Bobbin Winder Problems: 5 Typical Issues (Solved)

For a smooth sewing experience, you will need to use a correctly-wound bobbin.

This can be easy when using a factory-wound bobbin but more challenging when doing it yourself. There are a few typical issues you might run into when bobbin winding on your own.

Let’s look at these main problems and how to solve them:

1. Incorrect Bobbin Threading

Knowing how to thread your sewing machine properly is the first step to success in its functions.

It is no different when you want to use your bobbin winder. You will need to understand how to thread the machine to be ready to wind the perfect bobbin for you.

Each machine has a different threading path, usually located on the top panel, that you will need to follow. If you are using a new machine or are new to winding bobbins, you will want to consult your instruction manual.

This will guide you to the correct way to thread the bobbin winder to create a perfect bobbin every time.

For most machines, you will need to secure your spool in place and pass the thread around one or two hooks to hold it in place. Next, you will want to bring the end of your thread and your bobbin together correctly, using the small holes of your bobbin.

No matter what material your bobbin is made of, you should be able to see small holes in the empty bobbin.

You will want to guide the end of the thread through one of the holes. The end of the thread should be sticking out by several inches.

Many people mistakenly wrap the end of their thread around the bobbin a few times without passing it through the hole. While you can wind a bobbin like this, you will run into problems later on when sewing.

As you are sewing along and you get to the end of your bobbin thread, it can come loose prematurely inside your machine.

When the remaining bobbin thread comes loose, it can get stuck or throw off the tension in your machine. To avoid this happening when you are nearing the end of your bobbin thread, make sure you have fed a few inches of the thread through the top hole when winding.

You can trim this tail when the winding is complete.

You will know you have achieved success when you have a bobbin that resembles its factory-wound counterparts. The thread should be lying flat, smooth, and even around the center of the bobbin.

If it looks messy, keep reading to see what other problems you might be encountering.

2. Winding Too Fast

All too often, we can find ourselves in a rush to wind our bobbins.

When we are in the middle of sewing something and our current bobbin runs out of thread, it can feel like an inconvenience to have to stop everything to wind a bobbin. Rushing through it might seem like a natural reaction.

Even if that is the case, it is essential not to rush the bobbin winding process. If you press down on your foot pedal all the way, the thread will be spinning too fast for best results. Top speed winding can cause the thread to stretch.

This can lead to issues with your thread tension later on when you use this bobbin to sew.

For some types of specialty threads, the issue can become more serious. Some threads can actually heat up in response to the speed of coming off the spool and winding onto the bobbin.

As they get hotter, their properties will change. This can impact their performance and tension both in winding and sewing later on.

To avoid speed-related problems, the solution is simple: slow down!

Move at a moderate speed, allowing the bobbin to wind efficiently without getting out of control.

3. Thread Slipping Out of Place

On the other hand, slowing down too much can also cause you some other types of trouble.

If you overcompensate for winding too fast by winding extremely slowly, you might have issues with the thread slipping out of place. If there is not enough tension on the thread, it might slip out of its thread path as you are winding.

Depending on the setup of your machine, you can help the thread stay in place in a few ways. If it is possible, gently place your finger on top of the mechanism that it is slipping away from.

There might be a slight opening in a hook that you can block with your finger. Your ability to block any potential escape routes can help hold your thread in place as you figure out the best speed at which to wind your bobbin.

You might also find that your thread jumps from winding around the bobbin to winding around the machine’s spindle. This is more likely to occur when you are winding too fast and don’t have control of your thread.

To prevent the thread from slipping or winding out of place, you will want to wind at a moderate speed. You should be aiming to find the sweet spot where you can apply enough tension without losing control.

To understand the best speed for your materials and your machine, keep a close eye on the bobbin as it threads. Watch to see that it is winding smoothly and get used to the sound it makes as it does so.

After a while, you will have trained yourself to recognize the sound of the optimal winding speed. You will be able to recognize when you start going too fast, or you haven’t applied enough momentum yet.

Consider winding several bobbins before starting a sewing project if you feel impatient when a bobbin runs out. You can dedicate your time and patience to winding as a preparation activity instead of fitting it in as needed throughout your sewing process.

4. Winder Wheel Isn’t Spinning

You might find that you have everything set up perfectly, but nothing happens when you click the bobbin into place and step on the pedal.

If this is the case, your bobbin winder wheel may have worn out.

If your bobbin winder wheel has stopped spinning altogether, you will likely need a replacement. The winder wheel is usually attached to the top of your machine on the inside of the panel.

It is the part that comes into contact with your handwheel, causing it to turn and the bobbin to wind.

Like any other moving part, these wheels can get worn out. They struggle to contact the handwheel and spin as intended when this happens.

Luckily, the fix is simple. You need to open up the top of your machine, remove the wheel and insert a replacement that matches the make and model of your machine.

A fresh wheel should find the traction needed to effectively spin and wind your bobbin.

5. Using the Wrong Sized Bobbin

Although all bobbins might appear quite similar at first, even the slightest difference in size or style can greatly impact your machine.

If you have recently purchased a package of bobbins and are having trouble with them, it might be a problem with their size.

Even if you bought universal bobbins that claim to fit your machine, it might not be sure. Some machines only respond well to bobbins made exclusively by their manufacturers.

You will need to consult your instruction manual to find out what bobbins you can get for your machine. It will let you know the exact dimensions required to find compatible bobbins.

It will also warn you against common bobbin types and sizes that won’t work with your machine.

Remember that you can continue to wind the same bobbin repeatedly until it shows any signs of damage. You can continue to reuse the machine’s bobbins and any additional compatible ones for many sewing projects.

6. Bonus Tip: Use a Separate Bobbin Winder

If you find it inconvenient to stop your sewing project and wind a bobbin, consider using a separate bobbin winder.

There are portable bobbin winding machines that are completely separate from your sewing machine. They are usually affordable and convenient gadgets.

You can easily prepare your bobbins on your portable winder and avoid any issues you might be running into when you wind on your sewing machine. These often come with many convenient features for fast and easy bobbin winding.

The Singer Bobbin Winder, available on Amazon, runs on batteries or can be plugged into the wall. With a simple touch of a button, you can begin winding your desired thread smoothly into the perfect bobbin.

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The device shuts off automatically when your bobbin is fully wound.

There are many makes and models of these self-contained bobbin winders. You can check your local sewing shop or browse your favorite online platforms to find the perfect portable bobbin winder for you and your sewing projects.

Final Thoughts

If you are experiencing trouble with your bobbin winder, you can check a few things.

You will want to make sure you are using a properly sized bobbin and that the thread follows the correct thread path for your machine. Check if you are using a moderate speed that provides ideal tension for the winding thread.

Finally, check if the winding wheel is worn out and needs replacing.


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