Many readers commented on the sewing problems post I wrote for the blog with questions and pet peeves about bobbins. A bobbin is the spool that holds your bottom thread, so it’s essential to have it working properly. Let’s explore some ways to troubleshoot issues and improve your sewing experience.
Common Bobbin Problems
Bobbin Keeps Running Out of Thread
This was a topic that was mentioned frequently. You’re sewing along, focused on your project when the bobbin runs out of thread. So, how can you stop this from happening? Well, there is no way to prevent it 100% of the time, but there are a few hints I can give you to limit this occurrence.
If this is a frustration for you, switch to clear bobbins if they are compatible with your machine. This way, you can see when the thread is getting low without having to take it out. When you buy your next machine, make sure it has a clear cover where you insert the bobbin. Also, some new (fancy) machines, especially those made for embroidery and quilting, actually come with a low bobbin indicator light! This might be something to look into when shopping for a new one.
You can also check the bobbin before you start sewing each time, or even measure it by how much you can sew before it runs out. For example, start with it fully wound and then keep track of how many items you can make with that bobbin, then apply that to your next set of products. Another tip that I’ve heard (but not used myself) is to wind a second bobbin and use that as your top thread spool to give you an indication of when your bottom bobbin is running low.
Bobbin Gets Caught and Tangled Under the Fabric
If your thread is jamming or bunching, there are a few steps to take to fix the problem. First, check to make sure you are using the correct bobbin for your sewing machine. This may sound obvious, but if you have two machines like I do, it’s easy to get them mixed up. One device uses bobbins that are flat on the top, and the other uses ones that are slightly rounded. They are not interchangeable in my case, but some bobbins can work across different machine brands, so read the package before you buy more.
After you’ve double-checked that it’s the proper bobbin, inspect it for cracks or chips. Other factors like improper winding and leaving old thread on before putting on the color you’re currently using may also be the culprit. If you’ve determined it’s not the bobbin itself, unthread your machine completely and rethread it according to your machine’s instruction manual. Sometimes bobbin thread bunching is actually caused by the top thread not being inserted properly.
Bobbins Have Become a Tangled Mess When Not in Use
There’s just something about those little spools that makes them get all tied together and roll around on the floor. A small plastic box can help keep your bobbins tidy and prevent tangles. There are other options, like wooden racks, where you can stack your bobbins with the coordinating large spool of thread. Go with whatever works for you to keep them neat and organized!
Winding a Bobbin Interrupts the Flow of Sewing
Stopping to wind a bobbin in the middle of a project is time consuming and can break your sewing rhythm. Buy extra bobbins and have them wound and ready to use in order to prevent this frustration. You can also purchase a bobbin winder, which is a small separate machine that does what the name says. These gadgets will also save you time, and you won’t even have to use your sewing machine to wind your bobbins! They’re pretty affordable and widely available online or at sewing stores.
I hope these hints will make your sewing more smooth and efficient and take the annoyance out of using bobbins!