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11 Most Common Sewing Machine Bobbin Problems and Solutions

A tangled or messy bobbin thread is one of the most common problems that can delay your sewing projects. However, when such situations occur, it can cause panic at first. But, don’t you worry, as they are pretty simple to fix.

You may often blame the bobbin for such issues, but there can be other reasons as well that can help you fix the machine. If you are one of those who keeps facing such challenges with the sewing machine, believe me, you are not alone.

This is why we have listed out some simple tricks or troubleshooting methods that will help clear your machine.

4 Solutions for Sewing Machine Bobbin Problems

Solution 1: Rethreading the Sewing Machine

If you face thread issues on the machine, the first recommended thing that you should do is rethread the machine.

Usually, the threading issues should away by using this simple method. Let us first have a try. Remove the bobbin and check if you can see any knots or tangles in the thread.

You can pull out the thread and check it completely before inserting it. This will make sure that the machine runs smoothly.

After you are done checking the bobbin, place it back and turn the wheel for a full rotation towards your side. This motion will get the needle go up and down. Additionally, the needle will pull the bobbin thread.

Remove some thread and hang it at the back of the machine. Make sure always to thread the sewing machine using the presser foot up. When the presser foot is up, it allows the thread to set correctly.

But when the presser foot is down, there is a tension that causes a disturbance with the thread’s placement. With this simple method, your threading issues might have resolved.

However, if it hasn’t yet settled, then we have some more tips and methods that you can try doing. Let’s have a look at them and make your sewing life simpler than ever.

Solution 2: Try Changing the Needle

If you are still experiencing issues with the bobbin, you might as well try changing the needle. Make sure that you are using the appropriate needle as per the machine’s brand and the fabric you are using.

Look if the needle has bent. The needle is one of the most inexpensive things that you can change in the sewing machine. Remember always to allow the feed dogs to do the work.

Furthermore, make sure that you do not pull the machine’s fabric back rather than allowing the sewing machine to feed it through.

This will put your needle at risk, and there is a high chance that the needle will break or bend. Doing so will cause all kinds of sewing machine problems and cause you to worsen the issues already persisting.

Solution 3: Check If You Are Using the Right Size Bobbin

If you do not use the right side of the bobbin, it can lead to issues, as you might be aware that there are several sizes of bobbins. Hence, do have a look if you are using the right bobbin size as per the machine.

In some cases, there might be issues with the bobbin. If the bobbin is not threaded properly, it can be due to a faulty bobbin. For instance, if the thread is uneven, smooth, or has knots, it won’t be threaded correctly.

Hence, you must know how to wind the bobbin correctly. Knowing this simple method will reduce the risk of bobbin troubles. The next thing you should check is whether the bobbin has been placed correctly in the bobbin case.

To check the right way to do so, you can rely on the user’s guide or manual for directions. In case you do not have the manual, you can check for online manuals as well.

Solution 4: Check Bobbin Case for Burs

The older or traditional models of sewing machines use a bobbin case along with a front-loading system. On the other hand, newer or advanced sewing machine makes use of a drop-in system.

Also, ensure that you insert the bobbin into the bobbin case the right way. At the same time, you need to make sure that the machine’s threading is as mentioned in the instruction guide.

If you previously are used to working on a different sewing machine, newer or advanced models must be threaded differently. The first thing for the same that you need to do is to know your sewing machine well.

You need to determine if the bobbin is situated at the footer or on the machine’s exterior front side. This will give you a clear idea of the working of the sewing machine.

Front Loading Bobbin Machine (Vertical)

You might have noticed that every front loading machine has a metal bobbin case. This specification is usually beneficial when you experience needle bumping. The metal bobbin case allows you to fix such situations.

You can also remove the hook and look if there are any burrs on the hook. If the machine is not in great sync, then the needle’s constantly up and down motion can leave a mark in this area.

If you notice any burrs, you can use a small nail file and polish it.

However, when you are doing so, make sure that you do it as gently as possible. If you happen to be very rough, it can leave a mark again and cause additional bobbin trouble.

You can look up online videos to help you with the same. Once you are done with the hook, apply some oil for extra lubrication. This will ensure that the machine runs as smoothly as ever when you put it back in the sewing machine.

Top Loading Bobbin Machines (Horizontal)

A majority of the top-loading sewing machines comprise of a plastic bobbin case. Since the bobbin case is plastic, it is a challenge to tackle issues like needle bumps.

It might leave a mark and at the same time damage the bobbin case as well. To inspect the same, you will need to take out the bobbin case and examine it well.

If you notice the bobbin case to be damaged, you will have to get a new one and replace it. However, the best part about getting a new bobbin case is that they are practically very cheap.

They can cost you anywhere between $15-$30, which is pretty affordable. At the same time, plastic bobbin cases are less reliable as compared to metal bobbin cases.

Other Common Bobbin Problems on Sewing Machine

Problem 1: Bobbin Thread Won’t Come Up

You can turn the handwheel after you are done placing the bobbin thread. Turn the wheel towards you, and this will allow you to pull the bobbin thread.

If you are not able to do so, check the bobbin winding spindle. Ensure if the spindle is installed well enough and is pushed to the back. When you are doing so, keep the presser foot up.

If the presser foot is down, the additional tension will cause problems. Simultaneously, another reason that the bobbin thread won’t come up may be due to timing issues.

If the timing between the bobbin thread and needle aren’t synced, then the needle won’t pick the thread to complete the stitches.

If any of these methods don’t solve the bobbin problems, you might have to take the machine to the repair store to get it fixed.

Problem 2: Bobbin Thread Loops

You might notice that the threads looping at the back. This could restrain you from creating those perfect designs and stitches.

However, this problem can be due to the inaccurate tension of the thread. The upper thread must have the right tension.

The accurate tension pulls the bobbin thread that will allow you to create beautiful stitches. Hence, if you ever happen to face bobbin thread loops, then the first thing that you should do is to rectify the upper thread.

At the same time, make sure that you add more tension to the same. Though it can be difficult to adjust the upper thread tension, you can start with 3 and 5.

Also, do make sure that the thread is free of any tangles or knots. Finally, always get good quality threads as low-quality threads can lead to bunching of threads. This should eliminate the bobbin thread looping issues.

Problem 3: Bobbin Thread Tension Problems

If you are working on a project and realize that the bobbin thread’s tension is not proper, it can give you a difficult time sewing.

If the tension is not as per your requirements, you may happen to face issues while working. However, do note that adjusting the tension of the bobbin thread is quite simple and easy.

At first, before you adjust the thread’s tension, you will have to test it. To test the tension, you will have to snap your wrist a few times to check how quickly the yarn unwinds.

Now, if the bobbin does not drop down a few millimeters, that means that the tension is probably too high.

To adjust or alter the thread’s tension, all you need to do is adjust the small given on the bobbin. Make sure that you do not turn the screw many times as that will miss your preferred tension.

Be slow and adjust the tension as per preference. However, there is one thing that you need to be aware of is that the tension of the bobbin thread does not have too much effect on the quality of the stitches that you perform.

Problem 4: Bobbin Tension Is Not Consistent

While at work, if you happen to notice that the bobbin tension is constantly changing, it can hamper your work. If this happens frequently, it is best to replace the bobbin and get a new one instead.

Also, as discussed earlier, plastic bobbins are less reliable than metal bobbins.

Thus, if you are using a plastic bobbin, then it is high time to switch to a much more reliable option, which is metal bobbins.

At the same time, when you plan on getting a metal bobbin, make sure that you purchase the one that is the same as your brand of machine.

Do not get one from any other brand other than yours as it won’t be compatible with your sewing machine.

You can also have a check at the local sewing shop if you need any help with choosing the right bobbin for your sewing machine. Plastic bobbins are known to cause many troubles, so it is best if they are replaced with more durable metal bobbins.

Problem 5: Bobbin Case Is Stuck

The bobbin case getting stuck is usually a common thing. If it repeatedly keeps on happening, then the first thing you should do is open the bobbin case and check what the issue is.

Often, the bobbin case gets filled with burrs, which is why it keeps on getting stuck. You can open the sewing machine’s bottom plate and have a close look if anything is stuck or in the way.

Also, situations wherein the bobbin case are too stuck, and you can’t pull it out.

If you have the same issue, you have no other choice than to get an expert repairer to look at your sewing machine. They will help you with the exact issue and solve your problem.

Problem 6: Bobbin Case Is Loose

If you feel that the bobbin case is loose, it is best first to confirm it. Have a closer look to check if the bobbin case has any issues.

This step is usually important because it is easy to mistake a bobbin that isn’t fixed well to a loose bottom plate.

Both of these scenarios have the same problems, so they are pretty easy to be misunderstood.

If you happen to discover that the bobbin case is actually loose, then have a look if the hinged latch locks are in their place. To do so, you can turn the handwheel in your direction.

Next, pull the hinged tap to remove the bobbin case. Once you are done with this step, then you need to put the bobbin case back in place. When you insert it back into position, make sure you hear a ‘click’ sound.

This particular sound is essential since it is an indicator that the bobbin is placed correctly.

At the same time, when you install the bobbin back in place, ensure that the needle does not come in your way. If you still happen to face issues with the same, reinstall the bobbin again and check.

Problem 7: Stange Noise from the Bobbin Case

While working with a sewing machine, it is important that the machine only produces the normal machine sound.

However, there might have been times when you notice a strange or weird kind of noise from the sewing machine.

If you happen to face such an issue, then the first thing you should do is clean the sewing machine. Usually, when strange noises come from a sewing machine, it is due to something coming in contact with the inside of the machine.

Simultaneously, it can be due to thread or pieces of fabric getting stuck, which can cause weird noises from the sewing machine. If this method doesn’t work for you, then the next method that you can try is to change the needle.

There is a good chance that the needle is either bent or broken, hitting some internal parts of the machine causing strange sounds. If you happen to face such strange noises coming from the sewing machine, do not continue quilting or sewing on the machine.

While working with a perfectly normal sewing machine, it shouldn’t make any sounds or noises other than the normal machine sounds.

In most cases, the weird noises usually stop after you have cleaned the machine thoroughly and changed the needle. You can look for cleaning directions in the instruction manual and learn how to clean the machine.

What to Do If Nothing Work?

If your sewing machine is still giving you problems, then try cleaning it again pretty well. Ensure that you remove every small piece of fabric, hair, dirt, lint in and around the bobbin space.

Also, make sure that the bobbin area is free from any dirt and nothing is stuck in the bobbin.

As we keep using the sewing machine, a fluffy object called lint starts accumulating in the machine. This is why you must regularly clean the sewing machine and remove any dirt, fabric, and pieces of material stuck in the machine.

Many times, if there are materials or fabric stuck in the machine, it can interfere with the needle and hamper the quality of your stitches.

For an efficient working machine, the thread should run as smoothly as ever.

Remove the bottom plate and bobbin so that you can reach all corners of the machine and clean thoroughly. Once you are done with the cleaning, brush up a little oil in the bobbin area.

It is always best to lubricate the machine with some oil to keep the machine running smoothly.

If you can’t use your hands well to reach every nook and corner of the machine, then take some oil on the brush and apply it to all the machine corners.

Using a brush is much better than using your hands, as the brush can get in places that your hand won’t. At the same time, the brush also gets more lint and applies oil evenly in all directions.

It is also crucial that you use a clean brush to apply oil, as an unclean brush can accumulate more dirt or grime in the machine.

Final Words

Though sewing can be fun and exciting, it can also be problematic when you face bobbin issues.

However, in this article, we have discussed the most common sewing machine bobbin problems and their solutions.

If you happen to experience any of these issues, we hope our solutions worked out the best for you.

If you or any of your friends experience similar bobbin issues, these simple tricks and methods will instantly help clear your problems.


1. Why Is My Bobbin Not Working?

You might wonder why your bobbin isn’t working? You will find a bobbin winding spindle that is situated on the top of the machine. Make sure that the spindle is placed at the back left for sewing machines. This can be one of the reasons why the bobbin isn’t working.

If the spindle is not in the accurate place, then the needle will display problems picking the bobbin thread. Also, the next thing that you should look at is the presser foot. Ensure the presser foot is not down and placed up.

2. Why Does My Bobbin Keep Getting Tangled?

Why does the bobbin tangle? One of the reasons why the bobbin is getting tangled can be due to improper threading. If the thread isn’t properly threaded, there will be issues with how the bobbin thread works.

It might also be due to the thread getting stuck, which can create knots or tangles. Ensure that the thread is correctly threaded so that you don’t face any issues with the bobbin.

This crucial step can save you a ton of time on your hands and help you get done with your projects faster.

3. Can I Sew Without a Bobbin?

Do you wonder if you can sew without a bobbin? Then the answer is no. You cannot sew minus a bobbin.

For the sewing machine to work effectively, the machine must have two spools. Without the two spools, the sewing machine won’t work as the machine’s functioning won’t be fulfilled.

The machine has been designed so that they must have the bobbin thread and needle thread.

This is why you need to have both the needle thread and bobbin thread for quality stitching.