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8 essential steps for successful bobbin work

8 essential steps for successful bobbin work

by Christine Baker

Yesterday on QUILTsocial I shared with you 7 crafty ways to embellish quilts with Razzle and Dazzle thread from WonderFil Specialty threads. Today we’re going to get our machines ready to do some bobbin work. I’m excited to try this technique as I’ve seen lots of beautiful quilts embellished with bobbin work, but have never actually done it myself.

A selection of Dazzle threads from WonderFil Specialty threads.

Dazzle threads

What is bobbin work?

Instead of sewing on the top of the fabric, you work from the back and let the bobbin thread be the star! You can create designs, which give a three-dimensional appearance to the surface of the fabric, by winding the bobbin with heavy weight thread or ribbon too thick to be fed through the sewing machine needle and sewing on the wrong side of the fabric.

Here are some good steps to follow if you want to try bobbin work:

1. Start with the right equipment

Since I wanted to try doing bobbin work with my new NQ900 from Brother, I emailed the company to ask what type of equipment I would need. They were so nice to send me the Innov-is Bobbin Work Kit pictured below.

The bobbin work kit for the NQ900 sewing machine from Brother.

The bobbin work kit

The kit comes with a special bobbin work bobbin case (which is gray instead of black like the regular bobbin case), a special bobbin cover, a small screwdriver and a CD-Rom which has the manual in English, French and Spanish. I printed out the manual, since I wanted to be able to have it right beside my machine in case I got myself into trouble!

The contents of the bobbin work kit for the NQ900 sewing machine.

Contents of kit

3. Prepare your bobbin case

Depending on your sewing machine, you may need to change your usual bobbin case for one that is made especially for bobbin work. For my machine, all I had to do was remove the needle plate cover, remove the black bobbin case, clean the area with a brush or vacuum and then insert the gray bobbin case. Check your machine’s manual to see how to prepare your bobbin case for bobbin work.

The NQ900 sewing machine from Brother has a special bobbin case (which is gray) to use when doing bobbin work.

Inserting the bobbin

3. Hand wind your bobbin

To fill your bobbin, hand wind it slowly and evenly with your decorative thread until it’s about 80% full. Try to wind it so that the thread is snug and not twisted. Trim the beginning tail of the thread as close as you can to the bobbin.

When doing bobbin work, it is important to hand wind the bobbin with your Dazzle decorative thread from WonderFil.

Hand wind the bobbin

4. Insert the bobbin in the bobbin case

Following your machine’s manual, insert the bobbin and pass the thread through the tension spring.

Loading the bobbin full of Dazzle thread from WonderFil.

Loading the bobbin

5. Thread upper machine

Select a thread that will compliment your decorative thread and use it to thread the upper machine and needle. You can use monofilament, cotton, polyester or rayon thread in the top – whatever your heart desires! I chose a thread close in color to my Dazzle thread in the bobbin.

6. Bring up bobbin thread

Hold onto the tail of your upper thread and using the hand wheel on the side of your machine, lower the needle down to catch the bobbin thread and bring it up to the top.

7. Set the speed

If you can set the speed on your machine, set it to the lowest speed possible. This will allow you to have the most control while stitching.

When doing bobbin work with Razzle and Dazzle threads, set the sewing machine to it's slowest sewing speed.

Use slowest speed

8. Prepare your stitching surface

Use a lightweight tear-away stabilizer such as HeatnBond on the wrong side of the fabric.

I decided to make a crazy quilt background for my stitching by placing a bunch of fabric strips and scraps on top of the stabilizer and then stitching them down with Fruitti thread. I used some of the straight stitches and some of the decorative stitches on my machine to make two different stitch samples.

A crazy quilt base made with green fabrics, lightweight interfacing and Fruitti thread from WonderFil.

Crazy quilt base #1

A crazy quilt base made with green fabrics, lightweight interfacing and Fruitti thread from WonderFil.

Crazy quilt base #2

Now that my machine is all set up and my stitching bases have been made, I’m ready to try bobbin work. Come back tomorrow and we’ll see the Razzle and Dazzle threads in action.

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1: 7 crafty ways to embellish quilts with Razzle and Dazzle threads

Go to part 3: Razzle and Dazzle threads make bobbin work spectacular


1 comment

R July 5, 2021 - 3:44 am

You don’t have to hand wind the bobbin; but, you do need to hold onto the tail, after threading thru the side bobbin hole (with your right hand). If your thread or ribbon is too big to fit thru the bobbin hole; you can make a loop (over the heavy thread), using a folded piece of regular thread, to pull the heavy thread or ribbon tight, (threading the ends of the loop thru the bobbin hole) & hold the heavy thread or ribbon in place.

Then you must loosely (with your left hand) hang onto the heavy thread or ribbon that is being wound around the bobbin; so that any twist is straightened, before it gets to the bobbin.


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