Why Does My Thread Pull Out of the Needle or Break?

Image of sewing thread but Why Does My Thread Pull Out of the Needle or Break?As a sewing or embroidery enthusiast, you know that you will experience minor hiccups from time to time. In addition, a sewing project may include moments where the thread breaks or pulls out of the needle unexpectedly. So, many sewists wonder, Why Does My Thread Pull Out of the Needle or Break?

The thread jumps out of the needle because of thread tension. Also, if you use a poor-quality thread, thread breaks are inevitable. Therefore, begin your projects with the right thread tension and a good quality thread. In addition, ensure that the needle has no burrs as they can cut the needle.

We have many more reasons for unthreading. So, continue reading this article for more insight and how to handle such awkward sewing moments.

How Do I Stop My Thread from Coming Out of the Needle?

There are various remedies to help keep the thread from coming out of the needle. They range from adjusting the thread tension, correct threading measures, and ensuring that you have the correct needle.

Check out the list below and get a quick fix to your thread problem.

  • When the thread tension is too low or high, the machine will keep unthreading. Hence, adjust it and see if you will fix the problem. For instance, if you have loose stitches, you can tighten the thread a bit.
  • A wrong size spool is a recipe for constant unthreading. Thus, ensure that you correctly install the spool. Also, check if it can spin freely without shaking or messing the thread.
  • The general machine threading may also cause the thread to jump out of the needle. So, it would be best if you pay attention during the threading process. Ensure that the thread goes through all the right holes and loops.
  • Check when the pull out of the needle because you may have used a small thread. Then, pull at least 10 to 15cm thread from the bobbin and upper thread before operating the pedal. 
  • Also, it would be best if you begin with a slower speed while holding the excess thread in one hand. This move will help you to keep the thread in the needle as you begin sewing.
  • The thread will pop out if the needle is in a low or medium position as you progress with stitching. Therefore, be sure to secure the needle at the highest position.
  • The needle may have blurs and bends. So, check the needle’s groove and tip and ensure that you install it correctly. On top of that, read through the sewing unit’s manual guide to confirm that you have the right needle.
  • Thread bumps, knots, and other related irregularities may cause tangles in the needle. Hence, the thread can get out of the needle as you apply sewing pressure. So, get a high-quality thread for all your projects.
  • You can expect unthreading if you mount the thread on a foam spool. Therefore, it would help to stay away from old threads and thread remains in your grandmother’s old shoebox.
  • A wrong thread insertion procedure also contributes to unthreading. It mostly happens if you insert the thread from the needle’s back. Hence, ensure that you thread the needle from the front towards the back. Also, you can get self-threading needles as they are an easy way out and accommodates even the visually impaired.
  • You will likely deal with unthreading if the footer has scratches that hit the needle as it sews. Also, if you are embroidering or using zig-zag stitches, the thread will pop out because of a damaged footer. So, inspect the footer and change it immediately if you notice any damage.
  • Have you checked the bobbin case? It also touches the needle, and you need to keep it clean. Also, look out for lint and any loose parts as they also cause thread-related problems during sewing.
  • An incompatible or unoriginal bobbin will also give you unthreading problems. Therefore, it would be best to use the machine’s original bobbin. Also, if you must replace it, ensure that you get a compatible one.

If the above tips still do not get the machine to work, please take it to a repair shop. In addition, the store will know the unit model, and thus they can easily identify the issue.

How Do You Know What Tension to Use When Sewing?

You will get an ideal sewing machine tension when you balance the bottom and top threads. So, avoid having any loops on the top or bottom of the fabric. Also, the stitches should be even and uniform on both sides.

However, before you go right ahead and adjust the tension dial, there are other issues to deal with for perfect balancing. Let’s check them out.

  • Correct Threading

Always thread the machine properly before you begin stitching. If you have any doubts about the technique you used before, please rethread the bobbin and top thread. Also, make sure that the thread goes through the tension discs.

  • Needles

Bent or blunt needles interfere with the tension. Therefore, examine the sewing machine needle for breakages, bends, or bluntness and replace it immediately if it is faulty. Also, make sure that you insert the needle correctly on its holder. The needle’s flat part should be at the back for perfect sewing.

In addition, match the needle with the fabric weight and type. For instance, leather requires a leather needle with a heavy gauge.

  • Thread Quality

Cheap thread brands are uneven and break easily. Hence, interfere with your smooth sewing session. Thus, shop for quality thread such as Coates, Gutterman, and Rasant.

In addition, ensure that you get a matching thread for the bobbin and top thread. The threads’ quality, brand, and weight should be uniform to maintain a balanced tension. Fortunately, you can pick different colors for your project as long as the fundamental aspects are checked.

  • The Bobbin

The bobbin is another accessory that can tamper with your tension. Therefore, be sure to wind the bobbin evenly and check for snags. Also, confirm that it is secure in the bobbin case.

You can check the machine manually to make any adjustments on the bobbin or bobbin case.

  • Dirt

Fluff build-up can upset the whole sewing unit and ultimately lead to unbalanced tension. Hence, examine the machine’s wheels, bobbin, and throat plate and use a small paintbrush to sweep any fluff.

Also, fluff accumulates in the needle’s eye. So, consider checking the needle too.

  • Tension Dial Settings

Assess the tension dial to confirm that they are in the correct position. You may have altered settings and forgot to restore them to their default mode.

In addition, the dials are inviting to children, and they may change your settings. Therefore, always check the dial settings before you sew and set them depending on your fabric requirements.

  • Top Thread Caught

If the top thread sticks around the spool base, you will experience a tight tension. Hence, check the thread for tangles and knots, and ensure that it moves freely around the spool.

  • Sewing Machine Damage

If you still have an unbalanced tension after the above troubleshooting measures, please get a technician’s services. In addition, the throat plate may have nicks that snag the bobbin thread. The technician will buff them and save you from buying another throat plate.

Why Is My Top Thread Not Sewing?

The top thread jams if it does not reach the bobbin or lock properly with the bobbin thread. Also, if the upper tension is too tight, the thread may jam and lead to skipped stitches.

In addition, the thread may not sew if it sticks on something between the thread spool and needle. This scenario makes it too tight for the needle to get the bobbin thread. However, you should not panic when it happens, as proper threading sorts the issue instantly.

When Should I Adjust the Tension On My Sewing Machine?

You should adjust the sewing machine tension when the knot at the bottom and top threads show on the fabric. Also, when you notice that the knot is visible on the fabric’s right or wrong side, it is time to make tension adjustments.

For example, if you can see the knot on the right side, loosen the upper tension and tighten the lower one. On the other hand, if the knot is on the wrong side, tighten the upper tension and loosen the lower one.

Additionally, you may need to adjust the tension even when they have a balanced setting. You may find that the two tensions are too tight. This setting causes the thread to break easily during stretching or puckered seams.

Also, if the tensions are too loose, the seam is prone to a gap and will expose threads between the sections.

What Setting Should My Sewing Machine Be On?

Sewing machines have the bobbin thread tension at the factory setting, and you do not need to adjust it at any point. So, if you need to make any tension changes, you work with the top thread tension.

The general tension settings run from zero to nine. This wide range accommodates various fabrics and is thus very beneficial to projects. However, the machine default tension setting is usually at 4.5, which is suitable for many materials.

In addition, zig-zag or wide stitches may cause the bobbin thread to pull through to the top and cause bunching. Here, loosen the tension and set it between three and four. Then, the fabric lies flatter, and you can continue delivering perfect seams.

Lastly, different sewing machines vary in how you make the settings. Thus, it would be best if you seek guidance from the buyer’s guide. Also, the tension settings vary with thread thickness and fabric weight. So, ensure that you put these elements into consideration during the adjustments.

What Tension Should I Use for Cotton?

Tension settings vary widely based on the material you use. However, you must balance the lower and upper tension settings for a perfect stitch.

Cotton is a medium-weight material and requires a moderate tension setting. Also, you need to strike a balance for the upper and lower tensions too. Therefore, consider a three or four for the upper tension.

In addition, control the lower tension by turning the bobbin case screw. Use ¼ of a turn to the right or left. Then, proceed to make more adjustments till you get the correct settings.

Finally, always test the tension each time you make setting changes. Use scrap cotton pieces to avoid ruining the fabric. In addition, you will notice that the seams will lie flat on the upper and lower sides of the seams once the tension is perfect.

On the other hand, if the seam has pucker or lumps, continue making adjustments until you get the perfect seam. 

Why Won’t My Sewing Machine Needle Go Up and Down?

The needle jams because of a broken belt drive, a disengaged clutch, or an internal drive gear failure. Consider the following instructions to get the needle moving.

  • Engage the handwheel for a disengaged clutch. Then, if the needle remains stationary, unplug the sewing machine and check the drive belt.
  • Replace the belt drive if you confirm any breakages or damages.
  • If the belt is okay, check the internal drive gear. However, it would be best if you get an expert to handle the gear failure.

How Do You Adjust the Tension On a Bobbin?

Embroidery enthusiasts will tell you that proper bobbin tension is fundamental for excellent embroidery results. For example, if the tension is too tight, you will deal with unwanted bobbin thread on your garment. In addition, you may get frequent thread breaks that waste energy, money, and time.

Suitable bobbin tensions should range from 18 to 22 grams. But if you must, you can only get to the 25 grams limit.

Also, when making satin stitches, ensure that you reveal ⅔ top thread color and ⅓ bobbin on the embroidery’s underside.

Even with perfect bobbin settings, you may still get the bobbin thread on top of the fabric. So, examine other factors such as improper thread tensioning, broken needles, or damaged bobbin cases.

On top of that, changing bobbin tensions only require you to turn the screw on the bobbin case in minor increments. Imagine the screw as a clock and use 15-minute increments to loosen or tighten the bobbin tension. Then, test and adjust again until you get the correct stitch. 

Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Jamming Underneath?

Check out the following reasons to understand why the sewing machine will not work as expected.

  • Accumulated Dirt, Lint, and Debris

The sewing machine keeps jamming if there is accumulated dust, lint, or debris that clogs it. Hence, you can only solve it by cleaning the unit periodically. Also, take some time after a sewing project and remove the gunk stuck on the unit during the session.

In addition, ensure that you turn the unit off and unthread it before cleaning to prevent power and electricity accidents. Also, once you unplug the machine, you can do a thorough clean-up using a blowout or small brush.

On top of that, a dirty bobbin will also lead to machine jamming. It may also dirty the thread and eventually ruin your fabric. Hence, it will be an excellent move to clean it thoroughly from time to time.

  • Low-Quality Thread

A poor-quality thread will always give you problems during sewing. For example, it causes lint build-up as it shreds during sewing. It is also prone to knotting and breaking, which slows down your work.

It may cost more than a thread when you settle for poor quality. Therefore, get good quality thread for your projects and consider the fabric weight.

  • Worn Out Metal Parts

If you can’t recall when you last oiled your machine, you indirectly invite a machine jam. The moving machine parts suffer from friction during sewing, and they may wear out or break within no time. Thus, ensure that you oil the device’s metal parts regularly.

  • Lack of Tension on the Upper Thread

Insufficient tension on the upper thread leads to tangles on the bobbin thread, which ultimately causes machine jamming. Therefore, lift the presser foot and rethread the unit following the buyer’s guide.

  • A Broken or Deformed Needle

Often, the sewing machine jams because of a broken or bent needle. In this situation, the needle stops the thread from going through the fabric. So, you cannot continue stitching.

Here, stop stitching immediately and get a new needle. However, ensure that it is the correct type and size for your project and the machine.

  • Faulty Feed Dogs

Your sewing machine will malfunction if the small teeth under the presser foot and needle are not working properly. These accessories pull the fabric through during the sewing process. So, when they break down, you cannot deliver ideal stitches.

Fortunately, the common reason for their malfunction is lint and dust, something you can take care of immediately. So, stop working, light the presser foot and do some cleaning. Also, be sure to lift them after the cleaning to allow for a firm fabric grip.

What Tension Should I Use for Thin Fabric?

Although the sewing machine has a default 4.5 setting for most fabrics, it would be best to have a tighter one for lightweight materials. Fabrics such as chiffon and silk are delicate and require a combination of a fine thread and tighter tension.

In addition, the tighter the tension, the lesser the tension disk space. Therefore, you need a fine thread that will pass through the narrow opening.

What Thread Tension Should I Use for Denim?

Denim materials require a looser tension, usually between four and five. However, you can use six as your setting, but it would be best if you don’t exceed.

In addition, the bobbin stitches will clear up until sic. Then, if you increase the tension, you won’t notice any significant improvement.

How Do You Adjust the Top Tension On a Thread?

The first step is to find the tension regulating dial as various machines position it differently. In addition, if you cannot find the knob, consult with the sewing machine manual.

Turn the knob so that the numbers on the dial increase if you want to increase the tension. Also, try ½ to one, then test with your scrap fabric. Then, continue making the turns until you can no longer see the bobbin thread on the fabric’s right side.

Additionally, the threads do not get even after many attempts, proceed to the bobbin tension adjustment.

On the other hand, decrease the top tension by turning the knob ½ to one lower. Then, test the stitches on scrap material. Also, if it does not correct the stitches, try fixing the bobbin tension.

The bobbin tension is easy to adjust as you need to turn the screw on the bobbin case by ¼ turns. Turn it left to decrease the tension and right to increase it. Then, repeat the process until the thread drops a few inches.

Why Is My Bottom Stitch Not Straight?

The bottom stitches are usually uneven when you pull the thread tightly on the underside. In addition, the situation may also arise when you have an incorrect top thread tension.

How a Straight Stitch Should Look?

A straight stitch looks perfect and does not pucker. Also, it has no width, and thus you use a zero dial setting.

Additionally, since each sewing machine has varying stitch width settings, ensure that you read through the buyer’s guide for more clarification. On top of that, if you can find the manual, consider a ½ inch seam allowance and use a ruler to confirm the measurements.

How Do I Fix Bobbin Thread Bunching Up?

Tangled bobbin threads and birdnesting are usually easy problems to fix. Therefore, they do not have to stress you when they happen.

Consider the following tips to fix bobbin thread bunching up.

  • First, thread the machine correctly and ensure that the thread goes through every thread guide on its way to the needle’s eye. Also, if you have the sewing unit’s manual, it would be best to use it.
  • Additionally, ensure that you read the device with the presser foot up for it to sit securely. Please note that as long as the presser foot is lowered, the tension is always engaged, and you will not set up the thread as required.
  • Then, change the needle if you still have a loopy bobbin thread. Be sure to get the correct one that matches the machine brand and fabric for optimum performance. Also, the needle is an essential accessory that is cheap and easy to replace. Therefore, get replacements for damaged ones.
  • In addition, inspect the bobbin and thread it correctly if the thread has tangles or is loose on the bobbin. Also, learning how to wind the bobbin properly minimizes this risk.
  • On top of that, check the bobbin case and reinstall the bobbin. It would help to get more instruction from the buyer’s guide for this process. You can also check free sewing tutorials online if you cannot access the manual.
  • Finally, clean the machine and eliminate lint and dirt. Ensure that you adopt a maintenance routine as it will keep the unit running for longer.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which is the Best Needle to Use to Avoid Unthreading?

Several considerations come into play when selecting the most suitable needle. However, an essential one is the fabric weight, thread type, and the type of stitch.

For example, if you have heavy fabrics, you need a thick needle to handle the pressure. Also, a huge needle will be suitable for thick threads.

On the other hand, you will deliver better stitches if you use a smaller needle for delicate fabric and small threads.

  • What Do I Do When the Needle Breaks?

First, cover up the hole with some fabric to keep the needle screw from loosening and falling into the bobbin compartment. Then, search for the broken pieces and get rid of them safely to prevent any accidents. 

Also, assess the fabric to ensure that there are no broken needles on top that can ruin it.

Finally, check the bobbin compartment and ensure that it is clean and free from the needle broken parts.


Thread issues are a common hiccup for regular sewing. Also, if you are new to the craft, you will experience some problems too. On top of that, accidents do happen, and the thread unthreads. Therefore, it is prudent to have simple fixes under your sleeves for a rainy day. So, today we engage with the topic:

Why Does My Thread Pull Out of the Needle or Break?

The thread will pop out if you do not use the correct tension. Also, if you pick an old thread and needle, unthreading is inevitable. On top of that, incorrect threading keeps the thread loose, and thus it can pop out anytime during sewing.

Luckily, the above issues are easy to fix. So, consider the tips shared in this article and keep your thread in place!

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