When sewing, remember the 5 bobbins rule

Welcome back to QUILTsocial. This week, we’re checking out the Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 50. This is a sewing machine and also an embroidery machine with some great features.

Today I thought I would share some tips on cleaning out the sewing machine and let’s talk a bit about setting up your sewing space. It would appear that I’m a bit aggressive. Let me show you what I mean.

Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 50

Despite having a very sturdy dedicated sewing table, I often end up sewing on a banquet table. It’s just easier to set up and tear down sewing machines as often as I do and well the real reason? My sewing table is a tad covered in projects. I can’t get near it!

This sewing skirt is all the rage. It seems that everyone I know has one. Most of the members of my sewing group have made one. They even bring it to our sewing retreats. A friend of mine made me one and I’ve been using it – sort of.

I believe it’s supposed to look like this. The top of the pockets is lined up with the edge of the sewing table. The pockets are supposed to hold your sewing stuff. Hmm, I only use three things when I sew – a quilter’s awl, a seam ripper, and my snips. Notice that NONE of them made it into one of the pockets.

Sewing caddy positioned under the Designer Topaz 50

However, I noticed that this is more likely the way my sewing station looks. Notice how askew the sewing machine is? The top of those pockets is not lined up with the edge of the table at all. I’m often sewing large things, like putting the binding on a quilt and with all the manipulating and the smooth surface under the sewing caddy, it moves around a lot. I guess I could put a shelf liner under it? Or just not put the sewing caddy under my sewing machine but it does look pretty!

Sewing caddy is slightly askew after sewing a binding on a quilt

I’ll say that one of the best discoveries I made regarding my “aggressive” behavior while sewing was the use of the outdoor mat under my foot pedal. The foot pedal stays put. No more reaching, no more runaway foot pedal. I love this and the mat is super easy to keep clean. I ran the vacuum over it just before taking this picture and all the dust and threads are easily removed. That is very important to me as if the tool/gadget isn’t easy to use or easy to clean, it’s gone!

Sewing machine foot pedal on an outdoor mat to prevent runaway foot pedal

As I was busy sewing the other day, I got the Low Bobbin Notice that pops up on the Interactive Touch Screen. Normally this isn’t a worry as I keep wound bobbins ready to pop in. However, this was the last of my five bobbins. Darn – that means, it’s time to clean the bobbin case.

I thought I would share the experience with you so you can see how easy it is to clean out the bobbin case on the Designer Topaz 50.

In the photo below, I have removed all the parts necessary to clean out the bobbin area. I’ve even removed the actual bobbin case. Don’t worry, I’ll show you how it all goes back together.

Preparing to clean out the bobbin case area

Use the brush that comes with the Designer Topaz 50 to get all the lint from the nooks and crannies. Don’t forget to remove the lint from the feed teeth as well.

Brush for cleaning the lint from the sewing machine

The first step to cleaning out the bobbin case area is knowing that you should do that cleaning on a regular basis. Many people don’t realize that a build-up of lint in this area can greatly affect the tension on your sewing machine.

Look at that lint!

Lint that was removed from the bobbin case area

Here are the four pieces that need to be removed before you can reach the area beneath the bobbin case. The bobbin case, the metal needle plate, the bobbin case holder, and the bobbin case cover.

The bobbin case, the metal needle plate, the bobbin case holder and the bobbin case cover

The first thing to put back is the bobbin case. That’s the black item in the photo above. It’s important that the bobbin case goes back in the correct position. If by chance you have repositioned the base that the bobbin case goes into, it’s easy to get it back in the correct position by using the Scissors function. That will reset that area to the default and then the bobbin case just slips into place.

Bobbin case is back in place

Next, you’re going to put the bobbin case holder back in place. That’s the light gray piece. It slips into place and keeps the bobbin case from moving around.

Bobbin case holder is in place

The metal needle plate goes on next. It’s important to get the back of the needle plate in position first and then snap the front edges in place.

Needle plate has been snapped into place

The last thing to do is insert a filled bobbin and snap the plastic bobbin case cover in place. I like the fact that this is a drop in bobbin. The clear bobbin case cover allows me to see how much bobbin thread is left. Even though there’s an alert that the bobbin thread is going to run out soon, I like seeing how much is left.

There are five speeds at which you can wind the bobbins. I usually wind bobbins at the top speed, no need to work slow on that. You don’t need to unthread the sewing machine to wind bobbins, but make sure you use a metal foot. I prefer to unthread the sewing machine and wind my bobbins that way.

There’s also a separate motor for the bobbin winder so if you’re embroidering, you could wind your bobbins at the same time.

Speed is set for maximum, although there are five different speeds on the Designer Topaz 50

And how do you know when to clean the bobbin case area? There’s no hard rule on this, but my rule of thumb is after about 8 hours of sewing. And how do you measure 8 hours? I wind five bobbins. When those five bobbins are finished, then it’s time to clean the bobbin case area, change the needle (very important) and then back to sewing.

This process doesn’t take very long and yet it can keep your sewing machine sewing beautifully for a very long time. There’s NO NEED to oil the Designer Topaz 50. I like that – keep the maintenance simple. I like simple!

Tomorrow, I’m going to show you some of my favorite presser feet and some of the stitching that I did with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 50.

Be sure to come back!

Have a great day!


This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2: Exploring the Stitch Menus on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 50

Go to part 4: Best ever presser feet storage and presser feet review

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Barbara Ghylin June 29, 2021 - 5:18 pm
I have a opal 650. I use. I use the same rule for my bobbins & needle change. The only difference is I use 3 bobbins instead of 5.
Jane N June 6, 2019 - 9:43 pm
Wow. Have never seen a bobbin case like that. About 3 years ago, I purchased my first new machine in 35 years. My new machine had a drop-in bobbin, which was new to me. The first thing I do when sitting down to sew, is to clean the bobbin case. It takes less than 2 minutes and is part of my getting everything ready to sew routine.
Carla A. Canonico June 9, 2019 - 11:45 am
Hi Jane! I will remember your comment and put it in practice going forward, it's a good habit to adopt! Thank you for sharing.
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