Troubleshooting: Needle Size/Breakage
- Q: I have been experiencing problems with my thread breaking lately, what suggestions do you have for solving this?
- A. I'm sorry you experienced some problems with thread breakage. Because of the very high quality of Sulky threads, thread breakage will be rare when everything is done properly, but let's explore some of the common causes of thread breakage:
- Needle size is too small. It is particularly important to use a 14/90 sewing, topstitch or embroidery needle with 30 weight rayon or metallic threads. A 12/80 embroidery needle normally can be used with 40 wt. threads. Needles that are labeled "for metallic threads" still need to be 14/90 for all Sulky Metallic Threads.
- A damaged needle. To rule this out as a problem, I always change my needle first, inserting the correct type and size needle for the type and weight of fabric and thread.
- Work not hooped tightly enough when doing embroidery. (It should be drum-tight without distorting the fabric.)
- Work not stabilized adequately. Generally, use one of the soft, pliable Sulky Stabilizers to properly stabilize your fabric. Some other brands of stabilizers on the market today are stiff and unyielding and can cause shredding of the thread as it passes through the stabilizer.
- Burrs or rough places along the thread path (such as on the plastic bobbins in many machines).
- Bobbin thread too heavy. Use a lightweight Sulky thread in the bobbin, either a matching 40 wt. Rayon, Sulky Bobbin Thread or Polyester Invisible Thread. It is particularly important when using metallics on top to use the lightest possible thread in the bobbin.
- Machine embroidery design may be digitized improperly causing stitches that are too long and/or jerky hoop movements.
- Improper threading. When in doubt, rethread.
- And one of the main causes, having your top tension too tight. You may have a top tension that is tighter than normal. You could have your dealer check it, or lower the top tension slightly and see if this helps. Lowering the top tension is essential when using metallic threads - and particularly with Sulky "Sliver" Metallic Thread where you may need to lower your tension almost to "0" on some machines. Sliver also requires the use of a vertical spool pin; since Sliver is a flat thread, the twisting action from a horizontal spool pin can cause breakage.
- When all else fails, a thread lubricant such as Tri-Flow, Sewers Aid or a spray silicone, approved for use on your sewing machine, many times works miracles by helping to ease the thread through rough or tight spots in the thread path. (Check with your sewing machine dealer BEFORE using any lubricant on your machine.)
- Millions of spools of Sulky Rayon and Metallic thread have successfully been used on home embroidery machines as well as throughout the commercial embroidery industry, and when one of us experiences a problem, it generally is some other factor or factors causing the problem, or some minor adjustment required in the way we're using the thread.
- Just for your general information, on some of the newer machines, the angle and location of the horizontal spool pin and retainer in relation to the first thread guide and/or tension can create a problem when using any European Crosswound thread that is on a spool with a tiny core (of which Sulky is one). People who have experienced this problem tell me that if they use a horizontal spool pin until the thread is about halfway gone then switch to a vertical spool pin, it generally solves the problem. This only works on certain machines, while on others the vertical spool pin needs to be used all of the time. (Be sure to use a felt pad under the thread on the vertical spool pin.)
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