How To Use Large Spools of Thread On Sewing Machine

Most frequent sewers will find themselves going through spools of thread fairly quickly. A regular sized thread spool, meant for home sewing machines, typically runs from 250-400 yards of thread.

Although they may last you through a sewing project or two, and typically can be purchased for just a couple of dollars, you may be wondering, can I use a large thread spool on my home sewing machine?

When I discovered I could be purchasing a large spool of thread (otherwise called cone thread) for less than double the cost of a small spool, with also more than 7 times the amount of thread, I was asking this question too.

Lucky for us, and our wallets, you can most certainly use cone thread on a home sewing machine! There are a few tips and tricks to make this work for your machine without causing tension issues.

Read on to discover the different possibilities, so that you too can make the switch from 250 yard thread spools to 3000 yard thread spools.

Can I Use a Large Spool of Thread on My Sewing Machine?

Yes, there are a few different ways you can set up your large thread spool to work on your machine. There is actually a sewing accessory meant for this exact purpose!

It can go by a few names like spool stand, thread holder, or a variation of the two. A spool stand is the best and easiest tool for using cone thread on your sewing machine.

Plus, they are a fairly affordable accessory, usually only costing around 10 dollars, and easily accessible for online purchase.

How To Use a Large Spool of Thread on Sewing Machine?

1. Without a Spool Stand

In addition to a spool stand, there are other ways you can make using a large thread spool possible for your home machine. Today I’ll share with you a few of the easiest methods for this. Try them out and see which is most suitable for you and your machine.

2. Use the Large Spool As Is

large spool

It may surprise you, but it is sometimes possible to use a large spool by just placing the spool on the table instead of on the spool pin. For my job I sew with cone thread everyday on a home sewing machine without using any type of spool stand.

I simply place the cone on the table, on the back right side of the machine, and then thread as usual. I literally do not need to do anything else to use the large spool, as the build and layout of the threading on this machine allows for the thread to guide perfectly from the cone to the machine.

Before spending the time testing other methods, see if your machine is also conducive to this set up, you may be one of the lucky ones! If your cone keeps falling, thread is getting caught, or there are tension issues, you will need to consider another option.

3. Use an Empty Bobbin as a Thread Guide

large spool

If you tried using the cone thread off the table as I previously described, but it didn’t work, I would try this next method.

This is my favorite method as it is super easy, requires no additional materials than what you already have for sewing, and creates an additional thread guide to keep your thread from getting tangled.

Place an empty bobbin on the spool pin of your machine. Place the cone thread on the table, again on the back right side of the machine.

Then when threading the machine, start by guiding the thread through one of the holes of the bobbin, and then thread the rest of the machine as usual.

The bobbin will act as a thread guide, and because it is placed on the spool pin, your machine will basically be threaded exactly the same as it would with a regular sized spool.

Make sure to use a spool pin cap with this method to ensure that the bobbin does not slide off the spool pin when sewing.

4. Transfer a Large Spool to a Smaller Spool

large spool

If you are not interested in jerry-rigging a set up to use a large spool, and neither of the previous methods work for you, one easy solution is simply transferring the thread from the large spool to a smaller one.

This is a simple process that you can carry out before sewing. To do this efficiently, place the small spool on the bobbin winder and wind the thread from the large spool onto the small one.

When I do this, I set my large spool next to my machine and thread for bobbin winding as usual. I then make sure to wind a bit slower than usual to keep the large spool from rolling around.

You will want to use this same method for winding your bobbin when using a large spool as well.

5. Make Your Own Spool Stand

large spool

Large spools of thread save both time and money. You do not have to go into additional costs to buy a spool holder. It is possible to make one from the things you have in your house.

One of the easiest homemade spool holders is using a cup from your kitchen. You will want a cup wide enough to allow the thread to wind off the cone smoothly, as well as tall enough to keep the cone from falling over and rolling around.

Mugs and mason jars work really well for this. Simply pick a suitable mug or cup from your kitchen, place it on the back right side of the machine, where you would a spool stand, and put your cone thread in it. Thread your machine as usual.

You may be able to use your spool straight from the cup, but if you are experiencing any issues, try adding a home made thread guide to the cup.

An easy way to do this is to fasten a pencil, or something of similar size, to the side of the cup. At the top of the pencil, use wire to create a hook, this will be your thread guide. What you’ve now created will work exactly as a spool stand would.

All sewing machines are different. A method that works on one, may not work on another and vice versa. If you are interested in saving some money by using a large cone thread on your machine, try all of these out and see which is most suitable for you and your machine.

The goal is to create a setup where the thread can flow smoothly off the spool without getting tangled or having unusual tension, and where the cone thread is not falling over and rolling around.

With this being the case, you can always get creative to come up with your own solution, as there are many ways you can make using a large spool of threads possible.

Another way you can use a large spool of thread on your regular is by placing it on the floor. The thread is long, and it will easily reach your machine.

Further, the floor is a table, and it is unlikely that the spool will fall. You can pull the thread over a chair to allow for smooth movement and correct threading and sewing angles.

How To Solve Thread Bunching?

One of the most common problems while sewing is thread bunching. Thread bunching is when your thread gets tangled in the fabric you are sewing.

We also know it as bird nesting as the tangling forms a shape that looks like a bird’s nest. This is not a big problem, although it impedes your sewing progress. When bunching happens, here are some ways you can solve it.

Check your bobbin. Ensure that you set your bobbin at the right tension. This makes sure that the thread is taut and straight, preventing bunching. Remove the bobbin completely and re-thread it appropriately.

large spool

Thread your machine. This is another way to rectify and prevent bunching from happening. Lift the presser foot and thread the sewing machine. Make sure that the thread passes through every part it should while threading.

Clean your sewing machine. Consult your sewing machine’s user manual for the best ways to clean it. Wipe away the dust at the throat plate, which could cause the bunching.

This helps you to check for pieces of thread that may have broken in your machine. Also, oil your sewing machine and carry out a routine maintenance cleaning to remove all things that would cause bunching.

Changing your needle could also help in eliminating bunching. Make sure that your needles are straight and the correct size and type for your sewing machine.

Common Sewing Machine Problems And Solutions

Sewing machines encounter regular problems. For most of the problems that may occur, you can easily solve them at home, without a technician. Here are some common sewing machine problems and how you can solve them.

Skipped stitches are one of the most common problems. Sewing machines skip stitches for many reasons. Using the wrong needle for the different fabrics you are sewing is a major cause of this problem. Having a bent needle is another cause for skipping stitches.

Another common problem with sewing machines is jamming. Home sewing machines jam all the time. To eliminate this problem, make sure you oil it regularly. Also, check that your needles are straight and that there aren’t any broken pieces of thread in the machine.

You may encounter breakage of the needle thread as a common problem while sewing. Excess tension and incorrect fitting and winding of thread in the bobbin are the major causes of this problem. Using the correct size bobbins and adjusting the tension will help eliminate this problem.

Thread fusing is another common problem that occurs. This often happens when the machine stops. It is caused by using poor quality threads, damaged needles, and unsuitable fabrics. To solve this problem, you need to use high-quality threads and use the best quality needles to handle the different fabric you are sewing.

You can now solve these problems if they occur while you are sitting at your sewing machine. Remember to consult your user manual for other problems not on this list.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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