Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Unthreading? A Checklist

Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Unthreading? A Checklist


Is your sewing machine unthreading? Find out why your thread keeps coming out of the needle and what to do here.

How to fix a sewing machine unthreading

Hey y’all, today we’re going to tackle problems with a sewing machine unthreading. When I taught sewing in public school, I always had students who had trouble with this. It can be sooooo frustrating to start sewing your fabric just to realize your needle has no thread and there are no stitches. This post will cover reasons why your needle keeps unthreading and what to do about them so you don’t have to constantly rethread.

Reason #1: The Takeup Lever Isn’t at the Top

The video below summarizes what to do if your needle is unthreading as you begin sewing. This is one of the most common reasons for unthreading. You can also watch on YouTube here if you prefer. And further in this post I have more troubleshooting tips to check for sewing machine unthreading problems.

Take up lever on a sewing machine

The number one reason my students had issues with their needle unthreading was that they would stop stitching without their needle in the highest position possible. Then they would cut their thread. On the next seam there wasn’t enough thread to reach the sewing machine needle as the take up lever went up. And boom, unthreaded needle!

You can tell if your needle is all the way up by looking at the take up lever. On vintage machines the take up lever might stick out. You can see it on n my vintage Singer sewing machine pictured below. But on newer machines it might be hidden behind the machine casing. On newer machines there is a window so that you can make sure the lever is all the way up. I told my students to always crank the handwheel toward them until they could see the take up lever at the top before releasing their presser foot and cutting the thread.

Vintage sewing machine, copyright Melly Sews, all rights reserved.

My sewing machine now has a feature with the automatic thread cutter that makes sure the take up lever is all the way up automatically before it cuts the thread. I love that because this problem isn’t one I run into very often anymore.

Reason #2: The Machine is Not Threaded Correctly

Baby Lock Elizabeth sewing machine - mellysews.com

If you are sure the take up lever is at the top, but you still have a sewing machine needle unthreading, the next thing to check is to make sure your machine is threaded the correct way. If this is a new to you machine, make sure you’ve read the user manual. Some machines have particular quirks for threading. Most machines do follow a similar thread path though. Even with an old familiar machine, it’s possible to accidentally skip a step. So try releasing the presser foot, unthreading the machine, and rethreading. Make sure to do this both with the top thread and the bobbin thread.

One other common mistake I see is trying to thread with the presser foot down. On the majority of machines this means the tension discs are engaged. If you thread with the tension engaged, the thread won’t sit properly in the discs and you’ll have issues when you start stitching.

Thread - Read about the 5 Sewing Supplies Every Beginner Needs - Beginner Sewing Tools - Melly Sews

Reason #3: There Is A Problem With The Thread or Needle

If your thread is too thick for the eye of your needle, it will shred and you’ll have thread breaks. This can also happen when using old or low quality thread. You can see more about thread types and weights here. And you can see more about machine needles here. The bottom line is to make sure that your needle and thread are matched. Don’t use the wrong needle for your thread.

One other thread problem to check is if the spool of thread unwinds smoothly. Sometimes it can get wrapped around the spool pin, or caught on a nick in the spool cap. Correct those issues and you won’t have your sewing machine unthreading.

Thread breaking - how to fix sewing machine problems - Melly Sews

Needle problems can include a bent needle,

Reason #4: There is a Tension Problem

Right side and wrong side of a line of stitching on denim to show balanced and correct sewing machine tension

The interplay of the upper thread tension and bobbin tension creates must be balanced. If you don’t have correct tension, your thread can break and unthread your needle. You can see more about tension in this post. I include a visual example of how the top and bottom threads work together. Understanding that interplay helps you identify which way to adjust the tension dial.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why your sewing machine might be unthreading. These include:

  • Take up lever not all the way up
  • An incorrectly threaded machine
  • Problems with thread or needle or the combination of the two
  • Problems with the sewing machine tension

Hopefully this post has given you a good idea of what to look for so you can return to happy sewing!





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The Edit: New Sewing Pattern Releases – 2nd October 2022

The Edit: New Sewing Pattern Releases – 2nd October 2022





The Edit: New Sewing Pattern Releases – 2nd October 2022 – The Fold Line





















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Turtleneck Dress Pattern – Effortless Elegance

Turtleneck Dress Pattern – Effortless Elegance


Winter is coming… And along with the season is the need to look stylish while keeping warm. The turtleneck has been a mainstay of fashion for a long time, with the simple addition of fabric giving the wearer a surprising amount of warmth while providing a unique look and profile.

This Turtleneck Dress Pattern is for someone looking for an elegant look and all the benefits of the turtleneck but without the effort of making an overly-elaborate dress.

The dress fits close to the body, to skim your silhouette while not being too tight. This means the dress can be easily paired with additional outwear as needed.

The turtleneck itself keeps you surprisingly warm for such a small addition. This is due to the fabric covering the large and important carotid artery, through which the entirety of your body’s blood supply passes at high pressure. If you are super cold, layering a scarf on top of the turtleneck will provide an excellent amount of insulation.

Of course, any cold-weather garment should have long sleeves for extra warmth and the whole piece is long enough to be paired with high boots or booties for a more fashionable look.

Materials

  • 1 1/2 to 2 yards of stretch velvet
  • thread to match

Tools

Fabric Recommendations from Amazon.com

Sewing Skill: Confident Beginner

This project is suitable for confident beginners or intermediates. The shapes are simple and elegant. However, due to its figure-fitting nature, you may have to make extra adjustments to your particular body shape.

Take note that there is no seam allowance included with the pattern. I recommend a 3/8″ seam allowance.

Body Measurements

Size S M L XL 2XL 3XL
Bust 32-34 34-36 37-39 41-43 45-47 49-51
Waste 24 27 30 33 38 41
Hips 33 37 40 43 48 52

How To Download Your Turtleneck Dress Pattern

We’re going to continue to use the new Payhip web store to distribute our patterns. 

Our patterns are still free, but now you now have the option of making a small contribution if you like our work! We’d really appreciate it and it will help is keep going with new and fun designs like this. Even a dollar or two really goes a long way.

Thanks so much in advance for helping us out.  You can use any credit card and you don’t need a Paypal account, although you can use one if you have one.

Download Pattern HERE

Please use Adobe Reader to open and print the pattern.  Adobe Reader is completely free and no other software is required.  Print using Actual Size and Landscape Mode.

Turtleneck Dress Pattern Layout

turtleneck dress pattern

How To Make Your Turtleneck Dress

Please remember that there is no seam allowance included with the pattern. I recommend a 3/8″ seam allowance.

We will start sewing at the shoulders.

Step One:  Sewing The Bodice

Align the front and back of the dress print side facing each other.

Sew the shoulders (1) using a serger with four threads or your sewing machine using a small three steps zigzag.

Turtleneck Dress Pattern

Sew the side of the dress. Make a slit on the left of the dress.

Serge the sides of the dress separately from the hem to the end of the slit, then join the dress matching the slits and serge from the armhole to the slit.

Serge the other side of the dress from the armhole to the hem.

Step Three: Attaching The Sleeve

Sew along the arm (1) using a 3-step zigzag or your serger.

Attach the sleeve to the bodice (2), ensuring you attach the back of the sleeve to the back of the dress. There is a small notch on the sleeve to let you know what side is the front of the sleeve.

Turtleneck Dress pattern

Step Three: Making The Collar

Measure the opening of the neckline and subtract 2″ from the measurement.

Turtleneck Dress Pattern

On a piece of paper, draw a rectangle that is the length of the measurement you got above with a height of six inches and three-quarter inches (17 cm).

If you want a certain height for your turtle neck you can increase or decrease this measurement here. Everyone’s neck can be slightly different so don’t be afraid of measuring yourself to make sure you’ll be happy.

Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise. Sew forming a band.

Fold the band from top to bottom. Mark the band in four places.

Turtleneck Dress Pattern

Align the stitching line of the neckband to the back of the dress.

Align the other three marks with the corresponding parts of the neckline.

Turtleneck Dress Pattern

Step Four: Finishing Your Dress

All we need now is to hem the bodice and the sleeve. Use your serger or your cover stitch. If you do not have either, turn the hem and use any of the stretchable stitches in your sewing machine.

Turn and sew the hem first.

Turn the slit and sew.

I’m first going to try and pair this dress with some boots and a warm vest. Let me know in the comments below what look you’ll be going for.

Now is the perfect time to get ahead of the curve and piece together a stylish and robust fall and winter wardrobe. Look forward to more easy and fun projects like this turtleneck dress pattern. Until Next Time, Happy Sewing!


If You’d Like To Support Our Site

If you want to help us continue to bring you a wide selection of free sewing patterns and projects, please consider buying us a coffee.  We’d really, really appreciate it.

recycling old placemats



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Now You Can Even Add Images to Your Comments: Share Your Work!

Now You Can Even Add Images to Your Comments: Share Your Work!


comment images

Regular readers and especially those who comment often (we LOOOVE comments and so do our readers) may have noticed that we recently added a new feature to the so-sew-easy.com website.

You can now easily attach images to your comments on so-sew-easy.com.  Files types supported are standard .jpg, .gif and .png files.  Almost all images these days are in one of these three formats so I don’t think you’ll have any issues.

image comments

For iPhones, iPads, and Android it is particularly easy to attach images to your comments.  When you’re viewing the comment section of our website and would like to share an image, just click the little paperclip button in the comment section and let your device post the image directly to your comment.

The phone or tablet will give you the choice of using the inbuilt camera to take a new picture or selecting an existing image from your gallery on the phone.  Just take the picture or select the image file, write your comment and hit save.  That’s it!

From a desktop computer, it’s even easier.  Just click the little paperclip and “Attach an image to this comment” and select the image you want to attach.  Write your comment and save.  That’s it!

Ours is a family-oriented site, so we do take the time to review each comment and picture before it’s published so you may not see it immediately.  Just give us a few hours and you’ll be live.

Thanks to a reader Brenda for being so quick to take advantage of this new feature and sharing an example of the linen blouse she’d like to make:

I’d really like to encourage readers to share images of their finished work or even of the sewing problems they are having.  It will make it much easier for me and other readers to understand what is going on and to offer potential solutions.

So what are you waiting for?  Please give it a try and share your work.

Until next time, happy sewing and happy sharing!



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The Perfect Baby Burp Cloth Pattern

The Perfect Baby Burp Cloth Pattern


The perfect baby burp cloth pattern, and how to sew them production line style.

I’m just so excited to be sewing for my 3 friends who are all expecting.  Gives me a chance to knock out lots of small projects from time to time, and take a break from some of the larger projects, pattern designing, and fitting issues that clothes sewing gives me.

I was pestering one of the moms-to-be – what can I sew you, what do you really need, or don’t have enough of, or really used a lot first time round.  Wait a minute she said and came back with – a rag.  Er, what is that and what did you use it for?  Apparently, it’s a burp cloth – something new to me, but she explained she used cloths like this ALL the time and everywhere for mopping up spills, mopping up babies and toddlers, mopping up baby sick, wiping runny noses, mopping up food, etc etc.  And when nursing, she explained the proper use of draping the ‘rag’ over your shoulder while burping baby in case of any up-chuck down your back and clothes.  Nice thought.

The perfect baby burp cloth pattern, and how to sew them production line style.

So you want me to make you some like this.  Yes – exactly like this, except:

  • a bit wider
  • not so long
  • shaped so they sit better on the shoulder
  • thicker
  • without the binding
  • and in nice pretty fabrics

Right, so exactly like that one, but completely different.  I get it.  And she wants lots of them.  OK.  I switched to production line mode and sewed up a bunch.  And they are pretty neat and pretty quick to sew.

How to sew the perfect baby burp cloth pattern – fast!

You will need (to make 3):

  • fat quarter of nice cotton  (baby style or something nicer for mom)
  • fat quarter of terry toweling fabric or a cheap towel
  • the pattern – download below (sized to fit 3 on a FQ)
  • about 10 minutes

Download the Perfect Baby Burp Cloth pattern

You can download the pattern and instructions for the Perfect Baby Burp Cloth from my design account at Payhip.  It’s a PDF file containing both instructions and pattern all in the same file.  Enjoy!

I’ll be making 3 at once to save time so I can sew up a nice big bundle of these for each of the moms.

Watch me make them production line style

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I made all these, including stopping to make the video, in about an hour.  I’ll make up similar bundles for the other two moms.

The perfect baby burp cloth pattern, and how to sew them production line style.

I’m rather keen on these myself.  I don’t think a baby will be coming our way, but these would be perfect cleaning cloths.  Really hard wearing, a scrubby absorbent side and a lint-free smoother side for windows and mirrors.  Good to keep in the car too. Then throw them in the washer, again and again.  Very eco-friendly.  You could omit the shaping and make them square for cleaning.

The perfect baby burp cloth pattern, and how to sew them production line style.

Download the Perfect Baby Burp Cloth pattern

You can download the pattern and instructions for the Perfect Baby Burp Cloth from my design account at Payhip.  It’s a PDF file containing both instructions and pattern all in the same file.  Enjoy!

Want more ideas for things you can sew for babies or for baby shower gifts?  I’ve got lots of fun and easy ideas.  Check out some more ideas here:

Sewing for babies. Lots of great stuff her for the new arrival, great baby shower gifts to sew.

If You’d Like To Support Our Site

If you want to help us continue to bring you a wide selection of free sewing patterns and projects, please consider buying us a coffee.  We’d really, really appreciate it.




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