It can be very frustrating if your machine is not sewing properly. This guide is about sewing machine needle not catching thread.
Here are questions related to Sewing Machine Needle Not Catching Thread.
Does anyone know anything about sewing machines? The bobbin thread isn't being picked up by the needle. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but it was working fine. It is possible, not sure, but the needle doesn't seem to be going down as far as it should. I am mighty confused. Please help.
By shivvers from Ireland
By Jacque 10/26/2010
You may also check to make sure your needle is turned properly. I had this problem not too long ago. I had replaced the needle and tightened it in not realizing I had not set it in the slot properly. I redid it and it has worked well ever since.
By Linda L. 10/26/2010
Try changing the needle for a new one. I don't know why but this usually works for me.
If redhatterb's suggestion doesn't work, you might have the bobbin turned the wrong direction. Also, try removing the top thread and rethreading the sewing machine.
By Joan 10/22/2010
When I have that problem, I have found it works to hold the thread in the needle to the left while you put the needle down to pick up the bobbin thread. Sometimes it is still hard to see if the bobbin thread has come up and when that happens I take a darning needle and run it under the pressure foot and the bobbin thread is there, just needed a little help for me to see it and straighten it out.
I have the Sears Kenmore 158.140. It's old. It it's not making any stitches and the needle won't pick up the bobbin thread. Please help.
My sewing machine needle will not pull the thread from the bobbin.
I just finished making a baby quilt with my granddaughter, my machine worked fine for that. But when I went to make a matching doll quilt it's not sewing. The bobbin thread is not feeding into the top thread.
By Jayne from Granville, IL
By Frugal Sunnie 11/09/2014
Have you checked for lint and fuzz in the bobbin area? Excess lint (so easy to accumulate when sewing a quilt!) will sometimes cause the problem. Not always and not often, but it's an easy fix so a good first place to check.
When was the last time you had the machine serviced? A good repair tech will perform a servicing that includes cleaning lint and fuzz from places you can't reach at home - btw, NEVER use canned air to clear a machine at home as it only drives the lint deeper into parts!
If your machine is older than 15 years, it's very likely the bobbin gear has worn and requires replacing. This is a job for a qualified repair tech - be sure he/she uses a newly milled part, and not a salvaged one (salvaged parts have a considerably shorter 'shelf-life').
If you are sewing on an older machine and it turns out to be that pesty bobbin gear (these fail with sad regularity after about 15-20 years), consider replacing the machine if you can. I do some repair work on my sewing student's sewing machines here in the UK and have reached the point of trying to talk my students out of repairing machines as it's so hard to justify repairing something that will continue to fail.
A new machine will have a warranty, and some features you may love to have - I love my modern machine (about three years old) because it has stretch and decorative stitches that come in very handy when sewing for my four grands:)
The only 'vintage' machines I can comfortably recommend are treadle and hand crank non-electrics built before the 1960s - all metal and really hard to truly 'kill'! I have one of each type and use them regularly for heavy duty straight-stitch sewing.
I was clearing out a storage room recently and I found an old hand operated Singer sewing machine in excellent condition. The model no is EF765228. When I threaded the machine and wound the handle to pick up the bobbin thread, it did not catch. Can anyone advise me? Should there be a bobbin case cover for this machine or is there anything I might be doing wrong?
By Myrna 10/27/2014
If you haven't found the problem yet, check this site out and maybe post a question to hopefully resolve.
I have a Husqvarna Viking Opal 670. First it made a huge thread nest in the bobbin area; I cleared that, re-threaded, re-seated bobbin and now won't pick up the thread at all. What can I do?
By Frugal Sunnie 10/30/2014
A thread nest like you're describing could be from incorrect upper tension (when was the last time you flossed the tension discs? Also, make sure you're using the correct upper tension for the fabric, thread, and needle you're using.),
or using the wrong needle for the fabric you're trying to sew (have you checked your manual or an online sewing site for correct needles for fabric types?),
or the feed-dogs being set wrong (have you checked your manual for the correct setting for the fabric you're sewing?),
or the stitch width, length, type isn't right (some machines have several settings for straight, zig-zag, or stretch, and all have to have all the settings adjusted per the manual instructions or thread nests and worse happen)
or the fabric you're using being so thin the machine pulls the fabric into the bobbin area just enough to cause the machine to spit a shedload of thread at it to get enough grip to move it under the needle and presser foot (try holding the thread tails at the back of the machine and gently pulling the thread tails taut as you start stitching).
Any of the above SHOULD solve your problem - if nothing works, it's time for a visit to the repair tech to have the bobbin gear replaced - usually the worst case scenario with thread nests.
I have my mother's vintage Singer and it was worked on by a professional tech within the past 2 years (lubed, timing fixed, etc.). It has not been used much since maintenance.
Tonight, at the start of a project it has stopped picking up the bobbin thread. The needle is new and bobbin is right size, and plastic. It is inserted correctly, and yes, the top switch is to the left for sewing and not bobbin-winding. :)
Is this likely a timing issue? Or am I looking at another trip to the tech?
By Red Queen
By Frugal Sunnie 10/20/2014
Sorry, but you're looking at a trip to the tech - what you're describing is a worn bobbin gear and it's just not a fix to try at home.
Be sure the tech uses a newly milled part (these are now available in the US and UK for Singer machines - all models including the Stylist models), and not a salvage part. Salvage parts are not reliable as the tech will usually have no idea how many sewing hours are on it, and what conditions the part laboured under.
My Touch and Sew 503 does normal sewing fine, but does not pick up bobbin thread when set up to darn or free motion quilt. I have FMQ foot, presser foot down, foot tension on D, needle center, single. I covered feed dogs with thin stiff plastic and raised the presser plate (plastic prevents material snagging). When I turn the hand wheel to pull the bobbin thread to the top before starting it takes 20 - 30 tries before it catches (presser foot down). When I start to sew, even if I do not move the material at all the bobbin thread is not captured. If I get really fast moving the material in the normal direction very slowly I can get a string of 10-15 stitches almost on top of each other and then nothing again. If I move the fabric toward me I rarely get any catches no matter how fast the needle is moving. I have tried stitch length "fine" and 15 and that makes no difference that I can tell.
By Ann K from middle of MO
By Frugal Sunnie 10/20/2014
I do self-taught Singer vintage repairs here in NE Scotland but this is a new one on me! Best thing is to take the machine and some samples of the trouble you're having to a factory trained repair tech - look in the telephone directory under sewing machine repair or sewing centres - you're looking for adverts stating the tech is factory trained.
I have googled this problem all night and can't find any solutions. I just bought a new Singer Advance sewing machine. It is sewing one material fine. I don't know kinds of fabric, but I am trying to sew a different kind (more stretchy) and the machine will not pick up the under stitch. It will catch occasionally, but maybe 1 out of 15 stitches.
I have tried changing the tension, used different needles, re-threaded it, Nothing helps. Maybe I haven't tried the right combination. Like I said, it sews other materials fine. Are some materials just not sew-able? Can someone help?
By Jonathan G.
By Frugal Sunnie 10/13/2014
Do you have the manual? If not, you can get a free download from the Singer website - be sure to have the model number (usually on the front of the machine) to retrieve the exact booklet for your machine.
As for your current problem, it sounds as though you are skipping a set-up step, possibly stitch width but it could also be the stretch stitch setting itself.
The best thing to do is find your manual and follow the set-up instructions for the stitch you want to make.
I have a Kenmore that is 40 years old. It sewed fine till just this week. I started to use it and the needle would not pick up bobbin thread.
By Yvonna from Lancaster, VA
By Stephanie 10/02/2014
Remove the bobbin cover and watch what is happening. See if the bobbin thread is getting caught up on something. I've had problems because there was fluff under the bobbin case keeping it from seating properly, because there was a blob of thread/fluff keeping the thread from getting to the bobbin case, etc.
I have an E&R Classic sewing machine. I can't get the needle to pick up the bobbin thread. It looks like it's not going down far enough.
By Frugal Sunnie 10/06/2014
Hiya from over in Angus!
You need to take your machine to a sewing centre for their repair tech to replace your worn bobbin gear (the most common cause of what you're describing, although timing could be off, too). For £50-£80 the tech will repair your machine, do a servicing (cleaning and lubricating), and look over everything to be sure the machine is ready to sew. He/she will advise you if there are parts that want replacing/repairing.
Be sure to ask if the replacement parts are new-mill (factory fresh) or salvage. Salvage parts should be less expensive than new-mill but are not as reliable as new-mill.
Too, be sure to ask what the cost covers - most sewing centres here no longer have techs in-store and have a repair tech who comes once a week or so to pick-up machines that have been dropped off for servicing and/or repair. These techs usually charge £40 to begin with for picking up and taking your machine to their workshop, and from there the prices rises depending on what wants doing. Get all the details in advance so you aren't faced with an unpleasant surprise. Most techs will ring you to let you know of any needed work before doing it so that you can decide yes/no re going ahead.
If you're planning to be down near Stirling, there is one sewing centre there with in-store repair techs:
The link takes you to their repair pages and tells you where your machine can be dropped off for uplift to their shop.
I bought my Singer Talent (new) from them and highly recommend them to all of my sewing students for care/repair of all makes sewing machines no matter the age of the machine.
I have a very clean Singer 301. I am using 50 wt. cotton thread top and bobbin. I have a new needle, inserted correctly. The bobbin is in correctly. It sews a fine straight stitch, but when the regular presser foot is removed it won't pick up the bobbin thread. It looks like the timing is good. I am remembering to put the presser foot down. The feed dogs are down. The stitch length is set to zero. The tension seems fine on straight stitching. Nothing looks broken. It just won't free motion quilt.
By Alyce L.
By Frugal Sunnie 09/08/2014
Three questions - have you lowered the feed dogs (or covered them with the handy snap-down plate), are you using a specialty foot for free motion quilting (sewing machines recognise the foot and behave accordingly - without the specialty foot you may not be able to do this kind of stitching), and have you tried setting your stitch width and length one notch up from zero?
I know you want to thread paint (quicker than saying free-motion quilting) using a straight stitch but with my Singers (Talent 3321, treadle 66 and handcrank 99) I have to nudge the stitch width and length a hair up from zero. Yours might be the same.
Also, what does your owner manual say about free-motion darning? Are you following the set-up directions for that function (essential for thread painting).
If those two questions are either a yes or don't help, I'm flummoxed! You should be able to do this kind of stitching on your 301, you might want to check with a repair tech or sewing instructor face-to-face who can 'fiddle' with it to see what the problem is.
When you find out, will you please update this? You can't be the only sewer-quilter who's had to figure this one out so your update will help a fellow sewer!
I am having problems with the bobbin on my Hyundai 60 stitch sewing machine. I feel like I have tried everything. It doesn't even look as if the bobbin is being touched. The metal thing just goes around and nothing happens. I have tried changing the needle, the tension, rethreading, and changing the bobbin. Any other ideas much appreciated.
By Frugal Sunnie 08/25/2014
It sounds as though either your machine timing is off, or the bobbin gear is worn. Either way, this is a job for a trained repair tech as neither problem can be solved at home. Sorry, wish I had better news!
I took the clear bobbin out and tried metal one, changed needle, and it's like the needle is not reaching far enough. Could it be that bobbin case is not lining up right? I bought this used in a nice cabinet, but am unfamiliar with it, tho I'm pretty sewing savvy.
By Aggie from Riverview, FL
By Frugal Sunnie 06/18/2014
You don't say in your question what kind of machine (maker and model) this is but considering you bought the machine for such a bargain price I'm going to assume it's a vintage machine.
From your description and the steps you've already tried (and assuming you've made sure your upper thread is following the threading path correctly so as to ensure it passes between the tension discs) I'm going to take a chance on saying the timing is off - there is nothing you can do to remedy this at home - you'll need to find a repair tech with experience in that particular maker's models. Depending on age/parts needed/your locale, the cost should be around $50-100 to service and repair. If not in the US, in the UK the cost will be around £25-75, again depending.
Whenever one buys a used sewing machine the very next stop for that machine should be a trusted sewing machine repair tech's workbench for servicing and checking for other problems - not all used sewing machines are up for sale owing to 'I no longer need it' - most go up for sale because something isn't working correctly or because the owner feels the cost of servicing is more than the cost of a new machine (not true, but a lot of people justify selling on a vintage machine for that reason).
So when you find a wonderful bargain, it's sensible to have the machine looked over before trying to use it.
Also, you can usually find a free download for a vintage machine user manual at the maker's website - never try to sew without a manual! Each machine is different and has specifics to the maker and model.
I've borrowed a sewing machine for a small project and although I've tried and retried, the bobbin thread is just not catching in the needle. The bobbin doesn't even move! I've no idea what to try next. Any ideas?
By Laura B
By Carol Weddle B.03/17/2014
Bobbins come in different sizes. Make sure you have the right one for the machine. It is easy to get them mixed up. Visually they look very similar but one is flat on both sides and one is slightly rounded on one side.
I have Brother sewing machine Model VX-1120. It won't pick up the bobbin thread!
By Opal D.
By Frugal Sunnie 02/24/2014
First of all, here's a link to a free download for your machine:
http://www.brother-usa.com/ModelDoc ... Users%20Manual/UM_VX_1120_EN_203.PDF
Now check page 12 to be sure you're seating the front load bobbin case into the machine correctly, and that you've snapped the bobbin winder back to the sewing mode (follow the illustration on page 11 and 12).
Next go to page 14 and be sure you're following all of those directions for pulling up the thread.
If none of the above solves your problem, check page 47 (Performance checklist) and if nothing there solves your problem (are your feed dogs set to 'no-feed? That will keep your bobbin thread from pulling up on some models), it's time to find a factory trained Brother repair tech!
My bobbin won't catch and when it does it creates a jumbled up mess. Or it won't sew at all. I changed my thread and needle and it is still doing it. Please help!
By Frugal Sunnie 01/27/2014
The right answer to your question depends on a lot of factors:
*What kind of machine are you using? All domestic machines are pretty much the same but there are differences, so knowing which machine you're using would help:)
*How does your bobbin load? Is it a top drop-in type? Is it a side or front load type?
If a top drop-in type, are you using the right class and material type bobbin for your machine? There are several classes (class 66, 15J and 15K are the three main Singer, Janome, Brother, and a couple of other manufacturer classes) and bobbins are made in metal and plastic - using the wrong class and material type will cause the problem you're describing.
If a side or front load system, you may not be seating the bobbin case back into the machine correctly - it's so tricky to seat these that I try very hard to steer my sewing students (yes, I teach) to top drop-in systems. Soooo much easier to seat!
*In either system, if you're using the correct class and material type+seating correctly, the only other reason you're having the troubles you're describing is that somehow a speck of lint or thread has wedged so deep into the machine there is no way you can possibly find it without taking the machine apart - taking the machine apart is not a home option!
You may need to take the machine to a qualified repair tech. Look in the phone directory (or online) for a sewing centre adverting repairs to your specific machine. This wording will tell you the repair techs there are factory trained or have been approved by the maker to service their machines.
Why doesn't the bobbin driver move when I try to sew? Also, the top thread isn't picking up the bobbin thread.
By Jennie from Jamaica
By Frugal Sunnie 01/13/2014
Without even seeing your machine I can tell you that the bobbin gear is broken or worn, and you need to take your machine to a reliable repair tech. Look in your local classifieds, at a local sewing centre, or ask your friends who sew to recommend someone who has experience with your machine manufacturer and is considered honest and reliable.
I haven't a clue what repair and parts will cost you, here in the UK it can be anywhere from £25 to £75 depending on the extent of the broken part(s) and how hard parts are to come by at any given time. In the US the cost is around $45 to $110, again depending on conditions.
If you find a reliable repair tech, be sure to have him/her give you the broken part, and if your machine is vintage, be sure to find out if the repair tech used a newly milled or a salvage part. Be advised a salvaged part will fail sooner rather than later.
Also be sure the cost of the repair includes a complete servicing which will have the added bonus of giving you a heads up on any potential problems you may having brewing under the head cover. Depends on the age of your machine, of course, the older the machine the more potential for upcoming failures.
You may want to consider a new machine (with a warranty) if your finances permit should the cost of the repair exceed the cost of a new machine (I have seen that happen). Also, if you take the machine to a sewing centre they will try to talk you into a new machine.
I have been given a Singer sewing machine which has a top loading bobbin. I can't get the top thread to pick up the bobbin thread. I have double checked threading on both sides and that is correct. Any ideas?
By Frugal Sunnie 12/07/2013
Yes, but you're not going to like it... it sounds as though you have been given a vintage (older than 10-25 years) Singer and the bobbin gear is worn out or even broken - this is a very common problem with vintage machines. A repair in the US will cost you about $50 but it would be best to splash out more to have a complete tune-up and check done (bumps the price up to around $100USD). The tech will clean, oil, repair and replace, and check over the machine for any developing problems.
Singer (and most other major manufacturers) began using plastic and silicone parts inside the machines in the late 60s - those parts don't last forever and all will fail. Adding to that is many parts for vintage machines are no longer 'new milled' so the tech may have to resort to a salvage part he/she will have little to no info on - it's a gamble as sewing hours and conditions are unknown and the part may fail sooner rather than later. If you go with a repair be sure to ask if the part installed during the repair is new milled or a salvage part so you'll have an idea how long the part may last.
Repairs and maintenance may be worth it to you if: the machine has sentimental value (Mum's/Gran's/close friend's), you can't afford a new machine, or (like many older Singer sewing machines) it makes an outstanding straight and zig-zag stitch and/or has other very cool features you can't afford to replace.
If the above don't apply to your situation consider replacing the machine with a similar modern machine under warranty - be sure to look for the top-drop in bobbin system for ease of use.
I teach sewing to total beginners and do some vintage machine repairs but try to steer my students towards a new modern machine under warranty after having a lot of trouble keeping salvage parts running on the machines - too disappointing to me and the student when the salvage part kept failing.
I am using a Husqvarna Viking E10 that I just bought. I used it once and it was fine when I was sewing the jeans. When I had to re-insert the bobbin thread, the needle did not catch the bobbin thread. I tried a few times by changing the direction of the bobbin thread. Still, no effect. I was so stressed mending with the machine.
By Frugal Sunnie 12/02/2013
Is it possible there is lint/fabric fuzz in the bobbin area?
Is it possible you aren't seating the bobbin completely into the bobbin area? Follow the instruction manual step-by-step to be absolutely sure.
If none of that helps it's time for a visit to the service centre. This is a very recent model so I'm thinking yours is likely still under warranty, and something has gone wrong with the machine - if still under warranty it should be a free fix if the cause is not something you did to the machine.
I have just bought a used Home Elite Pro. I threaded it like the manual said, but the needle is not pulling up the bobbin thread. I've used a sewing machine once in my life so I'm not experienced. How do I make it work?
By Frugal Sunnie 11/25/2013
Um, no, the needle is not too short - sewing machine needles are a general, standardised LENGTH. Widths, points, these are different, but lengths are the same.
I'm thinking you've either got the bobbin case loaded incorrectly (not likely) or the bobbin gear has worn out - might be the reason this machine was up for sale.
This isn't a repair you can do at home (I'm a sewing teacher and a self-taught repair tech, btw:), and the part for your machine may be difficult to source for the average home sewer. The professional repair tech has sources for these parts and can have you back behind the needle fairly quickly.
Have him/her show you the part, what caused the failure, and how to prevent it happening in the future.
I have a Singer Simple machine. It's not picking up the bobbin thread. I've tried cleaning it, changed the needle, rethreaded, refilled the bobbin, and just don't know what else try.
By Trina P.
By Frugal Sunnie 11/11/2013
Have you looked in the user manual for the troubleshooting page (page 54 of the booklet)? If for some reason you don't have the manual here's a link to a free download from the Singer US website:
http://www.singerco.com/uploads/dow ... 28ace9753f1a7124f4a2df6168ffecf0.pdf
There are a lot of reasons bobbin thread won't pick up starting with incorrect loading of the bobbin into the case or the case back into the machine, to a broken bobbin gear (internal and best left to the pros). Another possibility - if you'd just wound a bobbin - have you remembered to snap the winding pin back towards the machine head?
I teach sewing using Singer vintage and modern machines. I do try to steer my students away from the Simple because the bobbin system is a front load and is next to impossible for beginners to manage. Heck, I've been sewing for decades and STILL can't manage it reliably!
Also, for some reason the Simple seems to have a lot of 'issues'; I do some machine repair and the Simple machines are the one modern machine I get the most calls on - usually for a bobbin take-up problem.
I'm beginning to suspect a design or part fault on them and won't accept them for repairs - the second the sewer tells me it is a Simple I ask them if it's still under warranty and if it is I send them to the nearest factory trained repair tech.
If after checking the troubleshooting guide you still can't get the bobbin to pick-up, you need to take this machine to a factory trained repair tech.
As I sew, the thread is catching up and not passing around the bobbin. The thread had caught up around the bobbin and I had to take off the cover to cut the bobbin loose. After putting in a new needle and winding a new bobbin it's catching at the bottom right (about 5 o'clock). Is this a timing issue, or something else? How do I fix it?
By Marie C.
By Frugal Sunnie 10/26/2013
What model Singer is your machine? (The model dictates the bobbin class and material - plastic in a magnetic float system will throw the timing, for example)
How old is your machine? (If older than 10 years, or if used under harsh conditions like dusty, high heat or speed of stitching, forcing fabric through, etc, the bobbin gear is prone to failure and probably needs to be replaced)
Have you been using metal bobbins in a machine meant only for plastic? (Depending on the model, your bobbin system may be the magnetic float type which should only be used with plastic bobbins - using metal will throw the timing)
Are you using the right class bobbin for your machine? (Using the wrong class will cause the hook to chip away at the bobbin case. Takes a while to start causing a problem but this could be your problem)
Are you hearing a faint 'clicking' when the needle descends into the throat? (Could be incorrect settings, needles, presser foot, OR timing)
Have you been turning the hand wheel away from you? (This will throw the timing off. Takes time (months-years) but it will throw the timing)
Are you using the right thread and needle for the fabric you are trying to sew? (Using the wrong thread and needle will often cause the problem you're describing)
Are your settings (stitch, width, length) correct for your fabric? (Wrong settings will cause the problem you're describing)
Are the feed dogs fully up for sewing the fabric you're using? (Some models have an adjustable setting for how much pressure the feed dogs applies to the fabric against the presser foot)
Is the machine in sewing mode, or did you just wind a bobbin and then forget to switch the machine back to sewing mode? (Happens to all of us:) I teach sewing and do vintage machine repair, this is just one of many reasons a machine acts up)
Do you have a copy of your manual and if yes have you checked the trouble shooting page (generally the last few pages of a Singer manual)?
If you don't have a copy of the manual you can go to the Singer website and under Support, use the search feature to find the free download of your machine model manual.
**If none of the above solves your problem, your machine needs to be looked at by a repair tech.
I have a cosplay convention in three days and my machine stopped working tonight all of a sudden. I have a really old Singer Stylist Zig Zag Model 413. It was my grandmother's and I've had it for about three months or so, but I've tried multiple things to fix this and it doesn't seem to work. I've changed the needle, lowered it, rethreaded the whole machine, but the bobbin thread just won't come through no matter what. Please help. ASAP!
By Kaitlyn M
By Frugal Sunnie 10/06/2013
I love the Singer vintage electric 413 and the 513!
However, on these (and all vintage electrics built in the mid-late 60s and forward when plastic and silicone parts started to replace the all metal parts) the bobbin gear on both has a tendency to 'die' and cause exactly the problem you are describing. There is nothing you can do at home, this is a job for a qualified repair tech.
Be sure he/she tells you if he/she used a newly milled replacement part OR a salvaged part.
A salvaged part is not going to give you reliable years of sewing so you need to be prepared for the salvage part to fail again, usually sooner rather than later. I understand this machine has deep sentimental value to you but you really do need to start thinking about a replacement machine - something modern with a warranty.
Trust me on this. I am a sewing teacher and a self-taught repair tech. I used to do a lot of vintage electric restoration and repair.
I gave it up when my students were very disappointed by the unreliability of the salvage parts I sometimes had to use because new parts for many of their machines are no longer milled. When I had to use a salvage part on their vintage electric machines, the salvage part inevitably failed after only a few more months of sewing and it was VERY disappointing to them.
That disappointment led me to start encouraging my students to retire a much loved family heirloom machine to an honoured spot in the sewing room after a second part failure, and then to purchase a new, modern machine with a warranty that is comparable in features with the machine they are replacing - I also recommend to them they look to add a few things at the same time as an lessor or greater upgrade depending on their finances.
For example, to replace your vintage 413 you might want to look at one of the Talent Singers. The Talent line has all of the features of the 413 including the top-drop in bobbin system. ** Note: the bobbin class is different (413 uses a 66, the Talents a 15K class) but otherwise the Talent line machine can use all of the same feet and accessories you've accumulated for the 413.
I highly recommend the 3323 because it has a one-step buttonhole process instead of the 4-step on the Talent 3321. Both models are free-arm zig-zag machines with several stretch and decorative stitches, do lovely twin-needle sewing, and sew well on fabrics from sheer to heavy duty.
Singer has several new machine lines available, the best place to 'window shop' is the US Singer website. Other great brands include Elna (and their little sister Janome) and Brother.
Depending on what country you live in you are looking at around $175-$225USD (£155-£250GBP) for a comparable-in-features machine that will last you for several happy years of sewing.
Please note, your new machine will not be as long-lived as your gran's because Singer no longer builds these machines to last more than 25 years or so.
The old machines built before the mid-late 60s were all metal (which can usually be restored with some elbow grease) and can last forever but the 'modern' post mid-late 60s ones do not. It's all the plastic - it wears out and cannot be restored.
My Sew Gem, model 215, won't pull up the thread from bobbin. Any advice?
By Roshawn from WA
By Frugal Sunnie 10/07/2013
Had you just filled a bobbin and maybe forgot to reset the machine to sewing mode?
Is the bobbin case area completely clean of lint and fluff? Is the shuttle firmly seated in the case? Did you thread with the presser foot down? When was the last time you flossed the tension discs?
Is your Sew Gem a vibrating shuttle hand crank or treadle or is your Sew Gem one of the later, electrified ones?
You may need to find someone in your area qualified to work on these if none of the above questions help you solve your problem - your search term might include 'Gellman Mfg Sew Gem vintage electric sewing machine repair' (omit my punctuation) if electrified, use the words hand crank or treadle if not.
The average local sewing machine tech probably won't be able to handle this unless he/she has a fondness for these. Made by Gellman Manufacturing, these are very rare and had some different inner workings than the Singer it so closely resembles.
The company had several patents on their rotary hook mechanisms to improve on the Singer ones and not many repair techs will have the experience to recognise the differences. I'm a self-taught Singer repair tech and if you brought me this machine I wouldn't feel comfortable trying to fix it.
My Singer machine is not sewing. The needle does not pick up the bobbin thread at all. How can I fix this problem?
By Frugal Sunnie 09/23/2013
There are a number of reasons your Singer upper thread won't pick up the bobbin thread:
Are you sure the upper thread went through the tension discs correctly? No matter where your tension discs are (inside an exterior mounted knob, or inside the machine completely), missing those discs will cause the machine to not pick-up the lower bobbin thread.
Is the presser foot in the up position, and did you thread the machine with the foot up? This is an important step - threading the machine with the presser foot down engages the tension discs and 'confuses' the machine - you won't be able to pull the upper thread and it won't move in the action to pick up the bobbin thread.
Did you reset the machine back to sewing mode after using the machine to fill a bobbin? The machine won't pick up if still set to bobbin winding mode. You may be able to move the handwheel but usually the needle won't move up and down if the machine is still set to bobbin winding mode.
Is your machine a 'vintage' one (over ten years old)? It's possible the bobbin gear has worn out. These gears (and most others in Singers built after the late 60s) are made from plastic or silicone and do wear out after several years use.
If you've tried everything listed above to the vintage question, your problem is almost certainly the bobbin gear and this is a job for a qualified repair tech.
Depending on the area you live in this should cost under $100 (£75 aprx) which should include replacing the part (be sure to get a newly milled part for longer life - 'salvage' parts won't give the same service so be sure to ask the tech what type part he/she used), doing a thorough check and clean-oiling of the machine.
Money well spent if you love the machine and the repair tech can access newly milled parts. Once a vintage machine starts to need repairs owing to worn plastic parts it's pretty much downhill from there so be sure you understand your machine can become a money pit going forward. If you really love the machine for beautiful stitches/features that would be cost prohibitive to find in a modern machine, or for sentimental reasons (it was your first machine/your mum's or gran's/the machine your wedding outfits were sewn on, etc, great - spend the money to keep your beloved machine going.
If not, consider replacing with a new Singer with modern features and a warranty. A new one will set you back anywhere from $100-$500 depending on features and is well worth it for the warranty alone.
My sewing machine is not catching thread from lower bobbin. Please help me to get through this.
By Swetha J
By glimmer62 09/02/2013
This happened to me recently. Remove the top feed plate, and the sewing foot. Take out the bobbin. Can use a small paint brush, Qtip, remove all "fabric dust" inside. Check inside and look for a very tiny spring. A tiny spring in mine was unhooked. Most times just clearing out all the fuzz works. Put back together, and try adjusting the tension as you sew on some scraps. Hope this works out for you.
I have read all the possible solutions for my top thread not catching the bobbin thread. I have checked the bobbin timing and it is fine. I have checked my tension (and tried it at several different settings). I have the same thread in both the bobbin and top thread, I've changed the needles (flat side to back) and the thread is good quality. It's just not catching. It was working fine, now nothing I do helps. I'm in the middle of a time sensitive project and can't afford a new machine. Please help!
By Cindy T
By susan 09/18/2013
I've found that my machine won't sew properly if I use cheap thread. Once I switch to a good thread, it works just fine. I've been sewing for almost 50 years and have just started having this problem, but I remember people talking about it 30 years ago. You may want to check.
I have been working with my machine, a 15 year old Baby Lock BL1556, for months, changed the needle, thread, settings, bobbin, thread, cleaned it, and read all the help sites I could find. I went back through my settings just now and changed the needle position all the way to the left and it picked the thread up, but still will not do it from the center or right position. Any ideas, before I try to sew with it. Could the timing be out on it?
By Gayle L
I can't get the bobbin thread to feed up on my 6268 Singer. I followed the manual instructions. Can you help please?
By Donna from Collingswood, NJ
By Frugal Sunnie 08/26/2013
Your machine is one of the Singers that winds the bobbin in place - did you do that and now can't get the needle to pick up the thread?
If yes, did you maybe overwind the bobbin? If yes, you may need to unplug the machine, remove the bobbin and unwind it to the black line then 'reboot' the machine and follow the instructions for placing a prewound bobbin into the machine.
If no, did you let the needle come back up from the bobbin case in a continuous string of thread, then pull the string all the way to back of the machine and beyond to about 4", and then cut the loop?
Did you check the troubleshooting pages of the user guide manual (page 40 if hard copy, page 42 if the online pdf)?
If none of that helps, it may be time to take your machine to a qualified sewing machine repair tech. That's a beautiful vintage machine and it maybe that something inside is worn past its useful days. Be sure to ask the tech what caused the problem so that if it was user-error you know what not to do next time.
Also be sure to ask for the part, and if the replacement part is newly milled or is a 'salvage' part. A salvage part will fail sooner rather than later, so if something else goes on the machine it may be time to think about replacing it with a 'modern', new machine.
Prices on a comparable replacement are reasonable at $180-$500 depending on the grade; the replacement modern model would be the 7467S Confidence Stylist or the 7470 Confidence (that would be the better of the two both price and features wise).
I have a singer, not sure of model but I threaded my machine as always. I tested it on a piece of brown cotton to make sure all is well. It works perfect, So now I try to sew a dress (made of viscose, polyester, elasticine) and it's not sewing. The thread is not catching. So I re-tried it on the brown cotton. Works fine. Please explain what I am doing wrong and how can I fix it?
By Frugal Sunnie 07/23/2013
Could be your needle and threads both upper and bobbin.
You write that you are using viscose (called rayon in the US), polyester, and elasticine...these are most often a somewhat stretchy fabric, and require special needles ('ballpoint', or 'jersey' in the UK) for sewing successfully - if the needle you are using is working for the cotton but not the more stretchy fabrics, odds are very high that you are not using the correct sewing machine needle.
Refer to your sewing machine user guide. If you don't have one, post a picture of your machine and I can probably identify it for you and find you a link to the free download.
The Singer company website is fantastic about making user guides available for free download but you do need to know your machine model. Depending on the age of your machine, the information could be anywhere on the machine, but is usually on the machine front (for example, my Talent 3321, a modern electric, has the words 'Singer Talent' along the upper frame), or on the bottom right near the electrics connection.
If you are sewing on a truly vintage machine, the identification is usually on a small metal plate somewhere on the machine (varies with age and country of manufacture - a lot of our UK late 60s and 70s made machines were imported in from the Italian Singer factory).
May I make a suggestion? Singer puts out an outstanding reference book called Singer Complete Photo Guide to Sewing. Wonderful book, you can find a nice, used copy on Amazon.co.uk or buy it new for around £22 in the UK, or if in the US, for under $30USD. Good investment, I highly recommend it to the new-to-sewing students I teach up here in NE Scotland.
Good luck, please feel free to message me for more info.
My sewing machine will not pick up the bobbin at all. As soon as I put the bobbin in, the needle will get stuck before it even moves. I've tried just about everything the past few days. What should I do?
By Frugal Sunnie 07/01/2013
Have you checked to make sure the machine is set for the stitch you want to use, that the presser foot is in the raised position when you are putting the upper thread through the tension discs and when you are trying to thread the needle?
Is your upper thread following the correct path, especially through the tension discs?
Is the bobbin winder feature off?
I bought 2 Brother sewing machines. One is with my mother-in-law and the other is here in my home. Both sewing machines are having the same problem. You can not thread them from the bobbin. I would say this is a manufacturing problem. So my question is, How do I get 2 new ones without having to pay out the nose again?
By Debbra M
By weinerdog41 06/19/2013
You didn't have how long you've had them. If you can't return them to the place you bought them I'd go up the ladder (President, CEO, Etc) withing the company and I'd complain big time until I got a replacement.
I have a Singer 5523 with a drop in bobbin. I have changed both threads, the needle, changed the bobbin out, checked for dust and lint and changed the tension, and did everything in the manual troubleshooting section. After many test and trials, the top thread will tangle around the drop in bobbin because it still won't catch.
By Taylor F. from Jax., FL
By Frugal Sunnie 06/17/2013
Here is a link to a free download of the manual for this machine, there is an extensive troubleshooting chart starting on the pdf page 57 that may help you figure out what the problem is:
But to be honest it sounds as though your bobbin gear has gone. This is a job for a repair tech. Be sure to ask the tech to give you the old part that needed replacing-you'll see that there is a small bit of metal and a rather large, swirly bit of plastic (usually silicone).
Make sure to tell the tech that you want a NEW part installed. A lot of repair techs use salvaged parts with who knows how many sewing hours on the part-this part especially gives no warning it is about to quit and the tech won't be able to tell you how long it will last if it is a salvaged part.
I used to do a lot of 'vintage' (older than 10 years) machine repair as part of my home based sewing instruction business but have given up on the electric vintage machines because parts are hard to find. I was using salvaged parts from machines I found at jumble-yard-charity sales and that became disappointing as the parts always failed sooner rather than later if there was any plastic on the part.
The number of sewing hours+the conditions the machine lived in (dust, lint, running too fast, forcing fabric through the needle feed) takes a toll on plastic parts. Machine manufacturers started using plastic in the late 60s.
The really old machines (pre-late 60s) are usually all metal and are easily refurbished. But the newer ones have tonnes of plastic innards. They wear out faster and aren't as reliable as the old girls:)
The bobbin thread isn't coming up to the top, when I turn the wheel manually. I used a new spool of thread and rewound a new bobbin and it still isn't working. What should I do?
By Frugal Sunnie 05/27/2013
Make sure your bobbin case is loaded correctly and the bobbin thread is following the correct path to permit top thread pick-up.
Is your machine a front/side load bobbin system, or the top drop-in type? It can make a difference in top thread pick-up especially if you are new to sewing or don't sew often. The front/side load bobbins are really hard to load correctly and can cause no end of difficulties for the beginner or infrequent sewer.
The age of the machine can make a difference too. On a modern machine (newer than ten years old) a lot of the timing mechanisms are magnetic and can be thrown off by using a metal bobbin spool instead of the recommended plastic. If the machine timing is off the needle may be descending into the bobbin pick-up area at the wrong time the bobbin presents bobbin thread for pick-up.
On a vintage machine (older than 25 years), gears can wear out. You can load that bobbin correctly all day but if the gears are worn or broken you won't be able to pick-up the bobbin thread.
Step One: try following the user guide instructions for your machine to load the bobbin into your machine. Pay especial attention to the thread path for the bobbin thread.
If that doesn't help you may have a broken or worn bobbin gear(s) somewhere in the works between where you wind the bobbin and where the bobbin is loaded OR the timing is off-a job for a qualified technician. Shouldn't cost more than $80USD for the repair+a check-up and tune-up of the machine. Be sure to get detailed information from the repair tech as to what happened and why so that you can avoid a repeat in the future.
I have a Singer Simple sewing machine. When I start sewing with it the top thread won't stay threaded through the needle. I just got it about two weeks ago and it was sewing fine, but now I cannot get the thread to stay.
By Stephanie from Whiteville, NC
By Frugal Sunnie 05/27/2013
Reasons why a new sewing machine needle won't stay threaded are many: too thick thread for the needle being used; too short a thread tail; incorrect tension setting; old, worn, damaged needles; starting the stitching too fast; incorrect stitch width, length, and pattern selected...check the user guide that came with your machine for the troubleshooting pages to see what is suggested.
I have the Singer Talent which is very similar to your Simple. My Talent often does the same thing-throws the thread out and the reason is always one of the above, usually that I start too fast.
Those new electronic foot pedals are really sensitive and it's not easy to control them-lol, I teach home sewing and have to remind my students that it's not their fault when the machine zooms off as they begin a stitching line!
My Viking, model 400, upper thread tension is not working. I didn't notice until I tried using a free motion quilting foot and lowered the feed dogs. I started on a test quilt sandwich and the top looked fine, but there was a loopy mess on the bottom. I tried to increase the upper tension, no change. Lowered the upper tension, no change. Then I noticed that whether the tension was on zero or 9, when I manually pulled the thread through, the thread pulled through so easily either way. No squeezing there is happening at all even though it gets harder to turn the dial toward 9.
By Caroline C.
By Frugal Sunnie 02/11/2013
The computerised Scandinavia 400, or a vintage, mechanical or electronic model sharing the 400 designation?
If it is a vintage model, it sounds as though your upper tension discs are in need of a tune-up. Any repair tech can fix this for under $100USD including a general once-over for any other problems and a nice interior clean-up as well.
However, if you are talking about the computerised machine:
Check the manual for troubleshooting info-follow the manual instructions before anything else to protect your software and warranty. Usually the manual will recommend a 'safe reboot' and will list instructions on doing so.
If the problem persists after a safe reboot you will need to take the machine to a professional, there is nothing-repeat nothing-you can do at home to resolve your issue.
Computerised machines that go wonky should be looked at by a brand certified tech. Partly to protect any installed software and warranty, but mostly because they are the only people who really are able to suss a problem-they have the tools and training.
Take your machine to a Husky-Viking dealer to be sure the tech is a brand certified tech as software and motherboards vary from brand to brand-what works on a Necchi won't work on a Viking, for example.
Because the computerised machines are very pricey and bring in most of their business, dealers want to protect their reputations for continued and repeat business. So they only use brand certified techs to avoid the dreaded 'Well, I took my Viking to (insert business name here) and they really wrecked my machine-I wouldn't go there again no matter what!'
I have a Singer Simple sewing machine and it worked fine. Now when I try to sew, the needle will go into the material, but the thread does not stay. It's like I don't have thread in the needle, but clearly I do. The thread stays in the needle it just doesn't go into the material. I was told it could be out of time? What can I do?
By marra m.
By Brenda J. Moore 01/28/2013
First things...change needles frequently and check the bobbin. Are there any threads etc that are caught. Clean it out underneath and get rid of the dust etc.
There are excellent U-TUBE videos about adjusting the timing, or on-line with Singer...may give details specific to your machine.
If your worried about making it worse... take it in for a tune-up. Well worth the money. I found a retired gent near me that did this for a hobby and charged minimal amounts for his work. The shops were using him too, so by going directly, I saved the cost and time of the shop sending it out to him.
Just check local ads and the yellow-pages near you.
Help! My machine was working fine till I had to refill a bobbin. Now my top thread makes loops around the bottom thread, but the bottom thread just stays straight. When I stop sewing I can pull the bottom thread straight out of my stitches. How do I fix this?
By Lee 01/08/2013
There is a slot that the thread has to go through, make sure the thread is in there. This slot holds the thread, if it is not in the slot the bobbin will sometime hop around. Also try using the same thread in top & bottom.
I've been at this machine for a couple of days now and finally decided to go online for help. It's a Singer 252 Fashion Mate. My problem is that the needle picks up the bobbin thread when I put a new bobbin in, that is, it brings the bobbin thread up, but that's it. When I try to sew anything the bobbin thread just stays there.
I see that the bobbin wheel (the thing that picks up the thread from the needle) grabs the needle thread every time it goes around.
By Frugal Sunnie 12/03/2012
This is a vintage machine made when Singer began using plastic or silicone parts for some of the gears, and your problem is that the plastic or silicone toothed bobbin gear has worn out BUT the part isn't made anymore by Singer. Your best repair bet is going to be hoping the repairman is able to source a replacement part made new by one of the generic parts companies.
Most repairmen will either find you a brand new part (might be pricey but is worth it if you prefer your vintage machine for sewing as the part will last a very long time), or they will take a working gear from a 'parts' machine...a salvaged part will fail after a while, ask me how I know. Even if there aren't many sewing hours on the salvaged part, it is still plastic or silicone and that stuff tends to crumble over the years after coming out of the mill. Plastic/silicone just isn't as reliable as a good metal milled sewing machine part. Quieter, yes, reliable over the years, no.
Singer started using some plastic/silicone parts in their machines sometime in the 60s or 70s (depends on the country of manufacture, some countries were still using all metal parts into the early 80s).
Since newly milled plastic/silicone parts are hard to find here in the UK, and salvaged parts don't last reliably I gave up on vintage machines with plastic parts. I now have a modern Singer (Talent 3321) (under warranty, and inexpensive to replace-when they stop making parts for it, I'll move onto another inexpensive modern Singer model). Great little machine, I love it.
But I also have a 1933 Singer treadle 66, and a 1917 Singer hand crank 99-parts on the 66 and 99 are ALL metal and are easy to find.
I use the modern one for most garment sewing (lighter weight fabrics, stretch, and some basic embellishment with the 20+ decorative stitches), and the 66 or 99 for heavier fabrics-I do waxed cotton field jacket repairs and the old Singers sew those beautifully! Also moves through heavy fleece and wools very nicely even when I use the zig-zag attachment.
My machine suddenly stopped sewing. It is not picking up bobbin thread. There are no loops under the material. I have re-threaded it 3 times and have cleaned the bobbin area and rechecked the bobbin. I have also changed needle and thread. No luck.
By Coral from Nudgee, QLD.
Try this. Turn your bobbincase on it's side. There should be a small screw. This will adjust the tension. When you put your bobbin in the bobbin case hang onto the thread and your bobbincase should slowly go downward (like a yo-yo). If it does not move you tightened the screw too much. Hope this helps.
My sewing machine needle keeps hitting something and my bobbin will not loop at the bottom.
By blazing from OKC, OK
By Anna-Marie Docherty07/11/2010
I'd certainly change the needle, you may not be able to tell whilst in position but even very slight bend on it will stop it picking up and probably hit either the plate or bobbin case. Another thing to check is that the bobbin thread is not tangled or too tightly wound.
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I have a new singer 4166. The bobbin casing will not move to pick up the top thread. What is wrong? I checked the thread top and bobbin, but nothing will work, I can't sew.
Your machine could also be a dud. I once had a Singer machine (brand new) that never worked very well, and that's because some other company was making them for Singer. That was a waste of my money and time. Before you drive yourself nuts over this problem, contact Singer and ask if they have recalled the machine, which I should have done many years ago and didn't! I know better now. (01/10/2009)
While sewing, I jammed some fine fabric in the bobbin trace. Instead of taking it apart, as I should have done, I gently pulled and pulled until it came out. However, now the bobbin thread will not be picked up by the needle and brought to the surface.