Why Does My Sewing Machine Thread Keep Breaking – Pro Tips

Thread breaks are the most common problem while using a sewing machine, the best part is, this problem can be easily resolved. Sewing machines serve various purposes, ranging from dressmaking to quilting, and even everyday tasks like repairing clothes or making mittens. These versatile machines can handle a wide range of fabrics, including rayon, silk, cotton, and denim. However, to prevent thread breakage, it is crucial to select the appropriate needle for your machine. You perhaps be wondering, Why Does My Sewing Machine Thread Keep Breaking?

This breakage occurs due to several reasons, such as poor quality thread, adjustment problems with the tension dial, improper placement of the bobbin case, using the machine at an irregular speed, etc. quality of the thread and the improper tension adjustment is the major issue behind the breakage. In this article, we’ll share the ideas and discuss the reasons behind the thread breakage, the fixing, and the solution to prevent such further events while you’d be working on your sewing project!

Key Takeaways

  • There is no fixed reason for the thread breakage and you just need to inspect every possible option that might occur this issue.
  • Take notes of the reasons for thread breaking on your sewing machine to resolve the issue by directly addressing to them.
  • There are three ways to avoid this thread-breaking issue on a sewing machine.

10 Reasons for Thread Breaks on A Sewing Machine

So here’s a bunch of reasons why threads break and some common mistakes we make while sewing. By being mindful of these factors, taking the time to choose the right needle, thread, and tension, and keeping your machine clean and well-maintained, you’ll be on your way to a smoother sewing experience.

Here’s the list of the most common reasons that cause thread breaks on a sewing machine. Take notes of the ones that match your cautions:

1. Cheap Thread

Different kinds of thread such as cotton thread, polyester thread, silk thread, etc., different fabrics such as denim, cotton, wool, etc., different lengths of the thread, and different purposes such as dressmaking or quilting determine what kind of thread we need for our sewing, any kind of bad or cheap thread can break.

Poor or cheap thread

2. Rough Spot on Threading Channels

The needle plate, the hole where the needle goes, and the lever may have an uneven spot which can cause the breaking.

Rough spot on threading channels

3. The Tension of the Sewing Machine

For a hand-operated sewing machine, it is not determined yet what is the right upper thread tension when sewing, if the tension is too high, the thread will break, but for a computerized sewing machine, the upper thread tension is 4, below, or above tension than this may break the thread.

The tension of the sewing machine

4. Placement of A Needle

Sometimes it happens on an old machine, the needle is placed backward or the screw that holds the needle has loosened, if this is the case, then it may hit the throat plate or bobbin case which will cause to break down of the needle and thread. The computerized sewing machine will not let the needle be placed in the wrong direction.

Placement of a needle

5. Lint Under the Needle Plate and Bobbin Case

Excessive sewing with the machine may gather lint and dirt around the plate and bobbin case, if we are not cleaning it, our machine will stop working or the thread will keep on breaking.

Lint under the needle plate and bobbin case

6. Choosing The Wrong Thread for The Spool and Bobbin

Choosing the wrong thread for the spool and bobbin

When we are using the sewing machine, we are getting our threads from the top thread or spool which will sew the top part of our fabric, and threads from the bobbin case will sew the bottom part of our fabric. If the thickness of the thread does not match, they will create tension, which will tend o break the threads.

7. Incorrect Placement of Spool

Incorrect placement of spool

A spool can be placed horizontally or vertically at the top of the sewing machine, while placing and sewing with a spool, it may get displaced, and some knots and nicks around the machine which will cause the thread to break.

8. Threads Take Over Needle or Lever Spring

Threads take over needle or lever spring

When sewing if the lever spring is not positioned properly, thread will not sew the fabric and they may get tangled with the needle and lever spring, which will cause to break the threads.

9. The Spool Cap and Bobbin Cap Are of the Wrong Size

The spool cap and bobbin cap are of the wrong size

Every machine has its size for the spool cap and bobbin cap, failure to choose the right kind of spool cap will result in flying off-top thread from its position, and a thread will snag and break.

Similarly, if we are choosing the wrong kind of bobbin cap that is not designed for our machine, it could be too big or small for the bobbin case, then problems will arise if the bobbin cap is too small, then it will bounce back in the case and if its too big, then the bobbin will not spin properly inside the bobbin case.

10. The Speed of Sewing

The speed of sewing

If someone is stitching at an irregular speed, the needle may not pierce through the fabrics which will create an irregular pattern on the fabric. When sewing through thick fabric, the thread will break easily if the sewing machine is running too fast.

Fixing the Thread Breaks on A Sewing Machine: 10 Solutions  

Fixing the thread breaks on a sewing machine 10 solutions

There are some ways to solve these problems which are given below:

1. Choosing The Quality Thread

There are a few brands that provide a high-quality thread in the market such as Madeira, Mettler, Gutermann, Rasant, RA, etc. When we shop for the thread we should consider these brands to stop the breaking of thread.

2. Smoothing of Threading Channels

The needle plate, needle holder, the lever may need sanding with sandpaper and oil, if they have rough edges which will stop the breaking of the thread.

3. Having The Right Tension

When the tension is too high, the thread keeps breaking, for this, we need to adjust the upper thread tension. For a hand-operated sewing machine, we can use the tension dial counterclockwise to loosen it. For a computerized sewing machine, the upper tension is 4, we should keep it that way.

4. Replacement of Needle

The needle of a sewing machine easily gets damaged and bent, we should use a new needle after every project, when the needle is broken, it will not hook the thread properly and as a result, it will tear the thread.

5. Cleaning The Needle Plate And Bobbin Case

We have to keep an eye on our needle plate and bobbin case so that they are not collecting lint from fabrics, if they do, we should clean them immediately with the brush.

6. Proper Choice of The Thread of Spool And Bobbin

When we are choosing the thread for the top thread and bobbin, we should use the thread of the same weight, such as, if we are using rayon for the top thread, we should also use rayon or other silk-based thread for the bobbin.

7. Fixing The Lever Spring And Threads

Positioning the lever spring with the needle plate every time before starting to sew is important. If there are any tangled threads, we should fix them too to stop breaking.

8. Replacement of Spool

When sewing with a spool, we should keep our eyes on the spool, so that they do not get displaced or any nicks, when this is happening, we should keep it in place using our hands. We should also use the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the spool.

9. Having The Right Spool Cap And Bobbin Cap

We should choose the right size for our spool cap and bobbin cap, if they do not fit, then we should change it and bring the ones that fit.

10. Sewing At A Pace

While using the sewing machine, we should use this machine at a regular pace. Although, there is no recommended speed at which we should use our sewing machine but a comfortable and regular pace will give the sewer relief from unnecessary noise and bring satisfaction to her work.

5 Common Mistakes While Using a Sewing Machine

5 Common-mistakes-while-using-a-sewing-machine
5 Common mistakes while using a sewing machine

Here we will discuss some common mistakes people make while they sew on the machine which are given below:

1. Using The Needle for A Prolonged Time

If we are using the needle for longer than 7 hours, then it will become blunt and it might start making noise. It is recommended to change it after seven hours of use or before starting a new project.

2. Improper Needle

It is a common mistake that we do when sewing with the needle, we have to choose our needle, according to our fabric and when sewing with a machine we should also keep in mind the thickness of the needle holder.

3. Improper Bobbin

Using a bobbin that is smaller in size will cause problems in tension as they tend to jump around the bobbin case. Inside a plastic bobbin case, if we are using a metal bobbin, it will leave scratches on the case or even, it can break the case.

4. Tension Problems

The tension of a sewing machine lies between two places, one is at the top thread and adjusting dial, and another is at the bobbin case and screw. When we are sewing on a machine, we need to balance this tension frequently for a better stitch quality.

5. Using The Hand Wheel in The Wrong Direction

When we are using the sewing machine, we should keep in mind that we are using the hand wheel toward ourselves, because, if we are using the hand wheel away from us, there is a chance that the machine can get jammed and threads will get clogged in a single place. We can only use the hand wheel away for ourselves when we will be replacing the needle.

3 Tips to Avoid Thread Break

Here we will discuss three quick tips for determining and solving this problem

  • Correct Size And Shape for The Needle: There are several sizes and shapes available in the market for needles, we usually get them in bulk, in a plastic box, or an aluminum box. But when we are buying needles for our sewing machine, we should buy the right size and shape, according to our sewing machine. For finer threads such as 80 wt, we can use smaller threads, for heavier threads such as 12 wt, we can use larger threads.
  • Bobbin Thread: Sometimes, threads get tangled, and knotted near the bobbin head, we should clear out the bobbin case properly so that it does not leave any lint, or dirt which will cause problems while we sew. we should not use any glue to attach the bobbin head. We should always use finer threads for the bobbin head that way our sewing machine will have better tension to operate properly.
  • Tension: It is important to keep the tension of the sewing machine in check. It can be easily determined within the machine if the tension is too high at the top thread or the bobbin thread. Before we start sewing on our fabric, we can use a test fabric to check the tension. If the bobbin thread is pulling through the top it means tension at the top thread is high and it should be loosened. If the top thread is pulling through the bobbin thread means tension at the bobbin thread is high and it should be loosened.


Which thread is the best for stitching?

The best thread for all-purpose stitching is polyester, because, polyester does not fade while we are washing our clothes, they do not produce so much lint and dirt, and they do not shrink, as well.

What causes thread tension to lose?

Thread tension is not properly leveled, a thread is not properly selected according to the fabric, and thread thickness or weight does not match the needle hole.

Does thicker thread need more tension?

When we are stitching with a thicker thread, it will tend to gather more tension both at the top thread and at the bottom thread, as a result, we will need heavier fabric.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the frustration of constantly dealing with thread breaks on your sewing machine can be fixed by inspecting and understanding the common causes and implementing the practical solutions we have discussed throughout the content. Several factors contribute to thread breakage, including using the wrong needle size or shape, employing old or low-quality needles, selecting inappropriate thread thickness, and neglecting proper tension settings.  Make sure you carefully handle them to solve and make the sewing machine function properly to serve you better results for your projects.


Hey I’m Sherry Howes an expert in sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. With a passion for fiber arts and a talent for crafting, I Have spent years improving my skills and sharing knowledge with others. Whether teaching a class or creating a new project, I’m always excited to share my love of crafting with the world. I like researching new techniques and trends in the crafting arts community.

Leave a Reply