Reasons Why Sewing Machine Not Picking Up Bobbin Thread

Bobbin thread is needed to make a stitch while using a sewing machine. But what happens if your sewing machine is not picking up the bobbin thread?

In this article, we are going to discuss why your sewing machine is not picking up the bobbin thread and ways to fix it.

Let’s dig in.

Sewing Machine Not Picking Up Bobbin Thread – Causes and Fixes

Bobbin thread is one of the most important components in a sewing machine. It helps to move the fabric through the machine’s zigzag motion and keeps it from bunching up. 

Without bobbin thread, your sewing project would come to a standstill. Sewing Machine Not Picking Up Bobbin Thread can be caused by a lot of reasons and this problem usually happens to older sewing machines.

If you are experiencing this issue, here are several things that could cause your sewing machine not to pick up the bobbin thread.

1. The bobbin case is full of lint

Lints are small, short fabrics that separate from clothes during processing. They build up in your sewing machines over time. 

Over time they can get in the way of your needle and hinder your bobbin case hook from making stitches properly. 

Clean your machine from time to time to prevent this.

2. The bobbin is warped or damaged 

When a machine is working, it is bound to produce heat and this can twist or melt the plastic bobbin. If this happens, the bobbin will no longer work properly. 

3. The correct bobbin is not being used 

even though all sewing machine bobbin looks familiar, they are actually different from one another. They differ in size and brands. 

Make sure you use the bobbin designed for your machine. Your sewing machine might not pick the bobbin thread if you use the wrong one.

4. The bobbin is not inserted correctly 

check if the bobbin case is inserted properly, if inserted wrongly, it might cause your sewing machine not to pick it up. 

Every machine has its own specific way of being inserted. Check the user manual to know which way the bobbin is being inserted into your machine.

5. The bobbin is not wound correctly

If you’ve been sewing for a while, your bobbin winder’s washer may need to be replaced for it to function properly. 

After winding your bobbin, check to see if your thread is wound evenly. You might need to have your sewing machine serviced by a repairman if it doesn’t seem correct. 

If your bobbin winder is damaged, you can also purchase a free-standing winder. A knot in your bobbin thread is another item to watch out for. This may occur if you wound your bobbin manually as opposed to automatically. 

Additionally, avoid winding your bobbin too tightly because doing so may prohibit it from smoothly spinning inside your bobbin casing. Both of these things have the potential to destroy your bobbin thread or prevent your upper thread from picking it up.

6. The needle is not inserted correctly  

Make sure the needle is in the correct position. If your needle is not inserted properly, even if the insertion is off by an inch it might hinder it from picking up the bobbin. 

Also, make sure that the needle is not inserted backwards.

7. The sewing machine is not threaded correctly

This is the first thing you should check if you notice that your sewing machine is not stitching properly. Check if the thread is inserted properly.

8. The thread tails are short 

If the thread tail that emerges from your bobbin is less than two inches, it may not be caught by your top thread when you start sewing or it may be pulled inside your sewing machine. 

Start with thread tails that are at least three to four inches long, or wait to sew before cutting them.

9. The hook timing is off 

In every sewing machine, there is a timing that allows the needle and the hook system to work hand in hand to create a stitch. 

If the timing is even off for microseconds, the machine will not be able to pick up bobbin threads.  You can fix this issue yourself or have it taken to an expert to fix the hook timing.

How Can I Wind a Bobbin?

The bobbin helps by supplying thread to the needle in order to create stitching. Once you have chosen the thread you want to use for your fabric, you’ll need to wind the thread into the bobbin before you start.

Here’s how to wind thread into a bobbin.

Step 1: Remove the bobbin from the case 

You can do this by opening the machine’s panel cover. From there you’ll the bobbin underneath the needle, and remove it from its case.

Step 2: Prepare the thread you want to wind into the bobbin 

A bobbin thread is not like a regular thread and it also has to be a good one.

Step 3: Thread the bobbin 

Use the thread you’ve selected to thread the bobbin.  You can also use the machine to do it so as to quicken the process.

What To Check When Winding a Bobbin?

Even though, winding a bobbin is an easy task. There is some guidance you have to follow so that it works well with your machine.

  • Make sure the bobbin is specific to your sewing machine.
  • Make sure that the thread tail isn’t going to unwind when you cut it.
  • Confirm that you are using the correct size bobbins.
  • Be certain that the thread is passing through the bobbin properly.
  • Confirm that the bobbin is not faulty
  • Make sure that the bobbin case is clean. Make sure that it is free of dust or lint

How Can I Fix a Faulty Bobbin?

First, try replacing the bobbin threader with an alternate model if possible. Next, check to make sure that the spindle is turning properly and that the tension on the bobbins is accurate. 

However, if your sewing machine is not picking up the bobbin thread, it could be a problem. In order to troubleshoot the issue, you would need to remove the needle from the machine. 

This would allow you to further inspect the thread and the needle. If you find that the thread is tangled or the needle is not moving, you would need to fix the issue by replacing the needle or the bobbin. 

By removing the needle and further inspecting the thread and the machine, you can troubleshoot the issue. 

Once the issue has been fixed, you would need to lubricate the machine to help the thread slide easily. You can also adjust the tension of the machine to see if that solves the problem. If not, you would need to replace the machine. 

How To Select Thread For The Bobbin

There are many factors to consider when selecting the right thread for a bobbin. Factors such as the type of fabric, the width of the fabric, and the weight of the fabric can all influence the choice of thread. 

It is important to choose the right thread for the task at hand. There are several types of threads that can be used with a bobbin. 

Heading and match threads are two common types of thread. The heading is a smooth, plain thread made from cotton, polyester, or silk. 

Match thread is a thread with a matching color, typically white or light color, to match the fabric. Heading and match thread can both be used to wind a bobbin.


Following this guide, you should be able to know why your sewing machine is not picking bobbin threads and possible ways to fix the issue.