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There are a number of common reasons for the bobbin thread in your sewing machine to break. Resolving these issues will make sewing easier. This is a guide about fixing bobbin thread that keeps breaking.
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I have cleaned and oiled my Brother sewing machine after breaking about 3 needles. But now it seems that the needle thread keeps getting hung up on the bobbin shuttle and breaking. Can anyone please tell me what is causing this problem?
By Tweedy from Houston, TX
Take a deep breath and then go slow. I've been there, and been sooo frustrated. Have you checked your manuals for trouble shooting? Are you using the right size needle for the task? Are you using two different threads for bobbin and needle? Is the needle inserted properly? Is your bobbin the right kind for that machine? Is the bobbin properly wound? How is the tension? Double check your threading of the machine. Sometimes we just miss a step. Hope it gets better, and good luck!
You might take out the bobbin and look under and around it for 'fuzz'. I have to clean out under there pretty often or my thread starts breaking or jamming up into 'birds nests', or sometimes it'll just skip stitches. Try using the cleaning brush that comes with sewing machines, or just use a cheap artist's type brush and really brush it out good, then put a drop of oil in that area also and wipe excess away. I've bought several old sewing machines at yard sales that they said wouldn't sew, and after taking apart and cleaning all under the bobbin area, they sewed just fine. :^)
Sometimes, you even have to take out the parts that hold the bobbin and clean under there, too. Be careful that you remember exactly how you take it out or you might have trouble getting it set back in. Take notes to remind yourself, because if your sewing machine is one of the models that seem to attract a lot of fuzz under there, you'll need to do it again before long, even if you're using really good quality thread. By the way, try not to use the 'bargain bin' type cheap thread, it leaves more fuzz and jams up more often. I found it was no bargain, lol.
Check your tension on the machine. If it is too tight this will also cause the thread to break. This is the spring dial on the face place of the machine. Remember "righty tighty, lefty loosey".
Check that the needle is in the right way - usually with the flat side away from you, but check your manual. While you have the manual out check that the bobbin is turning the right way too. Hope you fix it
I have a Janome sewing machine. It is so frustrating, the machine sews fine for approximately 3-4 inches and then the top thread breaks. I have cleaned the bobbin and changed the thread. I tried changing the tension on the top and this was in vain.
Have you changed the needle? If not, try that. Sometimes a needle will get slightly bent and cause all kinds of trouble.
Changing the thread to a better quality can help too. I had this problem with thread I bought at walmart. I bought the same kind of thread (multi purpose) from a sewing store and you could visually see that this thread was better. Pretty much solved the problem.
I have a Singer 591 industrial sewing machine. The top thread keeps breaking just under the foot.
I'm sorry if this response seems rude, but have you double and triple-checked it's threaded correctly? (I missed a step on mine not so very long ago and ended up with the same problem. Very frustrating.) Undo it all and start fresh, using a good quality thread?
I have re-threaded and checked for obstacles. I am still having thread breakage just under the foot, but only with 1 type of thread. I used another thread, different spool, same tension but no issues or thread breakage. It seems like the thread is stuck and breaks just at the foot. Is there a possibility my spool is too large? I was using a Essentials cotton thread with 1200 yards vs a standard spool of all purpose thread with 220 yards.
Yes - your spool is too large. But only for the spool pin on your machine:) What's happening is the weight of your large spool is dragging down the machine feeding the thread smoothly through the tension discs and needle. Once thread meets fabric through the needle action the accumulated strain causes your thread to snap.
You can buy freestanding cone holders and they work a treat for feeding (and safely supporting the weight) of cones AND those super yardage sized spools on the market today. Most people don't think of cone holders as useful for regular sewing machines because these cone stands are marketed towards serger owners but a serger isn't the only place for a cone holder - I own two cone holders but I don't own a serger:)
The cone holder supports the weight, feeds the thread properly through upper thread paths down to the needle and fabric - you don't have to use cones, your short stout spool of thread will be supported and feed just as easily on the cone holder as the taller cones feed through.
Prym and Hemline make cone holders and unless you go for the ultra fancy weighted base with the table clamp, the prices are very reasonable, usually between $7-$15USD or £6-£25 here in the UK where I live now. Depending on what country you live in, this is usually a relatively inexpensive bit of sewing kit that once you have it you'll wonder why you didn't have at least one sooner:)
I have a Singer Stylist 533 and my thread keeps breaking.
By Erica Z
Have you adjusted your tension? That is what I do first.
See my reply to your other question on this machine - this new problem is not likely related to your feed dog issue but is probably your bobbin gear, but all else in the other answer remains the same - your machine has plastic and silicone parts that have failed with age. And this second question now has me, a sewing teacher and vintage Singer repair tech here in the UK, now strongly urging you to splash out on a modern, under-warranty sewing machine. Sorry but there it is - I think your lovely 533 is past her sewing days, sadly!
I also posted a link to a SingerCo free download of your manual there but will post it again here for you:
The upper thread breaks frequently. Why?
By Farhat from Barcelona
Hi there. I have discovered if your top thread keeps breaking, your machine may not be threaded right or it could also do that if you are using cheap thread. If you feel your machine is threaded right, I would try a better quality thread and see if that helps. Hope this helps.
Frogheaven is on the right track.
But if those tips don't help it may be that you have a broken or worn out bobbin gear and that's a job for a professional repairman. He or she will be able to remove the cover of your machine and tell just by looking what is wrong, and will have the part(s) needed to fix it quickly.
It shouldn't be very expensive even if you ask him/her to do a general maintenance and check-over of the machine.
My Merritt double speed sewing machine's thread breaks when thick material is stitched. What do I do?
Check to be sure you're using the right thread and correct needle size - particularly the needle size. What you're describing is most likely being caused by using the wrong thread and or needle. Check your user guide or any good sewing reference book (Simplicity, Singer, Butterick-Vogue) or do an online search for 'correct thread and needle sizes for (insert the fabric type you want to sew)'.
What do I do if the upper thread is breaking?
By Alladin from Mahayahay
What to do when the upper thread keeps breaking...
*Check your user guide/manual - it will have tables for choosing the correct needle, thread, tension, and information on stitch type-length-width works for what type fabric, feed dog setting, and the very helpful troubleshooting table usually found at the end of the manual.
*Check the needle and thread - right size for the project?
*Check the tension setting - right setting for the fabric you're trying to sew?
*Check that your feed dogs are in the correct position for the fabric you're trying to sew.
If you don't have the manual, the machine maker's website usually has a free download.
If none of the above solves your issue, the tension discs may be clogged with lint. If your machine has the tension dial/knob on the outside of the machine, you'll be able to see the metal discs if you look down at/into the knob from a standing position over the machine - try some unwaxed dental floss just the way you would floss your teeth. Run clean floss through the discs (be gentle!) several times and try to sew again...
If that doesn't help, it's time to take the machine to a qualified repair tech - you either have a big ball of lint behind the tension discs inside the machine (where you should not go without training!) or more likely, the bobbin gear has worn and needs replacing.
Good luck, I hope you'll update when you find out what caused the trouble.
Why does my sewing machine keep snapping the needle thread? It is good quality thread, the machine is threaded correctly, and the tension is correct. (I think, though I find this difficult to believe.) Also, for no apparent reason, the needle function will suddenly seize up and foot pedal won't move it. I have to turn it manually. Any ideas please?
By ACW from SomewhereinMI, MI
My 30+year old Singer was doing that-turned out to be a broken gear inside the machine.
I tried everything else first: changed needles, to a brand new spool of thread and bobbin thread, adjusted tension (including the bobbin tension), a few other things I can't recall now. Nothing worked so I Googled, LOL, and found out the reason thread breaks and the machine won't progress might be a broken bobbin gear.
Had my machine out to the elderly man who used to work in the Singer factory where my lovely old machine was built (I live in Scotland). I had the machine back in a week and it's run beautifully since.
My thread is bunching up and breaking above the needle. I don't know how to determine thread weight/needle size,etc., or fabric weight.
By Barb H
You need to consult the chart in the user manual that came with your machine. If you don't have that manual the manufacturer's website usually offers a free download even for vintage machines (older than 10 years).
Most sewing sites also post a table showing which needle, thread, stitch width/length/type and tension settings work best with each type of fabric. The following links may be of help to you (but the user manual is the best source of info for your specific machine):
Great tips on choosing needles:
Excellent primer on both needles and threads:
The following sites have very easy to read charts/tables for choosing, scroll down to about the middle:
I have a Kenmore Ultra stitch 12 and sew a lot of fleece on it. I do regular maintenance on it, but this problem has me baffled!
The bottom thread keeps breaking and is loose and loopy. Help!
Loopy, breaking bottom (bobbin) thread is usually a tension problem - have you adjusted the top tension correctly? That actually affects the bottom (bobbin) as well.
If that doesn't help it's time for a visit to the Sears Kenmore repair tech - it sounds as though the factory setting for the bobbin casing has gone off and it's a rather fiddly adjustment best left to the factory trained tech. He/she will also check over the rest of the machine, it's possible a gear in the bobbin casing has worn.
I own a 360 Pfaff sewing machine and am attempting to get the tension correct. I experienced sudden thread breaking and now the machine is frozen and won't move. How can I get it unfrozen?
By Joanne from Vale, OR
Actually this doesn't sound simple at all.
I do some repairs for my sewing students, mostly on Singers but have done limited work on Pfaffs and this sounds as though there is a broken part internally and/or thread(s) bits caught up in several places through the inside of the machine. The combination is what has frozen your machine.
This is NOT a job for a novice - Pfaff machines are rather complicated machines internally and very difficult to put back together once you've pulled the head and removed a couple of those tiny screws - each screw has its own special designated place even though they do look similar, it's too easy to put the wrong screw in the wrong place and that is a sure machine killer.
Take the machine to a qualified repair tech, preferably one whose advert includes the term 'Pfaff machine repairs' so that you know this is a tech with experience. The work is not going to be 'cheap' but it is going to be reliable.
I own a 1977 Sears Kenmore sewing machine. Suddenly the thread breaks when it goes down into the bobbin. Want's up?
Bobbin thread breaks
1. There is a right way & wrong way to insert the bobbin in the case --when you insert the bobbin in if it doesnt stitch correctly turn the bobbin over see if that helps or bobbin case is not inserted correctly
2. Lint has collected in the bobbin holder
3. The bobbin is damaged & doesnt turn smoothly
4. Lower thread tension is two tight
I don't have a manual and can't find one online. The thread on my needle continuously breaks after about half an hour of sewing, on my machine and that of a friend's that I'm now using. Everything seems to be in order. It was sewing fine with nothing changed up until this point.
I've had that problem on my Singer. For me it's the tension. I've had it adjusted and they also told me to use a good quality thread - not cheap poly or even a combo. I use "Gutermann", it helps.
I have a Singer sewing machine model 1120. While I'm sewing the thread breaks. How do I fix it?
I'm a novice sewer so purchased a Lil Sew & Sew machine and the moment it arrived I noticed that the needle clamp screw/thread hole was sitting strangely! Pretty much every time I've used the machine since then, the thread breaks! Some fabrics are a little better than others, but as I've done lots of troubleshooting (changed needles, change thread, checked tension, checked threading, etc.). I feel that it must be down to the fact that the actual shaft where the needle goes in is twisted. So the flat back is slightly to the left and the tiny hole for the screw to fit in to hold the needle in place, is slightly to the right. Basically it's not sitting dead centre! Thus making the threading situation somewhat difficult too.
Today I decided to open up the part of the machine that allows the shaft to move up and down in hopes that there would be a simple screw that loosens it so I could turn it into the correct position. Problem solved? Nope! I don't want to get too courageous and start unscrewing everything, but the one screw that I did loosen that seemed to be directly on the shaft didn't seem to do anything. Can anyone help or do I have to deal with just having a defective machine and my thread constantly breaking. Perhaps my instincts aren't correct and I have no idea what I'm talking about... in which case, any tips would be really helpful. Many thanks.
By Ella CP
I have a New Home Janome machine and since the needle hit a pin and broke it, the top thread now breaks. I have changed the needle and I am using good quality thread. Could it be that the feed plate teeth could be slightly damaged? It was working fine till this happened.
When trying to sew on my Janome Memory Craft 6000, the cotton thread keeps breaking or gathering underneath. I have changed the cotton, checked the tension, and redone the threading on top and bobbin. Can you please help me?
My bobbin case is chipped. Are there any do-it-yourself fixes for this? Also my top thread keeps breaking.
My Kenmore machine was working perfectly and then out of nowhere it starts sewing with extra thread hanging in little loops. Also, every now and then the upper thread breaks. What do I do?
I have a Gemsy, model gem8900, industrial machine. When the footpedal is stepped on hard the top thread breaks. Why is that? Please help. I am getting frustrated.