Thursday, 9 January 2020

Troubleshooting Thursdays: What to Do When Your Sewing Machine Breaks the Upper Thread

Continuing on the Troubleshooting Thursdays series, this week we'll look at possible causes associated with the sewing machine that breaks upper thread.  Sometimes it can be an easy fix that could save us on a repair job.  

1.  Check the threading of the machine.  

Start with the spool of thread that you're using and see if the thread is stuck in the slit cut into the side of the spool top.  

Some sewing machines allow you to thread the machine with the spool sitting tall.  Other machines might be designed for the spools to be inserted sideways.  In this case use a thread cap large enough to allow the thread easily unwind from the spool.  

2.  Check the needle.  

If the needle is in backwards this can also cause your sewing machine's upper thread to break.  The flat side of the needle should face the back.  Another needle issue that can cause concern is if the needle is bend.  To check, roll the needle on a flat surface.  If the needle is bent it will need to be replaced.  

3.  Check the upper tension.  

Your sewing machine manual will have a section on checking and adjusting the amount of pull the thread as it feeds through your sewing machine.  

4.  Is there lint lingering?  

Remove the throat plate and check the bobbin case area for excess lint or fragments of old threads that need to be cleaned out.

The upper thread can get tangled and break in this area. Ideally, after finishing a project, that is when I like to clear out any lint and broken threads that might be lingering in this area to keep things running smoothly.   

5.  Cheap thread is not worth it.  

Knotty, cheap and even old thread could be your culprit.  I can't stress enough that trying to save a few cents on thread might not be worth the headaches and could cost you in the end via a sewing machine repair bill.  I discovered this little fact the hard way with my serger.  Take the time to check the quality of your thread before making a selection.  Most spools of thread can be examined in the store before you purchase it.  Take this time to check if the strand of thread is knotty or has a fuzzy surface when held up to a light.  Now compare it to a higher quality thread, it shouldn't share these characteristics.  

Happy Sewing!  


  1. I never thought of cleaning my machine after every project. I usually do so after three or four. One if I am using fleece.

    God bless.

    1. It's just a personal preference, it's something I try to do when I'm changing over thread colour and needle size according to the fabric of the next project. God Bless.


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