Bobbin organization

I think most quilters, and people who sew in general, have a lot of thread. If you are like me, thread organization can be an issue. I had a big problem with organizing all those bobbins for a long time.

I was reading a forum thread where some people said they only had 6 to 12 bobbins. I am sure many people are happy with that number, but that would drive me crazy (I have over 100). Shortly after I bought my machine, I bought a bulk package of generic bobbins for my machine on eBay. I like to have my top and bottom threads match, and I hate wasting thread, so I prefer to have a bobbin for nearly every color of thread I own and never have to unwind one. I realize I am probably in the minority here, but maybe there are others like me.

For people that only keep a few bobbins around, you have to find a way to use up the bobbin ends:

  • If you are not as picky if the top and bottom threads match, you can use up the ends of bobbins while you are piecing a quilt top. As long as you aren’t using a really dark thread color with a light colored fabric, or vice versa, it probably won’t show.
  • You can also just unwind your thread off the bobbin if there isn’t much left. Try saving those bits of thread in a jar for small tasks, like mending or sewing on buttons, or for a project like this one where you create new artsy fabric with them. I have also seen this done with sheer fabrics instead of stabilizer.

In any case, no matter how many bobbins you have, two things that are frustrating to me are the thread coming unwound off the bobbin (and getting snarled with all the other bobbins), and digging through bobbins to find the one that matches the thread you’re using.

There are several products, and some clever free or almost free hacks, to prevent your thread from coming unwound from the bobbin. Products include:

Handi-Bobs  Bobbin Saver   Clover bobbin organizer

Hugo’s Amazing Tape  Artbin thread case

Bobbin Box Organizer by Tidy Crafts

Bobbin Buddies

A couple of hacks I found online I thought were quite clever:

Julia from Stars and Sunshine uses clear plastic tubing from the hardware store, cut to the height of the bobbin. She uses 3/8 in. ID (inside diameter) clear tubing and explains the process (and a bunch of other thread organizing tips) in her post.

Kim from the Sassy Crafter also uses clear plastic tubing, but a larger size (3/4 in. ID) that holds the entire bobbin, similar to the Bobbin Saver above. She explains how to construct these tubes in her post.

If you want to keep your bobbins with the corresponding spool, you can:

  • use Handi-Bobs, like above
  • use a Matchbox car holder or similar segmented box to store your bobbin right with the thread
  • keep them together with a tiny zip-top bag, an elastic band, a pipe cleaner, or a paper clip.
  • store your bobbin underneath or on top of the thread if you use a peg holder

If your pegs aren’t long enough, then you can make your own peg holder.

This one, from Kate at Katie Mae Quilts is made out of pegboard and dowels and is shown on a wall, but would also work on a table or in a drawer. You could also cut a piece of pegboard to fit in a decorative frame.

This one, by Heather at The Creative Homemaker, keeps everything neatly on the wall.

What do you use to store your bobbins?

2017-10-04T22:16:52+00:00 February 6th, 2016|


  1. Barbara April 4, 2017 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    The rubber bands are a neat trick, but then storing them might present another problem.

  2. Graciela Ceballos April 6, 2017 at 6:20 am - Reply


  3. Graciela Ceballos April 6, 2017 at 6:22 am - Reply


  4. Judy Bird April 26, 2017 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    I’ve been using the elastic band method which worked fine until a couple of the band’s perished ruining the spool of thread! BE AWARE!! – I’ve recently been using fabric covered elastic hair ties & so far these work very well.

  5. Shyrlee August 11, 2017 at 2:24 am - Reply

    That’s a good idea but the one I like best is putting the bobbin on top of the thread spool and using a golf tee to hold it in place. Not so much fussing about. I also use a golf tee glued upside down to the base of my large cone holder to hold the bobbins I use most frequently.

  6. Diane thompson September 2, 2017 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    You are a genius!! Can’t wait to use this!!

  7. Sheena Reid October 2, 2017 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    To keep the thread from unwinding I use Hugo’s amazing tape. The roll last a long time, just cut a length of tape off the roll with a little to overlap. Sorry, can’t keep the bobbin with the thread? Elastic bands if left too long damage the thread.

  8. Ann November 2, 2017 at 6:39 am - Reply

    On smaller spools, I use twist ties. I run the tie through the spool and bobbin on top and twist closed. I’ve also seen spools of similar material so you could cut to length.

  9. Patricia January 20, 2018 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    I use an inexpensive pedicure tool. The foam holder that keep your toes apart while being polished works great and the loose end is held on the underside, just turn the bobbin until it gets there. I pick them up at dollar type stores 3 for a dollar. each one holds 5 bobbins.

  10. AJ March 5, 2018 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    hello! Enjoying your blog.

    You would probably faint if you saw how many different colours of thread I have and almost all with matching bobbins. I will not count them, *I’d* faint!

    I use Really Useful Boxes (popular in the UK for various craft/office/general storage) in the .7L size and made (no really, it was a Blue Peter moment) inserts for them out of card and plastic straws so that the spool sits over the straw then the bobbin on top. This works perfectly for Gutermann threads.

    That wall rack is nice. But not nearly big enough and it’d get awfy dusty!


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