thread keeps snapping

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taraalex wrote
on 17 Aug 2009 8:59 AM

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Hi all --

I am trying to do free-motion embroidery with Sulky 100% cotton variegated thread and when the thread changes color, it snaps in the needle.  There is no problem when doing a straight stitch.  The dealer said it is the thread.  I am using a Brother 5500.  Ideas?  Thanks in advance for help.

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Muppin wrote
on 17 Aug 2009 12:11 PM

Hi taraalex!

While I haven't had a problem with this particular thread, I have 3 things I check when this is happening to me:

1. Am I using a new needle?  Sometimes a new needle or one with a larger eye helps tremendously.

2. Rethread the top and bobbin just to make sure it's threaded properly.

3. Open the throat plate and clean out the bobbin area of dust and fuzzballs.

I have a Janome, and these 3 steps usually fix every breaking thread problem I have.

Cheryl / Muppin

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on 17 Aug 2009 12:15 PM

My first thought would be to check and make sure the thread is threaded into the machine right.  I have trouble with this when the thread comes out of the thread take up - the bit up above the needle that goes up and down.  Whenever the thread slips out of that, I have a horrible time with thread breaking.  I have a Bernina, my daughter called with the same problem with her Singer.  I would imagine a Brother might be the same.





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MTRuth wrote
on 17 Aug 2009 1:04 PM

If none of the suggestions above (which are great suggestions) work, you could try using a metallic needle which is made for metallic threads and helps to keep those threads from breaking. It has a larger eye and the throat is different allowing the more delicate threads to sew more easily.

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on 17 Aug 2009 8:12 PM

What I look for is if my needle straight - I take a very small pin, put it into the eye of the needle and make sure my needle is straight, if it is just a hair off it will break the thread.

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on 17 Aug 2009 10:31 PM

And if none of that solves the problem ^^ I would check the thread tension. Also, if you're running your machine at a slower speed while free-motioning, it can cause the needle to skip and drag across the fabric, which can cause breaks, too.

- Judi

My Blog   My Art


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taraalex wrote
on 17 Aug 2009 11:35 PM

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Hi again –


Thanks, these are all helpful ideas.  Although my machine is pretty new, my bobbin case has rust (do not ask me how this happened) and the dealer ordered me a new one.  Normal 0 The only problem I have is with the FM setting, which suggests, uh, user error…..


I did change needles, but I will change to an even larger one or different type.  I changed the bobbin to white cotton to see if it would help (I heard it might) but it did not.


I’ll try these ideas before the thread and I both wind up snapping -- smile.  Will keep you posted.



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on 18 Aug 2009 12:32 AM

Hi Tara, I agree with all of the above. BUT some threads just don't want to play.  I've also found some colours of the same brand of thread snap all the time and other colours don't.  It is very frustrating as there is no way to know how they will go until you want to use them.  Try a bit of free motion with a different, perhaps non varigated thread to eliminate the thread being the problem before you go spending money on having your machine adjusted.  Go slower and adjust the tension to 0 and then gradually increase it to find where it works the best.  Good luck, I feel your pain!! Barb.

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on 18 Aug 2009 1:04 AM

Absolutely some threads don't want to play, sometimes they seem to have been wound too tight on the spools.  In which case wind a bobbin with the thread, and then use that bobbin as your top spool.   If you are using variegated and want it in the same colour order as the original, you will have to wind a bobbin, which puts the colours in CBA order, and then take that bobbin and wind it again onto anothr bobbin, to put it back to ABC, depending on what you are doing, that may be totally irrelevant.

If your top spool doesn't have to engage in order to use the machine... then try placing it in a jar, or saucer behind the machine, sometimes the freedom allows it to flow better.

Also have you cleaned the front of your machine where the thread runs?  I wipe over with baby wipes or a very damp soapy cloth... or use furniture polish, one with silicone in it, spray it onto your cloth, not the machine and wipe over the path where the thread runs, and the table element.  You can buy spray for the machine, but its the silicone element which smooths it, so not necessary. 

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on 18 Aug 2009 5:49 AM

Also, make sure you match your thread thickness to the needle you're using, and check that the needle has a channel up the back to carry the thread. I am fond of size 90 topstitch needles for free-motion, with a 60 wt bobbin thread and 40 wt rayon or silk in the top.

- Judi

My Blog   My Art


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KalGal2 wrote
on 18 Aug 2009 7:43 PM

Hi Tara, it sounds simple, but sometimes if you just turn the spool over the thread unwinds with the twist going the right way and problem solved. Give it a try. Nancy

I always say that if ya can't fix it with duc tape ...Fix it with a hammer!!!!!  :)

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