Ugh…the terrible curse of the thread goblins. While working on the baby quilt and a couple of quilted tote bags I ran into a slew of thread issues. Things were fine during piecing, but when I switched to free motion quilting, I could only get a few inches completed before my thread would snap. Now let me just say that trying to gain any proficiency in free motion quilting is a bit of a struggle when things are working, but when your thread keeps breaking it can cause a girl to cuss a blue streak.
Phew–ok, once I caught my breath I went to my old friend google, or googs as I call her. I found a number of good articles with information on causes of thread breakages. Below is an excerpt from an article on QuiltSocial.com that lists the most common reasons for thread breakages.
I re-threaded the machine many times and cleaned it, checked my settings, etc., etc. So, I was pretty sure that the machine itself was fine. So, I honed in on item 12 below. I must confess that when I took a look at my thread, we’ll call it “collection.” it was a variety of spools with brown aging price tags that I had collected from a variety of hand me downs. They were also mostly the bargain bin finds. So I thought, ah-ha, the thread itself is the culprit, so I ran down to the fabric store – sewing room all kinds of a mess – and purchased a couple of mid range 50 weight cotton spools. When I got back to the house I tried them out and had a bit more success, but there was still enough regular breakage to cause a some choice words every 10-20 minutes or so.
Then I remembered, I had a few “special” roles of thread that I had ordered with a block of the month project I was working on. So I gave it a try. Hallelujah!! It sewed like a dream, with no breakages. I was so relieved and, thought it didn’t necessarily make me a better quilter, it certainly made me a happier one. so for me number 7 in the list below turned out to be my lucky number. The thread that saved the day is Aurifil 50 wt cotton thread. And though I had resisted getting it at first because I thought the cost was too high, when I actually computed the price per yard I realized that it’s actually quite economical. Moving forward, I may try other threads on occasion, but for whatever reason, my machine feeds on Aurifil and I’m happy to keep her well fed,
- Make sure your sewing machine is properly set for free motion quilting.
- Make sure that your free motion foot is the correct one for the chosen mode of free motion quilting.
- A single hole stitch plate can help. It helps to stabilize the quilt during the stitching process.
- A new needle in the event there’s a burr on the existing needle.
- Make sure the sewing machine is threaded properly. Watch the size of spool and use a Mega Thread Spool if necessary. Try the thread in a vertical position or horizontal position and see which one provides a better stitch. If there are any issues – remove the bobbin and the top thread and completely re-thread the sewing machine.
- Drop the feed dogs. Your threads may be catching.
- Try a different brand of thread. Some sewing machines do not like particular brands. Don’t fight with the thread – just get rid of it.
- Try a different color. Yes – sometimes the color can affect the stitching. I have black thread that’s full of static, yet other colors of thread do not have that same issue.
- Try a different thread weight. If you’re having a lot of issues with heavy thread – try a lighter thread.
- Try a different thread in the bobbin.
- Try a top stitch needle or metallic needle if using metallic thread.
- Do not use old thread! It’s brittle and will break no matter what you do.