Application Thread Breaks

Different sewing applications may cause thread breaks and other sew quality issues. Look for the following when diagnosing an application problem.

Embroidering Abrasive or Coated Materials

Course or rough materials can cause friction on thread and create thread breaks. Using a larger needle will create a bigger hole and reduce the friction on the thread. This can be helpful on materials like heavy canvas or cotton duct.

On abrasive materials, use a larger needle like an 80/12 to alleviate thread breaks.

Coated and water-resistant materials like some computer bags can heat up a needle and begin to melt as the needle moves through the material. This melted material can gum up a needle making it more prone to thread breaks and more difficult to rethread.

Using a titanium coated or non-stick needle can help prevent thread breaks on these coated materials.

Is the Needle Size Appropriate for the Design?

If your design contains a significant amount of finer detail work, the smaller stitches can result in thread breaks if they are smaller than your needle.

Using a smaller needle like a 70/10 or 65/9 can help with small lettering and fine details.

Is the Backing Appropriate for the Material?

Sewing without proper support can reduce sew quality and increase thread breaks.

Choose a backing that is appropriate to the material and design you are embroidering.

Lighter, stretchy, and flimsy materials may require a more substantial cut-away type of backing. More stable materials can utilize tear-away type backings.

Design size and density may also need to be considered when choosing a backing. Heavier stitch counts in smaller areas will require a more stable backing.

Is the Design Appropriate for the Material?

While the majority of standard garment material will support the majority of embroidery designs, the design / material relationship is one that must be considered.

Consider the difference in embroidering a 10 inch, 50,000 stitch design on a jacket back and then on a t-shirt. The jacket back would have a far better sew quality with that number of stitches in that space. The t-shirt would likely pucker and curl under the embroidery.

Make sure that the material and backing can support the design OR make sure the design settings are appropriate for the material.

If you are embroidering on a lighter material, try using lighter densities and placing fewer stitches on the garment.

Are You Using Adhesives?

Adhesives can certainly gum up the works when it comes to embroidery. These sticky helpers keep applique and backing in place, but they can build up on the needles and cause thread breaks.

Avoid using adhesives if possible. If the job requires the use of adhesives, use the minimum amount you can. Using a titanium or non-stick needle can prevent the adhesive buildup and consequent thread breaks.

Is the Garment Hooped Properly?

How a garment is hooped will affect how the material runs in the machine. If hooped poorly, the material may bounce or "flag". This can create odd thread dynamics and produce thread breaks as well as registration loss and overall poor sew quality.

Sewing with loose hoop arms can create similar results.

Use a hoop that fits as closely to the design as possible. Properly adjust the hoop tension, and insure that the hoop arms are securely attached.

Are You Using Specialty Threads?

Specialty threads often require specific needles and digitizing to sew smoothly.

Consult the manufacturer's website for specifics on sewing specialty threads.