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Bobbin Wind Troubleshooting


Quilters of every level know that bobbins can be a real pain in the …. Bobbin case, so we thought it would be nice to put together this helpful guide on troubleshooting some common bobbin woes! Keep reading for our best tips and tricks to keep your bobbin quilting ready. 

Get Finesse Thread and Pre-wound Bobbins 

A properly wound bobbin, like the one shown above, has a smooth, even wind. It is wound fairly tight from start to finish and not overwound. Wind evenly with tight tension on the winder to achieve a properly wound bobbin. Watch your bobbin while it is filling to catch problems early. Some problems may not be obvious when the bobbin is fully wound.

Common Tension Issues


Coning is when the thread fills more on one side during winding. This may cause your bobbin thread to break when sewing or create tension issues that only appear when the machine is moving in a specific direction. Coning is often easier to spot early on during winding, as with the bobbins depicted below.

To fix coning, adjust the bobbin thread tensioner height to ensure the thread is winding at the correct angle. See your instruction manual’s Bobbin Wind Troubleshooting section for instructions. 


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Another common issue is overfilling. A bobbin is overwound if it is filled past its brim. Pre-wound bobbins are often overfilled. An over-wound bobbin will create extremely tight bottom tension until the excess thread is used. This may cause the thread to break as well as make unseemly stitches. Over-winding is fixed by unwinding the bobbin until the thread levels are appropriate. To prevent bobbins from overfilling in the future, adjust the fill levels of your bobbin winder. These instructions are covered in your machine’s instruction manual.

Loose Winding

Loose winding occurs when the bobbin thread tensioner is not putting sufficient tension on the thread as the bobbin is winding. A bobbin that is wound too loose may have dramatic tension changes from the start of the bobbin to its end, making it difficult to keep consistent thread tension as you quilt.


Sometimes a loosely wound bobbin doesn’t look any different from a tightly wound bobbin. However, if you are able to peel down layers of the wound thread with your fingernail, the bobbin was likely wound too loose.

During a loose wind, stacks of the loose thread might get pinched under tighter strands or bulge out in places, creating a messy wind, as pictured below.

Get Finesse Thread and Pre-wound Bobbins 

How to Test Your Bobbin Wind


Coning: The thread is winding more to one side of the bobbin than the other. 

Overwound: The bobbin has been filled past the edges of the sides. 

Loose Wind: The tension of the bobbin thread tensioner was not tight enough when the bobbin was wound.


Hopefully, this blog helped relieve some of your quilting tension (pun intended!!)


Until next time,

The Grace Family

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Posted by Graceframe


For over 25 years the Grace Company has been the leading manufacturer of high quality quilting frames and quilting accessories. What truly sets The Grace Company apart from other competitors is its level of quality, value, and experience toward all their endeavours. From products to external and internal customer experience, the Grace Company responds to market and customer needs and continues to lead the quilting industry. Grace Company frames and hoops are designed to be easy to build and compatible with most major quilting machines. They'll have the quilting product you need.

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