The Anatomy of a TinLizzie18 Bobbin Case

Posted by on November 13, 2017

Becoming familiar with the TinLizzie18 bobbin case will increase quilting success.  Each part has an important function.  Looking inside the bobbin case, you will see what is called the anti-backlash spring.  It looks like a little man with his hands held above his head.  The anti-backlash spring function is to stop the bobbin from continuing to spin when the quilter stops or hesitates.  Think of that perpetual motion that happens when a cat plays with a toilet paper roll, batting it and watching the paper spin to the ground.  The thread would continue to spin in the bobbin case, making loops on the back of the quilt where the quilter hesitates and then resumes quilting.  The anti-backlash spring fits into the bobbin case with four prongs.  There are two prongs on the left that fit into holes in the bobbin case that are set wide apart.  The other two prongs are on the right side and are set closer together. You will know you have the prongs correctly place when the round “head” part of the spring is sitting almost against the back of the bobbin case.  If it is more than a 1/16th of an inch away from the back of the bobbin case, the prongs are not set properly in place.  Press them with your fingernail until they snap into place.  Pre-wound bobbins with magnets have the same function as the anti-backlash spring.  Remove the backlash spring when using these bobbins.

On the side of the bobbin case is the tension strap.  Its function is to stop the thread from coming off the bobbin too quickly and to keep enough tension on the thread to lock with the needle thread.  There are two screws.  The larger one is the tension adjustment screw.  It requires very small increments to adjust tension, one or two minutes on a clock, at a time.  Move the screw right to increase tension and left to loosen the tension.  The small screw is a set screw that holds the strap in place.

On the opposite side from the tension strap is an opening that accommodates the needle as it comes down towards the hook that picks up the needle thread, pulls it around the bobbin case and creates a stitch.  It is important to place the bobbin case in correctly so this opening is at the top and secure.  The lever on the bobbin case is to hold onto while placing the bobbin case in the basket.  When the lever is opened, a curved finger slides in to keep the bobbin from falling out.

The little curled wire on the bobbin case is affectionately called the Piggy Tail.  The thread from the bobbin is pulled through the piggy tail to align it with the needle and add a bit of tension to the bobbin thread.  To place the thread in the piggy tail, while the bobbin is in the bobbin case and the thread in the tension strap, put the thread between the bobbin and the piggy tail and wiggle the thread.  In it goes as easy as that.

This industrial, M size, bobbin case has been in use for generations.  It is dependable and sturdy.  Keep it clean and avoid dropping it and the TinLizzie18 bobbin case will serve you well.

Filed under: Blog,TinLizzie18 Quilting Tips | Tags:

Leave a Comment


  1. Martha Ryan says:

    After reading comments I was left wondering what an encoder O ring is, where is it and do I need one?

    • Kelley Nemitz says:

      Hi Martha… The o-ring goes around the Encoder to allow for ease of movement across the track. Hoping this helps!

  2. Georgia Bratton says:

    I am having thread bunching on the back and my thread keeps breaking. The needle get stuck and the machine will not cut off. I have a 2007 model. Help

    • Kelley Nemitz says:

      Hi Georgia… can you please call 888-QUILT-18 to speak with our tech department so we can help troubleshoot? Your local dealer should also be able to help with this. Thanks!

  3. I use the pigtail guide all the time. I tried without it on many thread brands and found that it truly makes a difference using it. I do remove the backlash spring though. I put in a Magic Genie bobbin washer (silicone washer, very thin) instead. I bought a package of them in 2009, have shared with others, etc. Still have 4 of the dozen that came in the package…they last forever. I now have the L size for my sewing & embroidery machines. I love my TL18LS (2009 model).

  4. Debby says:

    Is it ok to use clear monofilament thread in the bobbin?


    I notice my Tin Lizzie from 2006 does not have this configuration so I can’t use these directions. Bobbin does not have piggy tail.
    I have a question. My Tin Lizzie 18 leaks oil from the compartment under the needle wherein lies the dip stick. I had it apart, changed gaskets, used industrial sealant all to no avail. Do you have a solution that works?

    • Kelley Nemitz says:

      Hi Peter… Please contact service at 888-QUILT-18 or and they will be able to help. Email for quickest response.

    • Peter, you should be able to use a pigtail bobbin case…just purchase one & try it. Also, good idea to have a couple cases on hand should you need one…as well as needles, encoder tires (o-rings), bobbins, check springs, etc. Can really save time.

      • Louise Rising says:

        Where do you order encoder tires. And will that help to make the stitching smoother?

      • Kelley Nemitz says:

        Hi Louise,
        You can order the encoder O-ring direct with us. Please call toll free 888-Quilt 18 and choose option Sales. Thanks!

  6. Nadune says:

    Thank you. Very informative.

  7. Linda Chase says:

    So… .I was told you only use the piggy tail if you have troublesome thread like metallics, etc. Is that not the case? Should I always use the piggy tail?

    • Kelley Nemitz says:

      Hi Linda… The pig tail can be used all of the time. It gives extra guidance to the thread. However, it is recommended to definitely use when using more troublesome threads such as metallics and nylons. Hoping this helps!

RSS feed for comments on this post.

<< View all posts

© 2018 TinLizzie18. All Rights Reserved.   |   2263 West 7800 South   |   West Jordan, Utah 84088   |   888.784.5818   |   Site Map   |   Legal Disclaimer   |   Privacy Policy