What is a Bobbin Machine?

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  • Written By: Christine Hudson
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2019
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A bobbin machine, often referred to as a bobbin winder, is a machine used to wind thread onto sewing machine bobbins. The bobbin is a sewing machine accessory that is typically a cylindrical holder for thread. This thread can then be saved for future use or placed in the machine right away. Many machines have the ability to wind bobbins—however, they may take more time to do so, and some do not have the same convenient features as a bobbin machine.

The bobbin machine typically does not do any sewing. Instead, it prepares spindles or bobbins of thread for the use in several different machines. One common element to a bobbin machine is the ability to handle many different types and weights of thread on many styles of bobbin. Sewing machines may have difficulty winding bobbins of any other size than the type that is specifically made for them, while a bobbin machine can wind thread for use in many types of machines. Common bobbin machines can thread a bobbin for use in sewing, embroidery and even working with serges.

These machines may come in a variety of styles, shapes and types. Some popular bobbin machines are small enough to be portable, while others can be very large. Bobbin machines can be battery- or electrically-operated, with some even being controlled via hand-winding. Many have features like tension control and may thread a bobbin in much less time than it would take a sewing machine.


When deciding on a bobbin machine, it is generally a good idea to know what it will be most often used for. Simple bobbin machines may be appropriate for the beginner seamstress who only plans to use one machine. Machines with more capabilities and functions may be necessary for professional use. Many times, a seamstress, professional or not, may belong to a sewing club or class where she can seek advice when deciding on a bobbin machine and learn how to effectively use one.

Different machines may have different care and use instructions. Many times, the bobbin machine may be purchased with a user manual and care guide for explanation. These instructions are usually important to follow in order to prevent damage and extend the life of the machine. Bobbin machines are normally available in many local craft or fabric shops or online. Prices can vary and depend on average local markets, machine features and the brand.


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