How does the bobbin work on this sewing machine?
March 2, 2009 5:15 PM   Subscribe

I can't figure out how the bobbin works on this sewing machine. It's a Kenmore model 148.19370. This is a picture of the important parts.

I have tried everything I can think of. The pieces all seem to fit and lock into the machine, but when I try to sew the needle hits part of the bobbin carrier.

This is how the pieces seem to fit together: the piece second from the left has a little piece that you flip up to load the bobbin. You then take the piece with the bobbin in it and put it in the area below the needle. Then the leftmost piece gets locked in with the two little black fingers at the left and right of the bobbin area.

(I found a website that sells manuals for this machine, but I feel like it's not worth spending any money on this machine because I can buy a new(er) sewing machine for almost no money.)
posted by gregr to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
(apologies if I am telling you what you already know)

You shouldn't have to remove the leftmost piece in order to remove the bobbin carrier.

I would start by separating the bobbin carrier and the part that it is attached to (the "hook"). You do this by lifting the latch on the front of the bobbin carrier.

Replace the hook and the "race", as the leftmost part is called.

Now install the bobbin carrier and bobbin as you normally would.

If the needle is still hitting, I would think that there is some sort of timing issue, which you would likely need a repair manual to sort out.
posted by davey_darling at 5:24 PM on March 2, 2009

This looks somthing like my old Kenmore. Is there a switch at the top right that changes from zig-zag to straight stitch? You may have it set to zig zag. Can you post a picture of the front of the machine?
posted by inkyr2 at 5:29 PM on March 2, 2009

The second set of parts you have displayed - that center part with the little lever is where the bobbin goes in. Try threading it pointing the thread the other way.
-----) instead of (----- , as best I can diagram, or vicey versa.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 5:29 PM on March 2, 2009

I think your pieces might be going in in the wrong order, and the needle is hitting the bobbin case because the case is too far inside the machine.

The piece shown second from left is two pieces - the bobbin case, and part of the bobbin mechanism. The case is the little round thing uppermost in the picture.

Try splitting up the piece second from left, and placing the part-that-is-not-the-bobbin-case in the machine, followed by the piece on the far left. Then put the bobbin in the case, and place it in the machine - you can see that the case has a little bit poking up on the top that should click into the corresponding slot on the far left piece.

Also, usually with bobbin cases like that, when you put the bobbin in it, there will be a little slit that you need to run the thread through so that the needle can piick it up

An alternative solution may be that the needle is not inserted properly, so it is coming down too far into the machine when it tries to pick up the bobbin thread. Make sure you're using the recommended needle for the machine, and that it's pushed as far up into the needle carrier before you tighten the screw to hold it in place.
posted by girlgenius at 5:32 PM on March 2, 2009

My roommate says the bobbin case is not locked into place and you have to giggle it and push it in farther. If that doesn't work, the machine is misaligned.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:56 PM on March 2, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! The bobbin case has a little finger on it that has to be aligned with the cleft in the leftmost piece!
posted by gregr at 6:08 PM on March 2, 2009

Hopefully you have reached a positive conclusion to this problem by now. For future reference, the thing in the middle or as referenced above as the "part-that-is-not-the-bobbin-case" is called the "hook". The thing all the way to the left that clips into place is called the "race". I find it easier to seat the hook in place without the bobbin case attached to it. It moves in a very specific way within its' housing. Because of this it will only go in one way and it's very easy to tell when it's in there correctly. Once you have it seated, replace the race and clip it in place. Then thread the bobbin correctly in the bobbin case and replace it on the spool of the hook. Make sure it's all the way in there--bobbin cases are notorious for not fully seating on the hook. I always listen for a click and even then double check with my fingers, but then I cannot visually inspect my bobbin area unless i lift up my 100 pound industrial machine head.

Here is a really cool graphic that demonstrates exactly how your bobbin works.

Oh--and before you replace the hook, take the opportunity now that it's out to wipe it off with a clean rag and wipe a very thin layer of sewing machine oil on it.
posted by hecho de la basura at 7:34 AM on March 3, 2009

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