Question about Kenmore 15516 Mechanical Sewing Machine

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Needle thread tangling around bobbin

You advised someone about solving this problem by telling them to adjust the bobbin tension. I have a different machine (Kenmore 15516) with the same problem, but can't figure how to adjust the bobbin tension. Can you help?

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  • RenRod Sep 15, 2008

    Thank you! I adjusted the tension on the bobbin, but, unfortunately, it didn't solve my problem. Thanks for the suggestion and the information!



    To address my needle thread tangling (horribly) in the bobbin compartment, I rethreaded the bobbin. I cleaned the bobbin and the feeder feet, I changed the bobbin and the thread. I changed the tension on the needle thread and the bobbin thread. NO FIX! Then, I changed the needle - the problem was fixed instantly. I sewed awhile and then put the original needle back in. No problem. I think perhaps that the problem is being caused by the needle getting out of alignment somehow during sewing. If you are having the same issue, try it. It can't hurt!

  • pinkcassie Sep 30, 2008

    My machine will work fine until i run out of bobbin thread and have to pull out the knob to refill the bobbin. When i get the machine threaded back up and start to sew the thread gets all bunched and tangled in the bobbin holder. If I loead my machine in my truck and go for a drive, when i get home it works again. Could somebody help, maybe i am hitting something when i change it back from bobbin winding to sewing and i don't realize it.

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There should be a screw on the side of the bobbin also a screw on the bobbin holder so that you can ajust so you can time the mechin

Posted on Sep 15, 2008

  • jwag500 Feb 13, 2011

    Weird and inexplicable, but it worked. I was have thread tangling in bobbin chamber. I removed the needle, then put it back in, and the problem resolved itself!

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3 Answers

What is happening when I sew and 3 threads come out of the bobbin? Or when it just freezes up and I can't get the needle to go up or down?


basically the problem comes from incorrect thread tensions
the main thread responsible is the needle thread as the tension is far too loose
tighten up that tension and it makes the needle on the up stroke pull the thread around the bobbin carrier and collects the bobbin thread and pulls it up to the material
with the needle thread too loose the needle thread is wrapped around the bobbin carrier again giving you the 3 threads ( 2 needle threads and 1 bobbin thread and the tangle jams the bobbin movement

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1 Answer

How can I prevent bobbin thread from bunching up and tangling?


First thing to do: install a brand new needle and clean the lint/dust from the feed dogs and bobbin area. Make sure you are using the right needle and thread for the fabric being sewn.

All About Needles

Second thing: remove all the thread from the machine. RAISE the presser foot and rethread from the beginning making sure that it is threaded correctly through every thread guide (consult the owner's manual). And verify that the bobbin is loaded and threaded in the bobbincase properly.

AVOID using old, fuzzy, and bargain bin threads.

Set the upper tension to the midway point between the high & low number (this is the factory standard although every machine may slightly differ). Now perform a new stitch test.

If the upper thread is creating a thread mess under the fabric, the upper tension is too loose. Tighten it.

If the bobbin thread is coming up to the top of the fabric, loosen the upper thread and retest. Sometimes the upper thread tension is not enough to prevent the bobbin thread from coming up. In that case, the bobbin tension may need to be tightened. (Search the internet for instructions for adjusting the bobbin tension. NOTE: bobbin tension adjustments should be done in micro-increments as a small adjustment will make a big difference in the result. Be sure to test after each adjustment.)

The tension is correct when the upper thread and bobbin thread meet and cross in the middle of the fabric. This will change whenever fabric, needle & thread are changed, so a sewist needs to be comfortable with regularly making upper thread adjustments.

One other thing to try is pull the bobbin thread up through the fabric before stitching and gently holding the thread tails when taking the first couple of stitches.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caPzulMMlMU

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I've had my singer simple 3116 for a number of yrs. For last few weeks I've had problems with the bobbin stitch, it sews fine for a few seconds then jumps & the stitches are a tangled jumbled mess , I've...


You may have a burr from an errant needle strike on your bobbin case or even on the bobbin itself. Check to see if there are any rough spots on or around the bobbin.
If you don't find anything, you may want to remove the bobbin assembly and clean the lint out from the lower assembly. Sometimes the smallest amount of lint or pieces of thread can cause problems with the bobbin.
You didn't mention if the tangled thread happens on the top or the bottom of the fabric. If it is on top, then it is a bobbin issue. If it is on the bottom, then it is an upper tension/thread issue.
Try removing the bobbin, thread, and needle. Rethread the entire machine using a different bobbin and a new needle. This may solve your problem. Good luck!

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First let's make sure you threaded the upper thread properly. It MUST be threaded with the presser foot in the UP position. (this opens the tensions discs slightly and allows the thread to be seated correctly) Sew a test seem on the same type of fabric. If it is now sewing ok... you are good to go. If you still have some problems. Make sure you grasp the threads as you start a seam. Did that solve it? If not.. you'll have to adjust your top tension slowly testing the stitch after each adjustment... tighten the tension until it no longer nests underneath.

Good luck.

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Have you replaced the needle with a new one? Your needle may be bent or in wrong, or the wrong size. You may have a bad needle. Check that the upper thread path is running freely and is not tangled or wrapped around anything. Make sure that the bobbin is unwinding in the correct direction as well, most bobbins, this is clockwise as the bobbin faces you. If you are using inexpensive thread, it could be the thread that is the culprit. Uneven thread in the needle will not flow through the needle properly, and cause bunching as well. Save it for the bobbin, and use good thread in the top.

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Thread breaking.


Rethread the machine following these directions:
all machines thread the same. TTN tension, take up, needle.
Beginning with the spool, guide the thread through the thread guides to the tension assembly. Pull the thread through the tension assembly and test it to make sure the tension is working correctly.
(To do this test, adjust your tension setting to normal or medium or 5 or something in the middle. Raise the presser foot and pull the thread through the tension. It should pull easily!! Lower the presser foot and pull the thread. It should pull noticeably harder.) If it passes this test, continue up through the take up lever,then down through the thread guides to the needle. Make sure your needle is fully inserted and turned the correct way.( If you load your bobbin case from the left side,the needle rule is normally FLAT to the RIGHT is RIGHT. There are some exceptions. If you have a newer style drop in bobbin or your bobbin case loads in the front then the rule is FLAT to the BACK.
Remove the bobbin case and bobbin. Pull on the bobbin thread to make sure it doesn't pull too hard. It should have some tension on it but not a lot. Insert the bobbin and bobbin case into the hook assembly and pull on the bobbin thread again.The tension should still be about the same. If it is tight, you need to look at the bottom of the pin that the bobbin case sits on and see if there are any threads looped around it. If there are , you need to remove them.
Hold the top thread , turn the hand wheel and see if the thread is catching someplace around the hook assembly. If it pulls the thread up easily, put some fabric in it and see how it works.
Make sure the thread is through the take up lever.
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