Trouble Shooting -Process One: Rethreading

Rethreading a Sewing Machine May Correct the Stitch Problem.

Process one in troubleshooting a problem with your sewing machine is really simple to do and could be all you need to do. Rethreading a sewing machine may correct the stitch problem. It is how I always start. Unthread the top thread completely, including removing the spool.  Do not try checking it by tracing the path it is taking.  There are places where the thread is not accessible to the eye. I know it sounds too simple and you have probably threaded your machine a million times or more. Humor me. I’ve been sewing 65 years and rethreading is where I start when there is a problem and am surprised how often it solves my problem. I don’t question where I’d gone wrong. As long as my problem has gone away, happiness takes over and lets me get back to sewing!


Time to rethread.  Are you putting the spool on the machine correctly?  I am not asking if the bottom or the top of the spool is up.  Although I like the thread to come off the back of the spool as my machine likes it that way.  The spool I am talking about has the thread wound evenly and smoothly up and down.  That spool belongs on a horizontal peg on your machine and is unwound from the side as your spool turns.

Do you have spools wound at an angle?  Those require a vertical spindle to allow the thread to come off over the top of the spool. The spool does not move.  If you do not have a vertical spool peg or using a cone rather than a spool, the fix is simple.  A jar, or a glass/cup, any container that allows the spool/cone to remain standing as you sew works.  Place the thread in the container so the thread us winding off the top and sit it behind your machine. I recommend taping a closed safety pin to the back of the machine so the closed end is exposed as a guide for the thread. 

There are spool holders available for purchase you may like to explore.  Something to look for when shopping is a base heavy enough to not topple over when in use.  I also like one that adapts for horizontal and vertical positioning.  My favorite came from Superior Thread and can be found at There are other spool holders out there and I am sure if they are sturdy would work well.

Tension – the machine’s; not yours

Before rethreading, be sure your foot and needle are in the highest position.  The foot off the feed dogs opens the tension disks so you can get the thread securely between them.  If you cannot remember the last time you cleaned between the disks, now is the time to do it.  Dental floss works, but my favorite tool is a pipe cleaner.  It grabs the dust and bits of thread that may be stuck in there.  Good tension is required for a proper stitch.

Proceed with rethreading.  Pay attention to every little hook and eye along the way, including watching where the thread goes when you reach the tension control.  The thread must be between the disks. 

Take Up Lever Needs Thread

Another place sometimes missed is threading the take up lever.  If you pretty much thread your machine automatically, it can happen you do not take the thread up the right of the lever and seat it in position before going down the left side.  Ask me how I know!


Sometimes rethreading a sewing machine may correct the stitch problem. Be sure to thread the needle correctly and sew a line or two of stitches.  Is your problem fixed? If so, you may get back to your project.

If this was not the fix you were hoping for, do not despair.   Process Two is about a threesome and what makes it work.  Why are you blushing?  I am talking about needle, thread, and fabric. 

Stay grounded with laughter!  A good chuckle helps keep the mind logical and the crazies at bay.  This is so important during the adjustments we must make to stay healthy and safe in our COVID-19 world.