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9 Sewing Machine Bobbin Problems and Solutions

Insignificant and hidden as might look, that small roll of thread below the needle is perhaps, one of the most important components in a sewing machine. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to get any work done, no matter how basic the job is. That said, sewing machine bobbin problems are quite common but also equally easy to fix at home or by yourself.

The Needle Doesn’t Catch The Bottom Thread

The most noticeable problem with a bobbin happens when the needle doesn’t catch the bottom thread, thus creating an incomplete sew. This can be annoying and potentially ruin a sewing job, especially if you don’t notice it early enough. This typically happens when you’ve run out of bobbin thread without noticing, forgot to attach the bobbin in its compartment or have the wrong sized bobbin. 

As you can probably tell, this a problem that would typically affect anyone, especially if they are new to sewing or a bit tired and absent-minded. At the same time, using the wrong bobbin is quite common, especially if you have recently bought a new sewing machine. 

Quick Solution

An easy and quick solution to this problem is first to check that the bobbin thread hasn’t run out and, if so, wind some more. If the bobbin is in there but not serving the bottom thread, then you can try and remove it from the case and reattach it. Lastly, if all this doesn’t work, then replacing the bobbin with one recommended for your sewing machine or winding fresh bobbin on the original bobbin (the one that came with the sewing machine) will fix the problem.

There are many more, less common, but equally annoying bobbin thread problems that you should know about and how to fix them as you shall see now:

My Sewing Machine Bobbin Is Making Grinding Noises

 

While some sewing machine models can be noisy, hearing grinding noises could be a sign of a problem with the sewing mechanism. In some cases, this could happen if the bobbin is not moving freely, too big for the case, or has some dents and scratches. 

Quick solution

A noisy bobbin can be fixed by either changing the bobbin thread to the recommended size (don’t exceed the size of the bobbin. You should also check if the bobbin case is moving freely by moving it side to side and greasing it if your machine supports greasing.  If there is visible damage to the bobbin or bobbin case, you might need to have that repaired or replaced to get rid of the noises.

My Bobbin Keeps Jamming The Thread

 

Jamming is one of the most common problems, often wrongly associated with the sewing machine bobbin. It happens when your thread gets jammed up or entangled on the fabric as you sew. Sometimes it could be an issue with the bobbin, especially if it was improperly wound or the wrong size. Still, more often, it happens as a result of other components.

Quick solution

Check if the bobbin is the one jamming up- check if the bottom stitch gets entangled or the needle picks up more than one strand.  That said, jamming mostly happens if the upper thread lacks tension, the needle is bent or broken, the feed dogs are stuck, or some inner components are jammed up.

 

My Bobbin Is Causing Irregular Stitches

 

This a very common bobbin problem in some Singer and Brother models where the bobbin may, sometimes cause irregular stitches on the fabric. Some of these models require a specific bobbin type and size- e.g., some may not be happy with a plastic bobbin due to the weight. Also, improper bobbin winding will cause the bobbin to serve irregular threads.

Quick solution

In most cases, improper stitching caused by the bobbin can be fixed by changing the bobbin or winding a new one. If you are using a Singer or Brother, ensure you get a bobbin of the required size as recommended on the user manual or just use the one that came with the machine.

 

Bobbin Causing Loose Stitching 

 

While you can set the tension on the upper thread, most sewing machines many not have that functionality on the bottom thread- the bobbin- unless for particular sewing jobs such as embroidery. Sometimes you might find that the sewing machine needle is picking up excess bobbin thread, thus creating loose stitching.  This is mostly not a problem with the bobbin tension but the needle.

Quick Solution

Ensure that the upper thread is adequately tensioned and see if the needle is reaching the bobbin thread for every stitch. Loose stitching can happen when you are using the wrong needle or have the incorrect tension set on the main thread.

 

My Bobbin Can’t Create The First Stitch?

 

As soon as you load a new bobbin, you should always turn the wheel toward you and ensure the needle can pick up the bobbin thread. For some sewing machines, pulling some loose bobbin and leaving it hanging towards the back of the machine helps.  Very common, though, your bobbin will not serve the thread for the first stitch if you don’t do this for some machines.

Quick Solution

Ensure the bobbin is correctly slotted into the bobbin case or compartment and moving freely. When winding the bobbin threads, make sure you fill the thread to the recommended size. You might want to experiment by turning the wheel towards you and seeing if the needle does indeed pick up the bobbin thread.

 

My Bobbin Is Stuck In The Sewing Machine

 

A common problem in some older Singer models involves the bobbin getting permanently stuck in the sewing machine. This can happen if there is a lot of jamming involving the bobbin, a bent bobbin case or if you used the wrong type of bobbin- it’s too big or of the wrong material. This can cause a serious mechanical problem that is not easy to fix on your own.

Solution

If you can’t get your bobbin or bobbin case out of the compartment, you may need to open the entire bobbin compartment up and try and remove it with a flat screwdriver. Only do this if you are confident that you won’t break other components; otherwise, have it looked at by a professional. You might need to have the bobbin case replaced to fix the problem completely. If it’s just a case of thread jamming, you just need to remove every last piece and rethread the bobbin.

 

My Bobbin Winder Is Not Rethreading

 

Bobbin winding or rethreading is one of those activities that most tailors would rather not do. Having to attach the thread through a series of hooks and balance the bobbin as you wind is not fun. It gets worse when you go through the process and still can’t get any thread on the bobbin. This is very common on some antique sewing machines and even modern Brother and Singer models.

Solution

Be sure to check the user manual to see how to hook the thread for bobbin rewinding. The hooking and rethreading sequence differ from machine to machine, so a global solution is, sadly, no available.  One piece of advice, though, is to disengage the needle when winding the bobbin.

 

My Bobbin Moves Slowly Or Gets Stuck

 

It’s very common to have problems sewing caused by the bobbin case not moving freely or getting stuck, causing jamming or skipped stitches. This usually happens if there is grease and dust build up in the bobbin compartment. It can also occur if the bobbin thread is not attached correctly, the thread has formed a knot or a problem with the bobbin case.

Solution

Open the bobbin compartment, remove the entire bobbin case and clean up the area around the bobbin. Also, check if the bobbin thread has a knot and rewind a fresh bobbin. See of you attached the bobbin thread correctly by guiding it through the bobbin case opening. 

Related Questions

Why does my sewing machine keep jamming underneath?

Jamming can be caused by a bent needle, improperly attached bobbin, grease, and dust build-up and wrong thread.  First, start with the bobbin and see if it needs fixing or rethreading then check the upper thread for proper tension. Lastly, always ensure that your sewing machine is serviced properly to avoid jamming caused by grease and dust build up in the inner components.

How do you fix bobbin tension?

On rare occasions, you might need to change or fix the tension on the bobbin case. To do this, look for a screw or hook on the side of the bobbin case and turn it clockwise to tension and anticlockwise to reduce tension. This might vary from bobbin case to bobbin case, depending on the model you use. However, you don’t need to change the bobbin tension for every job unless necessary. 

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