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I saw a sewing machine tutorial where the repairman said some problems can be prevented by using sewing machine bobbin felt pads.

Two felt pads came with my Singer Start 1304.

Now, one is missing.

Amazon lists a crazy price of $6.99 for a pack of 10.

Are those felt pads really necessary?
And do they really have to be that expensive - is there a cheaper alternative to using Bobbin Felt pads so that it protects the sewing machine from any damage?

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    Cut one to match the one you have, out of a piece of felt? – user3025 Oct 6 '19 at 16:18
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    Do you actually encounter any problem when not using a felt pad? Or rather: what kind of problems are they supposed to prevent? I don't have any of those and haven't noticed any problems yet. Might be that I don't need them for my machine. – Elmy Oct 7 '19 at 8:28
  • Please, take an in person class. There is no substitute when you are beginning to learn to taking a class; online tutorials can be written by anyone and can have a great deal of conflicting information. You've been asking a lot of questions about getting started based on online tutorials; they can be answered much better--and all at once--with an in-person sewing class. – Allison C Oct 7 '19 at 14:07
  • @AllisonC I am unable to go to any class, hence I must rely on Internet. – Marium Oct 7 '19 at 18:12
  • @Elmy I haven't encountered any problems, I just wanted to do best practice. – Marium Oct 7 '19 at 18:13
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Dear Fellow Sewist @Marium,

You are so correct to be outraged at the overvalued price of those “Spool Pin Felt Pads” for sale on Amazon, that is outrageous, you could buy a whole yard of felt for that price! Which would make a couple hundred spool pads... And your’s is a good question, how necessary are they? This is an great example of sinister marketing, an attempt at propagandizing someone who is newish to an area of expertise into believing that their “very special product” is magically necessary to your success. Good for you for questioning The Man!

What you intuitively know, is that their function is simply to provide just the right amount of friction or resistance between the spool bracket and the spool itself. Then as you are sewing along, and slow down or stop, your spool doesn’t continue to spin, getting ahead of the amount of pull placed on the thread as you make stitches, thus letting uncontrolled thread come unwound. This unwound loose thread could not only get tangled upon itself or caught on something, and cause a sudden bind-up, but also is not going to be under proper tension when you resume sewing, thus potentially creating poorly constructed stitches (which equates to a weak and unsightly seam). In other words, the spool pad is there to keep the spinning action of the spool under control as the sewist starts, changes speeds, and stops.

Any somewhat thick, non-slippery fabric you have laying around could do the job of replacing the wayward original felt pad. Felt is nice, but you could also cut a spool-sized circle with a little hole in the middle from denim, wool, synthetic fleece, or even a knit fabric, such as from a mismated sock or an old sweatshirt.

Are spool pads absolutely necessary? I have forgotten them at times, and sewed successfully for awhile with no problems, then had a bind-up due to tangled thread and realized it all started with my spool spinning out of control. Usually this occurs when I am sewing very fast; I sometimes sew like I sometimes drive, “too fast for road conditions”. So for me spool pads are a good thing for keeping my spools under control. (Or maybe I should let them spin as reminders for me to slow down? Sewing too fast is not good...)

Anyway, if you are a slow steady sewist, you may never have an out-of-control spool, and it may not therefore be “absolutely necessary”. But it is probably a healthy practice to get in the habit of... Perhaps these simple lowly spool pads control slight variations in spool spin which affect the seam quality in ways we cannot readily see?

As far as control of the spool’s rattling noise, yes it works for that too...

(I should clarify that I am assuming you are asking about the pad that rests on the spool spindle on the top of your machine, rather than the bobbin which holds the bottom thread.)enter image description here

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  • I like your answer, Yes I am referring to pad that rests on top of spool spindle. – Marium Nov 6 '19 at 14:45
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Bobbin pad? Or spool pad? I use spool pads to protect the surface of my antique sewing machine (1940's Singer Featherweight). Different shaped spools can sometimes rub on the surface around the spool area. I didn't use pads when I had a modern machine.

Sometimes your thread might come on a different sized spool or a different size of hole in the middle, and a felt pad can help a spool with a larger hole sit better on the machine, and keep a constant tension instead of jumping around a lot. A friend's machine is very touchy about how it is threaded, and for shorter height spools a pad helps align the thread more with what the machine likes.

I bought my spool pads on Etsy and they are 100% wool and 5mm thick in a variety of colors. But you could likely use any felt.

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  • Agreed, the bobbins space should not have any wool or lint in the casing area. Spool pads are totally a DIY. – Not The Face Oct 7 '19 at 22:37
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    The "constant tension" you mention is the heart of it, I think. The felt pad reduces unwanted motion of the spool, such as recoil or excess thread unreeling. Protecting the surface of the machine and reducing noise are also nice but more about personal preference. – Reve Oct 8 '19 at 18:31

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