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Pre-wound Bobbins: Why You Should Use Them

Author: Ella Holmes  

Pre-wound bobbins come wound with different types of white or black thread, including cotton, nylon, and polyester. They’re great for embroidery and suitable for use in top-loading, drop-in or front-loading, push-in bobbin Brother and Janome machines.

3 Reasons why should you use them:

We’re always looking for ways to spend less time on tedious tasks. With pre-wound bobbins, there’s no need to stop embroidering and wait while you wind a new one. The cool thing about buying pre-wound bobbins is that you can purchase them in bulk packs, so you don’t have to worry about running out. Just slip another pre-wound bobbin in, and away you go again.

They are more likely to be evenly wound, making the thread more consistent as it comes off, which also helps with the appearance of your stitches.

You’ll notice Echidna’s pre-wound bobbins are also lint-free, which means fewer thread breaks and less fluff being stuffed into your machine—though you shouldn’t neglect to give your machine a regular clean-up.

Judging a pre-wound bobbin by its casing:

Pre-wound bobbins are made with different materials, including plastic, cardboard, and magnets. But what’s the difference?

Pre-wound bobbin casings

Plastic bobbins: the sides and the centre coil is made of plastic. Clear plastic makes it easier to see the colour of your thread and is generally cheaper than purchasing metal alternatives. We don’t recommend re-using plastic bobbins as they may break and cause damage when re-winding.

Magnetic-sided bobbins: the sides of the bobbin are fitted with magnets, which helps create consistent tension and consistent thread delivery. Magnetic sides also help prevent bobbin over-spin, which is when the bobbin continues to rotate after you’ve stopped stitching. Not to mention, they won’t fall out of your bobbin case! They’re compatible with embroidery machines that take an L style bobbin.

Sideless bobbins: bobbins that are the centre coil only, with no flat sides encasing the thread. They’re very light, which reduces the risk of over-spin, too. With no sides for the thread to get caught on, there’s also room for—you guessed it—more thread!

Pre-wound bobbin styles

Most front-loading industrial machines are compatible with magnetic and sideless bobbins. You can listen to Gary talk about the difference between them here.

What’s bobbin’ on? Choosing the right bobbin style for your machine is easy!

Each machine works with a specific bobbin style, and the bobbin’s style is determined is by its dimensions (height and diameter). These dimensions are represented by a letter. At Echidna, we carry ‘A Style’ and ‘L Style’ specifically.

Most modern drop-in bobbin machines take A Style bobbins, while almost all push-in bobbin machines take L Style.

To find out which pre-wound bobbin style your machine uses, try taking a look at your machine’s guidebook or user manual. It may mention either the style or the dimensions. Alternatively, you can call us.

What is the difference between an A Style bobbin and an L Style bobbin?

Where you’ll notice a difference in bobbin styles is their height/width. Everything else is the same.
In the chart below, you can see that an L style bobbin (8.89mm) is thinner than an A Style bobbin (11.7mm), therefore an A Style bobbin will hold more thread.

Pre-wound bobbin types

Note: Dimensions are approximate.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Can I use pre-wound bobbins for sewing and embroidering? 

    Pre-wound bobbins are not typically used for sewing, but they’re great for embroidering. They’re wound by machines that ensure an even winding, which increases the likelihood that your stitches will be consistent. A big plus for any embroiderer!

    The risk of using pre-wound bobbins for sewing is that your projects may turn out less structurally sound due to the difference in thread type. 

  2. Can I reuse a pre-wound bobbin?

    When re-using a pre-wound bobbin, there’s a chance it may break and cause damage to your machine. Better to be bobbin-safe than sorry! Protect your expensive machine by disposing of your empty bobbins. 

  3. Are A-Style bobbins suitable for every machine?

    Not all machines take the same bobbins. For example, our Echidna A-Style Plastic Pre-Wound Bobbins can be used with all Brother Innov-is and Janome Memory Craft machines, however, they are not suitable for Brother PR Series or Janome MB4 machines.

    If your machine’s user manual doesn’t tell you the bobbin style or the dimensions of the bobbins you should use, feel free to give us a call.

  4. Do I have to change any settings on my machine when I switch to a new type of bobbin?

    It’s always worth doing a test run when you swap, change, or replace a pre-wound bobbin with a self-wound bobbin, and vice versa. If you’re having issues between bobbin changes, it may be that tension is the cause. Watch our video on checking your bobbin tension.

Alternative Options

So you don’t want to use pre-wound bobbins. What can you do? You could always wind your own bobbins—just remember to always use a quality brand bobbin fill thread, and try matching it to the colour of your needle thread for consistency.