Do Bobbins Need to be Replaced? (What You Should Know!)

sewing machine bobbins

One of the most important moving parts of your sewing machine is the bobbin that is located under the throat plate of your sewing machine. In conjunction with your needle, the bobbin provides the thread for the bottom part of your stitch. 

For the most part, I use the bobbins that came with my sewing machine when I purchased it; and up until last month, I had never bought another set for my machine. I know as well as you do that if you don’t put your bobbin in correctly, it will not work. 

My machine is able to wind the bobbin correctly and there is a diagram on the throat plate that helps me to remember the direction that the bobbin must be placed in the machine. Consequently, I rarely have an issue with putting in my bobbin incorrectly.

As long as my machine is working, I never think twice about the bobbin. However, does this integral part of the sewing machine ever wear out? According to, bobbins do wear out and need to be replaced completely when they do.

Do Bobbins Need to be Replaced?

Yes, sewing machine bobbins do wear out and need to be replaced. Although bobbins are made with pretty sturdy material, you have to remember that the bobbin spins pretty fast in your machine and dispenses miles and miles of thread. It’s just a matter of time before your bobbin wears out.

How Do You Know If A Bobbin Is Worn Out?

What does a worn-out bobbin look like? Well, the bobbin can become cracked, dented, or rusted. Some signs that your bobbin needs replacing are the following:

  • The bobbin gets stuck in the bobbin case when you try to take it out
  • The bobbin does not move freely in the bobbin case
  • The bobbin makes noise when you run your machine
  • The bobbin does not make uniform bottom stitches but instead makes bird’s nests (thread looped around the sewing machine throat plate under the needle)

These problems result when your bobbin is in less than perfect condition. Sometimes a bobbin can look like it is in perfect working condition because it is not cracked or rusted but take a closer look. If you compare two bobbins next to each other, a worn bobbin may look warped and crooked.

How To Maintain the Bobbin

Can you refurbish a bobbin and make it work again? Probably not and even if you could, a package of bobbins goes for under $4 on Amazon so replacing the bobbin and not worrying about it anymore is just about the easiest thing you can do.

Even though bobbins are inexpensive, you might still want to take care of what you already have. What kind of regular maintenance can you do on your machine to make your bobbin last longer? 

Experts advise that regular cleaning of the bobbin and bobbin cases, specifically cleaning the lint and dust from the case and around the bobbin, could really increase the life of your bobbin and of course your machine.

A routine check for dust and lint after your finish your project for the day is a good habit to get into. Don’t wait until your six month or annual cleaning to pay attention to your bobbin and bobbin case.

One or More Bobbins?

Is it wise to have more than one set of bobbins when you are sewing? I believe that using different bobbins can help share the work amongst the bobbins. It is also convenient to start a sewing project with several bobbins already wound in the thread that you will be using. 

Don’t you hate it when you are sewing the perfect seam and you run out of bobbin thread. You can’t predict when a bobbin is going to run out, but you can make the change so much faster if you don’t have to stop to wind a bobbin. 

Types of Sewing Machine Bobbins

Bobbins come in two different types of material: plastic and metal and are very specific to the machine that you are using. If your machine has a metal bobbin case then you will use a metal bobbin. If your sewing machine has a plastic bobbin case, then your bobbin is plastic. 

Usually, you just replace what your machine came with. If your machine came with a plastic bobbin, you replace it with a plastic bobbin. If your machine came with a metal bobbin, you replace it with a metal bobbin. Is it really that easy? Well, not exactly . . . .

Finding and Buying The Right Bobbin For Your Machine

When you go to buy your bobbin, they are usually listed under the brand of machine that you own. For example, I own a Brother sewing machine so I look for Brother bobbins that are plastic. I inherited a Singer sewing machine and those bobbins are listed as Singer bobbins and they are metal.

However, as you know there are other brands of sewing machines like Viking and Kenmore and sometimes these bobbins are made just a little bit different than their counterparts. Primarily, there is a difference in the bobbin case of the machine. Especially, if the machine is older, the bobbin case can be completely different than a machine that was made recently.

Usually if you have your sewing machine manual, you will find the exact number or model part number for your bobbin. Bobbins usually come in one of three classes: A style, M style and L style. However, there are more styles of bobbins that are specific to the brand of sewing machine; you can’t always assume that your bobbin is going to be part of the major three classes. This is where your sewing machine manual is important.

The WrongBobbin

If you choose the wrong size, you will pretty much experience a malfunction with your bobbin. Either it won’t fit into your machine, or the bottom stitch will not come out uniform –  if it is able to sew at all. So, to know for sure what bobbin you use, check in your manual. Also, if you do not have your manual, a quick Google search of your machine and it’s model number will also help you to find the perfect bobbin for your machine.

Still unsure about bobbins? I found this blog post  on, that can be very helpful in determining what type of bobbin your machine uses.

Bobbins are a crucial moving part of your sewing machine. Although they seem indestructible, it is good to keep a watch on the condition of the bobbin before you use it.

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