Monday, June 11, 2012

Tutorial: Bobbin Tamers

My Thread Spool & Bobbin Storage Rack tutorial gives a DIY option for rounding up your, er, loose spools, and keeping them organized with coordinating bobbins. Another great idea shared by The Creative Homemaker comes from a post on the Threads magazine website.

The idea is to use clear vinyl tubing from the hardware store and to cut it into slotted rings to wrap around your bobbins. No more bobbin tails unwinding and making a mess.

My neighborhood big box home improvement store (Home Depot) sells smaller diameter vinyl tubing in 10ft lengths. This tubing is measured by outside diameter (OD) and inside diameter (ID). The Threads magazine website described using 7/8" tubing, but their photo showed 5/8"OD x 1/2"ID tubing. Tricky. I eyeballed my Bernina 1630 bobbins and bought some 7/8"OD x 5/8"ID tubing.

When I got home, I peeled off some tape and removed the adhesive residue with goo gone. I eagerly pulled out my intense Cutco shears to slice it into rings, but I quickly found that cutting even, skinny rings was nearly impossible. I cut a vertical slit parallel to the tube and cut off a rectangle of plastic. I thought cutting the rectangle into strips would be easier. Not really.

On another trip to the hardware store (I've been there a lot recently), I tried to figure out what tool they were using to cut the large gauge vinyl tubing for sale by the foot. At that point I turned around and saw the wall of ratcheting PVC cutters. I recognized them from a landscaping project repairing the irrigation system after shattering a pipe with a shovel.

Back home again, I brought our PVC cutters up to my sewing table and successfully cut a perfect ring off of the end of my tubing. Yay! I played around with the size until I found my preferred width. It's still tricky to get perfect 1/16" precision every time, but it's a huge improvement.

The rings fit on the bobbins differently depending on how full they are. On a bobbin that's not so full, you can overlap the ends or cut some length off the ring if you prefer.

I only own about 20 bobbins, and there's plenty of tubing left on my cutting table. If you're interested in some of these without all of the trips to the hardware store, let me know, and I'll put some in my Etsy shop when I get that organized later this month.

If you live to DIY, here's my budget:

• 10ft length of 7/8"OD x 5/8"ID clear vinyl tubing: $7
• Ratcheting PVC pipe cutters: about $12 (I already owned some)

You could easily spend less than $20 for you and all of your quilty friends to have tidy bobbins!

Happy Crafting!

I'm linking up with Sew Happy Geek.

Sew Happy Geek

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