Q: I was changing threads in my sewing machine and the thread got stuck inside the machine when I was pulling it out. I tried to pull it out but the thread broke inside my machine. Will this hurt my machine? Do I need to bring it in for service?

A: Oops! You made one of the most common errors in sewing machine usage; yanking the thread backwards through the machine! This is one of the most common causes of tension problems (among others) that you will experience with your sewing machine.

When you change your thread, the proper way to unthread your sewing machine is to cut the thread up by the spool, and pull the thread through the machine in the same direction that the thread would travel when you are sewing.

When you pull your thread the opposite way, several things can happen. If, by chance the thread has worn or shredded above your needle, this knot will most likely deposit itself into your tension system if you pull the thread backwards. Once there is anything, regardless of how small, lingering in your upper tension, you will see poor stitching results when you rethread, in the form of loops or thread nesting underneath the fabric. This is because your upper tension disks can no longer squeeze your thread evenly.

Even if you do not have a knot or shredded area, pulling backwards can deposit lint and residue in the tension. Thread can also get entangled even deeper into your sewing machine, causing long term damage and premature wear. Examples of this are thread getting wrapped around the take up lever, crank, or worse, in the new auto threading embroidery machines, inside the threading mechanisms. We have seen more examples of the woes of “thread yanking” than I have space to write!

We are all guilty of this, including myself. It is a very difficult habit to break, as we have been sewing for years, and have a certain way of doing things. But keep in mind that changing this one bad habit will add years to the life of your sewing machine. Your sewing machine will thank you!

But for now, in answer to your question, it is time to take your machine in to your local sewing machine dealer and have your machine serviced, and tell the technician what you have done. He or she will be able to remove the sewing machine covers and have that sewing machine of yours running like new again. And remember, in the future, “Please don’t be a Thread Yanker”!

Just SEW You Know…
Written by Amy Smith

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