Shredding and needle threader breakage

Last night was super frustrating. I hired a digitizer to create some corgi silhouette applique designs for me since I don’t feel confident enough to do it myself yet in Stitch Era Universal (and it would save me lots of time to have someone else do it). Let me be clear, my digitizer is wonderful and very helpful and we’re working on the problem together so I’m not bashing her at all.

So last night I did a test stitch out of one of the sizes and chose the smallest because I figured if there were issues in the design it would pop up in the smallest one first.  Sure enough, I had thread shredding issues rear their ugly head. It was always during the contrast stitch out near the end of the project.  You can kind of see in the photo below I tried changing thread colors in the bottom corgi and still had issues.  The top corgi did better but I had some minor shredding happening in the belly near the back foot during the triple bean contrast stitch.

Click for larger photo

I use Sulky Rayon threads a lot and I also use Gutterman polyester embroidery threads too so I wasn’t sure if it was the rayon I was using or what.  I also tried two different types of tear away stabilizer and it happened with both kinds.  I tried multiple layers with the thinner stabilizer and it still happened.

I never knew how much I liked this thing until it broke off.

During all of this the little hook on my needle threader attached to my machine broke off so no more fast needle threading for me until I can take my machine in or get the replacement part.

So I’m consulting with the digitizer to see if we can get it figured out. I’m really hoping the Thread Heaven fixes the problem since I think the design is fantastic and I don’t want to monkey with the density of the satin stitch. I also don’t have a bunch of money to throw into a new set of polyester thread.  I’m thankful the lady is so nice and fast to get back to me! Maybe I’ll have better luck tonight when I test out the tweaked file.

Oh the joys of machine embroidery!


  1. Ok, probably a dumb question, but how do you use Thread Heaven on a machine? I’ve used it for hand sewing, but my brain can’t figure out how to use it when machine sewing….do you unwind the entire spool of thread, run it through TH and rewind it? (remember I started out saying dumb, lol).


      Thread Heaven can help prevent thread breakage and skipped stitches, especially when used with silk, rayon and metallic threads.

      BOBBIN METHOD:(preferred)
      Pinch off a piece of Thread Heaven and hold it against one of the bobbin winding thread guides so that the thread is coated as the bobbin is being wound.

      OR, Lower threaded needle directly into Thread Heaven. Pick up enough to fill the needle eye; thread will be coated as it passes through the needle. Repeat when supply in needle eye has been used.
      OR, pinch off a piece of Thread Heaven and place it in one of the threading guides, preferably after the tension mechanism.

      I did both options and it definitely helped but didn’t completely solve my problem. So now I wait on my poly thread to arrive to see if that works better.

  2. Tami in Denver says:

    How frustrating! All that sewing time lost to troubleshooting. I feel your pain!

    • It’ll be worth it in the end I think since I’ll be able to whip up some Etsy items quickly. Crossing my fingers the thread is the problem.

  3. I recently used sulky rayon thread and experienced fraying, never a problem with the poly. Also make sure needle is for embroidery a sharp for regular fabric and ballpoint for knits. You also may have a burr on the needle. Its worth changing. With embroidery you need a big hole in the needle. Hope it helps a little. I know I can get so frustrated with it but it looks so good when you’re done 🙂

    • I changed the needle twice, tried two different types of stabilizer, cleaned out the bobbin case area (which was spotless anyway), put on Thread Heaven and wound a new bobbin… still had shredding issues on the smallest stitch out files. I think it is the Rayon thread. It doesn’t like sewing through the satin stitch to do the triple bean at the end. I think the poly will cooperate better. My digitizer did a test stitch out and hers came out great using Isacord thread. So it’s gotta be the thread. Can’t wait for my thread to get here!!

  4. I knew you’d quickly get hooked on embroidery as soon as you started to dabble in it 🙂 I’ve used Sulky, Madeira, and Floriani…I’ve had good luck with all. Usually when I’m shredding thread it’s my needle or my tension. Good luck, regardless, they are way too cute!

    • My machine is going to see mister repair man on Sunday so maybe it’ll be happy after a few days at the “spa”. I’m totally sucked into embroidery!

  5. I use isacord thread, your tension and or your needle may need to be replaced or changed. I dotn know very much about embroidery by machine, as I do very little.
    did you use a stabelizer? just tryign to think of what I have heard thru classes.

  6. I feel your pain. I use mostly Isacord and sometimes Madeira.they both see to do well. Hope you threads arrive soon.


  1. […] begins – I began learning machine embroidery on the Topaz in January of 2011. I noticed that my thread would break and shred during certain stitch outs. At the time I was rather inexperienced and I didn’t understand why it was happening. I […]