Spool Vs. Bobbin – What is the Difference?

Last Updated on September 7, 2023

Discover Spool Vs. Bobbin – what is the difference between Spool and Bobbin: In the world of sewing, two terms often get tangled up: spool and bobbin. Both play essential roles in the process of sewing and embroidery, but they are not interchangeable. In this blog post, we will unravel the mystery surrounding spools and bobbins and explore their unique functions and features.

Spool Vs. Bobbin
Image Source: Amazon, Canva

Here, we will explore the differences between spools and bobbins in detail. We will discuss their functions, how they work, and when to use each one. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of these essential sewing components and be well on your way to becoming a sewing pro.

What is a Spool?

YRDQNcraft Spool Pin for Sewing Machines
YRDQNcraft Spool Pin for Sewing Machines
Image Source: Amazon

A spool is a cylindrical object, typically made of wood, plastic, or metal, around which thread, yarn, or wire is wound for storage and use. In sewing, the spool holds the thread that will be used as the top thread during the stitching process. The spool’s primary purpose is to keep the thread organized, untangled, and easy to access.

Spools come in various sizes and shapes, depending on the type of thread or material being used. They can range from small, narrow spools for delicate threads to larger, wider spools for heavier materials. Some spools even have notches or grooves for securing the thread’s end when not in use, preventing it from unraveling.

What is a Bobbin?

Mr. Pen- Bobbins, Metal Bobbins
Mr. Pen Metal Bobbins
Image Source: Amazon

A bobbin, on the other hand, is a smaller cylindrical piece designed to hold the bottom thread in a sewing machine. It is typically made of plastic or metal and is wound with thread before being inserted into the bobbin case, which is located beneath the needle plate in a sewing machine. The bobbin thread works in tandem with the top thread from the spool to create a lockstitch, the most common type of stitch used in sewing.

Like spools, bobbins come in various sizes and styles to accommodate different sewing machines and thread types. However, they are generally smaller and have a more uniform shape compared to spools. It is essential to use the correct bobbin size and type for your sewing machine to ensure proper tension and stitch quality.

What is the Main difference between spool and bobbin?

The main difference between a spool and a bobbin lies in their function in the sewing process. A spool holds the top thread and is typically placed on the top of the sewing machine, while a bobbin holds the bottom thread and is inserted into a bobbin case beneath the needle plate. They work together to create stitches in sewing and embroidery projects.

Spool Vs. Bobbin – Key Differences Between Spools and Bobbins

FunctionHolds the top threadHolds the bottom thread
Size & ShapeVariety of sizes and shapesSmaller and more uniform in appearance
LocationPlaced on a spool pin or holder on top of the sewing machineInserted into a bobbin case beneath the needle plate
MaterialMade from wood, plastic, or metalMade from plastic or metal
Thread CapacityCan hold more thread for longer continuous sewingHolds less thread, requires more frequent replacement/rewinding

What’s a bobbin spool?

A bobbin spool is a small cylindrical device used in sewing machines to hold the lower thread that interlocks with the upper thread to create stitches. The bobbin spool is inserted into the bobbin case of the sewing machine, and the thread is wound around it before being inserted into the machine.

As the machine sews, the upper thread and lower thread interlock around the fabric, creating a stitch. Bobbin spools come in different sizes and materials depending on the sewing machine and type of thread being used.

How many bobbins are in a spool of thread?

How many bobbins are in a spool of thread
Image Source: The Spruce Crafts

The number of bobbins that can be filled from a single spool of thread varies depending on the size of the spool and the bobbins. In the example given, one spool of Aurifil 50 weight thread (1,300 meters) can fill between 11 and 21 bobbins.

This range depends on factors such as bobbin size, winding tension, and thread thickness. Using sewing machines with larger bobbins can help reduce the frequency of running out of bobbin thread and needing to stop and reload bobbins during sewing projects.


Understanding the difference between spools and bobbins is essential for those who sew, whether they are beginners or seasoned experts. By recognizing their unique roles, you can ensure that your sewing projects run smoothly and efficiently.

In summary, a spool holds the top thread and is placed on the sewing machine’s top, while a bobbin holds the bottom thread and is inserted into the bobbin case beneath the needle plate.

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