Thread Breaks: Why?

Some of our prettiest Madeira thread that we use

Every embroiderer has been in a situation where an embroidery machine that was running smoothly only a day before, suddenly begins to break the upper or the underthread almost every stitch. How annoying is that??  There are a few things you can do or change to make your machine run smooth again.

The first thing I do on my single needle machine is re-thread the top thread.  Its usually my fault, or the thread has slipped slightly  and does not have the proper tension.  I may have to thread it a few times, but I always make sure to pull through new thread, just in case it is the thread at fault.  That has happened, but more often than not, its me missing a part.

On the multi-needle machines, I will look at the machine and see if it needs cleaning, and if it does, I will unthread everything, blow out the thread “path” with some canned air and re-thread.  This usually fixes it and the machines can get back to work!

More reasons:

Upper thread – old thread, or thread that doesn’t come off the spool evenly.  You can always use a thread net to make the thread an even tension when it comes off of the spool.  This usually solves it all on my single needle machine.
Bobbin – change the bobbin – if you use pre-wound ones, they are not always perfect!  If you wind your own, take a look at it to see if everything is even.
Stabilizer – are you using the right stabilizer?
Needle- change the needle regularly – if there are any slight bends, or the needle is dull or even a burr in the metal, that might cause thread breaks.
Tension regulation. Check your upper thread tension. Often the reason for the thread breakage may be too tight a tension.

An upper thread of poor quality – sometimes, if you use cheaper or older thread at the top, it simply breaks.  One of our big machines will not use any other threads other than Madeira threads – the other 4 machines are happy with upper end threads, but not necessarily Madeira.

Rayon thread. This thread often causes thread breakage trouble for beginners.  You could find the same color thread of a different brand in your thread stash and see if that works.

Metallic thread. Metallic thread can and usually becomes an issue – so be prepared for beautiful results, but with a hassle!!  The best practice for using metallic threads is to simply slow the machine down.  This works for me – I don’t usually mess around with machine tension, so this is the easiest solution.  And be patient.

Density:  Last but certainly not least is the density of the design!  You should be checking the density of the design BEFORE you send it to the machine.  But if you are having issues and have changed the threads and done everything else you can think of, then go back and check the density of the design, and in particular the spot that you are having issues.  You may find a “blob” of threads, or places that the needle penetrations are way too many, and that will cause some issues.  This may happen more often than not when you are using any auto digitizing feature of an embroidery program – there can be layers and layers of thread that you didn’t realize were there – it can become quite a mess.

Hopefully everyone has less and less thread breaks as you are making your own designs and control how they are going to stitch out.  But if you are having thread breaks, go through the list one by one until you get it resolved.

Re-thread upper thread.

Change bobbin.

change needle.

Change thread (and re-thread, of course)

Hooping and stabilizer.





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