Got a side loading bobbin case and your machine’s not stitching?

We had a new visitor to our Friday Sew Day. She brought in a Juki TL2010Q that she’d purchased at the Sewing Expo back in March. This machine had been sitting in her closet because she couldn’t get it to work. (There’s no Juki dealer in our area.) She’d tried videos and read through the manual, but none of it made sense to her. After about 5 minutes, I had her stitching. That Juki is one sweet machine!

Remember that vintage sewing machine class I attended with my SIL in late August?


Many vintage machines like the Singer 66, Singer 99, Singer 221, etc. are side loading. Most, if not all, of the modern semi-industrial straight stitch only machines from Juki, Janome, Brother and Baby Lock are side loading.

Check your needle.

Chances are, you either have the wrong size/type of needle, have inserted your needle incorrectly, or have the thread going in the wrong direction. A side loading bobbin means you need to thread the needle side-to-side instead of front-to-back. Yes, your needle is turned 90 degrees left or right, depending on how you are supposed to thread your needle. Check your sewing machine manual. Chances are, it’s threaded left to right. This means the round side of the needle is facing the bobbin assembly and you place the thread through the eye of the needle in a left to right motion. A Singer FW and Singer 301 thread the exact opposite way – right to left.

Tip: If that fancy needle threader on your modern semi-industrial machine gives you fits, thread the needle the old-fashioned way – flashlight, magnifying glass and/or a piece of white paper behind the needle.