Sewing Machine Needle Keeps Hitting the Bobbin Case: what to do

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The best part about sewing is a good sewing machine that always delivers. The sewing machine is both delicate and a mystery. Imagine you are working on your project and then suddenly, clunk! The needle hits the bobbin case and your project stalls.

It could be the most frustrating ordeal if you are not aware where the problem is. You may have read about it on the user manual but not sure how to go about it. This article will guide you on why it happens and how to identify and solve this problem.

Why it happens

When sewing the needle goes into the bobbin case and catches the thread as it rotates. This creates a stitch. If the needle hits the bobbin case, it may break the tip of the needle. This usually happens if the bobbin case is not placed correctly.

After cleaning your sewing machine, you may fail to put back the bobbin case into its original alignment. You may not be aware of this until the needle hits the case and it will either bend or break.

You also need to understand your sewing machine bobbin system. There is the front and the side load systems which is quite a challenge if you have one. It is more than likely you will never get the bobbin case placement correct. This is in comparison to the top bobbin drop-in system.

Another reason why the needle hits the bobbin case could be the timing is off. This means that your sewing machine is not synchronized. The cause of this may be the sewing machine was knocked over or dropped before you bought it. It could also be a malfunction that comes with usage. You can easily know if the timing is off if the stitches are uneven in length.

How to fix this issue

To resolve the problem, you need to identify the cause of the problem before attempting to resolve it on your own. If the bobbin case is not placed correctly;

  • Turn off the Machine. As soon as you encounter this problem, turn off the machine immediately. Use the power switch or unplug it. This will prevent further damage to your sewing machine. This is for users using the electric machine.
  • Raise the needle and remove the cover plate. Gently remove the needle plate cover and the feed dogs. Turn the hand wheel to identify where the needle hits. This will guide you on how to better fix the bobbin case.

  • Remove the bobbin case. Undo the screws on the rotating hook using a screwdriver. Run your finger along the bobbin case to check for scratches or nicks. If it is damaged, replace it.
  • Replace the bobbin case. Follow the user manual on how to place back the case in the correct alignment. Twist it gently to ensure it is secured to the spool. If it is loose, it will fall off.

After replacing the bobbin case, remember to check whether the needle is bent of broken. This will often happen if it keeps hitting the bobbin case repeatedly. You may need to replace both the needle and the thread before settling down on your project.

If you are a beginner, consider getting yourself a sewing machine with the drop-in bobbin system. You may experience difficulties if you get one designed with the front or side bobbin system.

The drop-in or top loading system is quite easier and quick to operate. This will come in handy when changing the bobbin case. If you have a hard time fitting it in as seen in front loading system, you will most probably place it wrongly. This in turn will result in the needle hitting the bobbin case.

You need to be sure when it comes to timing of your sewing machine. If it is off, you should get a service manual for your specific sewing machine. In this case you won’t need the user manual. The downside to this is that service manuals are quite expensive.

This is majorly because they contain instructions on how to tear down and rebuild your sewing machine. If your sewing machine is computerized, it is best to get a skilled technician. This move will cost you less and technician will also service your machine for better performance.

If your sewing machine is not computerized, there is a chance you can try fixing it. If you believe you can set the timing yourself, then go ahead and do it. You should make use of the service manual and tutorials available on the internet. After doing all this, your sewing machine should work just fine.


You need to understand your sewing machine. With the knowledge, you can identify the root cause of the needle hitting the bobbin case. It will then be easier to fix the problem.

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