Reverse bobbin work

My experience and some instruction on using reverse bobbin work on garment embelishment.

There are many ways that my mom’s quilting experience crosses over into my garment sewing. She’s found many great treasures that she collects and ships to me in sewing and Grandma love filled care packages. One of these was my bright shiny bobbin case that I call iron man. It’s what I use on almost every project, so the bobbin case that came with my machine was getting no love. Till I saw what someone did called reverse bobbin work.

My two bobbin cases, the one on the right I use for every day thread, the one on the left I have adjusted that small screw on the side so thick thread/floss can glide thru.

It’s an embellishment technique where you loosen the screw on the bobbin case and hand wind embroidery floss around an empty bobbin. I was nervous to try it, I mean the image of embroidery floss shredded in my bobbin hook is the stuff of nightmares. However I have done elastic thread shirring so I put on my me made big girl undies and got to work.

Once the floss is wound around the bobbin, take the bobbin case and loosen the little screw on the side. I did about a turn with the mini screwdriver, then thread the bobbin case with the floss filled bobbin like it was regular thread. The loosening of the screw opens up the metal slot that the thread/floss slides between so the thicker fiber can be used by the machine while stitching.

The front of my Viewridge tank before removing the basting and pressing, then stitching right side down with the bobbin filled with embroidery floss.


The next part can be tricky because you are sewing with the right side down and you can’t see your progress till you flip your work over. I chose to do this for the first time on a tank top that had a yolk, so I attempted to follow the seam line where the two pieces were joined. Another way would be to draw your design on the wrong side and follow those marked lines. Once everything is set and you have done a few test stitches you are ready to embellish your work. When you stitch the bobbin thread is a bit puffy with a thin line from the top thread, making it look like a dashed line. Match the colors of your thread and floss for a simple raised dotted line or make a striped dotted line with two contrasting colors.

Here is what the reverse bobbin work looks like when you flip your work to the right side. I also used and edge stitch foot because it helped me stay on the joints of the pieces, a regular foot would work well too.


I did this on the front shoulder and yolk of the Viewridge Tank in a contrasting lime green and navy top thread. It turned out great but not perfect as I missed some parts of the seam line. But I am looking forward to trying it on more projects.

What do you think? Want to start embellishing your seam lines?

Lauren D

45 thoughts on “Reverse bobbin work”

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