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Forum > Sewing Machines > Why does my bobbin thread keep getting caught? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Why does my bobbin thread keep getting caught?
indianajoni
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indianajoni
Advanced Beginner
Indiana USA
Member since 4/22/07
Posts: 75
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Date: 4/10/10 10:59 AM

I have a Janome 2139N - it's only sold at Hancock's and not even shown on the Janome website (although it's nearly identical to the 3128, not that there's actually a big enough picture that I can tell for sure). You know how sometimes, when you come to the end of a seam, you can't pull the threads out, and you have to open up the bobbin case & fix it? Why on earth would my machine be doing that every single time?

Whenever I get to the end of a seam, I have to cut the threads because the bobbin thread is so tight I can't even pull it out enough to reach the built in thread cutter. And then I have to open up the front and pull out the bobbin case, because the thread has formed a loop around the post in the middle of the hook race - you know, the post that the center of the bobbin fits over. (I have a front loader.) Then I have to put the bobbin back in the case, put the bobbin case back in, and pull the threads back up - very slow going, especially because I'm currently sewing doll clothes and a lot of those seams are only an inch or two long.

I've been having lots of wonky/frustrating bobbin thread issues lately... like the tension will suddenly change in the middle of a seam (the thread slips out of its little channel in the bobbin case) and all of a sudden the needle thread is coming through to the back in HUGE loops and I have to rip it all out and start over again. I cleaned all the lint out of my machine and it helped a little, but not much. Is this just a bobbin case tension issue? Or do I need to suck it up and take my machine in for repair? I'm not too keen on paying $70 in repairs on a $150 machine, but I don't really have the $$$ for a new machine right now, either. Help!!!
-- Edited on 4/10/10 11:00 AM --

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Michelle T

Michelle T
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British Columbia CANADA
Member since 8/24/02
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In reply to indianajoni


Date: 4/10/10 11:06 AM

A couple things to try.

Is this a new problem?

Take out the bobbin race and clean behind it, not just the bobbin case.

Have you sewn over a pin, broken a needle etc recently?

Have you completely rethreaded the machine top and bottom? Sometimes bobbin issues are due to the needle thread.

Have you changed the needle?

Is the needle up, down or in between? You need to release the tension on the needle thread, by raising the needle to pull the sewing away.

Have you oiled the machine?

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quiltsammon
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quiltsammon
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Washington USA
Member since 3/12/05
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Date: 4/10/10 11:46 AM

So I'll add a couple of ideas that you may already know, it may not be user error, but it might. Usually wnen this happens I have to totally rethread. Try these three things.

1. When you thread your upper thread, your presser foot needs to be up. When the presser foot is up it realeases the tension on the tension disc allowing the thread to be seated in the tension disc properly.

2. Some machines care which way the bobbin is pulled. When you thread your bobbin and then pull on it, is it supposed to move clockwise or counterclockwise.

3. Make sure when you are done with your seam you put your needle in the highest position and put your presser foot up releasing the tension disc.

So frustrating when the machine doesn't work the way you need it to work!!!

quiltsammon
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quiltsammon
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Date: 4/11/10 11:37 AM

Did you get your machine to work?

Sherril Miller
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Sherril Miller  Friend of PR
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California USA
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Date: 4/11/10 12:21 PM

Putting your needle in the highest position before you release the tension by lifting the pressure foot is very important. If you don't, than there is a stitch that is forming inside the bobbin area that is incomplete and may be what is causing the knotting or looping or tension.

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If it's worth sewing, it's worth sewing well;
and if it's worth sewing well, it's worth FITTING FIRST! - TSL

tourist
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tourist  Friend of PR
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British Columbia CANADA
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Date: 4/11/10 2:10 PM

Misshaped, bent or damaged bobbin? I've had metal bobbins with slight bends or burrs that caused problems. Nicks or burrs on the bobbin hook?

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indianajoni
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indianajoni
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Indiana USA
Member since 4/22/07
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Date: 4/12/10 8:05 PM

Thanks. So far I have switched the needle, re-threaded the entire thing, and cleaned out all the lint... it's still catching. It sews just fine, but when I get to the end of a seam, the bobbin thread won't pull out. Oh well, it might be time for me to suck it up & get the darn thing repaired...

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bestgrammy
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bestgrammy
Oregon USA
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In reply to indianajoni


Date: 4/13/10 9:22 PM

Since the garments are doll clothes with only a couple of inches for seams, are you sewing past the end of the material..."sewing in air"...this will cause a thread jam on some machines. Using small pieces of typing paper or coffee filters to "sew off" may help.

ETA: Sometimes the bobbin case tension has to be adjusted. Your sewing manual should show how to do that. Just the slightest turn of the adjustment screw can make a big difference...but just don't
screw the screw completely OUT.

I remember reading some good posts on how to CHECK the bobbin case tension, but could not locate them through PR search. Maybe someone else will re-post those instructions. Checking involved dangling the bobbin case by the thread to see how slow or fast the thread came out.

I had wondered if the bobbin case had been dropped and maybe a new one is needed. Might be worth $8 to try a new one.
-- Edited on 4/13/10 9:39 PM --

indianajoni
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indianajoni
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Indiana USA
Member since 4/22/07
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Date: 4/15/10 1:12 PM

Those are good thoughts. Unfortunately, even if I stop 1 or 2 stitches before the end of the seam, the bobbin thread will still get looped around that center post and I have to open it up and undo it. (I think I am doing a bad job explaining what I mean... maybe I should try and take a photo?) Getting a new bobbin case is a good idea, though. I'd rather spend $8 for a new one of those than $75 on repairs (or $200 on a new machine).

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Betakin
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Betakin
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In reply to indianajoni


Date: 4/15/10 6:42 PM

How frustrating for you. You might already be doing what I am about to ask but..are you puting the bobbin into the bobbin case in the proper direction? Hold the bobbin case in your left hand..hold the bobbin in your right hand..with the thread coming from over the "top" of the bobbin..insert bobbin that way..into the case..then pull the thread around to the tension slot..and leave enough thread to have the needle pull up the thread.

It seems this machine has an oscillating hook..sometimes if stitching off the edge of the fabric it can make a jam because the oscillating hook swings back and forth..(not full rotary) and it brings the thread back the other way..so are you ending the seam while still in the fabric..then pulling up enough thread before cutting the threads?

If your bobbin tension is off, you can adjust the tension by the little tiny screw on the metal bobbin case. Adjust it just a tad..to see if it makes a difference.

You can check the proper tension on the bobbin by..after inserting the bobbin into the case..hold the thread..and let the bobbin dangle...if the bobbin just rollls on to the floor..your tension is too loose and needs adjusting.
If you you hold on to the thread and bounce the bobbin case up and down..and the bobbin case does not move but holds tight to the thread..the tension is too tight.
If you hold on to the bobbin thread and bounce it..and the bobbin case starts to fall and you bounce it again..and the case falls some more..(but not to the floor) the tension is probably balanced.

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