How to Deal With Common Embroidery Machine Problems

What are some of the most common embroidery machine issues?

And is it possible for you to solve these problems at home?

Machine embroidery has been a blessing for artisans and apparel manufacturers. It saves a lot of time and human effort and is extremely accurate, resulting in negligible errors.  So we wanted to show you how to deal with some common embroidery machine problems.

If you want to create simple embroidery designs on a large-scale, an embroidery machine will serve as the perfect ally! However, there are some common hassles that you may face with an embroidery machine.

How to deal with Embroidery Machine Issue

We have listed out these problems along with the best tips and tricks to fix them.


How to Deal With Embroidery Machine Problems

While some problems require expert hands, there are a couple of issues that you can fix on your own. These problems are more likely to occur than their more severe counterparts.


1. Bobbin Thread

Bobbin thread is a lightweight alternative of the traditional thread and is used explicitly for machine embroidery. It leaves a significantly less dense mark on the back of the fabric relative to the front, which makes it ideal for embroidering soft and delicate fabrics or other materials.

How to deal with Embroidery Machine Problems

One of the most common problems you can face with your embroidery machine is it not picking the bobbin thread. The sewing needle that descends to pick up the bobbin thread can often malfunction in a way that it is not picked up at all.

This problem is so common that you could face it almost every time that you use your machine.


2. Trimmer

The trimmer, in most embroidery machines, is not visible, but it is an essential component. When you have created a pattern, you need the in-built trimmer to cut the excess thread being drawn from the spool.

In the past, artisans used scissors to trim the thread, but almost all of the best embroidery machines being sold today have a trimmer feature.

How to deal with Embroidery Machine Problem

You may encounter a frustrating situation wherein your machine trimmer is not working. It has happened to every artisan who has been doing embroidery for a substantial amount of time.

Finding a scissor is only going to render the trimmer feature useless. There are some basic ways to solve this issue, which we have discussed later.


3. Embroidery Machine Troubleshooting

The most common problems faced by artisans while using embroidery machines are related to bobbin thread and trimming. Now that we have explained these problems let’s look at some useful tips for remedying them.

Bobbin Thread

  • If the needle is not picking up the bobbin thread, the chances are that the spool is empty. You should check if the bobbin thread is there or needs to be replaced by a new spool. To do this, you should hold the thread towards the left when the needle descends and use a darning needle to see if the bobbin thread spool is over or not.
  • Trying to re-thread the whole machine is a good idea. It works nine out of ten times in our experience.
  • Bobbin threads are available in a wide array of sizes. You should check that the one you are using is ideal for your machine.
  • If the bobbin screw tension is too high or too low, the needle will not pick up the bobbin thread. Adjusting the pressure is necessary for your machine to function optimally.
  • A rookie mistake is to use heavier yarn meant for hand embroidery. Bobbin thread is lightweight, and if you use the wrong kind of thread that your machine is not compatible with, then this problem will arise.
  • You should check the needle to ensure that it is in perfect position and securely fits in its holder.
  • An old yet useful tip is that you check the machine’s timing manually. Before starting your embroidery work, you should ensure that the needle is completing its up and down movement without being stuck.

How to deal with Embroidery Machine Issues


  • The most frequent cause of a trimmer malfunctioning is improper thread tension. If the thread is too loose, the blade will not cut it. You should ensure that the thread tension is not too low.
  • The trimmer needs room to operate. If you have excessive threads in the machine’s needle plate, the trimmer will not work. You should remove any excess thread and then test the trimmer again.
  • Each embroidery machine has distinct features and specifications. As a general rule of thumb, if the trimmer in your device is not working, you should check the instruction manual that came with it. It is often the case that the trimmer is functional and in perfect condition, but you are used to a slightly different mechanism.
  • The trimmer has two knives – one mobile and one stationary. You should ensure that both the blades are appropriately set. The drive knife is supposed to catch the lower end of the thread, and if it is not adjusted periodically, it can get loose while trimming.
  • Needles should be replaced after heavy use. Old and overused needles tend to create burrs because of blunt tips, which can clog the trimmer and render it non-functional.

4. Types of Machine Embroidery

Machine embroidery can be classified into two broad classes:

  • The free motion machine embroidery technique uses basic zigzag sewing techniques like traditional cross-stitch. This machine was the first step towards automation in embroidery, and it requires significant human intervention. You will be doing most of the work, and the end product will reflect your skill level. As such, producing perfect replicas of design using this machine is highly unlikely.

How to deal with Embroidery Machine Problems or Issues

  • There is a more advanced and professional machine that came as a considerable improvement to the free motion technique. You get a computerized device with compatible software that has thousands of embroidery designs. You have to choose the design and the color of the thread you want to use. The machine will do everything for you. Creating excellent designs on a large-scale became a piece of cake with this machine.


Final Thoughts

Embroidery has been around for centuries! In the 21st century, technology and automation have affected the art of embroidery to a great extent. The machines used for embroidery are getting better and more advanced with time, but they are still privy to common problems.

Solving embroidery machine problems does not always have to be expensive and troublesome. Unless the functionality of your machine is compromised gravely, you can use the tips we have shared to solve minor issues.

Till next time!