Embroidery Solutions: Needles and Bobbin Thread Issues

Stitch It International
Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Having to stop your embroidery design project because of needles and bobbin thread breaks is frustrating. Try out these few simple tweaks that may help resolve the issue and get you back to embroidering and completing your job in no time.


Needle Breaks

  1. Needles may break because of all the same reasons that thread breaks. You can review those steps in two of our articles: Thread Breaks here and Even More Thread Breaks here.
  2. Slide off the hoop and look at its reverse side. If you see thread loops – carefully remove all of them together with stitches. Take your machine a few stitches back and embroider them again.
  3. Needles may break if the design is too dense. This is especially frequent on poorly digitized lace and photo-stitch designs. To overcome this problem, try using a thinner needle. If this doesn’t help – be mindful that the design may be too bulky for the delicate fabric you are embroidering on. See if you can re-digitize the design to account for lighter fabrics.


Bobbin Thread Breaks

  1. Take the bobbin out and clean the bobbin case. Insert the bobbin again and re-thread. If re-threading doesn’t help, try a new bobbin.
  2. Our troubles with bobbin thread breaks ended the moment we started using pre-wound bobbins. Factory-made bobbins are wound more consistently than homemade ones, therefore unwind better and the thread breaks less. Since pre-wound bobbins cost “per yard” nearly the same as regular bobbin thread, it makes sense to use pre-wounds if your machine handles them. Most machines work well with pre-wound bobbins. Just be sure to get the right size of bobbins (M or L Style). Plastic sided bobbins are usually better but there are exceptions since each machine is different.


Bobbin Thread Shows on Front Side of Fabric

Generally, when bobbin thread shows on top, this means that the top thread tension is too high. Before rushing to reduce it, check these two issues out:

  1. See whether the top thread unwinds and feeds up the well. Make sure that the spool doesn’t slide off from the horizontal spool pin. If it fails – it creates overly high thread tension by not allowing the thread to unwind properly.
  2. Check that the needle is good, not sticky and that it allows the thread to come through it easily. The needle eye should be large enough.




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