Common Sewing Machine Bobbin Problems And Their Solutions

Being a part of Amazon Associate and some other Affiliate Programs, we may earn a small commission for every qualifying purchase from affiliate links at no extra cost to you. You can read our affiliate disclosure to learn more and also our review process.

If you’re looking for a new sewing machine, don’t overlook the bobbins. A good bobbin is essential to prevent unraveling and puckered seams from faulty threading. 

Make sure the bobbin size matches your machine, otherwise there will be trouble when it comes time to change it out! Bobbins are sold separately from the machine.

Bobbins for a home sewing machine are typically inexpensive and readily available at most fabric stores or online shops.

What is a bobbin?

The bobbin is a metal case that is equipped with a spindle and usually has several mechanical parts. The most important parts are the spindle, housing, and tension spring. The bobbin has several purposes:

• It keeps the thread taut so it feeds smoothly through your machine

• It holds the thread to prevent unraveling

There are three types of bobbins available for sewing machines: metal, plastic, and high-speed. Plastic is used for basic everyday sewing but has a tendency to melt at high speeds. Metal bobbins are durable, but may create static electricity which can lead to puckering of the fabric. High-speed bobbins are made of carbon fiber and must be used with special sewing machines and threads specifically designed for carbon fiber bobbins.

What part of the sewing machine holds the bobbin?

The bobbin holder on the top of most home sewing machines is called a “thread guide.” The thread guide sits below the presser foot and holds the bobbin in place. The thread guide consists of two parts: the top and bottom threads.

The top thread passes over two metal bars that are connected by a pivot point. When you sew, it is this pivot point that moves up and down as you sew to hold the needle in place.

The lower thread passes over the lower metal bar. These two bars are then connected by a link called a “needle roller.” As you sew, the needle roller moves up and down with the movement of the top thread. The needle roller pulls on the bobbin to keep it in place.

What does bobbin do?

In most sewing machines, the driver (the part at which the thread is threaded) drives the needle up or down. When you start a seam, the thread is fed through the bobbin. As you sew, the thread travels up and down the spindle as it passes through the needle. Your bobbin has a tension spring and this holds the thread taut, making it feed smoothly on its way to being woven into your fabric.

How does the bobbin part of the sewing machine work?

The spindle is the part of the sewing machine that holds and spins the thread as you sew. This part is also connected to your presser foot, which moves up and down as you sew. Even though it’s built into your machine, you will probably need to purchase this part separately if it breaks. If this happens to you, contact your seller immediately upon receipt to find a replacement part.

Common Sewing Machine Bobbin Problems

Bobbin problems are very common in sewing machines, here I’m explaining some of them.

  1. The damaged bobbin case
  2. Jumping bobbin
  3. Loose bobbin thread 
  4. Loose bobbin holder
  5. Bobbin tension
  6. Shaking of bobbin 
  7. Overloading of machine
  8. Bobbin thread bunches up
  9. Missing bobbin thread

The damaged bobbin case

If your bobbin case looks like it’s cracked, bent or broken, you’ll need to replace your machine. As a general rule, not only is it bad form to use a damaged needle threader, but you may get a faulty stitch if you use it.

Jumping bobbin

It is fairly common to have bobbin issues, especially when it says “jump” while the needle is threading. This happens because the thread is dragging on the bobbin. If you have a thread attached that has a bit of pounce on it, this runs down across the threads that are already in the bobbin case and causes them to drag as well. You can fix this with an elastic cord or other material that will hold the threads away from each other when sewing.

Loose bobbin thread 

Sometimes thread can get loose when winding and doesn’t secure properly. The needle may be too loose or your bobbin hook may not lock into place. This can also be due to an issue with your presser foot or tension spring, which are connected to the bobbin hook. If any of these parts are faulty they need to be repaired or replaced.

Loose bobbin holder

If your bobbin holder is loose, then it needs to be tightened. To do this, use a screwdriver and tighten the screws until they are firm.

Check that your bobbin case is not damaged if it does not seem to fit securely in your machine.

If your sewing machine skips stitches and you have tried everything else, check that the tension isn’t too tight on the thread. If you don’t know what to do, then consult a technician or get a new machine.

Bobbin tension

make sure that your needle is threaded correctly. You should always use the recommended thread for your machine. If this thread is not available on-site, your seller may be able to supply you with some useful alternatives.

The needle should always be attached to the machine by the same thread, not by any other thread at all.

Check that the bobbin case is empty and threaded correctly, if it is not then this could cause a problem.

Shaking of bobbin 

This can happen when the thread has gotten caught between the spool wheel and the bobbin this will cause it to shake. First, make sure that your thread is not stuck by either leaning forward or backward on your machine. If the bobbin wheel is free and is not tight, you will need to take out that part of the machine and check it. If there is still a problem, take out your bobbin case, run a stick into it then reinsert and try sewing again.

Overloading of machine

Most of the time bobbin mistakes are caused by overloading the machine and being careless with the hand sewing that needs to be done. The bobbin case is where the thread passes through and you sew. When there is not enough space for the thread to go through properly, the thread will be caught and make a few spots on your fabric. This will create holes that are very noticeable if the fabric is lightweight or sheer.

Bobbin thread bunches up

This means that the bobbin has either swallowed a lot of thread or has too much tension in it. The thread is probably getting caught on itself and not going down into the bobbin case. You can fix this by making sure that your bobbin case is full enough and threaded correctly.

Missing bobbin thread

If this happens, you won’t be able to sew. To fix this problem, you will need to clean the bobbin case. Make sure that your bobbin case is clear of any thread and that there is ample room for the thread to pass through easily.

If there is not enough space for your thread to pass through, you may need to replace your machine.

How to Fix Bobbin Problems in a Sewing Machine?

You can fix the bobbin issues through these simple tips.

  • Check the bobbin thread for breaks or tangles
  • Check the bobbin case
  • Check tension spring
  • Cleaning of machine
  • Check thread tension
  • Check needle tension
  • Fix an overload issue
  • Stop thread from rolling and bunching up

Check the bobbin thread for breaks or tangles

The first solution is to check the bobbin thread for breaks or tangles that could be preventing it from winding properly. Check your needle threading tool, this may also be the problem. 

Check the bobbin case

Make sure your bobbin case is empty and clean. Replace the bobbin if it is damaged.

Your bobbin case may have bent or cracked in areas that would make it hard for the thread to pass through. 

Check tension spring

If you are using a top-loading bobbin, try switching to a drop-in bobbin. You can also check that your tension spring is not broken or damaged.

Cleaning of machine

There are many things you can do when you encounter this issue. Try cleaning out your machine and accessory section. If the thread has been swallowed, you may not be able to clean out the bobbin case well enough. You may need to take the machine apart and scrub it with a brush.

Check thread tension

If you have checked everything else and your machine still has problems sewing, check that your tension springs are okay. Check if there is a loose or broken spring if this is the case, it will need to be replaced. It can also be broken if shaving cream or canned whipped cream has been poured into it over time.

Needle tension

Check your needle tension to see if this may be a problem. Make sure to use the recommended thread for your machine, as using other kinds could result in it getting tangled or breaking inside the machine. 

Fix an overload issue

Bobbins come with a built-in tension dial that helps to maintain a consistent tension in the thread. If the machine has been overloaded, there will be a difference in tension between the front and back threads. This could cause problems when sewing. To achieve better results, you may need to adjust it manually by stretching or breaking more threads.

Stop thread from rolling and bunching up

When using your sewing machine, you should check at the beginning of each seam whether there is enough room for the thread to pass through without getting tangled up with your stitches. If your thread is too tight and causing tension problems, then you may need to adjust your machine’s tension to prevent it from pulling the thread.

How do you know if your sewing machine needs a bobbin change?

If the bobbin is burning out or has run through the whole thread it is no longer possible to fix and the only option is to replace your machine. Before you decide on an action, be sure to check all of the below points:

Is your bobbin full and free resting in between two threads? Pull out some thread, and make sure there are two equal thickness threads underneath. If there is not, then your bobbin needs replacing.

How to thread a bobbin

  • Find the spindle and thread it. To do this, rotate the thread so that one side of it can be fed through the slot in the tip of the spindle. Thread it into a needle and then pull out about 6 inches of thread from your spool. Put your needle on top of the spool to feed your working end of the thread through and then start sewing.
  • Thread the bobbin. Place the bobbin on top of the needle. Make sure that you thread it in the same direction as your needle will go. This is important!
  • Put tension on the spindle and threading mechanism of your machine by pressing down on the tension spring with your fingers or a screwdriver handle.
  • Use some thread lace to secure your working end (i.e.: lace, rubber bands, etc. work fine).

The tension spring is usually a small metal or plastic arm that is pushed against the bobbin to hold it in place. The tension spring can be adjusted by pulling on the button that is attached to it with a screwdriver or holding down and twisting the spring while holding the button. In some machines, you may need to use your fingers and thumb to keep the barrel of your machine still while you work on the bobbin.

FAQ about Sewing Machine Bobbin Problems

How do I fix my bobbin winder not working?

Your bobbin winder may not be working if you have problems with your tension spring or if there is a problem with the actual bobbin winder itself. Also, make sure to check the tension spring once. In most cases, a problem with your machine’s tension spring will prevent it from winding properly.

Why is my sewing machine not picking up the bottom thread?

There are several possibilities for this issue. The first one is that your thread may not be long enough or it may be too thick for the needle’s eye to penetrate. So, you may have less thread than you think, so try trying a slightly thinner thread or winding more thread onto your bobbin. If the bobbin is pushing the needle down, adjust your bobbin tension so that it holds tight against the spindle and is tight enough to pick up the thread.

How do I stop my thread from bunching up when sewing?

If your thread is bunching up in a knot, you may need to change the sewing needle or bobbin case.

How do I keep my thread from backing up?

Your device’s thread tension could be too loose and cause your bobbin to not pick up any of its threads. To fix this, adjust it so that it can hold tighter against the spindle and is tight enough for the needle to pick up the thread.

Is your machine set to the right tension? 

If you are getting a lot of breaks in your thread, then it may be a tension problem. Check that the needle isn’t bent or damaged and that it is working properly with all other threads. If the problem continues you will need to replace the machine.

How do you adjust the bottom tension on a sewing machine?

Some machines have a dial on the bottom containing a screw or lever. This can be turned to change the amount of thread that can fit into the bobbin case. It is important not to turn this too far, as it may cause problems with your machine. If you are experiencing problems with your bobbin tension, you may need to check that there is enough room for the thread to go through without tangling. If there is too much tension, your thread will be more likely to break or loop around inside of your machine.

Why is my thread loose?

Some machines have an enlarged bobbin case. This could mean that the needle has not fed through the thread, or that there is a problem with the bobbin itself. If you are sewing very thick fabric, check that you have plenty of thread tension and that your machine is still set at the correct tension for your fabric.

How do I fix loose thread?

When sewing thin or lightweight fabrics, you may want to increase your bobbin tension. If you sew with a thicker machine, you may want to add more thread to the bobbin so that it doesn’t run out. You can also break more threads to contain your sewing area.

Why is my sewing machine making loops underneath?

This problem usually occurs when using the fabric with the wrong type of thread. It can also happen if you are sewing with a thicker fabric than normal. This thread could stretch and bunch up under your fabric causing it to get bunched up and twisted.

Why is my bottom stitch loose?

If you have a loose bottom stitch, then your thread is coming up on the side of your fabric. To fix this problem, you may need to remove the guide that is causing this to happen. If it continues after you remove it, then you will need to replace the part. The best way to maintain your sewing machine is by keeping up with your regular maintenance routine. These simple steps can help keep your machine running for many years to come.

Why is my bobbin not feeding?

This problem could occur if your bobbin is not in the right position. If it is not properly inserted, then it will not feed the fabric through properly. To fix this problem, you need to check that the bobbin is inserted correctly and that it winds tightly.

Why is my bobbin thread bunching up?

If your bobbin thread gets caught up in the machine, then you may need to make adjustments to your tension so that there is less slack in the thread.

Final Thoughts

If you have any other problems that are not covered in this article, please feel free to ask us questions or leave comments below. If you have a solution for any problem that we may address in this article, then please share it with us and we will update the post.

Threading a sewing machine in a proper way is very important. So, check the threading process of various sewing machines based on sewing machine brands.

Thank you so much for reading and we hope you found this article helpful!


  1. Janome – BOBBIN WON’T CATCH
  2. Fixya – Too many threads coming up from the bobbin
  3. Etsy – Need Help…Can’t get the bobbin to wind on old sewing machine
  4. Threadsmagazine – Needle not picking up bobbin thread
  5. Fixya – Thread knotting around bobbin case
  6. Quora – Why does thread keep getting jammed up in the underneath the foot part by the bobbin in my sewing machine?
  7. MissouriQuiltCo – Clunking Noise & Bobbin Problems
  8. Fixya – Bobbin thread tangled
  9. Reddit – Catching Bobbin Thread 
  10. Mumsnet – bobbin thread keeps snapping – what am I doing wrong?



I have been working as a seamstress since I was 12 years old, and I would be happy to teach you what I know. I, along with the rest of my team, investigate numerous sewing, quilting, embroidery, and fabric related how-to guides, and present our findings to you.

Leave a Comment