Handy! Stand alone bobbin winder

overwound_bobbinAs you can surmise from the photo of the exuberantly wound bobbin at right, we’d been having minor annoyances* with respect to bobbin winding lately. I’d always to buy a dedicated stand alone bobbin winder to replace the ghetto winder I’d made out of parts cannibalized from an$11 hand mixer that has since disappeared but the units cost more than I’d wanted to spend. Specifically, the last time I’d checked some years ago, the cost was $400.  Finalizing my decision to purchase one was somehow managing to knock my Adler out of timing when I was running it just to make a bobbin. So I poked around and found one for sale at Atlas Levy for the !SOLD! price of $79.

For those who don’t know, industrial machines will wind a bobbin while you sew. Newer machines have the winder top side; older machines have the winder along side the belt. Even with a built in winder, you sometimes need a bobbin when starting a new workpiece so you have to run the machine just to get one. Anyway, having a dedicated winder such as the one I bought is useful if you have a variety of machines because you don’t have to run the sewing machine just to make a bobbin.

bobbin_winder1smThe bobbin winding machine is straightforward, no degree in rocket surgery required to figure it out. That said, the first one I ordered was (presumably) damaged in transit in spite of the nice packaging (!) so I had to return it for another. I had not ordered from Atlas Levy before but I wasn’t worried about the transaction since many had sung praises of this vendor in the forum. Having to return the other and get the replacement was pretty painless. I can’t speak for you but I get a little annoyed when I have to wait for a return to arrive on the other end before being shipped a replacement if I provide a tracking number for the return shipment. Atlas Levy was nice enough to not make me wait so although my time frame was delayed somewhat, it all worked out. They even threw in a selection of bobbins to compensate me for the hassle. -Before I went ADD on you, I’d meant to link to a video that shows how it works.

If I had anything negative to say about it at all, it would be that the cord is just a little short and the unit sounds a little tinny when it’s running. The cord length may not matter to you but if your shop is set up like mine, you’ll have to find a place it can live out of the way. In my shop, we hung the power outlets from the ceiling mounted on pedestals. The outlets are not too high but rather, probably too low. I measured just now; the outlets are 78″ from the floor. Meaning, if you’re one of the lucky ducks with feedrail, you will probably have to add a slightly longer cord. Speaking of, the winder does come with a plug so you’ll have to switch that out for a trolley plug but you’re probably used to that. All I will say is that I aspire to be annoyed when equipment comes in with  the usual plugs attached.

Oh I almost forgot; the unit is adjustable and will handle a variety of bobbin sizes so no need to worry your bobbins won’t fit on the spindle. Beyond winding a few different sizes for testing, I haven’t used it very much but I do like having one, it feels like insurance because I know it will save me so much bother.

One last thing, the unit is shown as back ordered at the link I provided at time of this writing but it is in stock. You may have to call (800-216-9128) to place your order.
*Yes, I’m aware the bobbin stop lever needed adjusting to prevent over winding (it has since been repaired) but it made for fun times in the meantime.

Get New Posts by Email


  1. What is a trolley plug? I googled and couldn’t find more than photos of a big shop where I assume they are used, and other things that didn’t look like a plug at all, and, of course, a trolley car.

    Frustrated at second guessing, I’m asking.

    Never thought of a bobbin winder before. It’s neat!


  2. Adrienne says:

    I was so happy that my industrials wind a bobbin while I work but it does become a “chore” to remember to put a bobbin on or what color etc. I have seen little winders that are plastic and just look I am going to break them easily. This one looks substantial enough to hold up to real work.

  3. Quincunx says:

    When is the feedrail high enough then, when even your local six-foot-tall person can’t plug or unplug things without a stepladder? The thought of one of those dangling plugs hitting someone’s skull like a flail makes me wince.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Quin: Plugging and unplugging is not a daily issue, just once in awhile when you move things around or need to switch out a machine. A stepladder isn’t as much of a problem as it would be in the home, I have five in here. The trick is getting people to use them instead of standing on a chair (pretty much resolved now).

    The potential for being hit in the head is also not likely because the plugs are positioned over the machine (or over a table) where one’s head can’t be (you’d have to lean over to align with the plug and thus, be unable to hit it). Also, there are usually overhead lights in the way. It is much much safer than plugging in along a wall at the baseboard because cords would have to snake over the floor which incurs the likelihood of tripping. I’ve had injuries from people hitting their heads on an open sewing drawer (waist level) but never from a pedestal. I’ve seen one person rip out an earlobe from a thread stand because they were wearing hoops- which is one reason I don’t allow those in here. Anyone who has been here can tell you I’m very serious about visitor’s attire, footwear and accessories in my shop. I had one girl start to read me the riot act over my being “judgmental” when I said she’d have to remove her nose piercing (a hoop, naturally) but that didn’t go over so well.

  5. Lisa Blank says:

    Thanks for the review. I had seen these advertised but didn’t know anyone with one. They seem quite handy indeed.

  6. Trish Winstead says:

    You know, I can just see you cobbling together the blender and some parts to create a OOAK (one of a kind) bobbin winder. Nice image!! Thanks for the link.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.