It’s happened to us all at one point or another– wonky tension, a bird’s nest– I’ve even heard it called “thread barf.” If the underside of your fabric is a mess, here are a few things that you can do to troubleshoot and fix the problem.
First, make sure that you are using the appropriate weight thread for your machine. I’ve encountered many people who have had this issue purely from using a heavy weight thread on a home sewing machine that wasn’t equipped to handle it.
Once you’ve made sure that you are using the correct weight thread, check your needle. If it has been a while since you’ve changed it, now would be a good time. When I started sewing I underestimated the power of a new sewing needle that was the correct type for the project. Sure, I pushed a lot of things out back then, but I would have saved myself a lot of headache.
If you’ve checked your thread and changed to an appropriate (new) needle, here are a few more things that you can try:
- If you’re sewing through a thick section, try adjusting your stitch length to make it longer.
- Rethread your machine with the presser foot up (sew with the presser foot down)
- Make sure that your thread is coming from your spool properly– as a beginner, I would place my thread on the spool pin in any orientation and had no idea that it mattered which way the thread was feeding off of the spool.
- Ensure your thread has passed through the tension discs when you have gone through the thread channels (you can check this by lowering your presser foot and giving the thread a tiny, gentle, tug. If it is harder to pull than when the presser foot is up, you’ve passed through the tension discs.
- Bring the thread through all thread guides.
- Check your needle– it is inserted properly when the flat side of the shank is facing toward the backside of the machine.
- Consider making an adjustment to the upper tension (higher) depending on what type of fabric you are sewing.
- If everything above is correct, try cleaning your machine.
As you grow comfortable sewing and get acquainted with your machine, rest assured that these types of issues happen less and less.