What's Most Important? Top Thread or Bobbin Thread

What's Most Important? Top Thread or Bobbin Thread

Pyramid of Sewing by Superior Threads:   I wanted to share this great article about bobbin thread and you sewing machine.

Food Pyramid Example for SewersWe have all seen the nutrition pyramid that encourages healthy food choices.  The pyramid drawing shows daily recommended servings for each category.  The bottom (and largest portion), shows grains, the next level up shows fruits and vegetables, the next level up shows dairy and protein, and smallest portion at the top of the pyramid shows fats and sweets.  As we move toward the top of the pyramid, the importance of each level remains the same but the recommended quantity decreases. Totally ignoring even the smallest category would not be healthy.

Let’s apply this pyramid to sewing.  Whether we are quilting, embroidering, constructing, or crafting, we have been programmed to think like this:Thread Pyramid of Sewing
Most important is the machine.
Next is the fabric.
Somewhat important is the top thread.
Least important is the bobbin thread.
This way of thinking is not healthy.  It merely reflects the time and expense at each level and tends to place less importance on the top levels of the pyramid.  We may spend thousands of dollars on the machine, hundreds on fabric, dollars on the top thread, and pennies on the bobbin thread.

We buy the best machine we can afford.  We shop for quality fabric, relying on reputable brands. Many have discovered there really is a difference in thread and are carefully choosing a quality top thread.

However, the bobbin thread is still frequently ignored and the “anything will do” attitude is too prevalent.  Just as in the nutrition pyramid, each level of the sewing pyramid is equally important.  It does not make sense to eat healthy in two or three of the categories and ignore one or two other categories. Likewise, it does not make sense to have a quality machine, quality fabric, quality top thread, and then use junk bobbin thread.  The bobbin thread is just as important as other levels of this pyramid. Some good Bobbin Thread Therapy will help us stay in proper balance.  Here is some knowledge we have gained over the past 12 years of studying bobbins and thread.

  What makes a good bobbin thread?

The exact same thing as what makes a good top thread — quality. A bobbin may hold 135 yards of a very thin, low quality, loosely twisted polyester thread. The same size bobbin may hold only 45 yards of a fuzzy (linty), cotton thread. Don’t decide solely on yardage. Choose your bobbin thread based on quality. Choose bobbin thread from thread you are familiar with and know to be quality. If you use prewound bobbins, make sure the thread is a quality product.

Are prewound bobbins OK to use?

Yes, if the thread quality is good.  Prewound bobbins will usually hold more than a self-wound bobbin due to the precision winding of professional winding machines.  The market is flooded with prewound bobbins. However, nearly all the advertising emphasis is placed on everything EXCEPT the thread.  For example,
Is it a plastic bobbin or a cardboard-sided bobbin? (It does not matter.)
Is it a magnetic bobbin?  (All our research and testing shows the tension setting has more influence than does a tiny magnet.
How many yards of thread are on the bobbin? More important than yardage is the quality of the thread.

My dealer/technician said that using prewound bobbins will void the machine warranty.

Absolutely wrong.  He/she is misinformed.  Most machine companies sell prewound bobbins.  Many dealers/technician may discourage the use of prewound bobbins based on their experience of cleaning machines that used low quality thread on the prewound.  A prewound bobbin with a quality thread is much better for the machine than a self-wound bobbin with junk thread.

What is the recommended polyester bobbin thread?

A smooth, lint free, tightly twisted thread such as Bottom Line or So Fine #50.

What is the recommended cotton bobbin thread?

A high quality, low lint cotton (extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton) such as MasterPiece.

What bobbin style works in my machine?

There are three main bobbin styles and approximately 75% of all machines are compatible with one of these.
Home Machines  L-style and Class 15 (also known as A-style) bobbins are the most common.

Longarm machines  All longarm machines are compatible with either M-style or L-style prewound bobbins.
Please see our Bobbin Compatibility List to determine if your machine is compatible with a prewound bobbin.
The diagram below shows dimensions for L-style, Class 15 (A-style), and M-style bobbins.





Thanks Superior Thread for a great article about the importance of bobbin thread.

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