The WOW in Prewound Bobbins

Janome Prewound BobbinsAs the desire for sewing and machine embroidery grows, so does the technology of machines. For many years I have sewn and embroidered using Janome and Bernina machines. Although stitch quality and embroidery results were nearly identical when comparing both machine brands, a major difference is the bobbins.

With the exception of the Deco embroidery machines, Bernina’s bobbins are metal, while Janome’s bobbins are mostly a plastic/rubber/resin combination, and in the materials of the bobbins lies the conundrum. Bernina’s metal bobbins seemed to hold more thread than Janome’s plastic bobbins, so I would often opt for the Bernina machine when I was embroidering. However, there is a vast difference between the two types of bobbins, metal vs. plastic, when “prewound” bobbins enter the mix.

Because I make store samples and because most of those samples contain machine embroidery, I became weary from having to change my bobbin every 24,000, or so, stitches. So, I decided to try Janome’s prewound bobbins, as Bernina doesn’t offer prewound bobbins. It is important to note that not just any prewound bobbin will work well in your machine. You want to ensure you are using only those prewound bobbins offered through your sewing machine manufacturer (We will refer to this as Brand.)

When I began using Janome’s prewound bobbins, I stopped worrying about changing my bobbins. My machine does have a low bobbin sensor, but I always knew I would have to change my bobbin mid way through my motif. Changing bobbins for me was tantamount to sitting in my dentists chair and having my teeth cleaned…I don’t like that much either.

Recently I combined three designs. Two were of equal density and contained more stitches each than the third design. My total stitch count was 69,963. For those of you who embroider, that is a sizable design. I placed a new, full, prewound bobbin in the machine and began my project. When my machine read 68,991 stitches, I received my low bobbin sensor message. Can you believe it? 68,991 stitches on one little plastic prewound bobbin! I actually enjoyed changing that bobbin. If I had been winding my own bobbins, I would have been on my third bobbin.

Here is the reality of prewound bobbins. Lots of small companies make loads of money selling prewound bobbins at quilt shows, craft shows, fairs, etc. In reporting on bobbins in the past, we have already shared that there is no such thing as a “universal” bobbin. You really need to use bobbins made by your Brand sewing/embroidery machine manufacturer. If your Brand does not offer prewound bobbins, you will want to continue to wind your own bobbins. Prewound bobbins from your Brand are endorsed by your Brand…they will work well in your machine, every time.

Prewound bobbins offered by your Brand are usually wound on their standard bobbins. If your Brand carries prewound bobbins, you will be collecting a drawer full of empty plastic bobbins that you can use for specific projects. How about creating something new with those empty bobbins? We can call it Bobbin Art. Kind of catchy, don’t you think?

FYI: Elna sewing machines are made by Janome, because the Elna brand was purchased by Janome over a decade ago. If you have one of the newer Elna machines which was made by Janome, you can use the Janome prewound bobbins. Likewise, if you happen to be in an Elna exclusive sewing machine dealership and need prewounds for your Janome, the Elna branded prewounds are perfect for you.

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Reader Comments (5)

Kay Allen on 1/16/14 @ 7:08am

Does Janome do prewound bobbins in colors other than black and white? That would be great for free standing lace embroidery.

b.gottier on 1/18/14 @ 5:11pm

Hi Kay, no they just have black and white. Color would be nice, but imagine how many colors it would take to satisfy everyone!

Patricia on 1/20/15 @ 6:36am

Hello! A huge thumbs up for your great info you've got here on this post. I'll be returning to your website for more soon.

Ken Harp on 10/14/15 @ 7:17am

In an industrial setting that uses many thousands of bobbins per year, we don't have to use PreWound bobbins from the machine manufacturer. We can use PW bobbins from a variety of sources and ours don't come with any plastic, they come with a little cardboard core on the inside, like a roll of paper towels. After being around a family business doing this for almost 40 years, I really have to question buying the exact name brand. Sounds a bit like telling me that you can only put Shell gas in your car.

b.gottier on 10/14/15 @ 8:33am

We've sold the prewound bobbins that you're talking about, although we do not currently offer them. There are a couple of disadvantages with those kinds of prewound bobbins, and while your industrial machines may not be so finicky, many household type embroidery machines don't work well with them. Bobbins don't always load the same way in all machines, and we've found that the prewounds you speak of don't work well in top-loading type bobbin cases. Also, the sizing that is used to hold those prewounds together puts a white sticky powder all over the inside of the hook area. This sticky substance ends up creating problems with stitch formation and tension. Janome's prewound bobbins work great in their machines, because the bobbin the thread is wound on is a Janome bobbin, and there is no sizing. If the prewound bobbins with the cardboard core works great for you, then you'd certainly have no reason to change.

Please keep in mind that this website and its blog don't speak of industrial applications or industrial machines. Temecula Valley Sewing Center does not carry industrial machines or supplies for them. Your world of machines, accessories, software, and supplies is a lot different than the home embroiderer's world.

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