why does my bobbin thread keep bunching up

April 6th, 2016
The above are a very good start, and yes, they will fix about 90% of the problems you might encounter with hen s nests. I have worked on a number of machines, from numerous home machines to sergers to industrial machines. If you have threaded the machine correctly, both top and bottom thread, are using a new needle, are using an appropriate thread for your project and not mixing weights of thread beyond what the machine can handle, and are clearing the thread ends and pulling them away from the needle as you begin sewing so they do not get sucked into the bobbin housing, you should do fine most of the time. Some uncommon problems I have run into: 1. ) Installing the needle backwards. If you feel the needle, you will notice a groove along one side. The thread channels into this slot and through the eye. The groove faces toward you if the bobbin mounts from the front of the machine or if it is a toploader, or to your left if the bobbin mounts from the side of the machine.


I have seen a machine where the groove faces away from you when the needle is properly installed, but only so far on an industrial buttonhole machine. 2. ) Bobbin case not properly installed. It should click in without wobbling or wanting to turn to one side or the other. If it falls out mid stitch, you ll be picking thread ends out of your machine for a while. 3. ) Using the wrong type of needle. Hopefully we all know to use heavier needles on heavier fabrics and narrower needles on lightweight fabrics. By and large, though, home machines use the standard needles that you can buy at almost any fabric and craft store. Industrial machines might use one of dozens of different needle systems, or two different needles on the same machine.


Some needles are shorter than others, some have longer shanks, some are curved. You can look up parts lists for industrial machines online, usually for free. I use a sharpie to write the needle system on the machine so I don t forget. Again, if your machine is a typical domestic or home machine, you shouldn t have a problem with this. 4. ) Burr or other defect on the hook. This has happened to me on two separate machines; Be very careful sewing over pins and on particularly thick fabrics, or those that don t feed through the machine very well (things that stick to the sole plate like vinyl). If you sew into a pin and it gets caught in the bobbin housing and you have to fish it out, or you force fabric through the machine and bend/break the needle into the housing it can scratch or mar the hook. I had this happen to my 60 s Viking once; fortunately the mechanic was able to buff out the metal hook good as new.


It also happened on a shiny new $7000 Babylock embroidery machine (needle went right into the plastic hook/housing arrangement). Three stitches and the nest was so thick the machine jammed up and broke the needle. The new part cost $50. We were just fortunate that the local store up the street had one and that it was still half an hour before close on a Friday! Occasionally I can t figure out what s wrong. I have learned that, at those times, I need to turn the machine off and walk away for a while. If it s still doing it when I come back, it needs a professional overhaul. I've checked that my feed dogs are up, that the tension is on, that my bobbin is in the correct way, and that the upper thread is correctly threaded. Is there any other issues I should investigate before getting my machine looked at?


So as to not be redundant, since you've checked most of the stuff that would go wrong first I suggest the following: Needle point is important, be sure when sewing wovens you are using a needle with a sharp point (knits use ball point). The size of the needle is crucial. The weight of the thread may be too thick for this woven fabric. The bobbin tension with this thread could be part of the issue. Try a different thread in the bobbin and topstitch with the thicker thread. Sometimes that's a good workaround for thread thickness. Different machines have the option to adjust the tension on bobbin casings. Clean the bobbin holder and the entire bobbin area - no lint whatsoever. Test the machine with this thread and needle using muslin. Is this happening with other woven fabrics and other thread? If so, the timing is probably off. A tune up would be a good way to go.

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