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Upper thread seems tight, bunches material

As I am sewing, the top thread seems to be pulling, causing the material to bunch up. When I try to straighten, the thread snaps.

Posted by Anonymous on

6 Suggested Answers

6ya6ya
  • 2 Answers

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

bargainbox
  • 1388 Answers

SOURCE: thread bunching under material

Ensure that all is clean and free of lint and jams, this is the most likely cause....now for tension troubleshooting .......

This solution is for tension problems...if you cannot form any sort of stitch, the issue is quite different, so please let me know if you need a different problem solved.....

It is quite long, but just work through each section in order.
The "knotting up" can reveal a lot. If you have loose threads on one side or the other, the tension on the opposite side will be the culprit.

QUICK SUMMARY FIRST:
Ensure sharp new needle,
Thread guides and Bobbin are Clean & Clear of lint
Set Top Tesion to 4 ....then....
Balance Bobbin to suit.

TOP THREAD TENSION:
If the looping threads are on the underside as you sew, it is the top tension. Top tension ought to be between 4 & 6 (this variation to allow for the different weights of fabric in your
projects).

IS YOUR NEEDLE SHARP ?
If you are using a needle that has seen quite a deal of work, or you suspect it may be blunt, change it for a new one !

TOP TENSION & GUIDES:
Make sure that when you thread the machine the presser foot is up so the thread goes between the discs and not to one side, top tension between 4 and 6, and that you have threaded through all the guides, including the last one, usually on the needle arm, just above the needle clamp.

It may be there is lint trapped between the discs, this will keep them slightly apart and reduce the actual tension, sometimes dramatically.

If tensions appear correct, and the thread is definitely in the channel between the discs, but still too loose and looping, try raising presser foot and remove your thread.

Now, with a 2" (50mm) wide strip piece of fabric 8 - 10" (20 - 25cm) moistened with methylated or denatured spirit, gently insert the fabric strip and clean between the discs with
a see saw / to and fro action.

In the worst cases, gentle use of a needle to pick & remove the jam may be necessary, but be very gentle and make sure the tension is set at Zero and the presser foot is raised, (to
disengage tension plates).... do not gouge or score the plates, they need a polished surface to work correctly.

BOBBIN TENSION:
Far less common, but if the loose threads are on the top, it is bobbin tension that is loose, it too may have lint in the spring and be giving a "false" tension.

I would not recommend fiddling with bobbin tension without good reason, it may end up with missing small screws and spring pieces, however, you can take the needle plate off to clean
the hook race area (where bobbin case sits)

...this is just good housekeeping, my wife does this every time she replaces the bobbin....

just take it out and clean the bobbin case and the fixed metal hook race with a small brush to remove lint. If there is a significant amount of lint, use a vacuum and small brush to get the worst.

Then wipe all this area with a cloth or cotton bud (Q tip) moistened (not soaked) with methylated spirit, especially if there appears to be fine dirty deposits....oil and lint combine to conspire against you.

If it seems likely that you ......really ....do .....actually .....need .....to adjust the bobbin case, first check there is no lint trapped in the metal spring where the thread is tensioned.

TOP LOADER:
Drop-in Bobbin case will look similar to this image with the tension screw in the middle of the metalwork....

4c76dc1.jpg ...the other screw at one end is holding it all together, so beware....it is not a tragedy to undo the whole lot and clean it, but very gingerly and lay the bits out in sequence and orientation, or you risk tearing your hair out !

FINISHING UP
GETTING THE BALANCE RIGHT:
When you are certain there's no trapped lint in top tension or bobbin, set the top tension to 4 and the bobbin tension to a point where you just begin to feel resistance.

Try using good quality thread of contrasting colours so you can more easily spot the changes.

Set your zigzag to one width less than maximum (eg. 5 of 6 ...or... 4 of 5 etc) and sew a sample for a few inches and check the result.... adjust the bobbin tension screw very little at
a time, perhaps 1/16 of a turn.

You may find you are playing with this balance for some little while and if you are putting the needleplate on and off each time begin to think it cannot be correct to do this.....BUT....it is,
and eventually, you do get a "feel" for the correct tension and then it happens quite quickly.....as a user you won't be doing it very often unless there is lint built up (or are there small hands at work around the house !?!?!)

OTHER ISSUES:
If you live near the ocean as we do, salt air can play havoc with metalwork inside and out, so to help minimise this, keep a few small packets of dessicant (silica gel) in your machine
case....no case ? then make some sort of cover !

Same applies in any damp or humid environment, keep your machine dry and dust free.

Budget for a proper full service every couple of years (more often if heavily used) and if you don't use your machine for a few years, be aware that old oil will dry out and combining with
dust and form a "clag" like glue (another reason for some sort of cover, even a teatowel !)

FINALLY, A WORD ON THREAD:
If it is worth spending the time, energy and money on making something that you would like to give lasting enjoyment......use quality thread, .......it may seem to cost a little more at the
time, but the results, ease of use and added longevity will be worth the extra, and as a bonus, your tension troubles may be fewer and further between, because there is a more consistant diameter with good thread, and less compensating to be done by your tension plates and less thread breaks !

If you want any more help with this, just post back here, or, drop a line through the "Contact Us" page at

www.bargainbox.com.au

Posted on May 10, 2008

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: Brother LS-2125 Upper Thread Snapping

I had the same problem and it was so frustrating! It was happening to me because I wasn't using the right size needle. Go up a couple of needle sizes and see if that helps.

Posted on Mar 09, 2009

rylee_smith
  • 8619 Answers

SOURCE: wont sew thread bunches up

Hi!

I think you are threading the top of the machine incorrectly. Make sure that what I'm saying is correct, use two color threads to sew with- and you will see that it is in fact the top thread that is bunching.

This might be a tension problem. Could be the bobbin is not threaded in the case right. First, check the threading of the bobbin and then check the stitch.

Next, adjust the tension on the bobbin case. There is usually a small screw on the case that can be tightened or loosened. I think you may need to adjust it a bit or adjust the top tension knob, just a small bit at a time. It the top does not change the stitch, then go to the bobbin case and adjust the screw to tighten the stitch a little bit more.

Please do rate this solution as FixYa and revert for further assistance.

Thanks
Rylee

Posted on Jun 19, 2009

  • 12 Answers

SOURCE: Need a diagram for how the bobbin case

the point is bent

Posted on Sep 02, 2009

SOURCE: the thread bunches up under the material when i

first start with the needle & see if it's bent-roll the needle on a flat surface & see if it roll correctly
when a needle is blunt it makes a popping sound when it goes thru the fabric
check the bobbin to see if it's warped-I have had some that were
check to see if there is lint or loose thread in the bobbin case area
rethread the machine to make sure the upper thread is not catching on anything
sometimes the thread can come off the thread take up lever
& sometimes it can get caught on the spool pin & also on the notch that's on the thread spool it's self---I've had this happen before
if you sew alot-good maintenance practice is to clean the bobbin case area at least once a week-if you don't sew alot-once a month & also under the needle plate
when cleaning under the needle plate-make sure you do not damage the top of the screws when you remove them to clean under the needle plate & because if the top of screws get damaged they can pull the fabric when the fabric goes over them
check also to make sure your top tension is correct

Posted on Sep 02, 2010

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1 Answer

My thread bunches up on my material


On top of the fabric? The problem is either the upper tension is too tight and/or the bobbin tension is too loose.

Under the fabric (thread nesting)? The upper tension could be too loose and/or the bobbin tension is too tight. Also could mean the upper thread is not seated properly in the upper tension disk or it is threaded incorrectly. Remove the thread. RAISE the presser foot. Then rethread from the beginning--verify the thread pathway is correct.

...

Aug 04, 2016 | Sewing Machines

2 Answers

Bobbin thread bunching up on bottom side od material while sewinginto a mess, while top thread fine. HOW DO I fix this, please.


Hi, this is a lack of lower tension. Check to make sure your bobbin is seated correctly and that you have used the correct thread path. Check the tension by drawing some thread from the bobbin with your hand, if it reels off too easily, the tension hook for the bobbin is too loose, tighten it down a tiny bit with a small screw driver and try again. If the bobbin tension is normal, than the problem may be your upper tension, if it is too tight it can cause your bobbin to snarl. If a tension adjustment does not fix the problem, you may need to seek a specialist.

Oct 06, 2015 | Singer Sewing Machines

3 Answers

Thread bunches under fabric for the first few stitches, then it sews fine.


hi, could you be threading it wrong ? or the material is slipping at first , how hard is the cotton to pull form the bobbin ? tension check as well.

Regards
Rob..

Jul 15, 2015 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

STRING IS BUNCHING UP. NOT FEEDING RIGHT MAYBE


By string, I assume you meant thread ? Is it bunching up underneath the fabric you are sewing, or on top ?

If it bunches up underneath the fabric, the upper thread tension may not be right or the mechanism may be worn or need replacing. If it bunches up on top, thread guides may be catching or the needle may be damaged.

First thing, try a new needle. Damaged or dull needles can cause problems. Also try a new spool of thread, because sometimes a thread spool might have been damaged or is just bad quality. Some machines will not work well with very cheap, economy threads, so if you're using cheap thread, get better thread to try also.

Test stitch after each change you make to see if it's helped. The upper thread tension adjustment should work at any setting, but for normal sewing, should be at a middle setting.

If thread snarls up on top of the fabric, unthread the machine and check every thread guide for wear or nicks that might be catching thread.. needles can cause this also. May need to replace a guide if it's damaged, or perhaps use a file, emery cloth or sandpaper to smooth a rough spot. Rethread the machine with a new spool, set the upper tension to a medium level and try again.

If the thread bunches under the fabric, it's often the upper tension that's not right. Thorough cleaning of lint from the bobbin area should be done also, even a tiny bit of lint can be a problem in some machines. Try rethreading, try a new spool of thread, and a new needle.

If no setting on the upper tension produces a balanced, even stitch without bunching, the mechanism of the tension adjuster may be worn and need either professional adjustment or replacement.

Very rarely, you may find the bobbin tension might also need adjusting. Take out the bobbin case, you'll see the tension is controlled by a small spring which has a tiny slot screw on it. Mark the exact orientation of the screw slot now, [ marker pen or tape] so you can put it back where it was if need be. If you have to to a adjust it, you should move that screw only a tiny fraction of a turn at a time.

Check bobbin tension - pull out a foot of thread and hold the end of it , with the bobbin case dangling. Shake the case up/down like a child's toy YO YO. If the bobbin moves along in reasonably even increments with each jerk, it's likely ok. Or you can pull it along and see how hard it is to pull. If the bobbin case won't move or is hard to slide, it is too tight. If it slides on the thread freely it is too loose.

Usually. clockwise turns tightens the tension, but check to be sure. One tiny adjustment at a time, it gets a bit tedious. You have to put the bobbin back in and try a few stitches after each adjustment to see if the bunching is getting any better. If it makes no change or makes it worse, put the screw back to the original position.

If you are handy and can find a repair manual for the machine, you may be able to adjust the upper tension mechanism yourself, it should not need special tools. Often for older machines the hardest part is finding another part to replace the damaged one.

Sep 29, 2014 | Brother Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Thread bunching and bobbin winder quit


This sounds a lot like you've forgotten to lower the presser foot. (this leaves the tension discs open and causes serious issues below the material.) Double check that and if still having issues post again.

Nov 03, 2012 | Brother SE-270D Computerized Sewing...

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How to stop bobin thread from knotting


When loading the bobbin there is most likely not enough tension on the thread letting it overlap incorrectly. Try wrapping thread around a tensioner when filling and that should help. That way the bobbin is rolled as tight as the tension on the upper thread when sewing.

Apr 13, 2010 | Brother LS-2125 Mechanical Sewing Machine

3 Answers

The tread gets all bunched up on the underside of


Take the thread off the top of your machine and rethread it. Anytime a sewing machine bunches up the thread on the bottom the cause is the top thread. Make sure the tension dial is on "5". After you thread the machine, put the pressure foot down,(like its resting on fabric, but not on the thread), and pull the thread towards the back of the machine. It should be somewhat tight. The needle should "bow" slightly before the thread comes through the needle.

Oct 06, 2009 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Pulling on top thread bunches my fabric


Either the top tension is too tight or the lower tension is too loose.
sewman7

Mar 03, 2009 | Necchi 4595 Mechanical Sewing Machine

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