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The Worst Machine Embroidery Advice I Ever Got

 This article is brought to you by Lizzsews.

As you’re starting your machine embroidery journey, you might be getting tons of advice. And sometimes it’s hard to know which advice is good and which advice is not so good.

The worst advice I ever got when I was starting machine embroidery was to change the tension.

Don’t change your tension unless you need to!


 - bobbin thread was showing on the top of my embroidery design

They would say, “change your tension” 


 - My stitching was loose 


 - My thread was shredding 

They would say, “adjust your tension”!

The most likely cause of machine embroidery related problems, in my experience, are user-related errors. For example, hooping/floating fabrics incorrectly, or placing the bobbin upside down.

Recommended read: How to wind and install the bobbin

Recommended read: How to hoop fabrics for machine embroidery

Recommended read: How to float projects for machine embroidery

Instead of changing your tension, try other steps that might be causing the problem! 

Recommended read: How to understand tension

Some examples of steps to take include:

  • Change your needle
Continuous use of needles will cause them to get dull and bend.

  • Use the correct needle for your project
Using the wrong size or type of needle can really mess up your project! Make sure that you are using a machine embroidery needle, not sewing.
  • Put the flat part of the needle to the back
Not only do you need to make sure that you are using a new needle, the correct type of needle and the right sized needle, but you also need to make sure that you are putting the needle in the machine correctly! 

Make sure that the flat part of the needle is facing the back of the machine, it's pushed all the way up, and that you have tightened it as much as possible.
  • Use a thread stand
A thread stand is a lot more important than you may think. It gives the thread more time to be relaxed before going through the thread guides, and the thread goes into the machine at a better angle.

  • Rethread your upper thread
Slowly rethread your upper thread while following the guides on your machine, missing just one thread guide could mess up the whole project!

  • Make sure your bobbin isn’t upside down
This is very common! Make sure that your bobbin is not upside down.

  • Rethread the bobbin
Make sure that the bobbin thread is going through all of the little thread guides.
  • Clean the race
How long has it been since you've cleaned the race on your machine? It's probably been a little while!

Recommended read: What is the race
Recommended read: How to clean the race
  • Re-hoop your project
Have you hooped your project correctly? Make sure that the hoop is not upside down and your project is in the hoop nice and tight. Your fabric should be like a drum in the hoop.

  • Try different thread
The type of thread you are using really makes a difference! Make sure that your upper thread is 40wt embroidery thread, and your bobbin thread is, depending on your machine, either 60wt or 90wt. Ensure that you're using good quality, good branded thread.

Recommended read: Lizzsews troubleshooting guide

When you play around with tension, if you’re not doing it correctly, it can cause even more problems. Changing the tension should be your last step, so make sure you’re doing it correctly.

Be sure to like and leave a comment and let me know if you've ever gotten this advice! And don't forget to subscribe to get notified for my next blog post!


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