Singer Machine Won't Pick Up Bobbin

This is a borrowed machine, a Singer Stylist 418. I have a model similar to this but a few years newer. They operate basically the same. My problem is with the bobbin. The needle will not pick up the thread....nothing. The bobbin was almost empty, and the thread caught inside the bobbin area. It would not come out, I pulled it hard and it broke off. I rewound a new bobbin, and the needle, unlike my machine, went up and down during the winding process. Now, it will not pick up the thread. I changed the needle, adjusted the needle, re-threaded the machine several times, the bobbin is in correctly. I took out the bobbin housing and removed the little piece of thread left in the area. Any advice from someone?


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December 29, 20151 found this helpful

First, here's a link to a free user manual download from the Singer website:

Use the troubleshooting pages at the back of the booklet to see if there is any helpful tips you can use - I don't think you'll find any help there, though, because after years of repairing vintage Singers including Stylists (usually the 513), I can say with near 100% certainty that the problem is a worn bobbin gear. These were made with silicone during the Stylist years (late 60s through mid-late 80s). Replacing one isn't a home fix - you need to take the machine to a repair tech.

I could be wrong - it could be a stubborn piece of thread or fluff has lodged somewhere you can't see, or it could be a couple of other things - the only person who can get this machine back to sewing condition is a repair tech with the machine on his/her bench so it can be properly checked.


Be warned - with the Stylist line, once the bobbin gear goes and needs to be replaced, other parts start to go as well, and it doesn't take very long for the machine to become a 'money pit'. As you've borrowed the machine, you're the unlucky person using it at the time the part 'died' and are therefore honour bound to have it fixed. This part gives no warning, it just goes when it goes, and you were the one on it when it did - nothing you did wrong, it's just Time having its way with the machine. Have it fixed and then never borrow it again because it's only a matter of sooner rather than later before another of the silicone parts fails.

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December 30, 20150 found this helpful

Thanks so much for your response. I agree, a tech/repairman is the way to go. I do feel honor bound to have it repaired as my friend was so generous to loan it to me. It was running great prior to this incident. I was trying to get a seat cushion done on a glider rocker for my daughter who is expecting a baby any time. I put out calls to other friends for a loaner, and ended up with a 1949 Singer Featherweight.


You may know it, the little back machine in a cute black case. Apparently, it had not been used in 30-40 years. Well, I love American ingenuity! It was a little musty, but that little wiz came out of the carrier and purred like a kitten. The bulb shown brightly and I finished the cushion. I wish it were mine!! Thanks again!

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January 3, 20160 found this helpful

Bonnepm, thank-you for your update! The Stylist was (is when still operational:) such a great sewing machine, it was one of the few 'domestic' Singers that made as good a straight stitch as a zig-zag - many machines (not just Singers) do one or the other beautifully but not both - on a zig-zag machine the straight stitch is never really-really-really true straight. But the Stylist line could go from straight (true straight!) to z-z and right back to a true straight. Bliss, really, for home sewers.


I loved my 513 so much I kept it going yonks past its use-by date! Finally, though, it became a very real money pit. When that bobbin gear goes everything seems to go.

But wow-wow-wow, to be lent a '49 Featherweight is amazing! All metal gears, it's really hard to 'kill' a pre-60s Singer and a Featherweight to most of us vintage enthusiasts is the pinnacle of Singer sewing machine ingenuity. I don't blame you for wishing it could be yours, I wish I could find one myself:)

Best wishes for a safe delivery of a beautiful healthy baby for your daughter!

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