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Not picking up the Bobbin thread

Was sewing fine and then bobbin thread was low, wanted to finish embroidery so kept sewing a bit more, upper thread wound around bobbin locked up the machine and broke the needle. clipped all the threads, and cleaned out the bobbin case, and feed dog area, changed the needle, tried different kinds of neeedles. Will not pick up the bobbin thread at all, just get big loops of upper thread under fabric. I was given a baby lock machine and all was going well until I had to change the bobbin. The top thread would not catch the bobbin thread and all I got was a big mess of top thread underneath the fabric. Since I am only a beginer at sewing - I'm wondering did I not thread the bobbin correctly or what went wrong.

Where can I find som instructions on how to thread this machine the right way? Thanks

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  • Julia Wood
    Julia Wood Apr 05, 2018

    All machine books are available, online, Even antique machines. In my experience, there could be two problems with your new needle. A) check for a snag. You can feel it. Use an emery board or block for heel callouses to grind it off. B) your new needle could be slightly bent. Gentle pressure against the bend - you can see it, actually. It can be straightened with finger pressure.

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Sounds like you have to take off the throat plate and clean out threads under it.  Sometime they ball up and prevent the needle from going down and catching the bobbin thread. You can't see themuntil you take off the plate.  Follow the directions.  It is easy.

Posted on Mar 07, 2009

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It sounds like you did everything I was taught to do by Dad. Not picking up bobbin thread sounds like a top needle problem. Either slightly bent - something you can usually see, or find out with zig-zag on. Or a 'burr' on the needle, easily fixed with an emery board. Something you can feel. Your question goes back so many years, that I hope you haven't given up on sewing, altogether!

Posted on Apr 05, 2018

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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SOURCE: Not picking up the Bobbin thread

I cleaned the machine good with canned air, oiled it. I took out the bobbin case and cleaned it good also. I then noticed the tension screw on the bobbin case was loose, tightened it and the problem was fixed.

Posted on Nov 17, 2008

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1 Answer

I sewed a support seam on neck line. got the bumpy stitches from bobbin. rewound bobbin, threaded machine. went to sew and now nothing works. it wont sew.


Not quite sure since the symptoms are not clear. "Bumpy stitches from bobbin"--does that mean there were thread nests on the bobbin side of the fabric? That is thread nesting or bird nesting resulting usually from mis-threading, upper thread not completely seated in tension disk, or upper tension too loose. Remove the upper thread from the machine. ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot and rethread from the beginning--verify the thread path is correct. Set the upper tension to the midway point between high & low number and retest the machine. (Upper tension may need to be tweaked because fabric, thread, and age of the machine will have an affect.)

Check that the bobbin is wound smoothly--no lumps, bumps, or thread ends/pieces sticking out of the bobbin. Check that the bobbin is installed in the bobbin case correctly (turning the proper direction) and the bobbin tension is threaded completely.

If the upper thread is not picking up the bobbin thread, make sure to install a brand new needle. (I don't try to straighten or "fix" damaged needles. With today's computerized machines, it may cause more damage than a new needle would cost. That may work on the old mechanical machines like the Singer Featherweights, but my machines are too important to risk for the price of a needle.) If it still won't pick up the bobbin thread, then the machine's timing has probably been knocked out of alignment. Search for sewing machine timing or take it for service.

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Do you use stabilizer when you are satin stitching? I had a teacher who also hooped the fabric with a spring-loaded embroidery hoop (turned upside-down under the presser foot so the fabric is flat against the needle plate) that would keep the fabric taut.

It is not uncommon for bobbin thread to rise to the top when doing embroidery, satin stitch, etc., especially if you are using lighter-weight thread than usual. You would normally loosen the upper tension so the upper thread will sink into the fabric. However, if loosened upper tension is not doing enough, you may need to adjust bobbin tension when doing embroidery, applique... You might try tightening the bobbin tension just a smidgen to get the bobbin thread to stay below the fabric. Be sure to mark the bobbin case before making any adjustments so you can return it to the original setting when finished with the satin stitch. (If you do a lot of satin stitch or applique, etc., you may want to invest in a separate bobbin case that is set up only for doing that kind of work--saves having to alter the bobbin tension frequently.)

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I agree with sylviaivie about find another repairman, they are suppose
to guarantee the work they do.
when the upper shaft is replaced & then the machine is retimed
the machine should work just fine.
but just don't take it back to that man to be repaired
here is a tip if it happens again,,
always try to cut the top thread first,
& turn the machine up on it's back to access the bottom cover
take the cover off the bottom to get access to the bobbin thread
where you can cut the bobbin thread
then you should be able to get the needle out without breaking it &
damaging the upper shaft, replace the needle & make sure
that the thread is good quality & not knotty, clean out the bobbin area of lint or thread
always change the needle on the embroidery machine every project
make sure the bobbin area is kept clean of lint or thread
clean under the needle plate at least once a week for lint if you
embroidery everyday or just often

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Not picking up the Bobbin thread


I cleaned the machine good with canned air, oiled it. I took out the bobbin case and cleaned it good also. I then noticed the tension screw on the bobbin case was loose, tightened it and the problem was fixed.

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