Bobbin Thread Not Catching – Causes and Solutions

While sewing machines are an essential tool of your sewing career, you should expect to experience various issues when using them. One common problem you will most probably encounter is the bobbin thread not catching, and there are various causes for this.

Before you start sewing, your thread needs to catch the bobbin correctly. If your sewing machine is not feeding to it properly, then there must be an issue.

But you can always solve this quickly. In today’s post, you will know the causes of this problem and learn how to solve it.

Bobbin Thread Not Catching – Causes and Solutions

Bobbin Thread Not Catching

For the stitches from your sewing machine to come out well, you need to use an upper thread and a bobbin thread. Before you start sewing, you need to ensure that you pull the bobbin thread up via the soleplate.

As such, the needle needs to pick up the bobbin thread. However, some sewing machines will have trouble picking up the thread. Many reasons may cause this to happen, such as the following.

1. Threading Issues

If you are using a bobbin thread, you need to ensure that the tail of the thread is long enough. Most sewers tend to keep the thread coming out of the bobbin about less than 2 inches.

If this is the case, the sewing machine will suck up the thread. Also, the upper thread will not seize the bobbin thread when sewing.

Other than using a short thread, you may not have threaded your machine correctly. The threading issue also includes failing to install the bobbin correctly in the sewing machine.

The threading issue affects almost all sewers, even those in the sewing industry, for a long time. Thus, before you start sewing, you need to ensure that your threading is perfect.

Typically, you need to ensure that the needle thread and the bobbin threads lie on the throat plate. Incorrect threading also affects how your stitches will look in the end.

Solution – Properly Install a Bobbin Thread

Install a Bobbin Thread

Step 1: Raise the Needle to the Highest Position

Start by raising the needle to the highest position. To accomplish this, make sure that you have the presser foot up. Then turn on the handwheel until you achieve the highest position of the needle.

Step 2: Open the Hinge Cover and Remove the Lever

You should then open up the hinge cover. The cover should be below the needle plate, and once it is open, you should be able to see the bobbin case. It is where the bobbin thread will go when threading.

Then, you can lift the Lever. Finally, you should be able to remove it from the sewing machine.

Step 3: Thread the Machine

Before you start threading, you should ensure that you leave about 3 to 4 inches as the tail of the bobbin thread. Then, you can go ahead and start threading the sewing machine starting from its upper part. As you thread, ensure the thread passes through all the threads guides as it heads to the needle.

Step 4: Place the Lever on the Hook Pin

Finally, you need to slide the Lever of the bobbin case onto the hook pin.

2. The Needle Is at Fault

Needle Is at Fault

There is a screw in your machine that helps in holding the needle in place as you sew. While the screw will give you a smooth time as you sew, it ultimately starts getting loose. It makes the needle start falling out of place.

When the sewing needle is not in the right place or is not firm enough, it will not hold the bobbin thread well. The best way of holding the needle is to ensure that it is as tight as possible and sit up correctly.

Also, maybe the needle you are trying to grab the bobbin thread with is not the right one for your machine. Or maybe the needle is the right one, but it is bent.

In any case, the needle may not be in an excellent position to catch the bobbin thread.

Solution – Ensure the Needle Grabs the Bobbin Thread

Step 1: Ensure That You Are Using the Correct Needle for Your Machine

Each machine has a needle that goes well with it. Moreover, the fabric you are sewing requires a specific type of needle. The same applies to the bobbin thread you have, so ensure it suits it.

Step 2: Insert the Needle Correctly

As you insert the needle into your machine, ensure you are not doing so from the backside of the machine. Instead, the needles’ flat side should be facing the back of your sewing machine.

Step 3: Let the Feed Dogs Do Their Function

Ensure that the machine feeds through the fabric to prevent the needle from bending.

3. The Machine Is Dirty

Another possible cause for the bobbin thread not catching could be that the machine is dirty. Dirt in sewing machines accumulates typically in the area between the fee dogs and the throat plate.

It is around this area that the bobbin thread occupies, so the dirt might limit it from catching. It is therefore essential to ensure that you clean this area.

Solution – Clean the Shuttle Area

Step 1: Remove the Bobbin Shuttle and Case From the Machine

Your sewing machine manual should guide you on how to do this. Ensure you are careful so that you don’t break the parts.

Step 2: Remove All the Dirt

Ensure you remove all the debris from this area. It would help if you also cleaned below the feed dogs.

Step 3: Rethread the Machine

Put back the parts that you initially removed and thread the machine again.

How to Solve Bobbin Thread Not Catching Issue?

Bobbin Thread Not Catching

There is nothing worse than realizing your bobbin thread will catch when you are ready for sewing. Unfortunately, this issue is pretty standard and has many possible causes, such as it may be your threading which is not okay.

For others, the thread may be having tension, and sometimes it’s due to the accumulation of debris in the machine.

Well, no matter the cause, you can quickly fix it by making a few changes here and there in your machine. Here are steps you can follow to solve the bobbin thread not catching.

Step 1: Turn Off the Machine

It is best to solve the issue when your machine is off. So start by doing this.

Step 2: Inspect the Upper Thread

Usually, the bobbin thread rests on the upper side of your machine. So you need to check the state of the upper thread.

One of the things you will be checking is such tension. The normal tension of the thread needs to be about 4, and if it is tighter than this, it will not be able to catch.

Also, you need to ensure that the threading on this thread is good. If it is not, you should rethread the machine again.

Moreover, ensure that nothing is catching the needle and the thread because if there is any, the needle won’t pick up the thread.

Step 3: Inspect the Needle

You need to ensure that you are using the correct needle for your sewing machine. Moreover, the installation of the needle is correct, with the flat side facing towards the back of the machine.

Typically the thread on the needle’s eye should be from front to back. Also, the needle does not have any bends. If there is any damage to it, ensure you replace it.

Step 4: Inspect the Bobbin Area

Ensure the bobbin is in the correct position and has an even winding. The bobbin thread should be entirely passed under the pretension so that the winding is even.

You should also ensure that it has no scratches and use the right one for your machine. Finally, if there is any lint, debris, or dust around the bobbin area, clean it up.

Step 5: Ensure You Use the Correct Fabric, Thread, and Needle

If you use the correct fabric, needle, and thread, the bobbin thread will not have trouble catching.

What Should I Do When Machine Doesn’t Catch the Bobbin Thread?

What Should I Do When Machine Doesn't Catch the Bobbin Thread?

1. Ensure That the Bobbin Thread Is Long

The tail of the bobbin thread before you start sewing should be about 3 to 4 inches.

2. Make Sure You Have the Correct Bobbin

 Verify that the bobbin you are using suits your machine. If it is not, this may be the reason why it is not catching.

3. Ensure That the Needle Is in the Correct Position

The needle needs to fit correctly in its position and should be way up the needle shaft. Also, its flat side should be facing the backside of the machine.

Moreover, it would help if you verified that the needle is in the proper working condition. For example, it should have no bends or any other defaults.

4. Pull the Bobbin Thread and the Top Thread Back

Before you start sewing, ensure you pull the bobbin thread and the top thread back.

5. Ensure the Bobbin Winding Spindle Is Back to Its Initial Position

After winding the bobbin, pull it back to the initial position. If you fail to do so, the needle won’t go down and pick the bobbin thread.

6. Ensure There Is No Debris in the Bobbin Case

Ensure you remove all the dirt in the bobbin case

7. Make Sure That You Insert the Bobbin Well

You should insert the bobbin in the counterclockwise direction.

Should I Wind the Bobbin Manually or Use Prewound Bobbins?

Using a prewound bobbin is much better since it is pretty much more convenient and saves on the winding time. However, when winding manually, you may need to stop for a bit to change the bobbin, which is quite inconvenient.

For the prewound, companies use high-quality machines for winding, and their wound is smooth and uniform. Moreover, they produce much more thread than you can produce winding manually.

Can I Get a Single, Universal Bobbin Style?

You cannot get a universal bobbin style since most manufacturers produce what they know will be the best fit for their machines. Some bobbin styles can fit specific machines, but others you can use on different machines.

Also, you should not select a machine depending on the bobbin styles but rather through essential factors such as the number of stitches.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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