Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Bunching The Thread

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Last Updated on 12 months by Susan Mayrich

The answer to why does my sewing machine keep bunching the thread reveals three reasons. You must check the needle, bobbin, or throat plate on your machine. You will not only know how to troubleshoot these parts, but we’ll also discuss how to fix them. 

why does my sewing machine keep bunching the thread

For additional repair tips, why not learn why is my sewing machine jamming as well? You can also browse our blog if you have specific sewing machine issues besides the thread that keeps bunching up. 


How Do You Fix A Bunching Thread On A Sewing Machine?



Notice where the thread is bunching up, and if it’s happening under the fabric, you need to check the needle. For starters, check the needle if you installed and threaded it correctly. Then, you also need to ensure that you’re using the compatible one for the material you’re sewing, or the thread can bunch up. 



If the thread is bunching on top of the fabric, the needle is not the culprit. Instead, you must check the bobbin if you threaded it correctly or if the bobbin thread has knots. Then, consider rethreading the bobbin or ensuring that the thread has no damages and test if the sewing machine will still bunch up the thread. 


Throat plate

Did you know that the throat plate can also cause your sewing machine to bunch up thread? If it is dirty, the holes on the plate meant for the needle will be congested, which bunches up the thread under the fabric. So make it a habit to check your throat plate regularly to remove debris and other build-ups that can block the holes. 


Why Is My Fabric Bunching Up When I Sew?

Besides seeing the thread bunching up on top or underneath the fabric, it can be frustrating if you also don’t know what causes fabric puckering when sewing. When the fabric bunches up during sewing, the wrong needle, thread, tension, and pressure are all potential culprits. The good news is this issue is easily avoidable with the proper setup of the machine. 


What Should Tension Be Set On Sewing Machine?

The ideal tension for your sewing machine will depend on the project. To know if your tension is too tight or too loose, you need to make test stitches. Thread the needle and bobbin of different colors and look at which side of the fabric formed loops. 

Loops on the top of the fabric mean the upper thread tension is too tight, while loops on the bottom indicate the bobbin thread tension is too tight. In most cases, you’ll only need to adjust the upper thread tension via the dial where the higher numbers mean tighter tension and lower numbers means looser tension. 

You can also read this guide on how to adjust the tension on a Brother sewing machine if you own that specific brand. 


How to adjust the bobbin thread tension?

Adjusting the bobbin tension is as easy as finding the screw, typically situated beside the bobbin. Then, you will loosen or tighten it with a screwdriver to adjust the bobbin tension. You don’t need to make massive adjustments, and adjusting the bobbin thread tension is usually unnecessary in most cases. 

Furthermore, sewing machines that can’t remove the bobbin case don’t adjust the thread tension. You’re only left with changing the upper thread tension instead. 


What Causes A Sewing Machine To Lock Up?

One of the most common reasons a sewing machine gets locked up is when the thread is bunched up inside the shuttle race. You can solve this by turning the handwheel to get the needle out of the shuttle race. If it’s not enough, you can take the needle off the clamp yourself. 

Then, pull the fabric away and removed the bunched-up thread. Make sure to clean the shuttle race so the needle can effectively work and prevent thread bunching up again. You can also adjust the needle timing to synchronize with the shuttle hook if you still experience thread bunching up that locks the machine. 

You can read this guide on how to unfreeze a sewing machine for more tips on a locked-up machine. 


Why Won’t My Sewing Machine Go Up And Down?

The sewing machine needle might not move up or down if you forget the engage the clutch. But if the machine won’t still move afterward, you need to check if the drive belt needs replacing. Unfortunately, if these two troubleshooting techniques didn’t solve the machine not moving, you need to get the unit serviced by a proper technician because the problem might be from the gear. 


How Do You Fix A Bobbin Which Doesn’t Really Turn?

If the bobbin case is stuck, you need to check if it has no damages. A burr on the bobbin case might cause it not to work properly. You also want to check the bottom plate for debris that you’ll need to remove. 



Was this article helpful? We just answered why does my sewing machine keep bunching the thread, and you may need to check your needle, bobbin, or throat plate. In general, proper setup and cleaning of the machine will help prevent issues like a bunched-up thread. 

Do you also want to know why my sewing machine thread keeps breaking? Read the causes and solutions in our separate guide. 


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