Are you still using the bobbin case that came with your sewing machine? Well, congratulations! Hopefully, it lasts as long as your sewing machine is still working. But when your machine is working a lot more times during the week than it is stored, expect its most used parts to wear out faster. And your bobbin case system is one of them.
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Do bobbin cases wear out?
Eventually, your bobbin case will wear out when you use your sewing machine frequently. The bobbin case supports the bobbin in the sewing machine to form the stitches properly. Bobbin cases are essential parts of the sewing machine which are either made of plastic or metal. They have a specific size and measurement depending on the make and model of your sewing machine just like the bobbin.
The right size of bobbin spinning inside a clean and well-maintained bobbin case will create straight and orderly stitches for you.
Your bobbin case will continue to perform well as long as you take good care of it by keeping it clean and properly oiled. But through time, your bobbin case will stop sewing smoothly and give you stitch problems that will make you want to replace them.
The repetitive spinning of the bobbin will scrape down the sides of the bobbin case making it fit poorly through time. When your bobbin does not fit your bobbin case perfectly, you will develop stitch issues. So, once your bobbin case shows a sign of wear and tear, better replace it as soon as possible to continue a relaxing sewing experience.
When should I replace my bobbin case?
A bobbin case when used with the correct bobbin size will hold it snugly in place and help the bobbin create neat stitches. The bobbin case dictates the tension to the bottom thread just as the tension dial takes care of the top thread tension.
When you have checked all the necessary factors before sewing but you are still getting deformed stitches, you might want to check if the problem is your bobbin case. Bobbin cases will last a long time with proper use and care. However, replacing your bobbin case is inevitable if these things happen:
- When your bobbin case has tiny nicks or scratches on it
- When your bobbin case has dents
- When your bobbin fits poorly in your bobbin case
Suppose you get a thread jam with your drop in bobbin machine. Your drop in bobbin case will keep on spinning as your thread is jamming. Your needle is going to pierce the bobbin case and put tiny nicks or scratches around it as it continues to spin. These nicks on your bobbin case will cause a negative effect on your stitches that you would want a replacement.
Dropping your metal bobbin case accidentally can cause it to get bent. Metal bobbin cases have metal pieces and parts that are thin and can get bent easily. When the bobbin case is dented, sewists describe it as being out of round.
A bobbin case being out of round produces skipped stitches at the bottom of the fabric. When this situation happens, you need to replace your bobbin case because the bobbin thread is not feeding smoothly anymore.
Regular use of your sewing machine means your bobbin also spins repetitively. Constant spinning of the bobbin will wear out the bobbin case and make the bobbin move sloppily in the casing. When this happens, you will create deformed stitches.
If your bobbin fits poorly in the bobbin case, the right tension for your lower thread will not be achieved. Switching to a new bobbin case would be the best solution.
When you take good care of your bobbin case, you can expect nice and smooth stitches. But over time, you are going to need to replace it because of wear and tear or a dropping incident.
Some sewists replace only some parts of the bobbin case like the tension screw or the tension spring. But if you want your sewing machine to create smooth straight stitches again, better replace the whole bobbin.
How do you take care of your bobbin case?
A clean sewing machine is a machine that will last. And keeping your bobbin case clean will keep your stitches smooth and neat. The state of your bobbin case affects the stitches that you make.
If you want to keep your machine working for a long time, you must keep your bobbin case well and clean. Here are tips and tricks on how to take care of your bobbin case and your sewing machine as well.
- Use the right bobbin size.
- Use the correct needle size for the fabric you are sewing.
- Avoid build-up of lint or dirt in your bobbin case.
- Oil your bobbin case.
- Avoid dropping your bobbin case.
- Check your bobbin case for worn-out parts.
- Have it serviced by a professional.
First things, first. Always use the correct bobbin for your machine. Bobbins may look the same and will seem to fit your bobbin case, but the right bobbin that will fit snugly with your bobbin case is the one which will create smooth and straight stitches. Also, you can ruin your bobbin case by using the wrong bobbin.
Aside from using the correct bobbin, you must also use the right needle for your fabric. Using a wrong needle may cause it to bend and make little holes or nicks on the lip of your bobbin case. These little holes or scratches on your bobbin case will ruin the stitches that you are making.
To troubleshoot a bobbin case that was pierced with the needle, you can push the plastic back into shape. Try sewing using the bobbin case. If the tip works, you get to use your bobbin case again. But for a plastic bobbin case which suffered permanent nicks and scratches, replacing it is the best choice to create straight stitches again.
If you want your bobbin case and essentially your sewing machine to last a long time, do not allow lint and dirt to build up on it. Use a small brush to remove the lint on nooks and crannies of the bobbin case that can affect the bobbin tension. Lint that are not removed with the brush can be blown using an air compressor. An air compressor is after brushing can remove all the lint and fibers that accumulated on your machine.
Lint can get trapped on the bobbin case’s tension spring. When your bobbin tension gets too tight because of the lint or dirt that pushes on the tension spring, you may encounter thread breaks, puckering, and other stitch issues. Eventually, your tension spring may get damaged and you need to replace your bobbin case.
After removing the lint and dirt, you need to oil your bobbin case. Plastic and metal bobbin cases can be oiled for a smoother and more efficient sewing experience. For the drop in bobbin, you can add a drop of oil on the lip where the bobbin case will sit on. You can also put the drop of oil on the underside of your bobbin case. When you place your bobbin case on the machine, the oil will also spread on the metal lip where the bobbin case will sit.
For the metal frontloading bobbin, the casing is oiled on the hook where the hook touches metal. You only need a drop of oil, then turn your handwheel to disperse the oil evenly.
Errors on your stitches can be caused by your bobbin being bent or being out of round. This situation can happen when you accidentally drop your bobbin on the floor or any hard surface. You can get skipped stitches at the back side of your fabric because your thread may not be feeding smoothly from your bobbin anymore.
You can check if your bobbin case can still be used. Start by placing a fresh bobbin in your bobbin case. Pass the thread under the slot and under the tension plate. Leave out the pig’s tail for this test. Place the bobbin case on a flat smooth surface with the bobbin facing the smooth surface. Gently pull on the bobbin thread and see if it doesn’t pull out smoothly. Your bobbin may also wobble in the case.
If any of these situations show, your bobbin case may be out of round and needs a replacement. A dented bobbin case will apply uneven pressure on the bobbin and create uneven tension and will only give you deformed stitches or no stitches at all.
If your sewing machine is running most times of the week, expect your machine parts to wear out faster than if you use your machine occasionally. Parts such as the bobbin case with a bobbin constantly spinning inside will get worn out quicker so you should check it from time to time to avoid erratic stitches. When the bobbin case gets worn out, the bobbin starts to loosely spin inside. Small essential parts like the tension spring and tension screw may also wear out due to constant use.
Some sewists suggest replacing only the small parts like the tension spring. But you also need to consider that the whole bobbin case is also worn out. It would be best if you just replace the whole bobbin case which is quite inexpensive instead of going through so much effort of looking for the small parts and replacing them. Replacing your worn-out bobbin case will bring back nice and straight stitches coming from your sewing machine.
Cleaning your machine at least once a week will keep lint, dirt, and other foreign materials not belonging to your machine from accumulating. If you use your machine daily, it would not hurt to clean up every after use.
You may not be able to remove all the dirt or fiber that may have attached on your sewing machine so it would be best to have it fully serviced by a sewing machine technician once every six months. If you are sewing occasionally, having your sewing machine serviced once a year will be enough.