A bobbin holder is a sewing accessory that holds and stores sewing machine bobbins. Although a typical sewing machine has a drawer that holds a handful of bobbins and other sewing accessories, most people who sew regularly find that they end up with dozens of bobbins loaded with different colors of thread. Bobbins are difficult to store because they are small and round; if not properly stored, the thread on each bobbin begins to unwind, creating a mass of knotted thread. In this case, bobbin holders serve the main purpose of keeping a collection of bobbins organized and contained, thus eliminating thread tails that can cause a mess. Aside from the organization benefits, a bobbin holder — especially one that has a lid — also keeps bobbins protected from dust and light.
Bobbin holders can be commercially made or made by hand from a variety of materials, including metal, wood, plastic and silicone. The way the bobbins are stored within the bobbin holder largely dictates the shape, but there are round, straight and box-shaped varieties, for example. Although most bobbin holders can store many types of bobbins, some are intended for use with specific bobbins. For example, magnetic bobbin holders are useful for someone whose sewing machine uses metal bobbins. Magnetic bobbin holders are often straight, with a groove in which the bobbins sit; at the back of the groove, a magnet draws the metal bobbins in and keeps them in place.
Another popular type of bobbin holder is doughnut-shaped and made of silicone. Bobbins of all materials can be used in this type of holder, and they fit snugly inside the slightly concave walls, which helps to keep the thread from unraveling. Silicone bobbin holders are lightweight, reasonably priced and come in a variety of colors. Many people like to buy a round, silicone bobbin holder for each sewing machine they own; this alleviates the problem of trying to figure out the sewing machine in which the bobbin is intended for use. This is important because sewing machines use different types of bobbins, and using the wrong bobbin can cause substantial damage to a sewing machine.
A final example of a bobbin holder is a bobbin box. Bobbin boxes typically are made of plastic and contain a number of sections, each intended to hold a single bobbin. Unlike other types of bobbin holders, a bobbin box has a lid that serve to keep dust and lint away from the bobbins in the box. Dust and lint that accumulates on exposed bobbins can then be transferred to the sewing machine, causing a buildup that can lead to machine problems.
A bobbin case is a shuttle inside a sewing machine that houses the bobbin. This device facilitates the manipulation of the thread. A bobbin case is sometimes called a bobbin holder.