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Troubleshooting: Sewing Machine Not Picking Up The Bobbin Thread

Sewing is many people’s favorite hobby and the more you get into it, the more you learn about the workings of the machine and the tricks of bobbin threads.

However, there usually comes a time when, all of a sudden, your machine does not pick up the bobbin thread and you cannot tell why.

Troubleshooting: Sewing Machine Not Picking Up The Bobbin Thread

In this article, we will go through the reasons and solutions to that issue as well as answer any questions you might have about bobbins.

So, keep scrolling to find out more!

What Are Bobbins?

Bobbins are small spools of thread that are used in a sewing machine (see also “Guide To Easily Threading A Singer Sewing Machine“). They are typically made of plastic or metal and are designed to hold a specific amount of thread.

Bobbins are inserted into the bobbin case, which is located in the lower part of the sewing machine.

The thread from the bobbin is used to create the bottom thread of the stitch, while the thread from the spool on the top of the machine is used to create the top thread of the stitch.

Together, the top and bottom threads interlock to create a strong and secure stitch.

Bobbins come in a variety of sizes and materials, depending on the type of sewing machine and the type of thread being used.

Do I Need To Thread Bobbins?

Yes, you do need to thread bobbins for a sewing machine to work properly, as the bobbin threads are used in conjunction with the top thread to create the stitches.

The top thread is fed through the needle and forms the top of the stitch, while the bobbin thread forms the bottom of the stitch.

As we have already mentioned, the two threads are then interlocked to create the sewing.

If the bobbin is not threaded or inserted properly into the machine, it can cause problems such as tangling, breaking, or the machine not sewing at all.

Should You Use A Sewing Machine If You Don’t Have A Bobbin?

No, you should not use a sewing machine if you do not have a bobbin, as a bobbin is a necessary component of the machine.

Without the bobbin thread, the machine will not work and will not be able to create the interlocking stitches required for sewing.

Reasons Why A Machine Might Not Pick Up Bobbin Thread

There could be several reasons why a sewing machine is not picking up the bobbin thread.

Some common causes include:

  • Incorrect bobbin winding or threading
  • The bobbin case or bobbin is not inserted properly
  • A dull needle or a needle that is not the correct size for the thread being used
  • The tension on the machine is not set correctly
  • The presser foot is not in the correct position
  • Lint or debris has built up in the bobbin area
  • The machine needs maintenance or repair

It’s best to refer to the machine’s manual or troubleshooting guide to determine the specific cause and how to fix it.

What To Do When Your Machine Does Not Pick Up The Bobbin Thread

If your sewing machine is not picking up the bobbin thread, there are a few things that you can check to troubleshoot the problem:

  • Check that the bobbin is inserted correctly and in the correct direction.
  • Make sure that the bobbin case is properly inserted and that the tension is set correctly.
  • Check that the needle is the correct size and type for the thread being used and that it is inserted correctly and is not dull or bent.
  • Make sure the presser foot is in the correct position and that the machine is set to the correct stitch.
  • Clean the bobbin area of the machine and remove any lint or debris that may have accumulated.
  • Check the machine’s manual or troubleshooting guide for specific instructions on how to thread and set up the machine properly.

If the problem persists even after trying all these steps, it may be necessary to take the machine to a professional for repairs or maintenance.

How To Thread A Bobbin In The Sewing Machine

  • First, locate the bobbin case in your sewing machine. This is usually located in a compartment near the needle or the top or side of the machine.
  • Take the empty bobbin and thread it with the color of the thread you want to use.
  • Hold the bobbin by the spool and pass the thread through the hole in the center of the bobbin.
  • Hold the bobbin in your left hand and pull the thread through the hole.
  • Hold the bobbin case with your right hand and insert the bobbin into the case making sure the thread is coming off the bobbin in a clockwise direction.
  • Pull the thread through the slot in the bobbin case and position the bobbin case back into the machine.
  • Follow the machine manual for the proper way to insert the bobbin case into the machine.
  • Finally, pull the thread up to the top of the machine and thread it through the needle before you start sewing (see also “How To Thread A Sewing Machine Needle“).

What Type Of Bobbins Do I Need For My Sewing Machine?

The type of bobbin you need for your sewing machine will depend on the make and model of the machine.

Each sewing machine has specific requirements for the size, shape, and material of the bobbin that it uses.

Some machines use standard, metal, or round bobbins, while others use plastic, pre-wound bobbins while others use specific bobbins which are only compatible with certain brands and models.

It’s very important to use the correct type of bobbin for your machine, as using the wrong bobbin can cause several problems such as tangling, breaking, or poor stitching.

The best way to determine the correct bobbin for your machine is to consult the manual that came with your machine.

The manual will usually have a section on the type of bobbins that the machine uses, and where you can purchase them.

If you don’t have the manual, you can also check the brand’s website or contact the manufacturer’s customer service.

Do I Need To Change The Bobbin Tension On My Sewing Machine?

One thing we haven’t referred to is the bobbin tension, which is something many people also have issues with.

So, to answer the question, yes, you need to change the bobbin tension to make sure your seams are perfect.

But let’s look at the process of getting the bobbin thread tension right.

Troubleshooting: Sewing Machine Not Picking Up The Bobbin Thread (1)

How To Get The Bobbin Tension Right In My Sewing Machine

To get the bobbin tension right in your sewing machine, you will need to adjust the tension on the bobbin case.

Here are some general steps to follow:

  • First, make sure that the bobbin case is inserted correctly into your machine and that the bobbin is loaded properly.
  • Next, thread your machine with the top thread and raise the presser foot.
  • Hold the top thread with one hand and gently pull on the bobbin thread with the other hand. The bobbin thread should come up easily and the two threads should be even.
  • If the bobbin thread is too loose, turn the tension adjustment screw on the bobbin case clockwise to increase the tension.
  • If the bobbin thread is too tight, turn the screw counter-clockwise to decrease the tension.
  • Once you have adjusted the tension, test the machine again by holding the top thread and pulling on the bobbin thread. Repeat the process until the tension is correct.
  • Lastly, if your sewing machine has a tension dial, refer to the manual guide to adjust the tension correctly.

It is important to note that different types of fabrics and thread will require different tension settings, so you may need to adjust the tension as you switch between projects.

What Are Pre-wound Bobbins?

Rather than winding your bobbins, you can purchase pre-wound bobbins. While many people enjoy winding their own bobbins and are very careful with the threads they are using.

Prewound bobbins, on the other hand, are more practical.

They have more thread than you can fit onto a bobbin that you are winding on your own, and you can use them when you are sewing for days, weeks, or months in a row, or when you use the same colors and fabrics.

Keep in mind, however, that you need to choose the right size and fiber content depending on what you are sewing.

Will My Machine Pick Up Pre-wound Bobbins?

Whether or not your sewing machine will pick up pre-wound bobbins will depend on the specific make and model of your machine.

Some machines are designed to only work with bobbins that are wound by the user, while others can accept pre-wound bobbins without any issues.

To check if your machine can accept pre-wound bobbins, you should, once again, refer to the manual for your machine.

The manual will usually have a section that lists the types of bobbins that are compatible with the machine.

If you don’t have a manual, you should check the machine’s website or contact the manufacturer for more information.

It is important to use the right type of bobbin for your machine, as using the wrong type of bobbin can cause the usual problems with tension, jamming, or damage to the machine.

Moreover, if you are unsure about how to use pre-wound bobbins in your machine, read the instruction manual for help since some machines do pick them up but have a different way of inserting them in.

The Bottom Line

Now that you know which bobbins to use, how to use them, and what to do if your sewing machine does not pick up your bobbin thread, you can get back to the ‘sport’ stronger and more confident about what you are doing (see also “Our 5 Favorite Self-Threading Sewing Machines“)!
Liz Miller
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