Polyarn, etc. My everyday sewing thread gets the customary quick spin through the sewing machine's bobbin winder. If I had to hand-wind ALL thread, I'd stop sewing and take up something more fun - and just about anything would qualify.
SewVeryTall said... (12/12/04 0:34 AM) Reply
I am compelled to update my 12/10 comment, because of other comments here.
This is a good tip for things that NEED to be hand wound, like stretchy wooly nylon thread, nylon or poly invisible thread, and unusual bobbin work embellishments like skinny ribbon or yarn.
To mislead beginners by saying that ALL THREAD should be hand wound is just plain wrong. The bobbin winder on Janie's machine may be defective, so she needs to do this on "all thread", but for proper tension of regular sewing thread, it SHOULD be done on the machine's bobbin winder. I have been winding bobbins on the machine for over 40 years and I've never had a problem.
bkool said... (12/11/04 7:56 AM) Reply
Thank you. I did not know that.
Janie Viers said... (12/10/04 12:02 PM) Reply
You should really hand wind all thread. It keeps the tension correct. If you just fill the bobbin from the machine at top speed the thread can be pulled too tight and too uneven...enough to cause tension problems or thread breakage. By controling the thread with your hand you can do a wind without concern it's too tight. So, to answer your question, "all circumstances"!
bkool said... (12/10/04 10:45 AM) Reply
Under what circumstances should a bobbin be "hand wound.?"
SewVeryTall said... (12/10/04 7:31 AM) Reply
Good tip, lots more control this way.
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