What Is a Drop In Bobbin System and Do I Need it?

Is a drop-in bobbin system better or easier than a front loading bobbin? Both have advantages so it depends on your preference. Learn more about how a top loading bobbin works.

What is a drop-in bobbin system? I’ve gotten this particular question more than a few times so I’ve decided to dedicate an entire post to the topic of bobbins 🙂

The Basics of a Bobbin

Okay, so I’m assuming you are a newbie to the sewing world (welcome!). A bobbin is the plastic or metal wheel that fits underneath the needle plate of a sewing machine. It is threaded and the thread gets pulled up by the needle to form the bottom of the seam.

This is a basic part of a sewing machine that enables the sewing machine to form a nice seam from two threads – one coming from the top from the needle and one coming up from the bottom from the bobbin.

Front Load Bobbin versus Drop In Bobbin

When searching for a new sewing machine you will find that there are two main types of bobbin systems. There’s the front loading bobbin system and the top loading (or drop in) bobbin system.

I prefer the drop-in bobbin system because it is what I’m used to. My first sewing machine as a newbie had a drop-in system and I was delighted with how quick and simple it was to change bobbins.

Overall, I think it might be a difference of perceived convenience. Like I said above, I’ve always used a top-loading bobbin, and so I’m used to it and find it easier than a front-loading machine.

Most machines with top loading bobbins use plastic bobbins, while many machines with a front loading bobbin have the option of using metal bobbins. So what’s the difference between a plastic bobbin and a metal bobbin? The metal bobbins hold more thread, which is useful for some big projects that require a lot of thread because you won’t have to stop mid project to change your bobbin. Another plus to a metal bobbin is that you don’t have to remove your sewing project to change your bobbin. With a clear bobbin you can easily check how much thread is left.

How to Load a Drop In Bobbin

Here’s a quick video to show you how you load the drop-in bobbin:

As you can see from the video, changing the bobbin in a drop-in system is quick and simple.

You simply life the presser foot and pull the needle up as high as possible. Open the slide plate and remove the empty bobbin. Pull about 3 inches of thread from the new bobbin and then drop the bobbin in. Depending on the machine you have, you guide the thread into a couple notches and then pull your thread up. Then you can put your slide plate back on and you’re ready to go.

A Drop In Bobbin System Saves Time

Overall, I love the drop in bobbin system. I have a Brother sewing machine with this feature and I can re-thread a bobbin and drop it in in under a minute! But again, if you ask seamstresses who use a front loading system which one she likes best, she’ll likely say “front loading” because that is what she’s used to so there really isn’t a better system. It’s based on your preference.

As you do your sewing machine shopping you’ll see that there are many options for both kinds of bobbin system.

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2 Responses to “What Is a Drop In Bobbin System and Do I Need it?”

  1. Michelle A Sampson says:

    Hi there- I wanted to chime in on drop-in bobbin systems. While you are correct and they are easier and faster to load, I have never sewn on one that sews as well as a front loading machine. They skip stitches more frequently and are very ‘temperamental’ on stretch fabrics and elastic.
    I would never buy a machine with a top-loading system myself no matter how high-end.

    • Savvy Seamstress says:

      Hi Michelle, thank you for your comment. That’s interesting because I’ve never noticed a difference in stitch quality, but I’ve mostly used drop-in bobbin machines.