Why Is My Thread Wrapping Around The Bobbin

Sewing machines are an essential tool when it comes to stitching up fabrics into beautiful and attractive designs. As a machine, it is only natural that it develops some basic faults periodically, which is mostly as a result of usage.

But when these faults are constant and recurring, then it becomes tiresome and frustrating. This is usually the case when your sewing machine thread starts wrapping around the bobbin.

In this article, various reasons why this could happen will be discussed and, more importantly, ways to resolve them.

Why Is My Thread Wrapping Around the Bobbin?

Thread Wrapping Around the Bobbin

These happen when the top tension in your sewing machine is not set correctly to the type of stitch, and the fabric causes the lower bobbin to get tangled up.

When the lower bobbin is not threaded correctly or pulled out in the right way, it can also tangle easily, thereby causing a jam or freeze.

Also, if the bobbin is not appropriately inserted into the casing, there will be an issue of bunched thread.

Why Is The Bobbin Thread Bunching Up?

The importance of having a fantastic sewing experience cannot be over-emphasized. Some common sewing machine problems are caused by mere negligence while others are as a result of lengthy usage.

When your device starts giving you issues, you should take a break and try to figure out what the problem is and ensure to fix them before continuing on the project. Some threading issues are caused by one or more of the reasons highlighted below,

Thread jamming in the bobbin area

Thread jamming in the bobbin area

As a sewer or seamstress, the frustration that comes with suddenly noticing that no sound or movement comes from your machine when you press the pedal is overwhelming.

Most especially when you can’t seem to figure out where the issue lies as the sewing machine can be quite complicated for a beginner sewer.

This problem is usually caused by clogged lint or debris in the machine. Also, if the machine is not threaded correctly, this fault can be encountered.

Another cause is a tight tension that’s developed in the bobbin area or the device not being oiled regularly.

Thread bunching in the bobbin case

Another problem associated with threads and bobbins is when your sewing thread bunches up in the bobbin case. This is a prevalent problem and can be fixed without much hassle.

This fault is termed birdnesting, that is, the thread gets wrapped up like a bird’s nest. This is usually caused by using different thread weights in the top thread and bobbin.

When you use thread weights that are not equal, the machine tends to pull them at different rates, which in turn results in bunching.

Another cause is a loose bobbin due to loose screw, which gradually tangles up the thread as you continue to sew until you can no longer move your pedal conveniently.

Loops forming in the bobbin thread

Loops forming in the bobbin thread

The more frequent you use a sewing machine, the higher the chance of the tension changing.

When this happens, the tension could be either loose or tight, which is dependent on the type of thread used, the machine’s age, and the oiling. If the bobbin is not threaded correctly, it will form loops.

Tangling around the bobbin thread

The aim of a sewing machine is to ensure that your sewing project runs smoothly without any hiccup, but nothing can be more frustrating than a ball of tangled thread underneath the fabric.

This is usually caused by improper threading which is visible while sewing, the bobbin keeps pulling and jamming while collecting lots of yarn within the material.

One reason is a dull needle and tension. When the tension between the upper and bobbin thread is not even, it results in tangling.

Another reason is if the bobbin is also upside down and the thread doesn’t turn in an anti-clockwise direction, thus the bobbin thread with not be in sync with the upper thread.

Most of the reasons mentioned above can result in more serious damage if not adequately tended to. If you want to continue using your sewing machine hassle-free, then you should attend to any fault immediately you notice any changes in your sewing machine.

When to Adjust the Bobbin Tension of Sewing Machine?

Adjust the Bobbin Tension of Sewing Machine

Making fixes by yourself on your sewing machine can be a good thing, but it becomes a problem when you don’t know when to do it.

You don’t change your thread just because it won’t stop tangling, what if the issue is with the sewing material? Or the pedals?

Accurately deducing when and why you have to repair your machine will help you to avoid complicating an easy problem.

We’ve already discussed tension settings and the importance of setting them to the right adjustments on machines. Most times, the top tension is usually adjusted to achieve the perfect stitch. It is also crucial to the adjustment of the bobbin tension.

Most sewers like yourself might have been taught to never tamper with the bobbin tension.

That’s not the case. You can make adjustments to the bobbin tension. You just have to be careful while doing it.

As a professional sewer, this is easily achievable. I will be sharing how you can go about adjusting your bobbin tension without doing any damage in the next few paragraphs.

It is advisable to have a second bobbin case as a backup. This bobbin case should not be adjusted, so it keeps a baseline bobbin tension. It is more like a failsafe technique to improve your bobbin tension.

Over time, tensions in your machine can change due to constant and frequent use. Even though you haven’t physically changed the settings, they eventually become either tighter or looser after much use. Thread, lint, and even temperature are other factors that can affect them.

When you want to make adjustments to the bobbin tension either by increasing or decreasing it, you should turn the large screw on the bobbin case in small increments. Adjust the large screw in 15-minute increments, then test its work, and adjust again if the issue persists.

When using a very smooth and fine bobbin thread,  the preset tension might be too loose or too tight to apply adequate thread pressure.

This fault is termed backlash; it happens when the sewing machine stops, but the thread of the bobbin stays unwinding. That can be fixed by tightening the bobbin tension.

If you are using a heavy or thick thread in the bobbin, the preset tension might be too tight. This puts excessive pressure on the thread as it comes out of the bobbin case and can prevent the bobbin thread from unwinding freely.

Paying attention to your sewing machine will help you to figure out when it starts giving faults.

How to Stop My Sewing Thread from Wrapping Around the Bobbin?

Wrapping Around the Bobbin

When it comes to fixing wrapped up thread around the bobbin, there are different methods you can use to solve the problem. Depending on the cause the problem, stated below are some quick fix for your machine when the threads wrap around the bobbin.

1. If the thread is jamming in the bobbin area

Step 1. Loosen the tension on the bobbin and try sewing until you get the right result.

Step 2. Try to check the bobbin alignment; if it is out of alignment, then you have to replace it.

Step 3. Unthread and re-thread the bobbin and upper thread.

Step 4. Get the right bobbin for your sewing machine. If the bobbin is taller, jamming could occur

Step 5. Do not start sewing at the fabric’s edge; this forces the thread into knots and jam quickly.

2. If the thread is bunching the bobbin case

Step 1. Make sure the bobbin is threaded carefully. Remove it from the case and thread again if not properly threaded.

Step 2. Use the correct needle for the right fabric.

Step 3. Use the same thread for both the top thread and bobbin.

Step 4. Check to see if the bobbin case is loose due to a loosened screw; this also causes thread bunching.

Step 5. Gently clean out the bobbin parts and try again on a piece of cloth until the problem resolves. The thread in the bobbin might be out of the compartment, put it in place.

tangling and looping

3. If the issue is tangling and looping:

Step 1. Test the bobbin tension in small bits until you get the desired result.

Step 2. Make sure that the fabric aligns under the presser at the edge under the presser foot before you begin to sew.

Step 3. Remove lint and specks of dirt from the bobbin region

Step 4. A very crucial step to take is changing the thread to a better quality thread.

You must service your sewing machine periodically If you don’t want to keep running into problems while using it. Regular checks will resolve any underlying issue and helps to keep the device running smoothly.

What Tension Should I Use For Thick Fabric?

For medium to medium-heavy fabrics like linen and twill weaves such as drill and denim, 4 or 5 is okay. Thick upholstery may require higher tension, while lightweight fabric may require lower tension.

How Much Thread Should Be On A Bobbin?

These depend on the size of the bobbin. If you don’t like running out of bobbin thread while working, then you should get a large-sized bobbin.



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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