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 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,

  1. Make sure your sewing machine is properly set for free motion quilting.
  2. Make sure that your free motion foot is the correct one for the chosen mode of free motion quilting.
  3. A single hole stitch plate can help. It helps to stabilize the quilt during the stitching process.
  4. A new needle in the event there’s a burr on the existing needle.
  5. 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.
  6. Drop the feed dogs. Your threads may be catching.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Try a different thread weight. If you’re having a lot of issues with heavy thread – try a lighter thread.
  10. Try a different thread in the bobbin.
  11. Try a top stitch needle or metallic needle if using metallic thread.
  12. Do not use old thread! It’s brittle and will break no matter what you do.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Teressa says:

    Had the same problem the other day. Replacing the needle (it was probably overdue) and changing thread did the trick.

    Liked by 1 person

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