The bobbin is a tiny but critical part of a sewing machine. Without it, no machine-stitching is possible. Like most moving parts of the sewing machine, will the bobbin wear out in the same way?
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Do bobbins wear out?
Bobbins will wear out over time. If you use your sewing machine for many hours every day, your bobbin will surely wear out faster.
A bobbin is a small part of a sewing machine that you can easily ignore. It has a very simple design. A bobbin is a metal or plastic cylinder with a ridge at the top and the bottom. It is an essential part of a sewing machine. The bobbin provides the thread that will form the bottom stitches sewn by the machine.
It would be best to check your bobbin once in a while. You will know if you are running out of thread; at the same time, you will see if your bobbin is already worn out. The bobbin will wear out in time with constant use, like any part of a machine used very often. A metal bobbin can develop nicks and rust that may produce erratic stitches.
Do plastic bobbins wear out?
The plastic bobbin will wear out and develop nicks and scratches over time. It will not get rusted as a metal bobbin would. Same as the metal bobbin, a deformed plastic bobbin will create irregular stitches. The solution is to replace the damaged bobbin as soon as possible.
Most modern sewing machines use plastic bobbins. Many parts of the sewing machines are already made of plastic. Some are even as tough as their metal counterparts. The plastic bobbin has come a long way since it was first used.
But no matter how durable your plastic bobbins may be, there will come a time that they will wear out. It would be the same way as other moving parts of your sewing machine would. You would not want to compromise the quality of your stitches because of a worn-out plastic component.
So, if you observe any nicks, bends, or scratches on your bobbins, it is time to let them go.
Are metal or plastic bobbins better?
Metal bobbins are hands down more durable than plastic. You should not even compare these two bobbin types. The reason behind this is that you must not use them interchangeably. Metal bobbins are for metal bobbin cases. You can only use plastic bobbins on plastic bobbin cases.
A metal bobbin can wear out a plastic bobbin case and vice versa. So, to be better safe than sorry, use the bobbin, which has the same material as its bobbin case. A bobbin is a very inexpensive item, but repairs caused by using the wrong bobbin can cost you so much.
When it comes to using a bobbin, using metal or plastic is not the only consideration. You must always be careful in picking the bobbin to use for your particular machine. Even though bobbins almost look the same, they are not made the same way. No bobbin can fit all sewing machines.
You may own several sewing machines of different brands. Make sure that you use the bobbin designated for your machine. When in doubt, you can always check your operator’s manual. Using the right type of bobbin will make you more confident in making smooth and straight stitches.
When should I replace my bobbin?
It is but natural to replace your bobbin when you run out of thread. But it is also the best time to replace your bobbin when it has dents or scratches on it. When using a metal bobbin, the time to change is when it has nicks and is rusty.
Grinding noises from your sewing machine can mean that your bobbin is not moving freely in its case. It can show that your bobbin is too big for the case or might already have some scratches and dents. To fix a noisy bobbin, you can replace your bobbin with one that is not too big for the bobbin case.
You will know if you have a damaged bobbin by checking for scratches or dents. You can have your bobbin repaired (if it is still repairable). Better yet, replace the bobbin to finally rid yourself of the sewing machine noise. You can also avoid having bad stitches because of bobbin issues.
Expert sewists advise buying a replacement bobbin. It is a way cheaper option than having your sewing machine repaired if you use the wrong bobbin or a damaged one.
But better prevention for your machine not to get damaged is to keep a regular cleaning schedule. Keep the lint and dust from accumulating. Small areas such as the bobbin and bobbin cases collect dust and dirt fast.
If possible, clean your machine after sewing, particularly if you use it every day. You can also have it checked by a sewing machine expert once every six months if you use it often. If you rarely use it, an annual maintenance check-up is enough.
What happens if you use the wrong bobbin?
A wrong bobbin will cause sewing malfunction. A bobbin may be a tiny detail in the sewing machine, but small damage to it may cause major problems to your stitches.
It is also easy to make the mistake of using the wrong bobbin. Many bobbins may look alike, but they have slight differences in height, depth, and diameter.
When you use the right bobbin for your machine before making a stitch, the top thread catches it easily. When you turn your hand wheel towards you, the hook on the bobbin case comes around and catches the top thread. In this manner, you bring the thread from left to right across the bobbin.
The right bobbin will sit on the bobbin case perfectly. You will notice that the right bobbin sits below the surface of the bobbin case. A taller or bigger bobbin will not follow the process of the right bobbin in catching the thread. Instead, the wrong bobbin will cause the thread to jam.
The right bobbins come with your sewing machine package. Sewing machine manufacturers include a few bobbins with the other sewing machine accessories.
It can be difficult to find the right bobbin when your machine is very old and not manufactured anymore. But one good thing about having these ancient sewing machines is their metal bobbins. These hardy bobbins would last a lifetime if you give them proper care.
For modern sewing machines, looking for the right bobbins fit for your machines is a lot easier. Some sewing machine brands may use the same bobbin. But it does not mean it will apply to all sewing machines. You must verify from the user’s manual the type of bobbin specific to your sewing machine.
You can try them out if you want, but a better piece of advice is to get the manufacturer’s bobbins. Many fabrics or craft shops offer generic bobbins that are quite cheap. But keep in mind that genuine bobbins are the ideal ones to use, and they are not also heavy on the budget.
You may have several sewing machines at home or own different models. It will help if you learn how to organize your bobbins so you can quickly find the correct size and type that you need. Throw away the damaged ones to avoid using them again.
How do you fix a bobbin problem?
You may encounter loopy and tangled bobbin threads in your sewing journey. Sewists call it “bird nesting.”
At a glance, you may think the bobbin may have caused it. But most of the time, the bobbin is not at fault. There are other parts of the machine that you need to check first.
There are also times when sewing problems arise because of the bobbin. Here are some examples of bobbin problems and how you may fix them.
Bobbin does not move freely.
A stuck bobbin is a common problem that sewists encounter. When the bobbin cannot move freely in the bobbin case, the stitches created look chaotic. The problem usually comes from a bent or scratched bobbin. A worn-out or damaged bobbin case can also cause the same predicament.
A common mistake that many sewists share is using different types of bobbins on a sewing machine. Using the bobbin designed for your machine solves this bobbin problem. Replacing worn-out, scratched, or dented bobbins will also address the issue.
Bobbin thread is not stitching.
When you notice that your bobbin thread is not sewn on your fabric, you must check your bobbin. This non-stitching issue usually happens when you are not using the right type or size of the bobbin. Your bobbin may also not stitch if you do not place your bobbin into the bobbin case properly.
You need to change the bobbin to the right type or size. Use the bobbins that came with your machine. If you are unsure of the bobbins that you have on hand, check your sewing machine user manual to guide you. You can also try to remove your bobbin and let it sit well on the bobbin case.
The bobbin is creating uneven stitches.
When your sewing produces uneven stitches, you may have an unevenly threaded bobbin. Re-thread the bobbin to fix the problem.
Using the wrong bobbin type or the wrong size of bobbin can also cause your stitches to become uneven. You can replace your bobbin with the right type or size to make smooth and straight stitches.
The bobbin is creating loopy threads.
The bobbin does not create this problem. Most of the time, sewists link the problem to the bobbin. The loopy threads created on the underside of the fabric being sewn make sewists think of the bobbin.
Your sewing will create loopy threads when the tension on the top thread is not correct. You can solve the problem by adjusting the top thread’s tension based on what your fabric needs. If the “bird nesting” persists even after adjusting to the proper tension, you may want to check your needle. A dull needle would cause the same problem and maybe others on your sewing.
When you are using the right bobbin and it is threaded properly, it will hardly be the cause of any sewing issues.
Your bobbin system will not be the cause of more sewing problems if you keep it free from lint and thread. These may easily be lodged under and around your bobbin case. You should also make sure that your sewing machine is regularly oiled. Have routine maintenance checks to know if any part of your sewing machine needs repair or replacements.