A sewing machine question

I have been trying to Google search this and do not even know what to look for as my vocabulary is so lacking in the sewing area.

I have a sewing machine which I know how to use in a basic way, putting thread on a bobbin, threading up, sewing.

I was gifted a whole set of different coloured threads and I have no idea how to use these on the machine. There is nowhere secure to mount one.
I thought perhaps these threads are for hand sewing only and I need to buy threads on a proper reel for the sewing machine so they slot onto the machine properly. However when I start looking to buy threads I see the same style I have been gifted are advertised as being for a machine - which leads me to believe I need some sort of item that these reels slot onto which then sits securely onto the machine.

Can someone tell me what it is I need to buy in order to use these threads please?
In this photo are a few of the coloured threads I was gifted, the hole is too big for my machine. On the right I have put 2 different reels which fit on my machine as an example of what fits.

I don’t even use the machine but my son has started sewing and is currently limited to black, white and brown as only these reels fit. He love love loves the colour selection on the other threads but we can’t use them.

First of all, what make/model is your machine? Could you share a picture of where you put the reels?
I do have a machine, I don’t use it but my mum’s friend tested it with the plain reels like you pictured. They weren’t secure, but they didn’t come off by themselves, either. The reel holder on my machine is like a little smooth metal pole. I’m guessing yours isn’t like that?

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Thanks for replying.
I can’t get a photo today but I’ll come back with it. I’m not even sure what the make is.
They do fall off on mine. Perhaps my pole isn’t tall enough. Where I usually put the reel is on the same place I would put the bobbin if I wanted to fill ot. The threads are really secure there, perfect size hole for it. The other pole where I put the reel when filling a bobbin is not very tall.

I’ll come back with the make and a photo.

Is it safe to assume one of you tried using one of these spools on the sewing machine and it didn’t work? I used to sew a lot and started buying large cones of thread after I found one of these doohickeys on a clearance table at the fabric store.

It might work for you. The core of the spool should fit on the spindle. I have thread in that put up but I’m not sure I ever tried one of them on the sewing machine. I have a pretty good collection of thread that I’ll use if I really start sewing again.


I’m guessing some machines might only take certain types of spools, perhaps. I don’t think that should discourage you from finding a way to use the threads you were given, though. If you can find empty spools that fit on the machine, maybe you could wind the threads onto them? I know it’s possible to buy empty bobbins, at least.

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I wouldn’t try rewinding an entire spool of thread unless I had a device that would manage tension and even winding. It could work to rewind by hand I expect but I can see my attempts resulting in a mess that would end up in the trash with accompanying choice words spewing forth from my mouth. I think even with increased prices buying a few spools of thread in different colors would be a better option. But that’s me.

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My machine has two different sized end caps that slot onto the spindle to keep the thread spool steady. The size of the hole on the spool shouldn’t be a problem as the spool doesn’t rotate - the thread just circles off the outside in much the same way yarn lifts off the outside of a yarn cake. With my machine, the spool lies at an angle so the thread path through the tensioning mechanism is in line with the spool length. I’m away at the moment so unfortunately can’t send a picture!!


Thanks every one.

@GrumpyGramma thanks for the link. The holder looks good for people who sew a lot. Maybe it would work for these threads but on balance I’d probably rather buy a set of threads which fit on the machine. I suppose I thought there may be something reasonably small that slotted onto the machine or into the reel to make it fit rather than a larger stand alone gadget.

@Shintoga yes perhaps you’re right about certain machines being able to use these spools. And perhaps mine just does not. I had the same idea as you, winding the thread onto an empty spool. Winding onto an empty bobbin is easy. I found a spool that fits almost empty of thread and thought that would work, the empty spool was too wide to lock into the bobbin holder place. But maybe I can buy empty spools that are thin, perhaps this is the solution if such a thing exists. If not I could get a new set of threads on a thinner spool, and eventually when one is empty could use it for these threads…not sure we will ever use enough thread to get that far but it is certainly something I can keep in mind.

@Mel61 thanks for your input too. I don’t have end caps with this machine. I’ll have to check out my machine again. I know there are 2 places where its possible to put a spool and these I have don’t stay on either place they fly off.
I don’t know my machine well. I have only used it a couple of times even though I’ve had it several years. I had planned to do clothes alterations for myself but I have not been well enough to use it so it still feels new to me, new and unknown.

I taught my son to sew on the machine when he was about 6 years old and he took a sample in for show and tell at school. He was so proud of it. But it’s been 6 years and he’s had no interest until this week. He’s had one lesson at school and immediately asked if we could get the sewing machine out. He knows what he’s doing (enough) which is great. Now I need to provide the materials.

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You can put the “spool” of thread in a travel mug on the table and thread the end of the thread through the hole in the mug’s lid, then thread the machine. Just be sure it is not hindered by anything in the way.

There are also spools with small holes that will fit your machine, but there are ways to make what you have work.

I’m so happy that your son is taking an interest!


You can put the spool of thread in a box or something while you fill a bobbin with it. A box will help keep it from rolling all over the room (think of a yarn bowl). You can then use that bobbin as the top thread. Actually, I read that this is a method for knowing how much thread you have left in the bobbin. It didn’t help me much with that because, just as in knitting, one will use more than the other.


Brilliant! This is something I think we can do as an “instant fix” for what we’ve got. There are 5 or 6 bobbins with the machine and I know I can fill a bobbin from these reels. I have to keep my fingers gently over the top of the reel so it doesn’t fly off the pin/pole/rod thingy but this is no problem when filling a bobbin. So, I will see if a filled bobbin will stay on the pole thingy on its own and use it as the top thread.
Fingers crossed.

Me too. He enjoyed it so much when he was little, it was likely lack of colour choice that put him off doing more, he loves colours so much. But also I haven’t been a good role model with the sewing, if I had been sewing he may well have done more but my mobility as been too much of a problem. Now he’s bigger he can get the machine out and set it up himself.

He has done kids cross stitch when he was very small, and has hand sewn two stuffed animal kits which he enjoyed but needed help with. I’m excited about him sewing. I have suggested he transform some of his cartoon drawings into a sort of embroidered fabric. Too exciting!

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Where are you putting the bobbin when you fill it? It should kind of snap on and that should keep it from falling off. It’s usually on the right side of the machine and has a guide or too that helps with tension control.


Probably my incorrect vocabulary which has caused a confusion.
The spool that goes in the bottom of the machine for the bottom thread, I can fill this up no problem. I can put it on the top of the machine, on the right as you say, and snap it into place which keeps it on and disengages the needle so the needle doesnt go up and down whikst filling the spool. I also have it tensioned correctly around a couple of well sign posted bits to the left.
The thread reels which I posted a photo of, this goes on the post/pole a little further back, also top right. It is these bright colour reels I have been gifted which spin off, not the spool I’m filling. I can keep my fingers gently near the feeder reel to stop it flying off, but I can only do this whilst filling a spool. I can’t do it whilst I sew as I need my hands for guiding the fabric.
What I think you were suggesting, which we are going to try, is fill a spool to use below, the underneath thread, then fill a second spool and use this for the top thread.
I am assuming the little spool will sit on the post/pole thing top, back, right, without flying off.

You’ve been a great help. I can’t wait to try it but have to wait for my son.

These threads I’ve been given, there are loads of this type on amazon, maybe all poor quality or cheap, they are big sets of lots of colours and all on these large holed plastic tube reels. I have not seen a single review saying they fly off the machine or anyone asking about it so perhaps we are doing something wrong?? Or we don’t have a little gadget others have for keeping it on the machine.

I know we are threading the machine correctly despite having not used it much, I am a rubbish sewer but I had threading up drilled into me at school and it has never left me. Also my son knew exactly how to do it with barely a word from me.

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It’s a Brother LS14


I don’t think it’s you, actually. I was misremembering in my last post; my mum’s friend was using a plastic spool but not one that locked into place. Looking at pictures of other machines they don’t have tall spool holders, either. My bad! It’s good that you have suggestions on making the other threads work.

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Sounds like you’re about to be successful! The large-hole spools are likely made for a serger. There may be some adapters that fit inside the spool to make it fit your peg. My serger came with something like that. The link someone posted to Amazon is what most sewers have used over the years to make these work. They used to be about $10. You might also try putting the spool in a travel mug as I suggested in a different reply. That should work too.



Thanks. I certainly have a few things I can try.
I wouldn’t mind buying an adapter of some sort if I knew what to look for, several hours of browsing haven’t got me any closer.
The main thing that puts me of buying the type of stand alone thread holder like the one linked is having yet another bit of kit that needs storing. If it isn’t used or not used much its just more “stuff”. Certainly wouldn’t mind if it was to be used a lot.

I’ve looked up the machine. I believe you can pull up on the spool pin to make it taller when in use, then push it down when storing it in the carry case. Otherwise, it would be too short for any standard spool / reel of thread. It shows this on Page 15 of the manual: https://download.brother.com/welcome/doch000987/j1417l1417x1417ls1417ug02en.pdf


Really kind of you to offer uour help, thanks.
Yes, I had the spool pin pulled up, it’s still too short to keep these particular style of reel of thread.

However- my son has tried the little spool on top and little spool underneath suggestion and it worked! Not perfect, sometimes the thread collects around the spool pin and results in a mess and head snapping, but it’s manageable enough as a fix.
We haven’t tried the reel in the cup yet but probably will next time.

It was great he had another go. It was a bit frustrating when the thread kept jamming and snapping and I suspect I need to change the tension a bit, maybe these colours are finer than the usual reels of thread, or weaker, or I don’t know, but the tension seemed fine with a normal reel of white thread of a different brand.

Thank you for the link to the instruction manual - that’s fab. The machine does not come with this. There is a basic safety paper with how to thread up but no details like in a full manual. I really ought to have realised there would be an online book.
I’ll pass on the instruction book link to my son - he will know everything then!

Thank you.

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Just realised I could knit a steaked top now!!