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The top thread is breaking each time I am trying to sew.

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  • Expert
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Hello,
Here are a few things to try.

* Re-thread your machine
An incorrectly threaded machine can cause thread to break.

* Decrease the tension on your machine
The tension may be too tight for your thread.

* Reposition the spool of thread on the spindle
You know that little nick in the edge of a spool that’s used to hold the loose end of the thread?
Your thread may be catching on this nick as you sew. Place your spool so that this nick rests
against the bottom of the spindle.

* Reinsert your needle
Make sure it goes all the way into the holder and that it’s positioned correctly, usually with the
flat side away from the bobbin, but consult your machine’s manual to be sure.

* Change your needle
Your needle may be bent or dull. The eye of your needle may have a nick in it that’s cutting the
thread as you sew. Or your needle may be too small for the thread you’re using, in which case,
change to a larger needle. And make sure your needle is appropriate for the weight and type of
your fabric.

* Change your thread
Your thread may be weak. Or your thread may be fuzzy and irregular, causing it to catch in the
eye of your needle as you sew. Cheap thread tends to be weak and fuzzy, so make sure to
use a quality, brand name thread. And if you’ve been sewing with an older cotton thread, which
can dry out and become brittle with age, try a newer thread.

* Check your presser foot for damage to the needle hole
A burr in your presser foot’s needle hole may be cutting your thread. Gently smooth any rough
spot you find with an emery cloth.

* There may be a burr in one of your thread guides, in which case, you may need to have your
machine professionally serviced to have the part replaced.

I hope this helps.

Posted on Sep 15, 2009

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  • Sewing Machines Master
  • 1,388 Answers

Take a look through this comprehensive list of
TROUBLESHOOTING
symptoms and possible solutions, it may also be useful for further reference in other times of need.
Best Wishes Martyn
Bargain Box in Australia

Now also take a more specific look at tension issues....
Please TRY the solution BEFORE giving your considered rating.

Specific detail on bobbin case adjustment (with picture) near halfway down reply, the remainder will help you achieve a balance of top and bottom tensions.

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....

The top thread is breaking each time I am trying - 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 !

FRONT LOADER:
....this is a bobbin case from a front loading machine and works in a very similar fashion to the top loader with drop in bobbin, again, if you dismantle it, take care so you can put it all
back properly.
165ca5c.jpg 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 consistent diameter with good thread, and less compensating to be done by your tension plates and less thread breaks

Best Wishes
Martyn
Bargain Box in Australia

Posted on Sep 10, 2009

  • Hassy
    Hassy Sep 10, 2009

    Take a look through this comprehensive list of
    TROUBLESHOOTING
    symptoms and possible solutions, it may also be useful for further reference in other times of need.




    Now also take a more specific look at tension issues....
    Please TRY the solution BEFORE giving your considered rating.

    Specific detail on bobbin case adjustment (with picture) near halfway down reply, the remainder will help you achieve a balance of top and bottom tensions.

    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....

    ...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 !

    FRONT LOADER:
    ....this is a bobbin case from a front loading machine and works in a very similar fashion to the top loader with drop in bobbin, again, if you dismantle it, take care so you can put it all
    back properly.
    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 consistent diameter with good thread, and less compensating to be done by your tension plates and less thread breaks

    Best Wishes
    Martyn
    Bargain Box in Australia


  • Hassy
    Hassy Sep 10, 2009

    Take a look through this comprehensive list of
    TROUBLESHOOTING
    symptoms and possible solutions, it may also be useful for further reference in other times of need.


×

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Posted on Oct 04, 2008

chrismyers67
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SOURCE: top thread keeps breaking

This sounds like a backwards needle. Take out the needle and when you re-insert it back in, make sure that put the flat side to the back.

c384264.jpg

Posted on Jun 07, 2010

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