Spring has sprung

Well, not really.  Not here in Central Alberta anyway.  We got about 10-12″ of the white sh…. stuff over the last weekend.

Ever had your bobbin case just fall out while you were sewing?  You’re just sewing along, and the darn thing just gets up and leaves? Or maybe you’ve found it not snapped in when you’re positive that you installed it right.

No,.. chances are that you don’t need a new bobbin case.

There’s a “latch” on some of the vertical bobbin cases that holds them in.  It should “spring back” when you flip it up and let go.  If you’re sure it’s latched before you start sewing, there may be another problem.  That latch is supposed to be under some spring pressure.  If that spring is missing, perhaps someone took it apart before you got the machine or when it was being serviced, perhaps you took it apart and the spring flew past you and you didn’t even realize it was there, maybe it was “missing” or broken right from the beginning.

Today I’m going to show you how the spring works, where it goes, and how to replace it.

I’m using a featherweight bobbin case for this article.  All bobbin cases that you remove to insert a bobbin, that I’ve ever seen, will work on the same principles.

Note: The parts we’re dealing with here are very small.  I highly recommend magnetized screwdrivers, a magnetic dish, and failing that – a very patient helper with good eyes to help you look for the ones you drop.   I usually make sure that all 3 of the above are on hand.

Step 1: Turn the bobbin case upside down, so that the bobbin would “drop in”.  Remove the screw with the arrow pointing to it.

Step 2: It’ll look like this when you’ve removed it. Once it does, flip it over.


Step 3: Flip the latch up and push it out of the bobbin case (You’ll be pushing it sort of North North West on this pic)  The latch itself is a little funny on some of the cases.  You’ll need to push it past where it usually goes (South, south East in this photo) before it will be willing to slip out and you may need to push the portion where you removed the spring from a little south to help it out.  Once that happens, the whole latch mechanism will slide out.  Be careful though, these parts are somewhat delicate, no prying!

Step 4: Use a screwdriver to hook and push the spring out of the slot. (Towards North North East on this picture)

Step 5: Yay! The spring is out!  Examine the spring for damage.  Make sure you got it all out (if it’s broken, part of it may stay behind)  If it’s missing, you’ll want to order one at this point. 😉

Step 6: Optional: Extra Credit:  This is a great time to clean the whole bobbin case.  If you haven’t already, disassemble the tension spring area as well.  Since you have everything apart, you could soak it and use a toothbrush to remove the grunge.  This is what I usually do.  Just make sure that it’s very very dry before you reassemble.  We don’t want to encourage rust here.  I usually use an air compressor on the big parts after I dry as much as I can with a cloth.  You can also just clean with Q-Tips and a tooth brush.  It’s up to you.  Yes, the one in these photos has since been cleaned.  🙂

Step 7: Installation is the reverse of removal.  Slide the Spring into the slot where the top arrow is. Then slide the latch back in making sure that it sits inside the slots

Step 8: Grasp the latch and pull it toward you. Sometimes it also helps to push from where the arrow is. You’ll have to push “past” where it normally lives, and this can be challenging especially with a new spring.  It will go, just be patient.   Flip the bobbin case back over and reinstall the screw.

Step 9: Test the latch to see that it moves smoothly and snaps back the way you expect.


That’s it!   Hopefully, this saved you some frustration, and the cost of buying a new bobbin case.

How about it, has your bobbin case ever gotten up and left part way through a project?  What other weird machine things have you experienced?

7 thoughts on “Spring has sprung”

  1. This is a really helpful website! Thank! I’m not sure if you’ve covered my particular problem yet (I looked, but didn’t see it). I have a mid-70s (perhaps earlier) Pfaff machine. I was sewing along happily today — until I heard a horrid grinding noise. When I opened the bobbin housing, there was an unusual spring hanging out there, a bit mis-shapen and very slack. I have no idea what part of the machine it came from. What are the options? Do you think this is this fixable? (The bobbin case is still under tension – so that’s not it).


    1. It’s almost guaranteed to be fixable but without the model of the Pfaff and seeing the spring, I couldn’t tell you how easy it would be to fix.

      If it’s a spring that’s still available from Pfaff, you may find it on sewing parts online’s site. I’ve not dealt with them directly and they have at least one questionable video on repair but they do have a lot of the parts listed where you can see them – though they’re not always the right parts either….

      The other thing you could do is a Google image search for your model and the bobbin / hook area of the machine and see if that provides a clue to the proper location of the spring.

  2. Well thanks! I’ve had the need to be brave and take off the bobbin tension “leaf” to clean under it and played with bobbin tension. Have heard of the latch spring but never had latch problems. Glad to be armed ahead of time! I had no idea where the little booger lived!

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