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Thread breaking on machine embroidery

Susan_McElravy | Posted in Machine Embroidery on

I am using Sulky thread to machine embroider designs. The thread keeps breaking and I’m talking about every 40 to 50 stitches! I have checked everything I know how to check, i.e., new embroidery needle, machine (Viking 1+) sets tensions automatically, is threaded correctly, bobbin wound with bobbin thread, through “finger eye” on case, fabric hooped correctly, etc. It seems the faster the machine embroiders, the worse it gets (red and green thread are the worst!) It’s almost as though the thread is coming off twisted and kinks before the 1st thread eye (just off the thread spool) then snaps. If I let the thread run through my finger and thumb very loosely no problem…but I have no intention of sitting there all day being a thread guide! Is anyone else having this problem? If so, any solutions? TIA


  1. sanderson | | #1

    Have you tried those silicon "drops" that you can treat your thread with? I think its just a drop or two on the spool. Maybe your thread is dry (i.e. old and or brittle). Good luck. Let us know what helps. I save thread forever and so may be needing some of your solutions, too.

    1. Mary_Catherine_Huss | | #2

      *I hope this works. I tried posting earlier, but I can't find my message. I had the exact same problem with my 1+ and it turned out to be a very simple error. When setting your presser foot pressure to '1' for embroidery, do not turn the dial to the middle of that setting. The 'mark' should point to the very top of the '1' setting. I hope this helps, it's a little difficult to explain, but my problems stopped immediately. Good luck!

      1. Susan_McElravy | | #3

        *Thanks to you both. While I did not try the silicon yet, I did try changing the setting and it worked to an extent. The gal teaching me to digitize said she threads a regular hand sewing needle with the Sulky thread, then runs the threaded needle through a piece of "popcorn foam." She removes the hand sewing needle then threads the machine as usual allowing the foam to sit near the 1st thread eye on the top of the machine. She said the foam gives just enough tension to the thread and eliminates most of the kinking/twisting which causes breakage. I haven't tried this yet, but she is an expert and I'm sure it will work! Thanks again! Susan

        1. snivsl | | #4

          I am thinking of buying a Designer I or the newly released Pfaff 2140 .  I am getting little nervous about Viking if you have thread breakage and have to go to the length of threading through foam to make your machine work properly.  Is this typical of all embroidery machines?

          Right now I have an Elna from 1972 that never gave me any problems.  It was TOL then, but there was no computerization back then.

          I am agonizing over decision which machine to purchase

          1. goodsew | | #5

            You will need to know something about PCD to send your designs to the machine.  It is actually a wonderful software but has a huge learning curve.  I recommend you join pfaffpfriends at http://www.yahoogroups.com for your everyday questions.  It is very active and helpful group.  If you want to learn to digitize, there is a group called pfaff digibuddies that has free lessons posted and you can also buy the older lessons on CD for a small charge.

            But, admittedly, there are easier ways to do a lot of the things you will want to do.  If you want to stay with pfaff products, Customizing lets you add lettering and change colors in the design easily.  Embird is probably the least expensive and most versatile of the add-on products.  You can change colors, add lettering (lettering packs are an additional charge), combine designs, change the size for around $100.   You can also do this with Embroidery Magic (a few fonts included) and the new Embroidery Magic II lets you do this plus digitize.

            I download a lot of free designs off the internet and have found Buzz Tools invaluable!  I can look at the designs and store them still zipped (saves a lot of room).  When I am ready to use one, I just double-click on it and it opens up PCD and changes the file to a pcs file if it is in some other format.  There is a newer version of Buzz Tools that does this too and can read more formats but I haven't upgraded yet. I think it's around $150.  Now admittedly, You can see the designs in Embird without unzipping but if you have a lot, I like to look through the "catalog" rather than each individual design.

            I know there are lots of other programs out there, but these are the ones I am most familiar with.  I am a Pfaffie too and love my machines.


        2. SewTruTerry | | #6

          Susan I also have a Viking the D1 and depending on the design I will sometimes have problems with breakage.  It will depend on several factors.  Number 1 area to look at is the question of whether the design was digitized for Viking machines or another brand and then converted or was it larger and you shrunk the size more than 20 percent?  Also there are some very thread intensive designs out there and you may not have the right size needle for it.  Try using a needle with a larger size eye.  For example if you are using a 75/11  try a 90/14  remember the higher the number the larger the eye of the needle.  Also you may be using thicker thread than you may think check the spool.  Also have you had the threads for very long you may not realize it but thread will age and weaken. So you may also want to check out your supply and see if there is a quick turn around of the thread where you are purchasing it.  It may be coming to you already aged.  Also try to limit the amount of adhesive you are using for the embroidery if you have to use it as that will greatly affect the amount of breakage as well. As a last resort you can also add a spool stocking like they do on sergers to control how fast the thread comes off of the spool.  Good luck.

  2. nmog | | #7

    If your thread is dry you can put it in a freezer bag with a wet cotton ball.  Put the bag in the freezer overnight, and this should rehydrate the thread.  Good luck!


  3. SewingWriter | | #8

    The shape/weight of the spool and the choice of spool pin can also make a difference.  My D1 has two types of spool pins: one horizontal, one vertical.  Some brands of thread don't care, others are only happy in one position.  (Some threads behave best when set on a separate thread stand.) When using the horizontal pin, be sure to push the spool all the way to the end and install the smallest end cap that will hold it there.

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