TROUBLE SHOOTING: WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT THREAD BREAKAGE?

Thread breakage is a common issue……..not a problem……..issues have solutions!  I am asked very frequently : ” what is wrong……my thread keeps breaking?”  I thought it would be a good to offer a  trouble shooting CHECK LIST to help you deal with this issue if/when it arises. photo (1)

  1. What thread are you using? Is it good quality or bargain basement?  It is very important to always use a reputable brand of thread as well as a thread appropriate to the application: for example it would not be a good idea to use a rayon thread to sew the seams on a pair of denims. Rayon thread is a lovely embellishment thread with a great lustre but it is not strong enough for a seam.  First thing to check is: is the thread the right one to use? Is the quality good? Poor quality thread will often let you down and cause frustration.
  2. What needle are you using? Needle choice is very important. We should always be choosing the correct needle appropriate for the fabric and thread for that project.   photo (1)    For example: if your thread keeps shredding, check if the eye of the needle is perhaps too small & is therefore rubbing against the thread causing it to shred OR is the fabric super thick or tightly woven? Or is the thread too fine & delicate for the task you are putting it through? All these issues have a distinct bearing on successful sewing. Please do consider our JANOME PURPLE TIP NEEDLES – see the link to previous blog posts about these needles. They prevent skipping and other issues with thread and sewing.
  3. Choosing the correct stitch program for a project can be key: if you are getting very frustrated with constantly breaking metallic thread when you are trying some elaborate or tight decorative stitch like a satin stitch, you might like to reconsider either the type of thread you are using or switch to a more open & less tight stitch which would, in all likelihood, work much better!
    Open sticthes like the 2 on the right will be better for some applications than the tighter satin stitch on the left.

    Open stitches like the 2 on the right will be better for some applications than the tighter satin stitch on the left.

    Sometimes the aggravation can be self-induced as we are simply being far too ambitious expecting our delicate threads to perform tasks much better suited to a thicker or stronger thread!

  4. Check that the threading in ALL thread guides is correct. It only takes one missed thread guide for things to start going wrong. Often all that is required is a simple re-threading of the needle thread and bobbin area. We sometimes think we have done it correctly, but in our haste or familiarity, we might have missed one guide. I do this more frequently than I would like as I switch thread types & colours so often. So my go-to checklist has re-threading at the top of my list. Simple but effective.
  5. Now none of us (maybe some?) like housekeeping. I tend to ignore those dust bunnies under my lounge sofa for as long as I dare, but eventually I have to get my broom or vacuum cleaner out! So it is with housekeeping on our machines. If we neglect to clean the lint build-up on our needle shaft, in the tension area and in the bobbin area, we will eventually run into trouble. Perhaps I should have drawn a comparison to keeping my car clean: water in my radiator? oil topped up? battery OK? etc – you get the picture. Do yourself a favour and regularly practice a bit of simple cleaning of your machine. Excessive lint & fluff build -up including bits of broken thread – can definitely lead to thread breakage issues. Ask your local Janome dealer to advise you where & when to put oil in your machine – VERY important. AND, of course, make sure you have your sewing machine regularly serviced by an authorized Janome dealer/technician. I would NEVER dream of driving my car for 8 years without taking it in for a regular lube & tune-up. So it is with your sewing machine. Simple preventative maintenance.
  6. Needle plate & bobbin case: Sometimes we can damage our needle plate and/or bobbin case when we get a nasty jam-up and don’t stop sewing immediately. The needle can strike the plate and/or bobbin case, break & cause a little nick. When the stitch is being formed, if the thread catches on this little ding or nick, it can result in shredding and thread breakage. If you are not sure what to look for or don’t see anything “suspicious”, I would recommend you ask your local JANOME  dealer to look at your machine.
  7. Thread delivery – this is a BIGGIE! What I refer to here is the manner in which thread is delivered to the machine – specifically the tension discs. If you are using the incorrect spool cap; OR the thread gets caught up on the end of the spool or gets all “kinked” up, there are bound to be issues with breaking thread. Not all spools are the same size, nor are they all wound in the same way, so we would expect there to be a few hiccups along the way.       optional%20spool%20standFortunately, we have an ideal solution: where possible we highly recommend you purchase and screw a JANOME SPOOL STAND  into the back of your machine. Ask your local JANOME dealer about the correct one for your JANOME machine model. Some of our models have the spool stand which fits onto the carry handle. Either way, they all have a tall telescoping antenna which takes the thread from the spool up & then brings it back down to the machine, through a thread guide & then horizontally to the left & into the threading system of the machine. I CANNOT STRESS ENOUH HOW WELL THIS WORKS. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU ENSURE YOU HAVE GOOD THREAD DELIVERY. I have tested machines which have been sent in to us for thread breakage issues. MOST of the times, poor thread delivery is the culprit. That high antenna gives the thread a chance to “unkink”, has a smooth spooling off the spool no matter what type of spool; and by the time the thread reaches the tension discs, it is tamed and behaving like a good child! Try our JANOME SPOOL STAND(S) and you will be beyond pleased with the results for this and other reasons.

So………check list done…..now I can sew knowing I am going to have a fun, happy sewing experience rather than a frustrating one. And we all want that, right?

About lizafrica

I work in the Education Dept at Janome & Elna, Canada and LOVE to sew. I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to read, knit , travel and spend time with my family and friends.
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8 Responses to TROUBLE SHOOTING: WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT THREAD BREAKAGE?

  1. melie says:

    hi there im using janome mc450e. and i tried to do multiple copies of 1 design. how could i set my machine so that all the thread colors of the same color are processed first before changing the to another thread color

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    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Melie
      I dont have the 450E machine or instruction manual available at the moment to test but please look in your instruction manual and see if there is anything explaining how to do colour sorting. It may be that this feature is not available on the 450E. Not sure? But I will investigate when I am back in the office next week and let you know.

      Liz
      JANOME CANADA

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  2. Bonita says:

    I have the janome 350e. I was trying to embroidery on a pair of jeans. My thread keeps breaking and the bobbin thread showed thru.

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    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Bonita,

      You should probably contact your local authorized Janome dealer as it is not possible for us to do this type of troubleshooting on this forum. Sorry. It could be anything from a service & tune-up being needed, to an incorrect needle or thread selection, or tension adjustment? Or thickness of the fabric? Choice of the design? We would not be able to make any suggestions without knowing all the facts. Your dealer will be able to go through this process with you.

      Liz
      JANOME CANADA

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  3. Lindy Webb says:

    How do i really capture embroidery stithese after a thread break. I would say about 50 stitches were misses.

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    • lizafrica says:

      Hi,

      I’m not 100% sure what you are referring to and it is difficult to guess when I dont know what Janome model embroidery machine you have. However, if the bobbin thread is not being picked up adequately after a thread break, check the threading of both bobbin and upper thread system. And I would suggest jogging back about 10 stitches to compensate for the possible “gap” in stitching when a thread breaks. Most of our Janome embroidery machines do this automatically.

      Liz
      JANOME CANADA

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  4. Max says:

    I have a Janome 90 machine – it’s relatively new and in good working order. My thread keeps breaking every three or four inches – I’ve rethreaded it top and bottom, changed needles and am using a good quality thread. I’ve noticed it is a bigger problem when I zigzag – does this mean my machine (which is only three years old and has been used maybe 60 or 70 hours) needs servicing already?

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    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Max,

      I’m sorry, that is not a machine model we are familiar with in Canada. You will need to see your local Janome dealer where you purchased this for assistance. But it could well need servicing. We advise service at least once every 1-2 years.

      Liz
      JANOME CANADA

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