Stubborn Singer

Ask an Expert Banner NSC

NSC Question

I am having the hardest time fixing my Singer sewing machine. The bottom thread keeps bunching up and no matter what I do I can’t seem to fix it. Any advice?

Submitted via Facebook


NSC Answer

I hate when this happens! When the bobbin thread is bunching up it typically means there is a problem with the needle thread. I know that seems backwards, but as long as the bobbin is wound nice and smooth and inserted into the bobbin case correctly, there isn’t much that can go wrong there.

The first thing I would do is re-thread the machine. Make sure you do this with the presser foot raised. Raising the presser foot releases the machine tension on the thread and allows you to easily pull the thread through the machine.

Doing this also allows you to feel how much tension is on the thread. If the thread is bunching up on the underside of the fabric it usually means that there isn’t enough tension on the top thread. Try adjusting the needle tension and running a few more test stitches.

Good luck!

Ashley



Related Video: How to Prepare a Sewing Machine

Do you have a sewing question you’d like answered by an expert? Email your question to editor@nationalsewingcircle.com or reach out to us on Facebook.

Please note: questions may be edited for clarity and relevance.

Discussion
  • (will not be published)

37 Responses to “Stubborn Singer”
  1. Linda
    Linda

    I just had this happen with my Singer and it turn out to be the bobbin thread wasn’t feeding smoothly, so every time it tugged it had extra thread. I took out my bobbin and adjusted the thread, rethreaded and pulled to check tension and it worked fine.

    Reply
  2. Sheri
    Sheri

    If you put one color thread on top and a different color in your bobbin, you are very likely to see the top thread. Just like she said. The thread goes down with the needle. If there is no tension, it doesn’t come back up. Each stitch puts more thread down in the bobbin case.

    Reply
    • Aderinsola
      Aderinsola

      My bobbin thread on my sewing machine keeps getting jamed on the fabric and makes it hard to take out.I don’t know how to fix it beacuse I’m a newbie in sewing.I nedd help to fix the jammed thread that keeps getting underneath the fabric

      Reply
  3. Jennifer
    Jennifer

    I had this problem with my sewing machine and it turned to be the bobbin size, when I put in a smaller bobbin problem was solved.

    Reply
  4. Jan
    Jan

    It sounds like a tension problem. My mom taught me years ago that after rethreading, make sure that you put the presser foot down; then turn your tension to zero and then put it back up again to your desired tension. It is a trick that has saved me a lot of money on repairs over the years.

    Reply
  5. Gale
    Gale

    I had the same problem and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I used two different colours of thread; one in the bobbin and one in the needle. Sewed a test piece and found the problem wasn’t the bobbin as I thought but the needle thread. Adjusted the tension as suggested and voila problem solved. Good luck.

    Reply
  6. Reva
    Reva

    Not sure what model singer you have but I had one from 1975. Constantly had a similar problem. Singer repair would get it working for a week or so and then same problem. Finally traded it as I could never get it fixed. The company quit making the model only six months after they began making it… Can’t recall model number but it was a new machine that year..if yours is an older machine you might research to see if it is one of those defective designs.

    Reply
  7. Joyce
    Joyce

    My Singer Futuro (approx. 40 yrs. old) gets tempermental and tangles the thread under the presser foot plate if the top and bobbin thread is not from the same spool.

    Reply
  8. Marg
    Marg

    I had the same issue with a singer sewing machine. I was using the wrong bobbin. Try using a metal bobbin and then re threading the machine. Seems these singer machines don’t work well with plastic bobbins. Hope this helps.

    Reply
  9. DeeDee
    DeeDee

    Mine did the same thing. Found out the culprit was the needle was in backwards therefore it wasn’t picking up the bobbin thread correctly.

    Reply
  10. Sammi
    Sammi

    When you start to sew, hold the thread tails for the first few stitches. It will help anchor the thread in the fabric and not allow the top thread to get pulled down into the machine too much, which also will cause thread bunching.

    Reply
  11. Joy
    Joy

    It’s probably your needle. Few people realize that a new needle should be used each time you start a new project or have trouble with thread tangling in the bobbin case.

    Reply
  12. Ale sleigh
    Ale sleigh

    Hi when I re fill my bobbin it doesn’t go smoothly. It fill at bottom the goes up down a bit then then fills top middle top all giggle de piglet. Can’t seem to get it to fill smoothly so know it affects the sewing I am doing as tension I know not right . Any help will be very gratefully accepted. T.I.A. Alley.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Ale,

      Your machine should automatically fill a bobbin evenly, so if it is not doing that you may want to consult your manual to see if there is anything in there that tells you how to fix that issue on your specific brand or model of machine. In the mean time, you can use your finger to slightly move the thread up or down while the bobbin is winding to ‘help’ make sure it is wound evenly on the bobbin.

      Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Ashley NSC Video Membership

      We’d love to have you be a part of our community. We are convinced you will enjoy the benefits of becoming a member and having access to the best instructional how to videos and professional tips. We would like to offer you a special promotion for your first year membership.
      http://go.nationalsewingcircle.com/C9550

      Reply
  13. glenda socha
    glenda socha

    I have a viking machine and it needs some tuning up. Can I do it myself or should I take it to a dealer?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Glenda,

      I always recommend taking your machine to a dealer when it needs tuning up or serviced in any way.

      Cheers,
      Ashley NSC Video Membership

      We’d love to have you be a part of our community. We are convinced you will enjoy the benefits of becoming a member and having access to the best instructional how to videos and professional tips. We would like to offer you a special promotion for your first year membership.
      http://go.nationalsewingcircle.com/C9602

      Reply
        • Customer Service
          Customer Service

          Dear Annmarie,

          Thank you for contacting us. We have both Monthly and Annual Premium Memberships. If you would like to become a Premium Membership, please click on our current promotional offer to sign up using the link below-

          https://go.nationalsewingcircle.com/c17055

          Sincerely,

          Taylar
          National Sewing Circle Video Membership

          Reply
  14. Janet Hammond
    Janet Hammond

    It might be a problem with your actual bobbin tension – there is usually a little screw on your bobbin case that you can adjust in small increments to see if this helps.

    Reply
  15. Monique
    Monique

    I have a Singer sewingmachine and a Singer overlock. Can I use the same needles for each other?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Monique,

      Generally you can use the same brand of machine needles on each machine- however I would consult your machine manuals to be sure.

      Cheers,
      Ashley NSC Video Membership

      Reply
  16. Munawarah Husin
    Munawarah Husin

    When i sew two pieces of cloth together.. The upper part will be fine but the lower cloth will wrinked up. As a result the lower will end up shorter by 1/2 an inch. And when you turn it over the result will look not nice to ne worn

    Reply
    • Anne Waller
      Anne Waller

      It may be that your presser foot pressure is too high. Most machines had a little knob or dial on top somewhere to allow you to adjust this. Worth a try.

      Reply
  17. Lisa
    Lisa

    I work with vintage Singer machines and encounter this problem constantly. Many of the older machines were made when thread came on spools wound similar to the way the thread is wound on a bobbin. Cross wound spools can create a problem with these machines because the thread doesn’t feed through the tension discs properly. Try using a net on cross wound spools and that can make the difference. Also put the spool on a vertical spool pin and that can help also. One other tip: when you start lower your needle into the fabric before you drop the presser foot. once it is secure, lower your presser foot and slowly start your sewing. In some cases that will help the problem. One last thing, double check your threading and make sure you are following all parts of your thread path. Missing one thread guide can change how the thread comes through the tension discs or even the needle. Happy sewing.

    Reply
  18. Maureen
    Maureen

    Also, Check to see what size needle you are using for the fabric choice. That too can cause the bobbin thread to bunch up, good luck

    Reply
  19. Rhonda
    Rhonda

    I have a singer featherweight which has the needle caught down in the bobbin case and it will not budge no matter what I’ve tried. Any suggestions on how to get it to release?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Dear Rhonda,

      Thank you for your patience. In response to your question-

      Unfortunately I do not have any suggestions for this and I recommend that you take your machine in to a professional to have it serviced.

      We’d love to have you be a part of our community. We are convinced you will enjoy the benefits of becoming a member and having access to the best instructional how to videos and professional tips. We would like to offer you a special promotion for your first-year membership.
      https://go.nationalsewingcircle.com/c17120
      Cheers,
      Ashley
      National Sewing Circle

      Reply
    • Sue Fitzsimmons
      Sue Fitzsimmons

      Just had that problem solved by singer service on line. Open your bobbin case, remove bobbin, undo wing clips, remove round part, remove spindle. This took some doing as it was really stuck. Lay the machine on its back to put it all together. Then, since I have a dial for my stitches I had to turn it totally right then totally left. Wella! But I suggest you call singer

      Reply
  20. Anita Armagnac
    Anita Armagnac

    All Singer machine users. I haven’t sewed in years and wonder what Singer machine is best just for hemming and straight sewing that is good but not too expensive. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Anita!

      That’s a great question and we’d love to help!

      The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members to our online community. We do have a promotional offer if you are interested. This would include access to expert advice (like this), plus discounts, hours of Premium videos, etc. Please feel free to take a look. You can message us right back with your question if you decide to become a member and you will have a response within 1-2 business days from our experts!

      Please follow the steps below to receive the annual membership at the introductory rate:

      1. Click on the email link: https://go.nationalsewingcircle.com/C21677
      2. Click on the Premium Membership offer.
      3. The Checkout page will display your Premium Membership purchase.
      4. Fill in your Billing Details and create an account password.
      5. Fill in your debit/credit card information.
      6. Finish by clicking Complete Order.

      If you have any further questions, please contact Customer Service at 1-855-208-7187 at your earliest convenience, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!

      Sincerely,

      Jessica
      National Sewing Circle Video Membership

      Reply
      • Customer Service
        Customer Service

        Hi Joanne,

        Thank you for contacting us. I hope this helps you:

        Adjust your top tension if it’s too loose.
        To increase your top tension if it’s too loose, turn your knob so that the numbers are increasing. Try ½ to 1 number lower, then test the stitches on a piece of scrap fabric. Continue until it looks even on both sides and you can no longer see the bottom thread on the top.

        If you have any other concerns, please contact us at 1-855-208-7187, or chat with us on our site.

        We greatly appreciate your business!

        Sincerely,

        Joan
        National Sewing Circle Video Membership

        Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Joanne,

      Thank you for contacting us. I hope this helps you:

      Adjust your top tension if it’s too loose.
      To increase your top tension if it’s too loose, turn your knob so that the numbers are increasing. Try ½ to 1 number lower, then test the stitches on a piece of scrap fabric. Continue until it looks even on both sides and you can no longer see the bottom thread on the top.

      If you have any other concerns, please contact us at 1-855-208-7187, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!

      Sincerely,

      Joan
      National Sewing Circle Video Membership

      Reply