Why is the thread tangling under the fabric?

Thread tangling under the fabric can be a frustrating issue for anyone sewing or using a sewing machine. It disrupts the stitching process and can lead to imperfect results. why thread tangling occurs is crucial for resolving this issue effectively.

There’s nothing more frustrating than encountering thread tangles lurking beneath your fabric mid-sew. This snarl can disrupt your sewing flow and leave you wondering what went wrong. But fear not, tangled thread is a common problem with a few key solutions!

Common Causes of Thread Tangling

Threading the Culprit?

Oftentimes, the culprit behind thread tangles is improper threading. Double-check that you’ve threaded both the upper thread and the bobbin according to your sewing machine’s manual.

 Ensure the thread is taut between the tension discs and isn’t catching on any parts as it travels through the machine.

thread tangling

Tension Trouble

Thread tension plays a crucial role in creating balanced stitches. If the upper thread tension is too loose, it won’t be pulled taut into the fabric, creating a loose loop that can snag on the bobbin thread and cause tangles underneath.

Conversely, excessively tight tension can restrict the thread’s movement, leading to similar issues. Refer to your machine’s manual to adjust the tension settings for optimal results.

Needle Know-How

A bent or blunt needle can snag the thread, causing it to bunch up under the fabric. Make it a habit to inspect your needle regularly and replace it when it shows signs of wear.

 Using the correct needle size for your fabric and thread weight is essential. A needle that’s too thin for thick fabric can struggle to penetrate, while a thick needle on delicate fabric can leave large holes.

thread tangling

Machine Maintenance

Neglecting regular maintenance of the sewing machine can lead to various issues, including thread tangling.

The buildup of lint, debris, or improper lubrication can hinder the smooth operation of the machine, resulting in tangling under the fabric.

Solutions to Prevent Thread Tangling

Adjusting Tension

Proper tension adjustment is crucial for preventing thread tangling. Experimenting with tension settings and ensuring balanced tension between the needle thread and bobbin thread can help prevent tangling under the fabric.

Using Quality Thread

Investing in high-quality threads can significantly reduce the risk of tangling. Choose a thread that matches the fabric and machine specifications to minimize tangling and ensure smooth stitching.

Checking Needle Condition

Regularly inspecting and changing needles is essential for optimal stitching performance. Dull or damaged needles can cause thread tangling and other sewing problems.

 It’s recommended to change needles after every project or depending on usage.

Regular Machine Maintenance

Maintaining your sewing machine regularly is vital for preventing thread tangling. Clean the machine regularly, remove lint and debris, and lubricate moving parts as needed to ensure smooth operation and minimize tangling under the fabric.

Importance of Addressing Thread Tangling

Addressing thread tangling promptly is essential to maintain the integrity of sewing projects. Ignoring this issue can result in uneven stitches, fabric damage, and frustration for the sewer.

 By identifying and resolving the root cause of thread tangling, you can ensure smooth and successful sewing projects.

Threading Extras

Beyond the basics, consider these additional tips:

  • Winding Woes: Ensure your bobbin is wound evenly without any loose threads or loops that could snag during sewing.
  • Leader and Out: Start your seam with a long “leader” of thread (about 6 inches) by holding the upper thread taut as you begin sewing. This prevents the initial stitches from loosening and causing tangles. Similarly, sew off the end of your seam for a secure finish.
  • Fabric Finesse: Certain fabrics, like knits and chiffons, are more prone to thread tangles. Experiment with different thread types and adjust your tension settings for these fabrics.

 Following these tips and consulting your sewing machine’s manual, you can keep your threads tangle-free and your sewing smooth sailing!


Why does thread tangling occur?

Thread tangling can occur due to various factors, including incorrect tension settings, poor thread quality, needle issues, and lack of machine maintenance.

How can I adjust the tension to prevent thread tangling?

To prevent thread tangling, experiment with tension settings on your sewing machine. Gradually adjust the tension until you achieve balanced stitches without any tangling.

Is it necessary to use high-quality thread to prevent tangling?

Yes, using high-quality thread suitable for your fabric and sewing machine can significantly reduce the risk of tangling. Inferior thread is more prone to breakage and tangling.

How often should I change my sewing machine needle?

It’s recommended to change your sewing machine needle after every project or every 8-10 hours of sewing time. Dull or damaged needles can contribute to thread tangling and other sewing issues.

What can I do if thread tangling persists despite adjustments?

If thread tangling persists despite making adjustments, try troubleshooting other potential causes such as thread quality, needle condition, and machine maintenance.

Consulting your sewing machine manual or seeking professional assistance may also be helpful.


Thread tangling under the fabric is a common issue faced by sewers and sewing machine users. The underlying causes, such as incorrect tension settings, thread quality issues, needle problems, and machine maintenance issues, it’s possible to prevent thread tangling and achieve professional-quality results in sewing projects.

Leave a Comment