Big Hairy Thread Problems

We Carry
by in Sewing Tips

Do you wonder why this happens?

You are sewing along and the sewing machine just doesn’t sound as smooth as it normally does. You pull out the fabric, flip it over and see huge, hairy loops of thread.

If you are using the same color of thread in your needle and bobbin, it is hard to know where the problem lies. Most people think that since the problem is on the BACK of the fabric, the problem must be from the bobbin. WRONG! This comes from the needle thread.

There are several possible reasons. These hairy loops may stem from the TOP thread not being completely embedded into the top tension disks.

With no tension on the top thread, the take up lever has no resistance to pull up the extra thread that went around the bobbin to form the stitch, hence leaving the excess thread loops on the BACK of the fabric.

Now if you are a little more sewing savvy, you may fix this problem by raising up the presser foot, take hold of the thread at the spool in one hand and the end of the thread from the needle in the other hand and gently floss the thread into the tension disks. To check that the top thread is properly seated in the tension disks, lower the presser foot and gently pull on the needle thread. It should be much harder to pull and will bend the needle slightly.

A reminder is to always thread the machine with the presser foot UP. When the foot is up the tension discs are open allowing the thread to settle into the tension. If you need to lower the foot to thread the needle, do it last after threading the rest of the machine.

If your machine grumbles and you get wild loops at the beginning, check to see if the thread is in the take-up lever. The next time this happens, realize that this is an operator error and usually NOT the sewing machine’s fault. To fix the problem, raise up the presser foot and re-thread the sewing machine from scratch. This means completely taking the thread off the machine and re-threading. Don’t try to cheat and only re-thread half way; this may not correct the problem.

If your machine is older and non-electronic you might experience hairy loops at the beginning of the seam because the take-up lever was not at the highest position when you started to sew. This type of machine requires manually repositioning the take-up lever at the end of every seam. Newer electronic machines will always reposition the take-up lever in the correct position for you, eliminating loops, and eliminating the need to always turn the hand wheel yourself.

If a sewing machine has not been serviced within the last couple years, we have seen thread ride out of the tension disks while in use. Excess gunk and thread residue can prevent the thread from staying properly seated deep inside of the tension disks. The dust and crud begins to push the thread up and in the middle of the seam – ugg! Those hairy loops are back. Solution: Bring in your sewing machine for a full cleaning!

After fixing the problem, resume sewing and smile!