Why is My Thread Wrapping Around the Bobbin?

If you have bobbin issues, you're not alone! Don't fret because this guide covers sewing machine thread clogging problems.

Updated July 11, 2023
Why is My Thread Wrapping Around the Bobbin

Bobbin issues can be one of the most frustrating parts of machine sewing. That's when you need this help guide, Why is My Thread Wrapping Around the Bobbin?

For such a small sewing supply it can really cause big headaches! When the bottom bobbin thread becomes loose and tangled it ruins the whole line of stitching, requiring it to be removed and redone.

If this has been bothering you, here are some helpful tips to fix this problem and prevent it from happening in the future.

Before that, don't miss our other pages to help you with the most common sewing machine bobbin problems and solutions.

Once you read through this resource, your bobbin issues will be a thing of the past!

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Why is My Thread Wrapping Around the Bobbin? Guide

Whether your sewing machine isn't catching the thread or it's bunching up as you sew, there's a solution. Take a look at the sections below to learn the details as to why your threaded bobbin might be causing trouble.

Image shows three sewing bobbins with and without thread.

Check the Bobbin

First, try to identify what is most likely happening. If the bobbin itself is damaged (chipped, warped, etc.) throw it away and use a new one.

Also, double-check that the bobbin being used is the correct kind for the brand of machine. Some sewing machine companies use slightly different bobbins that aren’t universal.

Extra Tip: Bobbins are easy to mix up, so keep them in labeled organizers if you have more than one machine.

Image shows six sewing bobbins with and without thread.

The top spool and bobbin (usually) should be the same kind of thread for smooth sewing (the exception being if you’re using elastic thread in a bobbin for stretchy fabrics).

So if your bobbin is acting weird be sure that they haven’t gotten mismatched. Additionally, the bobbin could be in backwards, so review the manufacturer’s instructions for threading your sewing machine.

A broken or bent machine needle can also cause bobbin problems, so examine that as well. Regularly changing your needle is recommended for smooth sewing.

Image shows a bobbin placed inside a sewing machine.

Rethread the Bobbin and Machine

If you’ve checked all of the above and it’s still tangling there’s most likely an issue with the threading of the machine or winding of the bobbin.

Almost all bobbin wrapping issues (that aren’t due to a damaged or incorrect bobbin) can be solved by unthreading and then rethreading the machine. Start by fully removing the bobbin and the top spool of thread from the equipment.

Set the machine up again using a newly-threaded bobbin, and do a tester on a scrap piece of material before continuing your project.

Extra Tip: Brush out any debris that might be in the little hole that holds the bobbin. This can also cause jamming.

Image shows sewing notions including a seam ripper, spool of thread, and five bobbins with and without thread.

Sewing Machine Settings

A sewing machine’s tension can be another cause of jamming or wrapping bobbins. The top thread may be too loose, or even too tight. Create a swatch tester piece to try sewing on until the tension settings are just right.

Extra Tip: When winding your bobbin don’t use the fastest speed on your machine. This can cause the bobbin to wind unevenly.

Image shows a bobbin placed inside a sewing machine and a piece of blue fabric on the side.
Image shows a seam ripper and a piece of blue fabric with knotted red thread in the center.

Repairs and Cleanings

Regular cleaning and repairs of your sewing machine by a professional will keep it running in top shape.

The cleaner and more functional your machine, the less likely that problems with the bobbin getting wrapped up will occur. Preventing bobbin issues before they happen is always a good idea!

Image shows a small brush cleaning out the hole in a sewing machine where the bobbin sits.
Image shows sewing notions including a seam ripper, spool of thread, and five bobbins with and without thread.

Want More?

How to Choose a Sewing Machine >>

What other tips do you have to stop your bobbin from tangling?
Let us know in the comments!

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