troubleshooting tangled thread in an embroidery machine

This guest post is from Katy of Dazzling and Dapper.

When I first started embellishing clothing with my embroidery machine, I had no clue how to care for it. I quickly learned that embroidery machines can be fickle beasts when not cleaned regularly, resulting in loose threads, looping and tangling in your bobbin thread. I wanted to share some simple maintenance tips to help tame your beast of an embroidery machine so it continues to run smoothly!

First, always check the bobbin case and thread.  Does the bobbin look loose or is there something in it? If the bobbin is not in need of being rewound or there's no obvious debris,  try a quick cleaning. 

This is how my machine (A Brother SE-400) looks before taking off the bobbin cover.

 Now let's walk through my first process for eliminating tangled threads in my embroidery machine. First step: Take off bobbin case cover.

Second: Slide off the cover, it just slide down and lift up gently

This is what it looks like after the cover is off.

Third:  Take out the bobbin holder

Gently wipe down the bobbin case & surrounding parts to collect thread bits and dust with dry q-tip, then reassemble in reverse order.

If cleaning the machine did not fix loose thread or bunching, here are a few other causes: 

Using the wrong stabilizer

Make sure that you are using the right stabilizer for the project you are doing.  

Be sure to check your embroidery machine's tension is set to the proper setting for the materials you are using. Your manual for your machine should have directions for tension adjustments. If it is a little loose then you can move the tension up one setting.  If you are seeing bobbin thread on top, it may be too tight and you will need to adjust down one setting.

If you are still having problem, it could be the tension disks. I have an easy way to help make sure that these stay free of debris and it will also help keep your machine in great shape.  These disks help keep your top thread running properly, which is extra important on an embroidery machine.  The best way to help with this is, when you are changing thread colors, simply snip the thread at the top and pull through the bottom. This is how thread is intending to go through your machine, so when you pull it back through the top, you get fibers and thread in those disks. This is one of the main causes for tension issues.

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