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Sewing with the Bobbin Thread

Tucks or darts in transparent fabrics:

The desired effect when sewing tucks or darts in transparent fabrics, is making the end of the stitching clean, pucker-free, with no tail-ends of thread waving about. This is done by sewing with the bobbin thread.

When sewing with the bobbin thread, you are essentially folding the thread onto itself before sewing. That way, at the end of the tuck, the stitching line just-ends.

You need to think backwards when sewing this way. Generally when sewing a tuck or dart, you sew in the direction that it will end, and at the end, you back tack.

    For this technique to work, turn your thinking upsode down--this means, you will begin the stitching line where you want it to end, and stitch from that point.

In this demonstration, the upper thread is yellow, the lower thread is red, for clarity.

To begin, mark your tuck stitching line with the chalk wheel or clay chalk.

Then, drop the feed dogs on the machine. Place the work under the machine and lower the presser foot.

    Dropping the feed dogs will keep the machine from walking the fabric before you start sewing. If the feed dogs are up, the first stitch will come out crooked.


  Holding the end of the upper thread, walk the machine one stitch, so the bobbin (red) thread pops up through the fabric.


  Pull up on the bobbin thread, bringing up at least one yard of thread. Make sure you have enough thread--you will need to sew the tuck, or dart, as well as using the extra to prepare for the next tuck or dart.


  Remove the upper (yellow) thread from the needle.


  Thread the bobbin (red) thread backwards through the eye of the needle. This means, for example, if your machine threads front-to-back, you will thread the needle back-to-front.


  Here we have the needle threaded with the bobbin (red) thread.


  Tie the end of the bobbin (red) thread to the end of the upper (yellow) thread. Pull the upper thread backwards-this will draw the bobbin thread backwards, up and through the thread path. Pull so all of the bobbin (red) thread is drawn up.


  Now, raise the feed dogs, and sew the tuck.


  This is what it will look like when it comes out of the machine.



Here are photos of the back side of the tuck-note that the stitching just ends-no puckers, extra thread, or thread ends.



Clean on both sides--perfect!


Comments (23)

barb2220 barb2220 writes: Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is absolutely fantastic.
Posted: 9:14 pm on August 9th

mami50 mami50 writes: Something fantastic! excellent technique! I am so happy, but if I give advice as sewing, but you have to try, thank you Kenneth.

Posted: 4:21 am on September 1st

homeecteacher homeecteacher writes: I've never done this but am tucking (no pun intended) it away to use someday. Really great, clear photos and instructions.
Posted: 6:37 pm on November 20th

nancybauer nancybauer writes: Thank you, thank you for the clear and concise directions. I can't wait to use this tip..
Posted: 2:21 pm on November 12th

SAgirl SAgirl writes: One of the best tips I have read in almost 40 years, thank you
Posted: 12:14 am on November 10th

jojoma jojoma writes: Oh for pittys sake! That is awesome! Gotta try this!
Posted: 12:32 pm on October 29th

cre8it cre8it writes: I am so excited to try this!!! Thank you. this is an amazing concept to me... I've never heard of it before but it makes a beautiful finish. Thank you!! Great step by step photo's and instructions!
Posted: 4:10 pm on October 26th

Paws2 Paws2 writes: Awsome!!!!!!!!!! I will try this technique and please keep on giving us new sewing and designing techniques. Thanks...Paws
Posted: 11:55 am on October 26th

lovelylace lovelylace writes: Amazing!
Posted: 6:36 pm on October 22nd

gladrags gladrags writes: So simple but so clever!! how did I never hear of this?
Posted: 10:54 am on October 20th

BarbaraJChilds BarbaraJChilds writes: Fantastic tip. Been sewing for 50 years and never have seen it before. Can't wait to try it.
Posted: 8:04 am on October 20th

jzuznme jzuznme writes: Wow! That is awesome... Thank you Kenneth! I never knew how to do that!
Posted: 11:08 pm on October 19th

eatsallinsects eatsallinsects writes: I did this technique "about" 40 years ago! Thank you, Kenneth King for refreshing my memory!
Posted: 9:01 pm on October 19th

ShoppingForRocks ShoppingForRocks writes: I too forgot about this little trick I learned as a teenage sewer. Thanks for reminding me!!
Posted: 8:57 pm on October 19th

Scarlett007 Scarlett007 writes: WOW!!! Clear as a bell; the colored threads made it even more so. Thank you for helping me work out something that had me stumped!! Keep up this fabulous tips!! Many thanks, RSB in Tucson, AZ
Posted: 8:50 pm on October 19th

DiznDat DiznDat writes: That brought back memories. I was taught to use this trick for darts. I had/still have a Singer Touch and Sew Model 645. It has the wind-in-machine bobbin. I would wind the bobbin thread, not cut the thread and then start the point of the dart against the thread. This is fun because you don't have to start on a fold.
Posted: 8:36 pm on October 19th

madamquiltprez madamquiltprez writes: This is a trick that is sooooooo cool! Cannot wait to adapt it to quilting! Keep these ideas coming
Posted: 8:09 pm on October 19th

bobbysgirl bobbysgirl writes: More,more,more please Kenneth King. Fabulous technique, instructions and photos.
Posted: 6:30 pm on October 12th

JGilman JGilman writes: Once again, marvelous clear instructions and illustrations from a master. THIS is why I read the magazine and the website. Can't wait to try it. And, love UNDERSTANDING it.
Posted: 11:44 am on October 8th

OnePrettyThing OnePrettyThing writes: Wow, this is fantastic! Thanks so much for explaining it so well, and with so many photos. I'll be linking.
Posted: 5:47 pm on October 7th

bijolly bijolly writes: very clear and easy to understand instructions - thank you so much. Using the cloured threads helps too.... cheers.
Posted: 3:31 am on October 6th

Kate_W Kate_W writes: I've have been wondering how to do something like this ... the instructions and photos are so clear. I think I can! Thank you!
Posted: 7:57 pm on October 5th

Sew4Drama Sew4Drama writes: Kenneth King is just the most clever guy - this is great! Can't wait to try it!
Posted: 7:18 pm on October 5th

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