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Embroidery Machine Problems Solutions in Depth and Beyond

Embroidery Machine Problems Solutions in Depth and Beyond

Embroidery machine problems solutions: our current sewing, embroidery, and serger machines stitch at very high speeds putting a tremendous strain on threads.

New threads are always being developed and it seems that every machine manufacturer, embroidery designer, and digitizer has his or her own brand of thread.

Most of these threads work well on the majority of our machines, but as more of our machines become computerized and the mechanisms that work them are increasingly hidden, it can be frustrating and confusing to troubleshoot when our threads break repeatedly, especially when we are trying to squeeze in that last-minute gift or are sewing the final topstitching details on a tailored wool jacket.

embroidery machine problems solutions

Embroidery Machine Problems Solutions Our Secrets

Embroidery Machine Problems Solutions Steps for Thread Breaks:

1) Re-thread the needle.

Whenever a needle thread breaks, the first thing to check is the thread path.

Be sure to clip the thread up by the spool before it passes through the tension discs, and pull the broken thread through the machine from the needle end.

Do not pull the thread backwards through the discs toward the spool, as this can eventually wear out important components, necessitating a costly repair.

Then take the thread from the spool and re-thread the needle according to the threading instructions for your machine.


2) Change your needle is an embroidery machine problems solutions.

Even if the needle in your machine is brand new, needles may have small burrs or imperfections that cause threads to break.

Be sure the needle is also the correct size and type for the thread. If the needle’s eye is too small, it can abrade the thread more quickly, causing more frequent breaks.

A smaller needle will also make smaller holes in the fabric, causing more friction between the thread and fabric.

Embroidery and metallic needles are designed for specialty threads, and will protect them from the extra stress.

For frequent breaks, try a new needle, a topstitching needle with a larger eye, a specialty needle, or even a larger size needle.

Embroidery Floss 50 Skeins
Embroidery Floss 50 Skeins

3) During machine embroidery, be sure to pull up any of the needle thread that may have been pulled to the back of the embroidery after a break.

Sometimes the thread will break above the needle, and a long piece of thread will be pulled to the underside of the embroidery.

This thread will then snag and tangle with the next stitches, causing repeated thread breaks.

If possible, it is also better to slow down the machine when stitching over a spot where the thread broke earlier.

Also check for thread nests underneath the stitching on a sewing or embroidery machine with unexplained thread breaks.


4) Lower the needle thread tension and sewing speed.

Lowering the tension and slowing the sewing speed can help, especially with long satin stitches, metallic or monofilament threads, and high density designs.

Sometimes the needle tension may need to be lowered more than once.


5) Embroidery Machine Problems Solutions: Change the Bobbin.

Changing the bobbin is not listed in the popular literature, but it can stop repeated needle thread breaks.

Sometimes when bobbins get low, especially if they are pre-wound bobbins, they exert a greater tension on the needle thread, causing breaks.

A bobbin may not be close to the end, but it is worth changing out, rather than dealing with constant thread breakage.

This happens more in some machines than in others.

Another issue with pre-wound bobbins is that when they get down to the last few feet of bobbin thread, the thread may be wrapped around itself, causing the needle thread to break.

If sewing continues, this knot may even be enough to break the needle itself.

Wire Loop Needle Threader
Wire Loop Needle Threader 

6) Check the thread path.

This is especially valuable for serger issues.

Be sure the thread follows a smooth path from the spool, to the tension discs or dials, and to the needle.

The thread may have jumped out of its proper path at some point, which may or may not be visible.

The culprit here is often the take-up arm. Re-threading will solve this problem.

There are also many places the thread can get snagged.

Some threads may fall off the spool and get caught around the spool pin. If there are other threads hanging nearby, they may tangle with the sewing thread.

Threads can get caught on dials, buttons, clips, needle threaders, or the edges of the sewing machine or serger.

On sergers, the subsidiary looper is a frequent offender, causing upper looper thread breaks as well as keeping the upper looper stitches from forming correctly.

Needle Threaders
Needle Threaders

7) Embroidery Machine Problems Solutions: Try a different spool orientation.

Some threads work better feeding from the top of the spool, some from the side of the spool, and some work better placed on a cone holder a slight distance from the machine.

Another trick with threads that twist, especially metallic threads, is to run them through a Styrofoam peanut between the spool and the rest of the thread path.

This helps to straighten the kinks and twists that can get caught, causing breaks.

8) Use Sewer’s Aid solution.

Adding a little Sewer’s Aid on the thread can allow it to pass through the machine more smoothly.

Sometimes a small drop can be added to the needle as well.

Be sure to keep this bottle separate from any adhesives or fray stop solutions, as those would cause serious problems if they got mixed up.

women embroidery dress
Women embroidery dress

9) Change to another thread brand is another embroidery machine problems solution.

Some machines are more particular about their thread than others.

Even when using high quality threads, some threads will work in one machine and not in another.

Get to know which threads work well in your machine and stock up on them.


10) The thread may be too old.

Although some may recommend throwing the spool away, there are other options.

One suggestion is to put it in a zipper sealed baggie and put it in the freezer for a while.

The thread could also be used for less stressful purposes, such as hand sewing, other techniques for thread embellishment, tassels, and twisted cords.

Another strategy to save as much thread as possible is to pull off the top layer or two from the spool and then try again.

Sometimes the top layer or layers may have gotten dried out, but there is still good thread underneath and when you get to it, your stitching will go smoothly.

Satin Embroidery Wedding Dress
Satin Embroidery Wedding Dress 

11) Change the stabilizer or thread type.

Changing the stabilizer or thread type is another embroidery machine problems solutions that many people tend to overlook.

Sticky stabilizers are the worst culprit, but some stabilizers may cause more thread breakage.

Keeping the needle free from sticky build-up or frequently replacing the needle can help if sticky stabilizer is causing the problem.

Coarser or tighter weave fabrics can also cause more abrasion, breaking more threads. A different thread type or brand might hold up better.


12) Lower the design density.

Not all designs are digitized with the same quality, even from the same company.

Some companies hire multiple digitizers, so their designs may not always be consistent in all respects.

Some designs intentionally have a high stitch density, in which case lowering the machine speed may be the best choice to avoid thread breakage.

Other designs do not require their high density, or the situation may warrant a less dense design, in which case editing the design density can improve the design performance.


13) Turn the machine off for about 30 seconds, and then turn it back on.

This can be frustrating, as on some machines it is not easy to get back to the same stitch in the embroidery where the machine was before, but clearing the machine’s working memory this way can fix some unexplainable embroidery machine problems solutions.

If the design was positioned in a particular place in the hoop, be sure to write down that exact position before turning the machine off.

Some machines will also show the stitch numbers, which are also good to note.

If a machine can remember where it left off, this is an excellent time to use this function.

Floral Embroider Shirt Tunic
Floral Embroider Shirt Tunic 


14) Come back tomorrow of embroidery machine problems solutions

Although it is easy to throw the thread out and want to throw the machine out as well, sometimes, whether it is the humidity or the alignment of planets, walking away from the machine then returning the next day and re-threading again can work miracles.

A thread that would not sew properly today might sew beautifully tomorrow.

Repeated thread breakage is one of the greatest frustrations for any machine embroiderer, and it seems guaranteed that the closer the project deadline, the more the threads will break.

Having several troubleshooting steps to try can make the difference between spending four frustrating hours on a one hour project, or cheerfully creating a beautiful embroidery in a reasonable amount of time.

All these are some of the most fundamental ways to solving embroidery machine problems solutions if we understand that things can break and we should take the time to tackle them with philosophy.

Everything About Custom Embroidery In Modern Fashion

Article by Sherilyn Roach

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