Bobbin thread problem

dee_can1December 30, 2009

Hi everyone,

Quite frequently I find that when I'm sewing, the bobbin sends up (or the needle grabs? not sure) two more bobbin threads, so I end up with one 'top' thread, and three bobbin threads. I end up having to pull the extra thread out of the material after I take it off the machine. Funnily, the 'extra thread' I pull out is just an 'extra' bobbin thread that was looped, so that it looks like 3 threads.

Hopefully I haven't made my description too confusing! Can anyone tell me why this is happening? Is it something I'm doing incorrectly? I'm not overly experienced with sewing. If you need a pic, I can provide one next time it happens.

Thanks, Dee

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You probably have thread in the raceway. If it was pulling thread from the bobbin it would be attached.

Remove the bobbin and bobbin case--refer to the manual on how to do this. Then with the little brush that came with your machine clean all the dust, lint and thread out and replace the case.

If it is attached and you have to cut it to remove it. Then your bobbin tension is too loose. Dollars to doughnuts though I'll bet it is just that your raceway needs cleaning out.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 12:51AM
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Thanks. I will check that out, and let you know what I find in there, and whether that's the problem. I can't imagine long pieces of thread in there, though - esp. since the extra threads always match the colour of the thread I'm using at that moment... iykwim?


    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 7:16AM
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I checked the raceway, and it's as clean as a whistle... OK, so my bobbin tension might be too loose then? I've got the bobbin thread and top thread looking good when they're stitched (knock on wood), but I'll fiddle around with the bobbin tension and see what happens. Just have to check to see how I do that. lol.

I put my machine away for the summer/fall; and now it seems like I'm learning everything over again. : P

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 2:21PM
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I just thought of something. When you cut your thread what do you do with what you cut off? Could it be getting under the fabric on the bottom. If it's sewing so the tension is good I wouldn't fool with it. It seems to me that somehow a loose piece of thread is getting stitched in somehow. A perfect stitch with a piece of thread caught just doesn't happen

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 3:50PM
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I've found that if I don't have the needle at the highest point when I'm removing the fabric
from under the foot, that I will end up with that "extra" thread. Make sure needle all the way
up and pull fabric to the rear to remove it. See if that helps.
Kathy G in MI

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 12:40AM
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What machine do you have? Is your needle in the right way? Try putting a new needle in and make sure you're putting it in right.
The other thing I'm thinking is if it's a Singer with a drop in bobbin that self winds, maybe you haven't locked the latch to stop the winding and this is why you're getting extra thread pulled up.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 11:21AM
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Oilpainter, IÂm pretty meticulous about keeping the area as tidy as possible, and I make sure not to get the cut-off threads on what IÂm working on, so that canÂt be the problem.

Kathy, I'll try what you suggest, and see if that works. I'd say I probably don't have the needle up to it's highest point everytime I remove the fabric; and I usually pull the fabric to the side now that I think about it. And I really have to pull on it if that extra bobbin thread 'thing' happens.

shadylady, I have a Kenmore. I just changed the needle before I started using the machine again (after I was on 'hiatus', let's say, for a few months - translate to: 'lost my urge to sew'), and I have the flat side to the back. I'm pretty sure it's in correctly. (And the machine was doing the 'extra bobbin thread thing' *before* with other needles I had on.) I don't think it's a drop-in bobbin, since I put it in 'sideways', and it is locked.

Thanks all, for your suggestions.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 12:01PM
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You know, re-reading your post, is the extra thread on top or bottom of the fabric? If it's on bottom, then it's actually the top thread and not the bobbin thread that's the culprit. If this is the case, might be a tension problem or incorrect threading that's the problem.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 12:32PM
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You're right - it is the top thread! The way I found out (after reading your response) is I put a burgundy coloured thread on the spool, and a white thread in the bobbin. I sewed a line, and the machine sent up 3 burgundy threads from the bottom and one white. I took a photo (kind of blurry) that shows what I mean. It shows a burgundy thread at the top, then a white thread, and then 2 burgundy threads.

I don't think I'm threading incorrectly...

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 1:39PM
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The 4 threads that are shown coming up from the bottom (in the above photo) happens when I pull the material away from the machine. The material was still attached to those threads, before I cut them away. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 1:43PM
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I can see the problem now. Somehow occasionally the top thread is looping down to the bottom and then sewing on. It's much like it does when you get a birdsnest underneath, only yours is only making an extra loop.

Look in your manual under skipping stitches or irregular stitches or uneven stitches.

The troubleshooting in my old viking manual says it could be any of the following--a bent needle, needle placed incorrectly in the clamp, too fine a needle for the thread being used, improper threading, bobbin not wound evenly, poor quality thread, upper tension too loose.

When sewing does the thread meet in the middle of the fabric or do you have a small loop on the bottom. The thread should meet in the middle or the upper tension is too loose. If it does meet in the middle then it has to be one of the other causes

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 3:15PM
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I checked the fabric where I did a few lines with the burgundy top thread and the white bobbin thread, and when I look at the white-bobbin-thread side, it's mostly white with burgundy barely peaking through in only just a few spots.

I think I've got to fiddle around with the tension, then. I'll look in my manual, too, though.

Thanks for your help Oilpainter.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 6:29PM
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It's a real mystery and I can only guess at things without being able to actually look at your machine.
When you bring the needle down to pull up the bobbin thread, are you grabbing both threads and bringing them both back up or do you just lower the needle to grab the bobbin thread and start sewing? If so, maybe the thread's getting caught up around the bobbin case and creating the excess. Not sure if this would have anything to do with it, but just throwing things out there.
Do you know how to take the needle plate off? See if you can take it off and check if there's something under it that the top thread may be getting caught on.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 8:28PM
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shady, yes, I pull up the bobbin thread when I bring the needle down, and I pull the top thread and bobbin thread to the back, about 4 or 6", maybe. Then I hold onto both threads (not too tightly) when I start the machine so that they don't back up on me. So, I don't 'think' the problem is there.

I'll try taking the needle plate off, and see if I find anything in there. This is kind of frustrating, but it's not too serious I suppose because what looks like 4 threads coming out of there is actually 3, and I can pull the 'extra' (unwanted) thread out easily because it's not attached to anything. But it does make moving the material away from the machine a little more difficult and I have give it a little extra pull. Really weird.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 7:48AM
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Is your thread in a horizontal or vertical position?
Horizontal being laying down.
Sometimes placing thread in vertical position may help, thread may be coming off the spool too quickly.
The site below offers suggestions on tension, bobbin issues, thread etc....

Here is a link that might be useful: Tension Tips

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 2:34PM
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My Kenmore (perhaps 5-6 years old) does the same thing. Annoying as heck. Raising the needle to its highest point before trying to remove the fabric resolves the problem.

In this post, I saw mention of "bird's nest" forming under fabric - mine does that too, periodically, if it's what it sounds like - I'm going to have to search and see what the fix for that is, never knew what it was called.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 3:40PM
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Patti, I missed your response way back then... My thread is in a vertical position, and I'm not really happy with the way the spool turns (rattle-y, quite a lot, doesn't seem to sit snuggly on the spool pin). Plus, I believe you are correct that the thread does come off too fast some times. Some times the spool even 'propels' off the machine, that's how fast it's going. And of course, it ends up messing up whatever I'm working on.

Just to note, I'm using Gutermann thread most of the time, so I don't think it's because I'm using 'cheap' thread.

I don't think I've mastered ; ) how to recognize whether my tension is too tight. lol - maybe the spool of thread flying off the machine is a good clue that it's too tight? Thanks for the link, I'll have a look.

ridgetop, that's very interesting that your Kenmore does the same thing. I'll try your tips, and see how it goes. I do get the 'bird's nest' thing if the thread spool is acting up.

I was into see a sewing dealer at a sewing store yesterday and she has a 'get to know your machine' class this weekend. It's quite a drive from me, but if the weather isn't too bad, I'd like to go. She said she'd look at my machine to see what the problems are.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 6:19AM
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My Riccar machine does the same thing. Difficult to pull the material away when I'm done, 4 threads (3 upper, 1 bobbin), the extra 2 upper threads come from below the needle plate. Stopping sewing when the needle is just past its apex has been working for me! No problem whatsoever when I stop the needle RIGHT there. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 3:41PM
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