Picking up where I left off on my last blog post, I want to address the problems of dealing with various threads when sewing and embroidery as opposed to free motion quilting.
I have had an interest in threads for a very long time and have been fascinated to see the development of threads over the past few decades. Threads I use today are clearly considerably better than those I used decades ago when I had my fashion design and tailoring business in Ithaca, NY in the mid 70s to mid 80s. Even the threads I used then of the same brands have seemingly improved in their tencil strength and reduction of lint. Even then though I used what I determined were the best thread brands available. So I suggest not using older threads from your great aunt’s basket, but any of the threads in your stash of a good brand are probably ok even if they are a decade old.
One of the chief things is to keep your machine clean and oiled, your thread properly threaded (pulling off the top if it is cross wound, and from the side if it is stack wound). Almost all the machines today have a method for both threadings. Check your manual. My Bernina 880 plus has a little metal eyelet hole to send the stack wound through before threading it. I am not sure that is obvious, so check your manual.
First of all, I suggest you go back and read my last blog that was centered around thread management in free motion quilting. Even so, though there are many things there that are the same for sewing and embroidery.
For the most part, when sewing clothes and accessories on the sewing machine, the tension goal is the same as for quilting..a balance between the top and the bottom, but tension settings sometimes have a different goal especially for decorative stitching and embroidery where the tension may be best when pulling to the back more than the front. My Berninas automatically adjust that when I switch to decorative stitching and I never really have to think about it. But if you are having trouble with your threads breaking or somehow misformed stitches, then it is likely some adjustment to the tension needs to be made.
Yes, you can change the bobbin tension!!!! I have heard so many people say they were told not to change the bobbin tension, and that limits you to the standard thread weights and cuts out some wonderful specialty thread work you could do. But you may want to have a separate bobbin case if your bobbin works that way to use for specialty bobbin work or changing the tension to accommodate a specialty thread. My Bernina 880 Plus has a tension adjustment method built in using that little multi-purpose tool. Check your manual.
Having the proper foundation for your sewing or embroidery project can make a huge difference in the behavior of your thread as you work. For the most part, when quilting, the batting and backing fabric provides sufficient foundation for even rather intensely quilted projects, but if you are doing fancy stitching with specialty threads on your sewing machine for say, your new summer dressy top, you will really need to add interfacings and/or stabilizers (tear away or wash away is best). I think I will write a separate blog on that subject because it is important and there is much to say about that. But getting it wrong can make you think there is something wrong with your machine or make your threads break and misbehave and your project get all bumpy and pully. So pay attention to the foundation.
Just like when you are quilting, you need to test things before you begin a project and periodically at certain phases of your project to make sure you have things working right before you stitch on your expensive fabrics. Make a test piece and take notes as you go If your machine saves personalized settings then use that function to save time.
I realized I wrote a post that addresses a lot of thread decisions already and it belongs with these two blogs.
Here is page 18 from my Bernina 880 plus manual. It has a great explanation of needles and what they are used for. I thought you would like to see it:
Sew after you read that blog and my last blog and this blog, (and your manual) do you have any questions I may be able to help answer in thread management? Please let me know. I want to help people enjoy their sewing and quilting with little frustration and a lot of fun.
Sew happy everyone. Take time to test and read your manuals as part of your project time especially if you have a deadline. Unsewing is no fun at all. Try out some of the wonderful specialty threads available. Cheers everyone.