Why Does My Thread Keep Breaking on My Sewing Machine?

Image of a sewing thread but Why Does My Thread Keep Breaking on My Sewing Machine?Breaking thread is a problem for both sewing beginners and professionals. Everyone wants to have a smooth workflow and taking a break to fix a thread is not intriguing. In order to address thread break issues, you first need to ask yourself, Why Does My Thread Keep Breaking on My Sewing Machine?

Your thread will break because of various factors, and the major one is thread tension. When you set a tight upper thread tension, the thread is most likely to break as you sew. Also, if the lower thread tension is incorrect, you cannot avoid a breakage. Additionally, a rough and uneven rollout from the bobbin will not spare your thread either.

The good news is that we have guidelines and tips to help you keep your thread intact during work. For example, to sort the thread tension issue, ensure that you set a lower tension setting. You can also check the bobbin case and adjust it to allow the thread to roll out smoothly.

How Do I Stop My Thread from Breaking on My Sewing Machine?

The best way to deal with a problem is first to identify its causes and then determine the best course of action. Below are some more thread breakage causes you might face and how to handle them.

  • When you incorrectly install the upper thread, you will get more or less thread in the stitch. This scenario causes a loose or tight tension, thus breaking the thread. Therefore, consider rethreading the machine. The manual will give you specific guidelines on how to do it.
  • The thread spool is the cylindrical accessory with a hole where you wind your thread for use. You will find it in various sizes and sometimes get a misalignment with the capsize. This situation leads to the thread breaking.

You can handle the problem by ensuring you get the proper capsize.

  • A broken, damaged, or bent needle is another reason why the thread breaks. Therefore, even if it is a new needle and has a slightly damaged end or body, discard it and get a perfect one.
  • A small needle eye causes thread stress and friction, which breaks or frays the thread. Thus, as you purchase the thread and needle, pick those that are compatible.
  • Sometimes the thread breakage is because the needle’s flat size is not facing the back. So, remove it and reinsert it with the leveled side facing the back and also push it up the sewing machine as far as possible.
  • Did you forget to wind up that bobbin thread correctly? If you did, that is a cause for thread breakage. Please pause and wind it about 80% complete. Also, ensure that you evenly wind the thread. Also, ensure that you evenly wind the thread.
  • If you are embroidering, the thread density may be too delicate for the pattern or detail. Therefore, before you proceed any further, correct it using the data design system and adjust the thread density. You can also look at the over-stitching settings in the data and reset them.
  • An embroidery data with zero pitch or tiny stitches is a perfect catalyst for thread breakage. However, you can eliminate the issue by deleting such stitches.
  • Finally, threads break because the fabric on the sewing machine is not taut. Therefore, Please firmly set it in the embroidery frame.

Here’s how to fix the breaking thread problem on your sewing machine:

More tips:

  • Remove loose thread to allow the hook to rotate smoothly.
  • Get rid of any tangles or knots.
  • Use the correct bobbin.
  • Select the most suitable embroidery thread and needle.

What Should Tension be Set on Sewing Machine?

For a regular sewing machine, the dial settings range from 0 to 9: therefore, 4.5 is an ideal ‘default’ position for standard straight-stitch sewing. It also works well for most fabrics.

Unfortunately, most people have trouble getting the most suitable sewing machine tension: but this should not keep you from sewing. The exercise is straightforward once you learn what it is, how it works, and the best way to make adjustments.

Sewing machine tension is a result of the thread amount the machine can accommodate to make a stitch. Usually, if you have more thread, you get a looser stitch. On the flip side, with less thread, you get a tight stitch.

The dial on the sewing device’s thread path controls the top thread tension. Therefore, ensure that you correctly sit the thread between the tension discs as you sew. Also, when you sew, you will observe that the tension discs open when the presser foot is up, and there is no top thread tension.

This element explains why you have loops whenever you work with the presser foot up. Therefore, ensure that it is in the proper position to have a smooth sewing time.

If you notice that the sewing machine tension requires some adjusting, the following tricks will help you get back on track.

  • Know where the tension dial or knob is on the machine. Since a correct stitch requires a top and bottom thread on the machine, ensure that the strings work in harmony. Also, align them to interlink at the middle of the fabric.

Any imbalances lead to an imperfect stitch as one thread will pull the other towards the other side of the material.

  • The bobbin has a standard factory setting, and you don’t have to adjust it. However, you can customize the top thread session to a 4.5 position as it works well for regular straight-stitch sewing.
  • Zigzag or wide stitches pull the bobbin thread through to the top. You will recognize the tension by observing a slightly raised or bunched fabric. However, that should not worry you as if you slacken the tension slightly; the material lies flatter.
  • The machine’s bottom tension is easy to adjust with a tiny screwdriver. Turn the small spool case screw clockwise or anticlockwise to tighten or loosen it.

Why Does My Thread Keep Getting Caught on My Fabric?

The thread may form loops at the back of the fabric, which shows a top loose tension than the bobbin tension. In such a scenario, the bobbin thread pulls too much top thread underneath and causes the imbalance.

However, once you tighten the top tension, the loops will disappear.

Please be careful as you add the tension as it may cause breakage with sensitive yarns.

In some scenarios, the thread may be okay, but the machine keeps eating the fabric. So here, focus on getting the needle and fabric to work together. As long as the thread, needle, and fabric are good for each other, you will have a smooth session.

The correct thread and fabric compatibility is essential. That is why you will find most fabric and thread manufacturers giving recommendations on the ideal accessories to use. Furthermore, apart from the thread color and weight, there are other considerations that you should make.

Thread fiber. It refers to the material that makes the thread. Try to match it with the fabric fiber to get a smooth finish.

Thread twist. It is the spin amount of the thread fibers. Ensure that it matches the fabric’s density and nature.

What Is the Remedy When the Upper Thread Breaks?

The upper thread breaks because of various reasons such as incorrect machine threading, inserting the needle backward, a tight tension, a super coarse thread for the needle size, and a blunt or bent needle. An irregular sewing speed may also cause the upper thread to break.

The remedies for the problem is as follows:

  • Reset the tension disc.
  • Sew at a moderate speed.
  • Assess the threading order and thread properly.
  • Clean the shuttle and bobbin case.
  • Replace bent or blunt needles.
  • Use the appropriate thread for your needle.

Why Is My Sewing Machine Needle Hitting the Footplate?

All factors constant, a calibrated and well-maintained machine should deliver an excellent work time. It should allow you to work hassle-free. However, if the opposite is true and you struggle to get it to work, something is wrong!

One of the glitches you have probably faced is your needle hitting the footplate. There are a few reasons why it occurs. Let’s take a look!

  • The desired stitch and the presser foot are not compatible.

You can solve this scenario by always getting the correct presser foot for the stitch type you are sewing. But, if you can’t get the most appropriate foot, you can consider changing the stitch width. Either way, you will keep your needle in place.

You can confirm if the needle touches the plate by turning the handwheel counterclockwise.

  • You have incorrectly installed the needle plate.

Loose attachments will lead to the needle hitting the plate. However, you can prevent it by adequately attaching all the machine parts. Also, if your project requires a twin needle, install it well and ensure it aligns with the needle stopper.

  • You may be working with a bent needle.

Always check the needle’s state before you begin sewing. If it is broken or bent, please get a replacement immediately.

How Do You Fix a Sewing Machine that Keeps Jamming?

Whether you just began sewing or have been on it for years, a sewing machine that keeps jamming is frustrating. Once you press the pedal, you expect to see movement and hear a sound. However, when that does not happen, you leave your work pending and start figuring out what to do.

You can only fix a sewing machine that keeps jamming by first identifying the reasons for the issue. Then, you can handle the faulty parts and get back to work. Below are some scenarios that cause sewing machine jamming. I have also provided remedies for the issues to help you sort them as soon as they occur.

  • Misalignment, a lack of tension, or too much of it on the upper thread will lead to a machine jam. In this case, lift the presser foot and rethread the needle. Again, you can consider getting specific instructions from the manufacturer’s guide to get excellent results.
  • You may also notice that the machine is clogged. This clogging occurs because of debris, lint, or dust. The solution is quite manageable as you only require to do a thorough cleaning. Also, ensure that you touch all the working mechanisms. A small brush will do the job, and some oiling of the machine’s metal parts is the icing on the cake.

NB: You should also clean the bobbin area. Use canned air and blow out any residues. Also, make cleaning a frequent thing if you frequently use the machine.

  • A broken needle is another cause for a jamming machine. Once it stops working, the thread can no longer go through the material, and the sewing process stops.

If this happens, stop working and carefully assess the needle for breakage or deformities. Ensure that you replace it as soon as you observe any issues. Also, get the correct needle size and type based on your project nature, as having incorrect accessories may jam the machine.

  • Feed dogs are the small teeth underneath the presser foot and needle. They pull the fabric through during sewing. However, when they have dust, lint, or other debris, you can expect a machine jam.

A helpful tip in such a scenario is to clean the parts. Additionally, please put them in a raised position to allow a suitable fabric grip.

  • Finally, a low-quality thread always causes bothersome scenarios for both the machine and the project. First, it causes lint to shreds, which sticks in the machine mechanics. Second, the thread may also be too weak to handle sewing pressure: thus, it breaks during stitching.

Therefore, never underestimate the thread quality as you select the thread to use.

  • I should also mention that a bad quality thread breaks and knots easily. Thus, it compromises the machine’s performance, slowing down or ruining the project.

Here’s how to fix the jamming problem on your sewing machine:

How Do I Fix the Bobbin Tension On My Sewing Machine?

You choose the tension adjustment method based on what you want to achieve. For example, you can prefer a basic setting for everyday sewing. It may require you to get a repair person, but if you have the tools and expertise, go ahead and sort it.

On the other hand, you may want a temporary adjustment to suit your thread size and type, stitching operations, and fabric.

The basic adjustment requires you to choose contrasting thread colors that you frequently use. Use one of them to fill the bobbin and set the sewing device on an average speed to keep the thread from stretching. Then, insert the needle (preferably a new one) and thread. Please mind the needle size for optimal performance.

Adjust the stitch length to 2mm or the length that you frequently use. Position the upper tension regulator at the center of its range and sew a test hem. Examine the stitches and determine if the tension is sufficient.

If you are not happy with it, adjust the bobbin spring and stitch again. Repeat the process until you get a balanced stitch.

After getting the perfect stitch:

  1. Create a tension log that shows the thread size, type, and brand.
  2. Indicate the upper-tension regulator number that gave you the perfect stitch.
  3. Draw a picture showing the bobbin screw position and always use it as a reference when working with special threads.

On the other hand, a temporary adjustment requires you to choose the needle and bobbin, and thread. Then, make test stitches and analyze them for a balance using the upper tension compartment.

Anytime you switch from one thread to another, thread the machine afresh and test it. Identify if you will get away with the temporary adjustment. However, if it fails, use the second bobbin case and screw it in quarter turns to tighten or loosen it.

How Do You Tell If Your Bobbin Tension Is Off?

Anytime you have trouble tensioning the machine, the bobbin tension will be too loose. Rarely will you find the cause being a tight tension, but it is a possibility.

Therefore, to test the bobbin tension, remove its case and bobbin the sewing device. Then, hold the bobbin thread and swiftly pull it. If the thread unwinds effortlessly and the case falls to the floor, the tension is too loose. On the other hand, when the bobbin case does not move, the tension is too tight.

There is a tiny screw on the case that allows you to make adjustments. For example, if you turn it clockwise, you tighten the bobbin tension, and if you move counterclockwise, you loosen it. Additionally, if you don’t know where to start, begin with a safe quarter turn or less.

What Tension Should I Use for Thin Cotton?

Cotton is a delicate material, and you have to use the correct tension before running the machine. Various sewing machines will offer you different tension settings. It is up to you to assess your device and determine the recommended tension level.

  • Brother sewing machines have a standard-setting at 4. However, based on what you are working on, adjust by tightening or loosening it to fit. The brother machine requires you to turn the dials to the left or right. Therefore, it is easy to use, and you can make the changes without help from anyone.
  • Janome sewing machines have a tension setting at 4. They also provide a wide range of two to six for straight stitches.
  • Singer sewing machines provide a standard tension setting at four and recommend that 90% all swing is between 5 and 3. The right circle shows the stitch, and the left one shows the tension dial. So, please be careful to touch the correct functions.

Since we know that a needle will affect the working tension significantly, let me briefly mention the recommended sizes for various fabrics.

  • Lightweight fabric such as cotton voile requires a 70/10 thin needle size.
  • Medium-weight cotton materials such as poplin work well with 80/12 needle size.
  • Thick fabrics like calico and denim will only deliver with a 90/14 size.

NB: Non-stretchy or woven cotton requires a universal needle.

Why Does My Thread Keep Jamming?

Your thread is jamming because of one or a combination of the following reasons.

  • The upper thread may be entangled.
  • You have an incompatible thread size, needle size, and fabric combination.
  • The tension is probably too loose or too tight.


To deal with an entangled upper thread:

  1. Remove it entirely from the sewing device and correct the spool capsize.
  2. Use the thread spool size to adjust.
  3. Rethread the sewing machine as specified by the manual.

Suppose the needle size, fabric, and thread do not match. Consider doing some shopping and get the right accessories.

A loose or tight tension will be a thing of the past if you ensure that you set it manually or follow the basic thread tension setting.

How Do You Adjust the Top Tension On a Thread?

When you realize that the top tension on the thread is too loose or tight, adjust it immediately. Also, decrease the tension by turning the setting that decreases the numbers.

You can begin by trying 1 to ½ number lower and using a piece of scrap fabric to test the stitches. Then, continue with the process until you have even stitches. When the needle thread is no longer visible on the fabric’s wrong side, you are on the right track!

However, if you get some trouble in getting a consistent result, adjust the bobbin tension.


A smooth sewing session has minimum breaks and accidents. Additionally, a perfect machine will only give you a rest break and a record completion time! However, issues will always pop up, and a common frustrating question usually is…

Why Does My Thread Keep Breaking on My Sewing Machine

The thread keeps breaking because you are using tight upper thread tensions. Unfortunately, lower thread tensions also contribute to breakage, and the remedy is to adjust both settings before you begin sewing.

The needle size is also another consideration to make when you want to reduce thread breakage.

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