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Title: ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
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(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:23)
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Embroidery Troubleshooting

Tips and Tricks

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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:25)

Test sewing
Somebody once said "There are two kinds of embroiderers.  Those who test sew, and those who wish they had."  Prewash a few yards of white cotton fabric, and tear it into squares.  If you make them eleven inches, you can get 4 pieces across a 45 inch wide piece of fabric, and you will have around 10.5 inch squares after the edges fray a little.  Use your stack of squares for test sewing, and use the good tests for quilt squares.  You can also use them for pockets on a purse, shirt, bag, or other project. 
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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:27)

Tension problems
Do a tension test every day when you first turn on your machine.  Stitch three satin stitch columns, such as the letter "I".  The underside should be 1/3 bobbin thread down the middle, with top thread showing on the outer 1/3rds.  You shouldn't need to adjust your bobbin tension once it's set, so always adjust the top tension and only change the bobbin tension as a last resort.
If upper thread is lies straight along the top of the fabric, then the needle tension is too tight, or the bobbin tension is too loose.  If the lower thread lies straight along the fabric, then the upper tension is too loose, or the bobbin tension is too tight.  If the bobbin thread suddenly shows on top in the middle of stitching out the design, you may have a buildup of lint and dust in the bobbin case.

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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:28)

Upper Thread Breaks
Caused by:
Upper threading not correct
Upper thread tangled or knotted (such as metallic thread on wrong spool)
Spool set incorrectly
Wrong needle
Damaged shuttle
Lint in the bobbin case
Upper tension too tight
Needle set incorrectly
Needle blunt or bent
Thread too coarse for needle
Roughened hole in throat plate

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sewingnita
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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:28)

Bobbin Thread Breaks
Caused by:
Upper thread tangled
Bobbin threaded wrong in shuttle
Bobbin tension too tight
Bobbin wound unevenly

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sewingnita
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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:30)

Broken Needles
Broken needles cause the hook to get burrs.  Use a crocus cloth to lightly sand out the scratch.  Broken needles are caused by:
Wrong size needle for thread and material
Needle bent
Hitting a loose presser foot
Hitting edge of hoop
Embroidery too dense
Fabric too thick for size of needle, such as over seams

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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:31)

Skipped Stitches
Caused by:
Needle inserted wrong
Wrong type of needle (too small for thread)
Wrong combination of fabric, thread, and needle
Dust and lint clinging under the needle plate
Upper threading incorrect
Needle blunt or bent
Needle rubbing presser foot
Long satin stitches will skip if too long (they won't catch the bobbin thread every time).

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sewingnita
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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:33)


Holes in fabric
For tiny holes, enlarge the design by 3-8 percent, and print it out.  Use your printout to see if you can overstitch with the larger design to cover the hole.  For larger holes, or to remove old embroidery, carefully cut design out of fabric.  Use spray adhesive to apply cutaway stabilizer to the back, use a light fill stitch to fill the hole, then resew the design.  If you're embroidering on knits, make sure you're using a ballpoint needle and not a sharp.

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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:34)

Hooping and Stabilizers
Ideally, you should only use one piece of stabilizer for most jobs, but you should never use more than 2 pieces of light or medium stabilizer.  If you need more than that, then there's a problem with the design.  If it's not worth your time to re-edit the design, then don't embroider it.  If a design is too dense, it may look good when you first stitch it out, but it may
buckle and never lay flat once it's washed.  Never spray the garment with sticky spray, always spray the stabilizer, then stick the item to that. Always hoop the stabilizer with the garment, don't float it under the hoop.  The money you save will be wasted in the price of the ruined garment.  The garment should not slide against the stabilizer in the hoop, but should be
adhered to it, especially if it's a knit.  Adhesive sprays, adhesive stabilizer such as hydrostick, or basting-in-the-hoop are all designed to prevent the garment from moving, puckering, and bunching up.
  

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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:35)

Use a cutaway for knits.  Tearaway stabilizers will look great until you wash them, then as the backing degrades, it will not continue to be stable, and the design will start to cave in.  Designs that are digitized too dense will also cave in.
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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:35)

Tearaway stabilizers are ideal for woven fabrics such as cotton.  It's the perfect choice for placemats, tablecloths, quilt squares, and cotton shirts.
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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:36)

Water soluble stabilizers are often overused.  As a backing, they can be used for chiffon, organza, and other lightweight sheer fabrics, where a stiff backing is not desired after the item is embroidered.  They're also perfect for making lace.  Lace designs should have sufficient underlayer built in to make the design hold up without unraveling once the stabilizer
is dissolved away.  When embroidering on polar fleece and terry cloth, water soluble sheets can be used on top to temporarily hold down the nap of the design while it's being embroidered, but it's only temporary.  If the design is not digitized with a good "mesh" underlayer to continue holding the nap down, the nap will work it's way up through the embroidery after several washings.  If your design does not have a good underlayer, use bridal tulle or netting in the same color as the fabric instead of the water soluble topping.  Water soluble stabilizers are generally not necessary on knits or cottons.

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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:37)

Adhesive stabilizers such as hydrostick are ideal for small items that are difficult to hoop, such as ribbons, socks, and collars.  They come in both cutaway and tearaway versions, and can be used for the same types of fabrics that regular cutaway and tearaway can be used for.  Hydrostick cutaway is ideal for knits that you don't want to hoop, because you can get your stabilizer tight, then stick your shirt on without stretching the knit, making it easier to get your placement correct.

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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:37)

Hoop Marks
Remove with steam for light or medium fabrics.  On light or dark fabrics, spray with magic sizing and lay aside for 5-6 minutes until it's dry.

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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:38)

Whole design placement is off
If you're partway through embroidering, and you realize that your whole design is placed wrong, stop and look at the situation.  If you're too far into it to remove the stitching, then go ahead and finish embroidering it.  At that point, your shirt is ruined anyway, so you might as well not ruin the design you started sewing.  Cut it out of the shirt, and appliqué the square onto a new blank shirt, or make a matching tote bag to go with it.  You could also use it for your sample book.  Cut the rest of the shirt up into squares and use them for stitching out samples for customer orders.  Keep selections of t-shirt knits, cottons, fleece, and piques on hand for your samples.


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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:39)

Whole design placement is off
If you're partway through embroidering, and you realize that your whole design is placed wrong, stop and look at the situation.  If you're too far into it to remove the stitching, then go ahead and finish embroidering it.  At that point, your shirt is ruined anyway, so you might as well not ruin the design you started sewing.  Cut it out of the shirt, and appliqué the square onto a new blank shirt, or make a matching tote bag to go with it.  You could also use it for your sample book.  Cut the rest of the shirt up into squares and use them for stitching out samples for customer orders.  Keep selections of t-shirt knits, cottons, fleece, and piques on hand for your samples.


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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:40)

Problems with designs
Most stitching problems go back to the design itself.  If you have a problem that shows up in the same spot every time you sew it, then it's not your machine, it's the design.  You need to re-edit the design.  One of the drawbacks of the digitizing programs with the automatic features is that the designs nearly always have to be reworked.  The main problems
are that they will start sewing the design (or the underlayer) right in the middle of a color block, go to one side, start back at the other side, and finish in the middle
again.  The method adds tons of extra stitches that aren't necessary, and slows down production time.  The other main problem with the automatic
digitizing systems is that many designs have too many unnecessary color changes.  It
all adds up to slowed production, and increased chance of thread breaks, density problems, and problems with outlines meeting the color block fills.
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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:40)

Outlines off
Usually caused by poor stabilizing, but if your test samples are always off in the same place, then the problem lies with the digitizing.  What direction is the fabric nap in relation to the stitch direction?  Are there several design areas that have the same stitch direction?  Long satin
stitches pull more than short stitches.  Designs that are too dense will push the fabric and make the outline go on top of the filled areas.
  

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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:41)

Fixes:
Re-edit the design, use a basting stitch to hold fabric in place better (especially if you use spray adhesive and don't hoop the shirt), hoop the shirt also, add a thick satin stitch around the outline, use permanent markers to fix tiny areas.  Never float your stabilizer with a knit, always hoop your stabilizer.  The money you save will be wasted when you waste the shirt.
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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:42)

Fills that aren't filled
Re-edit the design if it's worth it, or trash it if it's not.  If the gaps are slight, you can put some fabric underneath the stitching, that's near the same color of the thread.  For example, you can use white fabric on a black t-shirt, underneath the white thread that has a gap in the design.
Sew the outline to hold down the fabric like an appliqué, trim the fabric, then start embroidering the design from the beginning.
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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:46)

Tape is our friend
Removes lint
Removes clipped threads from new embroidery
Removes basting stitches from quilts and baste-in-the-hoop items
Cleans threads off carpet by trashcan
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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:48)

Metallic Thread
Important points to consider are name brand of thread, thread delivery system, tension, and needle.  Not all brands of metallic thread are the same, even though they may look alike.  Superior Threads brand of metallic is coated with a clear finish to help it run smoother, and protect it from shredding and tarnishing.  It has a nylon core for strength, and rice paper construction for flexibility.  Metallic thread should be mounted so that it unwinds off the side of the spool.  If it comes off the top, it adds another twist every time it comes around, eventually causing kinks, breaks, or thread nests.  On a home machine, you should use the vertical spool pin.  If you're using a large cone of thread, buy a King Kone spool adapter, which mounts on your vertical spool pin.  You shouldn't have to change the preset tension in most home machines, but there are a few brands, particularly the POEM, that don't use 40 wt thread for their ideal tension.  If you're not sure, do a tension test as mentioned at the top of this page, and adjust tensions carefully if needed.  If you need to, it's okay to skip the last thread guide or tension disk, especially if you're just changing the tension for one thread color.  The main goal of the tension disks is to establish a workable tension from point A (the spool) to point B (the fabric).  It won't hurt the machine if you skip a spot along the way. The needle needs to be able to accommodate the thread you're using.  A Metafil needle is a 90/14 sharp needle that has a deeper groove, larger eye, and Teflon coating on the eye, making it ideal for metallic threads.  If you need a ballpoint needle for knits, or don't have a metallic needle handy, you can substitute a 90/14 ballpoint needle or use a topstitch needle, which has a larger eye.  Be careful if you decide to use titanium needles.  They're stronger, but if they don't break under pressure, then they may bend and damage your machine when they come back down again.
  

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RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:49)

Tools to keep on hand
Hand needles for skipped stitches
Thread
Permanent colored marking pens - use for bobbin threads on top, or for very small spots, not for coloring in large areas
Magnifying glasses or a jewelers monocle
Good light source
Razor blade
Stitch remover with pressing ham
Packing tape with holder
Steamer
Iron
Pressing cloth
Spray bottle
Magic Sizing
Extra ballpoint needles
Spare light bulb for machine 
Machine oil 
Tweezers or hemostats
screwdrivers


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Time spent: 19194 hours

RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 18:51)

For quick design centering on dish towels, hand towels, etc., iron the item, and then lightly press a centered vertical crease by folding the item in half;  very quick with no need to worry about pins or marks not coming out.  If you want the center of the item, fold the item in half the other way and lightly press a horizontal crease; where the creases intersect will be the exact center of the item.   This tip will also work if you want to have designs aligned with each other, such as along a bottom border-just press a crease to represent the line you want the design(s) to sit or be centered upon.   Then fold and press vertical creases the determined number of inches apart.  You will have an instant placement guide that will press right out when you are done embroidering.
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Rank:Advanced Gold

Status: craftin again and lovin it
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Posts:9751
From: USA
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Time spent: 19194 hours

RE:ME ( Machine embordery )Embroidery Troubleshooting
(Date Posted:01-04-2009 19:02)

For quick design centering on dish towels, hand towels, etc., iron the item, and then lightly press a centered vertical crease by folding the item in half;  very quick with no need to worry about pins or marks not coming out.  If you want the center of the item, fold the item in half the other way and lightly press a horizontal crease; where the creases intersect will be the exact center of the item.   This tip will also work if you want to have designs aligned with each other, such as along a bottom border-just press a crease to represent the line you want the design(s) to sit or be centered upon.   Then fold and press vertical creases the determined number of inches apart.  You will have an instant placement guide that will press right out when you are done embroidering.
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