9 Sewing Machine Bobbin Problems and Solutions

The bobbin, a seemingly small component in your sewing machine, plays a huge role in ensuring every stitch is perfect. But when it doesn’t work correctly, it can be a real headache.

Tangled threads, uneven stitches, and unexpected machine stops are just some of the challenges a faulty bobbin can bring. Understanding these issues is the key to hassle-free sewing.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the 9 most common bobbin problems that sewers face and offer clear, practical solutions to get you back on track.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, this is essential knowledge for anyone wanting to keep their sewing projects running smoothly.

The Needle Doesn’t Catch The Bottom Thread

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 often occurs if you’ve run out of bobbin thread, overlooked attaching the bobbin, or used the wrong size 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.

If solutions fail, use a recommended bobbin or wind fresh thread on the machine’s original bobbin.

There are other less common but equally frustrating bobbin issues. Let’s dive into them and their solutions:

My Sewing Machine Bobbin Is Making Grinding Noises

Sewing Machine Bobbin Is Making Grinding Noise

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. 

Jamming often results from low upper thread tension, a bent or broken needle, stuck feed dogs, or jammed inner parts.

My Bobbin Is Causing Irregular Stitches

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.

For Singer or Brother machines, use the bobbin size recommended in the manual or the one provided with the machine.

Bobbin Causing Loose Stitching 

You can adjust the upper thread tension on most machines. However, many don’t allow bobbin tension changes, except for specific tasks like 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

Bobbin Is Stuck In The Sewing Machine

Some older Singer models often have bobbins that get stuck. This issue can arise from frequent jamming, a bent bobbin case, or using an over-sized or incorrect material bobbin.

This can cause a serious mechanical problem that is not easy to fix on your own.


If your bobbin or case is stuck, consider opening the compartment and using a flat screwdriver for removal.

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.

Bobbin Winder Is Not Rethreading


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

Bobbin case issues, like sticking or jamming, often lead to sewing problems such as skipped stitches.

This usually happens if there is grease and dust build up in the bobbin compartment.

It can result from incorrect bobbin threading, thread knots, or a bobbin case issue.


Open the bobbin compartment, remove the entire bobbin case and clean up the area around the bobbin.

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?

A bent needle, an improperly attached bobbin, grease and dust accumulation, or the wrong thread can cause jamming.

First, check the bobbin for issues or re-threading, then adjust the upper thread for proper tension.

To prevent jamming due to grease and dust in the machine’s inner components, always service your sewing machine regularly.

How do you fix bobbin tension?

On rare occasions, you might need to change or fix the tension on the bobbin case. Find a screw or hook on the bobbin case’s side. Turn it clockwise to increase tension and anticlockwise to decrease it.

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. 



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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