Tension Problems: Flossing Your Sewing and Embroidery Machines

Flossing Your Sewing and Embroidery Machines SewInspiredByBonnie.com

We all know that we should floss our teeth but, did you know that you should also floss your embroidery and sewing machines? I’ll show you how!

Sometimes it just happens through no fault of our own. You're sewing along and the stitches are fine. All of a sudden, kaplooey, They're not so fine. It can be caused by a number of things we've covered in the past, like thread shredding and needle breaks. One thing I haven't covered is flossing the tension assembly to make sure that no threads have gotten caught.

The Proper Way to Remove Thread from Your Machine

When changing threads, cut the thread from the top and pull it out from the needle. Often, we pull the thread out backwards through the machine from the top. That makes thread drag against the grain.

Thread is twisted in a certain direction. Pulling it against the grain causes fibers to get caught up in your tension assembly. Over time, fibers build up and cause problems. You may think that clipping thread at the spool and pulling it out of the needle wastes a lot of thread. However, the technique will likely save you a repair bill. 

Flossing Your Embroidery and Sewing Machines

One way to clean your tension assembly is by flossing your machine. Whether you use dental floss, crochet thread, or fishing line, the technique is the same. Cut about a yard of flossing material and tie a knot in it about every three inches. That will create some resistance as it goes through the tension assembly.

 Flossing Your Sewing and Embroidery Machines SewInspiredByBonnie.com

Thread your machine as you ordinarily would, right up to (but not through) the needle. Make sure that your presser foot is in the up position so that tension discs are open, allowing the flossing material to pass. Now gently pull the floss through. It should pull out any leftover threads that were caught in the tension assembly.

 Flossing Your Sewing and Embroidery Machines SewInspiredByBonnie.com

Make sure dental floss is not flavored and not waxed. Even non-waxed floss can feel like it has a coating if it is flavored. Run floss through your fingers to be sure it doesn’t leave any residue behind. If it feels like something is on it, do not use, as it can gum up your tension discs.

 Flossing Your Sewing and Embroidery Machines SewInspiredByBonnie.com

Crochet thread should be heavier than your standard thread.

You can also use 10-pound fishing line, but don’t use your good scissors to cut it. Again, make certain there's no special finish on it.

If you get tension problems mid-project, this flossing technique will clean your tension assembly so that you can continue. 

See the full video here.

May your day be blessed with perfect stitches and GlitterFlex!!

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  • Mary zook - January 23, 2024
    Love tour tips and your videos just found you on pinterest will be watching more of your tips
  • Bonnie Welsh - March 09, 2022

    Connie—I’m not sure of the weight—but definitely heavier than ordinary thread. It’s what I used for crocheting lace so fairly thin as you can see in the picture above.

  • Connie White - March 09, 2022

    What weight crochet thread.? Loved your video, thank you

  • Bonnie Welsh - July 23, 2020

    William—You’re most welcome! So glad you found it helpful. =)

  • William Bowie - July 22, 2020

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful information with us :) I’ll surely implement this one :)

  • Bonnie Welsh - November 06, 2019

    Gail—Thank you for your kind words! =)

  • Gail McGovern - November 06, 2019

    You do great informational video. I love them and appreciate all the time you spend on them. Thank you

  • Bonnie Welsh - November 06, 2019

    Virginia—You’re most welcome! I’m glad you’ve found this tip helpful!

  • Virginia Madson - November 05, 2019

    Thank you, what a wonderful idea,
    will do this tomorrow..😊❤️🙏

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