How To Change The Bobbin On A Sewing Machine

Sewing machines have been around for centuries, but modern machines with multiple functions and settings have become popular in recent years. Many sewers upgrade to a more advanced machine, but one of the common things that people struggle with is changing the bobbin on their machine. In this article, we’re going to look at how to do this correctly, as well as the importance of bobbin tension and the types of bobbins you can use.

The Bobbin change process

The first step is to start by preparing the bobbin for the machine. Depending on your machine, the bobbin will either be inserted through a slot in the top, or as part of the bobbin case if your machine is a full-sized one. For embroidery machines, the bobbin is often inserted with the thread in a horizontal position. Before inserting, make sure the thread is wound evenly and the end is cut so it is not sticking out on the edge.

Once the bobbin is ready to go, remove the old bobbin from the machine. Some machines have a hook that you can use to easily pull out the bobbin. For an older model machine, you may need to loosen up the presser foot and then unscrew the tension spring.

Now it is time to insert the new bobbin. Make sure that the thread is coming out of the front and that it is going around the hook on the bobbin. Once you have inserted the new bobbin, make sure it is securely in place by gently pushing it down. If it is inserted correctly, you should be able to turn the wheel a few times without the thread coming undone.

The last step is to ensure that the bobbin tension is correct. This is very important as incorrect tension can result in problems such as skipped stitches or thread breaks. Again, this will depend on your machine, but look for a small lever on the side of the bobbin case that should be adjustable depending on the type of material you are using.

Types of bobbins

The type of bobbin you use will depend on the machine you have. Generally speaking, most machines will accept metal bobbins, although some machines may require plastic, so double check your machine’s manual to ensure that you are using the correct type. Plastic bobbins are preferred as they are lighter, thus making it easier to turn the wheel. They are also more flexible, so they can be used with different types of thread.

Another type of bobbin is the drop-in bobbin. This bobbin is inserted into the machine from the top, and is generally used for shorter projects. This type of bobbin holds a smaller amount of thread than regular bobbins, and is not recommended for larger projects, such as garments.

Tips for when changing the bobbin

One of the most important tips is to always use the same type of thread for both the bobbin and upper thread. If you mix different types and weights of thread, you may end up with tension issues or a lack of consistency in your stitches. Also, if you are using two or more threads on the upper thread, make sure to use the same number of threads in the bobbin.

It is also important to look at the type of foot and needle you are using. If you are using a zigzag foot, make sure to set the machine to the appropriate stitch length. This will help you avoid any problems when it comes to tension and thread breaks. Lastly, make sure to use the correct size needle for the type of material you are using.

Importance of bobbin tension

The tension of the bobbin thread is what determines the quality of your stitches. If the bobbin tension is too tight, the upper thread will not be able to pass through the material and will result in skipped stitches. If the bobbin tension is too loose, the upper thread may become too slack and cause poor seam quality. The bobbin tension should be adjusted for each type of material and stitch length. It is also important to make sure both the upper thread and bobbin thread match in terms of tension.

The bobbin tension should also be checked regularly, as the tension can change during use due to wear and tear. If your bobbin tension is off, you may be able to adjust it using the machine’s tension dial. Otherwise, you may need to take it to a professional to have it adjusted.

Cleaning your sewing machine

It is important to regularly clean and maintain your sewing machine. Over time, dust, lint and fabric particles can build up inside the machine and interfere with the bobbin’s performance. You should unplug the machine and use a soft brush to carefully clean the interior. Also, check the bobbin area for any thread that may be caught around the hook and remove it carefully.

It is also important to regularly lubricate your machine, as this will help ensure that the parts move smoothly and evenly. Again, consult your machine’s manual for instructions on how to lubricate it correctly.


If you are having trouble with your machine, make sure to check the thread tension and the bobbin area for any tangles or knots. If the bobbin hook is not in line with the needle, it can cause the upper thread to jam up. If that happens, you may need to adjust the hook and needle position.

Also, make sure to check the needle itself for any signs of damage, such as nicks and burrs. If the needle is damaged, it will not be able to properly transport the thread and can result in skipped stitches or thread breaks.

Threading your machine

If you are having trouble threading the machine, make sure the needle is in the right position and the thread is going through all of the guides in the correct sequence. This should include the thread tension knob, the take-up lever, the thread guide and the bobbin case. It is also important to make sure the correct type of thread is being used, as some types of thread may be too thick or too thin, which can cause the thread to break or the tension to be off.

You should also make sure the thread is lying flat in the tension disks and you are using the correct size needle, as larger needles can cause thread to bunch up and thinner needles may cause thread breakage. Finally, double check the bobbin tension as it can have a major impact on the quality of the stitch.


Changing a bobbin on a sewing machine can be tricky, but if you follow the steps outlined in this article and pay attention to important details such as thread tension and needle size, it should be relatively painless. Always refer to your machine’s user manual and if you have any questions or concerns, take your machine to a professional for advice.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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