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Question: Why is my thread looping under the fabric?

Answer: The most common cause of this is that the machine is improperly threaded. Rethread according to your manual. Next you may not have adequate tension on your upper thread. Increase your tension or bring your machine in for service so we can clean your tension assembly.

Check the parts of your machine for any scarring that could snag your thread.(Presser foot, needle plate, hook, race cover, thread clearance bracket, etc.)


Question: Why is my thread tangling up under my fabric?

Answer: There are a few causes for this problem. The first is that the top of your sewing machine is not threaded properly. Check that the take-up lever is threaded and that your tension is properly threaded. Make sure you have your tension dial set to at least "4".

Check to see if you have adequate tension - here's how: thread the top of the machine, put the presser foot down and pull the thread through the needle. If the needle bends, you have adequate tension. If not, you probably have a foreign object in the tension (lint, broken threads, etc.). If after these steps have been taken, I advise you to have your machine serviced.


Question: Why is my thread breaking on my sewing machine?

Answer: There are several reasons why thread can break when sewing. The most common reason thread can break is if the needle is damaged, the wrong size or "gummed up" from adhesives or chemicals in the fabric. The solution is to simply change your needle and make sure it is an appropriate size for the thread and fabric you are using. Also check that the needle is inserted properly. If it is inserted backwards, thread will break.

Other reasons for this trouble includes an improperly threaded machine, scarring on parts where the thread will come into contact with (needle plate, bobbin case, presser foot, etc.), kinking in the thread (cured by putting the spool in the upright position or using a thread net or using a thread stand), fabric that has too many chemicals in (solution: pre-wash fabrics), presser foot height is too high (this would only be during embroidery or free motion sewing. You will need to ensure that the presserfoot is just high enough off the fabric so that it would allow free movement. The solution is to either use a spring type free motion foot or lower the presserfoot closer to the fabric by adjusting the presser foot pressure.)


Question: Why won't my fabric feed properly through my sewing machine.

Answer: One cause of this can be lint compacted in the feed dogs. To remedy, remove the needle plate and scrape the excess lint from between the feed dogs. Another cause can be that the feed dogs are in the "down" position. You will need to switch them to the "up" position. Also check that your stitch length is set long enough to feed your fabric. If you are sewing bulky items, you may need a walking foot and if you are sewing "sticky" items like leather or vinyl, you will need to either use a teflon foot or a roller foot.

Basic Embroidery Machine Use


Stabilizer – is used to strengthen fabrics during the embroidery process and to strengthen the fabric over the lifetime of the project.

                Stabilizer types:

Tear away – this stabilizer is used to give the fabric strength during the embroidery project. It is a good choice for fabrics that may not be laundered often or used heavily. It is also a good choice for fabrics such as denim that already have quite a bit more strength than lighter weight fabrics. It can also be used with designs that are not very dense.


Cut away – this stabilizer is good for giving strength to fabrics during embroidery AND throughout the life of the project. It will not disintegrate during laundering. It is suggested to be used in stretch fabrics or any item that will be laundered often.


Melt away – this stabilizer is normally used on the top of fabrics that have a nap such as velvet, terry cloth, and even polar fleece. It is also used in “unstable” fabrics such as sweat shirt fleece or t-shirt knit. Using the melt away on top of the embroidery prevents the stitches from being overly absorbed into the fabric. When a hot iron is applied to the stabilizer after embroidery, it will dissolve away. It will mostly remain under the stitches as the embroidery will protect the stabilizer from the heat of the iron.


Wash away- This stabilizer is often used to make free standing lace and Christmas tree ornaments. You would simply sew an appropriate design directly on this stabilizer and wash it. The stabilizer will dissolve away. A simple washing and drying will leave the embroidery very rigid and “crisp”. The more it is laundered, the softer the embroidery will get.

Embroidery Thread: Embroideries are “digitized” based on 40 wt. 2 ply thread. I recommend RAYON thread for embroidery. Though it is not very strong like other fibers such as polyester or cotton, it proves stronger in embroidery because it does not stretch like other fibers, is more consistent in weight and is more subtle so that it can twist and meander with ease. Polyester embroidery threads prove more brittle and can break in detailed work. Polyester threads can pucker fabrics more and they also will sit more “on top” of the fabric because of the rigidity.


Bobbin Thread: It is recommended that you use a 70 wt. 2 ply bobbin thread. 70 wt. is very thin, so it will not “bulk” up the embroidery and you will also be able to wind more yards of thread on your bobbins. You may use pre-wound bobbins. They are typically a 60 wt. 2 ply thread.


Needles: use the same needles you would for everyday sewing. A size 80/12 is usually perfect. If you are using metallic threads, use a metafile needle. If you are sewing on denim, use a denim needle.


Hoops: It is important to use the smallest hoop possible when embroidering to create a more stable work area. Before you hoop your fabric, make sure it is pressed and starched to create a stronger fabric. When hooping, loosen the hoop screw enough so that it is easy to put your fabric and stabilizers in. Tighten the hoop, but don’t over tighten as you can create what is known as “hoop burn”. This is when the fabric is tightened so much in the hoop that the hoop leaves an imprint on the fabric. Do not stretch the fabric too tight in the hoop. Simply make sure that the fabric is flat in the hoop area. Once you’ve completed hooping your fabric, push the inside hoop slightly through the outside hoop so that there is a tiny ledge on the bottom side. This will help the hoop stay tight against the sewing machine arm.

Presser feet: Though many machines today use a snap on type of presser foot for embroidery, I recommend using a spring type foot. This will help your embroidery sew over different layers in your fabric and will create a better environment for the machine to make stitches. When the machine sews with a spring type embroidery foot, as it makes a stitch, the presser foot is against the fabric, thus keeping it more stable. When the needle comes up, the foot comes up giving the machine more freedom of movement.


Alignment: all embroidery machines will have a trial button(s). Using these buttons, the machine will show you a squared off area in your embroidery hoop. That squared off area will represent where your embroidery will sew. If after this trial, you need to move your embroidery, use your moving arrows to more precisely align the embroidery.



Embroidery threads break –

Needle is worn, damaged or gummed up or is wrong size(change needle).

Presser foot may be too high off fabric. (change to spring foot or adjust your presser foot closer to fabric)

Fabric causes threads to break (make sure to prewash fabrics before embroidery)


Thread breakage: it is inevitable that threads will break during embroidery. When this happens, use your reverse stitches buttons to trace backwards through the embroidery to where the thread broke. Please make sure you go at least 5 – 10 stitches back before the thread broke to help secure the stitches and to blend the broken stitch with the new stitches.


Rotation: rather than have a bulky item stuffed under the arm of your machine, it is recommended that you rotate it 90 degrees so that the bulk of the fabric is outside of the arm of the machine.

 Sew'N Place

717 352 3050
6195 Chambersburg Road
Fayetteville, PA 17222    
Sew'N Sweep
 The TownMall of Westminster 
 400 N Center St
 Ste 147
  Westminster, Maryland 21157

Sew'N Place  Hours:
Monday - Friday 10:00 - 5:30
Saturday 10:00 - 4:00
Closed Sunday


With over 30 years of industry experience, and a friendly, knowledgeable staff that specializes in personalized customer service, The Sew'n Place is Fayetteville, Pennsylvania's and Westminster, Maryland's premier sewing and quilting headquarters! Read More...

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