What you should check before making a 911 call to your sewing machine mechanic
Does this look familiar? “Bird nesting” or thread bunching up on the top of or on the underside of your fabric is one of the most common problems during sewing.
Not only is this an extremely frustrating issue, it can also put major stopper in the creative process! I know because it happened to me. 😕
First of all, don’t panic! This situation is normally an easy fix and usually doesn’t need a call to your sewing machine repair man.
Whenever the sewing machine thread bunches up, or “bird nests”, on the top of your fabric, the problem typically lies with your bobbin. Here are some things to check before calling your sewing machine repair service:
1. Is your bobbin correctly threaded?
If the thread has knots, is not smooth, is uneven, or is loose on the bobbin, then it has not been threaded correctly. If your machine uses a bobbin case, follow your sewing machine’s instructions to remove the bobbin from the case and re-thread it. Make sure you place it back in the case according to your machine’s instructions. Be sure that you have the bobbin thread engaged in the bobbin tension. To test this, hold the bobbin thread with one hand and if the bobbin drops to the floor then you missed the tension spring in the bobbin case.
2. Is your bobbin case tension too loose?
If you have loosened the screw on your bobbin case to allow for thicker threads you may need to re-adjust it for regular thread. After the bobbin case has been correctly threaded, give the bobbin thread a slight tug. The thread should still move freely with some slight resistance.
If the thread is bunching up underneath your fabric, don’t assume that the problem is with the bobbin. This is what most people tend to think, however, your needle tension is more likely the true culprit.
Here’s what to check:
1. Is the needle threaded correctly?
Cut the thread a few inches from the spool and pull it out of the machine through the needle. Re-thread according to the instructions for your machine. Always thread the sewing machine with the presser foot up. The tension is engaged when the presser foot is down and the thread will not engage properly in the tension discs. Complete engagement is necessary so that the discs can snugly “grasp” the thread.
2. Is the presser foot up?
Don’t worry. We all do this occasionally. Just put it down and never speak of it to another soul. 😃
3. Does the tension need to be adjusted?
Even sewing machines that can “sense” your thread and automatically determine proper tension are sometimes wrong. Tighten or loosen the tension as necessary.
4. Does your needle need to be changed?
Make sure you are using the proper needle for the fabric you are using. Also, double-check that the needle is not bent. If you pull the fabric instead of guiding it through the feed dogs as you sew then the needle can bend leading to all sorts of sewing machine problems.
5. Does the sewing machine need to be cleaned?
Frequent cleaning, dusting, and oiling will prevent many stitching problems. Make sure to dust underneath the throat plate, in the bobbin case, and along the thread path. Additionally, it is best to use good quality thread, a new, sharp sewing machine needle, and the correct bobbins for your make and model of sewing machine. Proper maintenance takes only minutes and can save you a multitude of headaches.
There you have it folks. The next time your thread starts bunching up refer to this checklist. Hopefully these tips will help you troubleshoot and fix the issue quickly so you can keep the creative juices flowing and keep on sewing!
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help others solve this frustrating issue!
Until next time… Happy Sewing!