Greetings,

Bobbins. Sew many types and sizes. I would like to spend this months Tip Of The Month going over bobbin basics. Of course you should use whatever bobbins your machine calls for. However, that doesn't mean by Brand only. A Singer bobbin is not just one type of bobbin. Singer machines, as well as some other Brands, have a few different models that use a few different bobbin types. They are usually not interchangeable. It is important to use the correct bobbin style, so I'm going to break this down into the common bobbin types.

Certainly the most common type of bobbin is the 15 Class. The dimensions are approximately 3/4" in diameter and 3/8" high, with a flat profile. If you have the type of machine with an oscillating shuttle where you remove the bobbin case to install the bobbin (front or end load), you may use the metal or plastic version. If you have a drop in bobbin system that uses 15 Class bobbins, you should stick with the plastic version. Some of the drop in bobbin machines use a magnet ring under the bobbin case to help hold it down in place. This magnet will also tend to pull a metal bobbin down, producing drag on the bobbin. In essence, increasing the bobbin tension. Did I mention The Easy Winder will wind a 15 Class bobbin full in less then 15 seconds?

Some Singer designed drop in bobbin machines require a different bobbin. A 66 Class drop in bobbin. The dimensions are approximately 3/4" in diameter and 5/16" high, with a rounded profile. This is an exclusive Singer bobbin and was designed for their half moon shaped metal bobbin case from the late 1940's. The later plastic version from the 1960's was called the Apollo bobbin case. It is still in use today. In fact, there were so many machines made that use this bobbin, that it is commonly referred to simply as the Singer Drop In Bobbin. And it is available everywhere. In metal or plastic. The plastic version can be used in other drop in bobbin machines, including the Viking Designer series, but is a little difficult to remove, due to the rounded profile. They should not be used in front or end load machines with a removable bobbin case as the needle will contact the edge of the bobbin and chip it. Yes, The Easy Winder will wind 66 Class bobbins also.

Pre-wound bobbins are typically L Class bobbins. This is as close to a universal, one size fits all bobbin as there is. The dimensions are approximately 3/4" in diameter and 5/16" high, with a flat profile. These bobbins will work in almost every machine. They will not work with the Singer 221 (Featherweight) or 301, and there are a few others. While they will work in numerous bobbin cases, they will not work on every machines bobbin winder. Instead of throwing them away when depleted, you may want to consider The Easy Winder bobbin winder. They will wind just fine on The Easy Winder, thank you very much. Just thought you'd like to know. And it will also wind Featherweight and 301 bobbins as well.

Those are the 3 most common bobbin types. But there are plenty of Speciality bobbins out there. Let's start with...

Viking. Used to be a time when there was only one bobbin for Viking machines. The (what else) Viking bobbin. Very similar to an L Class bobbin. From all the way back to the (I believe) model 21-E, through the 10 hundred series (1020, 1030, 1040), on to the 64 hundred series (6430, 6440, 6460), the 65 hundred series (6540, 6570), the 5610 and the 5710 3/4 head machines, the first Viking electronic - the 6690, the 900 series of electronics, the 150 series.....All of them used the same Viking bobbin. Then their engineers got the idea to design a bobbin that would only fit one way on the winder spindle and, therefore, only fit one way into the bobbin case, the "correct" way (I'll be discussing that concept in next months Tip Of The Month). The result was the second Viking bobbin. The open back concave bobbin. Basically a modified version of the original Viking bobbin. It was designed for the models 150E, 1100, #1, #1+ and some others. And they are (of course) incompatible, not just with other Vikings, but with every other brand. Except some of the Whites that were actually Vikings (I'm actually starting to get confused now!).  And there is no other bobbin that will fit these machines. You must use the Viking open back bobbins. The third Viking bobbin, the Designer (Sew Easy) series, is a continuation of this train of thought. It will only fit one way. And it is incompatible with the other two (naturally). By the way, the first two versions will wind on The Easy Winder.

Pfaff. Up until just recently, there has only been one Pfaff bobbin style. Very similar to an L Class bobbin. A few early models (1221, 1222, 1222E) used a magnetic ring as the bobbin winder, which meant that you had to use a metal bobbin, otherwise it couldn't wind. All of the Pfaff's utilized a removable bobbin case. On the Electronic models with a low bobbin indicator, you have to use Pfaff brand bobbins if you want that feature to work. It will not register a low bobbin if you are using anything other then a Pfaff brand bobbin. And now there is the Creative Touch drop in bobbin system. With a new and different bobbin. The Easy Winder will wind all Pfaff bobbins. Except the Creative Touch. Which is designed to go in one way (sigh). By the way, the original Viking bobbin will work in the original Pfaff bobbin case. The original Pfaff bobbin will NOT fit into the original Viking bobbin case.  

Bernina. Another Company that utilized a single bobbin system. Until they changed it. For the longest time Bernina used a 15 Class bobbin system. In fact, the models 801, 730, 830, 930, 1130, 1230 and the 1530 (there are other models within these models) are considered by many (including myself) to be some of the best stitching sewing machines ever made. They had refined the oscillating shuttle to such a high degree of precision that the thread just had to obey. Perfect stitch formation. With the model 1630, Bernina introduced their first rotary hook system, with a new bobbin system. Similar to (of course) an L Class bobbin. However, I do believe that the low bobbin indicator requires you to use the Bernina brand bobbins to function properly. The Easy Winder will wind both Bernina bobbin types.

Singer. The original Singer (and other) treadle machines used a long bullet shaped bobbin case with a bobbin that looked like a tiny hand weight. The next generation of bobbin systems was the 15 Class bobbin. I have been told that overseas manufacturers at the time designed a mirror image of Singer's design to circumnavigate Patent infringement issues, and that the overseas version became the industry standard. Then there is the Featherweight bobbin. The same bobbin fits the Singer model 301. And of course, the 66 Class bobbin mentioned above. And then came the first self winding bobbin in the early 1960's, the Touch & Sew. Did you know that these bobbins unscrew so that you could remove the thread? You were not suppose to wind thread on a bobbin with thread already on it (yeah, like I've never seen that before!). The next generation of self winding bobbins was called the Centaur Class and was used in the Futura line of machines. The third generation was called the Centaur ll. They came out in 1986 for the models 6234, 6235, 6267 and the world's first home embroidery machine, the 6268. I believe the fourth generation utilizes a bobbin with a gear or something on it for winding purposes. To be honest, I'm getting sew tired of bobbins... By the way, The Easy Winder will wind all of them except the self winding bobbins. They will only wind in their respective machines.

Janome (New Home). Easy. Most, if not all, use a 15 Class bobbin. Just be sure to use only the plastic version in the drop in bobbin models.

And Others. Such as Sears (Kenmore), White, Necchi, Riccar, Nelco, Elna, Brother, Kamikaze, Acme...Whatever... If you can't find the bobbins called for in the instruction book, do not despair. A general rule of thumb is, for a drop in bobbin system, use either a 66 Class Singer drop in bobbin or an L Class bobbin. Just make sure to use the plastic version. For a machine with a removable bobbin case, front or end load, use an L Class or (if it fits), a 15 Class. If it fits into the bobbin case but protrudes past the edge of the bobbin case, it doesn't fit.

The newest addition to the household family of bobbins is actually a commercial bobbin, the M Class. Commonly referrd to as the 'big bobbin' it is 1" in diameter and 7/16" high with a flat profile. You will certainly not confuse this with a 'normal' bobbin. It is being used more and more in long arm quilting machines because of the amount of thread that can be wound on it. Speaking of winding, let's see you fit this bobbin on your Sidewinder! No? Well, it does fit on The Easy Winder. In fact...   

Did I mention that The Easy Winder will wind most of them? I Did? OK, just checking.

HAPPY SEWING

John

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RJS Designs Inc.   Saint Petersburg, Florida USA