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Question about Kenmore Drop-In Bobbin 16231 Mechanical Sewing Machine

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Machine wont pick up bobbin thread

Ok. I am loosing my mind and cant find why my machine wont pick up my bobbin thread. The book does not say anything about it. I cant seem to get the support page from Kenmore to come up. Any thoughts?

Posted by Ann Taylor on

  • 7 more comments 
  • Anonymous Nov 11, 2007

    my machine will only pick up the bobbin thread the first three or four stitches, then it skips

  • Anonymous Dec 28, 2007

    my bobbin will not draw up and thread I have e&r classic model nt22 only had it a few days it was working

  • lbee Mar 22, 2008

    I have the exact same problem. I just bought my Kenmore sewing machine and am unable to draw up the thread simply to begin sewing!! I have poured over the manual, quadruple checked my threading and am getting frustrated. I called the customer service line twice and have not had a reply to my two voicemails. All the positive reviews encourage me to just exchange the machine and not ask for a refund, but I'm wary now. The drop-in bobbin is supposed to be so great, but as noisy and rattly as my old machine is, at least I can draw up the bobbin thread!!!

  • Anonymous May 11, 2008

    I'm having the same problem with my brand new machine. I tried replacing the needle. I tried pushing the thread below, where the feed dogs are. I tried leaving it out, as the instructions indicate. Nothing seems to work. The needle is just not picking up the bobbin thread, and it seems like the bobbin thread is just not in a place where it can get picked up.

  • cavellie Mar 22, 2009

    bobbin thread will not pick up. I changed the needle, I took apart and cleaned all lint. Looked for any thread that may be stuck, found nothing. I have had this machine in for repair a few times. They do not tell me what they find wrong at the sears counter. But after reading this I know it has to me the timing. I would definetly have the patience if it were explained to me how to repair!

  • cavellie May 11, 2010

    how do I retime machine?????

  • Anonymous Mar 15, 2014

    bobbin thread wont thread

  • Anonymous Mar 25, 2014

    The machine wont pick up the thread.

  • Julia Wood
    Julia Wood Nov 26, 2017

    Sometimes a bobbin thread will not be picked up because you needle is bent. Very sorry this comes ages after your question. I hope you have not given up sewing!



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Hi,try loosening your needle and pull it down a fraction then tighten it back up,i had same problem,good luck

Posted on Feb 05, 2008


R.A. Ellis

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Install a brand new needle--make sure it is the correct needle for your machine and that it is installed correctly.

Rethread the machine from the very beginning--BUT be sure to RAISE the presser foot before threading the upper thread so it will seat properly in the tension disk.

If the machine still will not pick up the bobbin thread, it has most likely been knocked out of time (the needle is arriving at the wrong time to catch the bobbin thread). You can search for sewing machine timing or take it for service.


Posted on Dec 07, 2015


Mary Dunn

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Make sure that you have installed a NEW needle, and made sure that the needle flat side is facing the rear of the machine. Now check it.

Posted on Dec 07, 2015

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Related Questions:


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.


Machine wont sew. Misses stitches

check for problems in the bobbin winding, ( in the wrong way so that the thread is not coming out correctly)
top thread tension too tight or too loose
vary the thread tension to see when it improves on a waste test sew

Why magnolia not picking up bobbin thread

Despite what the instruction book tells you, do not use the auto downup button to pick up the bobbin thread. Instead pull the wheel toward you and do it manually. Many times the bobbin thread gets caught and the machine halts if that auto down button is used.

Bobbin not winding tightly

BRAND new Janome 1420qdc. New needle, doesn’t need oil. Will NOT wind a bobbin. Used almost an entire spook of thread doing this. At my wits end. HELP!

My brother pe150 embroidery machine does not pick up bottom thread and wont sew

try changing the needle
rethread the machine--use every thread guide
make sure the bobbin is not warped
make sure the bobbin is inserted correctly in the case
it's very possible that the timing of the machine is off & the machine would need to be checked at a sewing machine shop

Cant pick up thread from bobbin

Check your needle to see if it's damaged
Check the bobbin to see if it's warped
Check the bobbin to see if it's inserted in the bobbin case correctly
Check the bobbin case to see if it's inserted properly in the machine
Make sure there's no lint or loose thread in the bobbin area
If these suggestions don't work then it could be the timing is off just a little & it needs to be serviced

The bobbin thread will not pick up. The machine had jammed and I forced the wheel and can't get bobbin thread to pick up. When I thread manually, I only get holes, no stitches. Is it a timing belt?

check your needle to see if it's bent---roll on flat surface to see if it roll correctly
on some sewing machines when the thread comes off the thread take up lever it can cause the machine to jam
also if the bobbin thread becomes tangled it can jam
check the bobbin area for lint or loose threads
try having a top thread tail & bobbin thread tail of 3-4 inches
try holding the top thread tail & turn the handwheel on the right side on the machine manually & put the needle down into the bobbin area & see if the bobbin thread will pick up that way

I seem to be threading the spool correctly, yet the needle doesn't pick up the thread.

You haven't stated the exact model, but the principle for picking up the spool thread is pretty universal.

After loading the spool into the bobbin case and correctly threading the spool, pull the thread up through the sliding cover plate to lie on the machine bed and mostly close the cover.

Lift the presser foot, thread the needle and then advance the balance wheel slowly so that the needle goes down and then returns up. If the machine is correctly threaded, correctly adjusted , has an unbent needle and the needle is appropriate to the thread size, then it should pick up the bobbin thread. Just pull on the loose end of the needle thread and the loop with the bobbin thread should come up through the needle hole. Pull both threads to the right from where they have just emerged, allowing the loose end of the bobbin thread to disappear beneath the cover plate before re-emerging through the needle hole. Close the cover fully, lower the foot onto the work and start sewing.

If the above fails, then check that the spool is loaded the correct way around into the bobbin. It makes no difference to many models, but does to some. If you don't have the instruction book then just try both ways. It also helps to ensure that the machine is correctly maintained with no build ups of lint and correctly oiled with sewing machine oil. This is a light oil grade but has additives to ensure that it sticks where it's needed, "3-in-1" brand oil can be used but may need to be applied more frequently and the machine will need cleaning more often.

If the pick up still doesn't work, then your machine needs to go for repair as it either has a damaged bobbin or a screw has come loose in the mechanism causing the machine to lose timing. For older Singer models, all of the timing and servicing information is available free on the web. Just enter your model number followed by "manual" or "service".

Good luck, please add a comment if any of my answer has puzzled you, but otherwise I'd appreciate it if you would take a moment to rate my reply.

Wont pick up bobbin thread

1.check needle to see if it's bent or blunt end
2.check bobbin & bobbin case for lint or loose thread
3.could be a timming problem- would have to be serviced
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