threadaches blog

Threadaches are something to be avoided at all costs when trying to enjoy a good stitch out session.

Over the years we have had many, many comments in our online ITH Group and personal experience to be able to put together a helpful little list of things you can do to avoid having problems with your thread.

Shopping for threads these days is like being a kid in a candy store, the variety of colour, texture and brands is mind blowing. All of these choices can be intimidating, even to the seasoned embroiderer.

Experimenting with threads can expand your colour and texture palettes, add new life to your designs and give you a good understanding of what works well for your machine.

Remember every machine is different, and different threads work well in different machines, so this is not a set of strict rules but just a few learnings passed on to help.

1) Use Quality Thread - Ensure the threads your using are of a quality that is best for your machine. This requires fair bit of trial and error, unfortunately, and is required in the early stages of getting to know your machine, getting the results you want from your project and sometimes even just trialing new threads you see.

Often specific brands of thread work perfectly with specific brands of Embroidery Machine, however it is an individual preference and if you have specific questions about your machines it is often great to ask about it in online groups, like our Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs Group

2) Old Thread - Avoid using old thread on you embroidery machine. Even though you may think that buying a large box of vintage thread on sale sounds like a good idea, it may turn out to be quite the opposite.

Even though a thread may look just fine, it can turn out to be too old to do the job and result in an uneven colouring, shredding and breakage.

3) Damaged or Worn Needle - Needles wear out, especially if you are frequently enjoying your embroidery machine or when using metallic or abrasive threads. A worn needle eye put pressure on and stress the thread.

4) Check the Stitch Plate - The Stitch Plate is where the thread goes into the machine to form a stitch. Rub your finger along the plate to check for any snags or rough spots? In Machine Embroidery your thread moves in all directions and the thread can contact a rough spot that hadn't been an issue with regular stitching.

5) Tension - Tension is important when stitching, too tight and it causes stress on the thread and causes it to snap and too loose and it causes excess thread with can result in a thread loop to collapse or missing stitches.

6) Grabby Threads - Some threads are thicker or more dense than others and have a tendency to 'grab' and shred, especially if there's a lot of layered stitching (backtracking or really dense designs).

7) Check the Upper Thread Path - Sometimes a thread can flip itself around something as you stitch, work itself out of the take up lever or it could be incorrectly threaded or obstructed.

8) Is the Bobbin Damaged - check your bobbin case for nicks, scratches and rough spots. The top thread has to pass around the case in order to form a stitch, this needs to be smooth in order for the thread to pass through undamaged. Sometimes this is often caused by needle breakage or incorrect insertion of the bobbin case.

9) Fabric Flagging - There are a number of causes for fabric flagging. Often caused by incorrect or no backing, incorrect presser foot height, bad hooping, hoop vibration, dense designs or a damaged needle. The result is generally the same and are the most common reasons for thread shredding.

10) How is your thread unwinding - Often how you thread is being unwound from the spool with have an impact on breakage. If it is a straight-wound spool (If a spool is straight wound (parallel wound), it is meant to come off straight from the side), it may not like the extra twist it is being given by spooling the thread off the top or if it is a slippery thread, it may be getting tangled around the spool pin and/or benefit from a thread net.

We hope that we have saved a few threadaches.

If you have any other helpful hints or tips for saving your thread from breaking or shredding please be sure to let us know. We have a number of online communities (Facebook Groups, Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube) that you can reach us on. Otherwise you can always email us at

Below are some of our online communities -

If you would like to learn more about In The Hoop (ITH) Machine Embroidery we have some wonderful tutorials, online groups and a ITH Machine Embroidery course available.

Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs - Click Here

Our Online Embroidery Groups are a wonderful way to stay in touch with like minded ITH Enthusiasts, gain inspiration, share projects and get crafty in the hoop.

Sweet Pea Online Machine Embroidery Group

We have a Pinterest page of both our ITH Machine Embroidery Designs and the wonderful projects made by our outstanding and creative customers.

It is a great location for inspiration and seeing the versatility of ITH Machine Embroidery.

Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs - Pinterest Page

We have a wonderful ITH Machine Embroidery Course for those looking to learn a wonderful new hobby or gain a greater knowledge and further their techniques in the hoop.

Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs - ITH Machine Embroidery Course


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