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Thread Problems

Most people just grab a thread that matches their project and get to work. How many of us give a second thought to the thread we are using? A bad thread choice (old , cheap, great-grandma's, Dollar Store, wrong size but right colour…) can gum up your machine with excess lint, cause endless breakage and shredding issues, poor stitch quality and generally ruin what should be a fun time sewing.

Once you've made sure that you are not trying to use up Great Grandma's thread and you are still having problems with messy stitches or breakage the next thing to look at is the Thread Path - the way the thread gets from the spool or cone to the needle. Remember the three rules for threading every single sewing machine made -
T.T.N. - and they are as follows:
Tension - No matter how many little guides your machine may have, the most important first stop is the Tension Assembly. Yours may be out in the open or hidden away like all the newer models but it is there and the thread MUST be seated properly for the machine to make a proper stitch. Hold the thread and give it a tug and make sure it is in there!
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Take-up - This is also called a take-up arm or take-up lever. This little gizmo is what actually finalizes the stitch by pulling up the top thread and tightening the stitch. Miss this step in the thread path and see what happens!
Needle - Sounds silly to put this on such an important list but without a needle there wouldn't be a sewing machine! Make sure your needle is in good shape, the right size for your thread and is installed the right way - CHECK YOUR MANUAL !
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If your thread seems to 'snap' and break periodically or the tension looks good and then gets tight and then good again and you are sure that you've threaded it correctly then check and make sure there isn't something stopping the thread from flowing smoothly from the spool or cone. Quite often if you are using a cone and thread stand it is as simple as something brushing against the cone of thread and stopping it from flowing off. If you are using a spool and this happens then make sure that the thread isn't getting caught in the little slit at the end of the spool that is used to hold the thread. Sometimes threads are so slippery (shiny polyesters, invisible etc.) they will slide down the cone and puddle underneath effectively stopping the thread. If this is happening you will need a thread net to control the thread.
Superior Threads brand of threads are what I use almost exclusively. Besides having excellent quality thread they also have an extensive education series on their site about threads and needles.