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A Sewing Machine Problem
That's Easy to Fix

Thread Breakage

This irksome sewing machine problem always seems to rear its ugly head right in the middle of something fun, doesn't it? You're stitching along and...


That darned thread has broken! What's a quilter to do?

For the answers to this and other sewing machine problems, use this list to find the answers.

Tension Problems

Breaking Needles

Breaking Needle Thread

Breaking Bobbin Thread

Fabric Won't Feed Properly

Skipped Stitches

Thread Nest Forms on the Bottom

Breaking Needle Thread

Remember to sew a test strip after each change.

  • Rethread the machine according to your instruction manual.
  • Check that the needle thread tension is not too tight.
  • Change to a new needle.
  • Use quality thread.
  • Always begin stitching with the thread take up lever or arm is at its highest position. This way the thread will lay in between the tension disks.
  • Check for burrs or nicks in the thread path. Burrs found in the thread path should be taken care of by your dealer.
  • Is there a notch in the spool cap that the thread has caught on? If so, turn the spool in the other direction on the spindle or make sure that the cap that holds the thread in place is bigger in diameter than the spool of thread.
  • Has the thread wound around the spool spindle? This is a common problem with a horizontal spool spindle and slick threads like a monofilament.
  • Is there a nick in the throat plate hole where the needle passes through? If so, replace the needle plate. You can try polishing out the nick with crocus or emery cloth but I've only had limited success with this fix. Be careful not to remove too much metal from the hole.

If your thread is still breaking, it is time to take your sewing machine to the shop.

Return to the Problems List.

Breaking Bobbin Thread

This is a relatively uncommon problem.

  • Inspect the bobbin. Are there any burrs or nicks? Is it bent or warped? To check, put the bobbin on the spool spindle and unwind some thread manually. If it wobbles as you unwind, it is bent. Replace any damaged bobbin.
  • Check that the bobbin is wound evenly. If not, rewind.
  • Check that the bobbin is not wound too full. Unwind some thread if it is, otherwise it will not turn smoothly in the bobbin case.
  • Clean out any dirt or lint from the bobbin case that might keep your bobbin from turning properly.
  • Floss out the bobbin tension spring or clip to make sure no stray thread, dirt or lint is caught in it.
  • Check the throat plate for any burrs. Polish with emery or crocus cloth to remove. If you can't polish out the problem, replace the throat plate.
  • Reinsert the bobbin.

Return to the Problems List.

These are easy fixes to do at home for this annoying sewing machine problem. As a reminder, many problems are remedied simply by changing to a new needle of the proper size so keep a variety on hand. Furthermore, if you find that you are uncomfortable with any of these suggestions, please contact your sewing machine dealer for assistance.

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