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Thread breaks when zigzagging but straight stitch ok

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  • Sewing Machines Master
  • 10,020 Answers

Check that the bobbin thread is not pulling the top thread down when zig-zagging. If so, the bobbin tension may be too tight.

Also, there could be a burr or nick somewhere that is catching the thread when zig-zagging. Wraps very fine fabric around your finger (silk, old hosiery, etc.) and run your finger around the needleplate and underneath. If there is a snag somewhere, the fabric should catch on it. Generally, carefully sanding with a fine emery board or sandpaper can smooth it.

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Posted on Jan 04, 2017

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1 Answer

Bottom thread is still loose even if i try to balance the tension, how do i balance the thread tension?


You bobbin tension CAN be adjusted. First, thread your machine with different colors in the top and bobbin, set your top tension at its default, and run a line of straight, and then a line of zigzag stitches, and compare the results at the top and bottom. You will be adjusting your bobbin to your top tension. If the top tension looks like a straight line instead of stitching and the zigzag looks like "chicken tracks" instead of a zigzag, but the bottom looks like a zigzag, your bobbin tension is too loose.

Remove the bobbin case, and locate the straight-slot screw. There are generally two; one is a Phillips and one is straight--you want the straight one. Leave the other alone.

The rule is "lefty-loosy, righty-tighty." If your stitching displays the above symptoms, it needs to be tightened, so turn 1/4 turn to the right--no more--then test again. You will need patience, but don't turn more than that. It is easy to do, but if you don't do it systematically, you can make things worse, and very slight adjustments can alter the stitching significantly.

Apr 15, 2015 | Singer Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Bernina sewing machine


Hook don't catch thread

Possible reasons:
  • bent needle
  • needle/thread combination is not correct. When sewing, the thread should travel smoothly down the long groove on the front of the needle. (see user manual, chapter "Threads and needles")
  • stitch plate damaged
  • wrong hook timing (sewing machine needs to be taken to a BERNINA dealer for servicing)

Aug 12, 2014 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Breaking thread while zigzagging


on most machines you must substantially reduce the needle tension when sewing zigzags

Mar 02, 2014 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Straight stitch


Tension knob on any machine will be in the thread path and usually above the needle somewhere, while the stitch width and length knobs are usually on the right side of the machine. I cant identify your model but on any machine straight stitch is usually a length of 2.5 and width of 0, while a zigzag the width will be set somewhere between 2-4 depending on how wide you need it to be. There is usually a stitch selector of some sort too but many machines, providing the width is set to 0, you will get a straight stitch.

May 29, 2013 | Husqvarna Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Zigzag stitch not catching


try these suggestions and see if they help

Skipped stitches
1. The needle is not inserted correctly
Remove needle & reinsert needle( flat side towards the back of machine)
2. The needle is damaged
replace with new needle
3. The wrong size needle is being used
Choose a needle to suit the thread & fabric
4. The foot not attached correctly
Check & attach correctly

Oct 19, 2012 | Brother CS6000i Computerized Sewing...

1 Answer

Top thread is ok but bobbin thread misses stitches at will, zigzag stitches don't sew but a straight line. changed needle, sanded burrs off pressure plate, cleared bobbin chase of lint. what have I...


check tension usually 3 or 4 is good
clean under needle plate where feed dogs are for lint
is the flat side of the needle toward the back of the machine
rethread machine
is needle the right one for the fabric & thread
it might also need to be serviced

Nov 24, 2010 | Kenmore Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Working wth cotton t-shirt maerial, but my thread keeps breaking and my stitches are skipping what should I do.


You need to use the correct type of needle for that fabric. The needle has to have a rounded end not a sharp. Also use a slight zigzag not a straight stitch. The thread needs some give or the fabric will keep popping.

Apr 25, 2010 | White Sewing 2037 Mechanical Sewing...

1 Answer

Brother VX 1120.... Machine is not making consistent stitches then thread loops and stitch goes straight and half zigzag, thread breaks. Same with straight stitches...will go for about an inch then stitch...


Remove the needle plate, bobbin case and bobbin and clean any lint that has accumulated.

Oil, if the manual indicates you should do this and where it should be done. Some do not as it has to be done by a repair tech.

Re-thread the machine with the presser foot in the up position.

Make sure the bobbin thread is feeding from the bobbin spool in the correct direction and through the proper guides.

If the problem continues, the machine will have to be services by a sewing machine repair person. Take samples of the stitching so they can see what it happening - it could be the timing has to be reset.

Feb 16, 2010 | Brother Sewing Machines

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