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Why Is My Sewing Machine Looping Underneath? – Find Out Here!

As you stitch up your sewing projects, you can sometimes find your top thread is looping underneath, and you can’t figure out why.

You’ve got all the tension set on your machine, and you’ve loaded the bobbin correctly, so why is your sewing machine looping underneath?

The problem may be that you haven’t set the tension on your sewing machine correctly.

You may think of your tension setting as the adjustment that controls how tight your stitches are, but your tension setting also affects how your top thread is behaving, and if it’s set too tight, it might be looping underneath.

If you’re a sewing machine user, you’ve probably come across a problem where your sewing machine appears to be looping beneath the fabric but the needle never actually pierces through.

This is a common problem for sewing machine users.  

If you are experiencing a loop underneath your fabric when sewing and your needle is going underneath the fabric then that may be caused by a few different reasons.

Here are some of the most common causes: 

  • There is a thread that is caught underneath the needle plate or machine foot
  • There is a problem with your needle such as a bent one
  • There is a problem with the bobbin case or bobbin tension
  • There is a problem with the thread feeder
  • Your needle plate is not square to the machine

The first thing to do is to try and check the bobbin case.  

A needle gets stuck underneath the plate or your machine foot because a thread is caught underneath that.

Thread the Machine Properly

It’s an all too common mistake that even experienced seamstresses can make. Suddenly you’re sewing along and you notice your machine has looped underneath.

It’s a real pain to have to rip out your seam to fix it, and it can be a real headache to figure out what went wrong, especially if you don’t know what to look for.

Threading your sewing machine is pretty simple, but it is also one of the most neglected parts of sewing. Why?

Because it’s not complicated, and you get away with it every time.

But eventually, you’ll get annoyed at the lumps and loops that keep popping up, or you’ll be tired of constantly using your seam ripper, and you’ll want to follow the steps of threading your machine the right way.

Change the Needle

The needle on your sewing machine might loop underneath the fabric when you are sewing. This means the needle has been pushed under the fabric instead of cutting the fabric.

This problem can occur if the presser foot is not fully lowered and the fabric is not being held flat against the feed dogs.

The needle should cut the fabric while the presser foot is fully down and the fabric is being held flat against the feed dogs.

“Change the needle to stop your sewing machine from looping underneath”, the most basic of sewing machine fixes, can be surprisingly hard to do.

The needle plate is a small, but very important part of your sewing machine. It’s the piece of metal that holds your needle in place while you’re working.

That needle is what makes the magic happen. If it’s not in the right place, it can cause all sorts of problems for your sewing machine.

Inspect the Bobbin

If you’ve bought a sewing machine in the last decade or so, you’ve probably had to deal with a frustrating problem: it’s when your machine starts sewing in a small loop rather than a straight line.

The thread loops around the bobbin, and your machine seems to be sewing itself into a knot.

Clean the Machine

This is a common problem with sewing machines and will often happen when you first get a new machine.

The problem is that the hooks or fingers that pull the material through are getting gummed up with lint and thread from the bobbin and the needle, and they just can’t grab the material to pull it through.

If you clean out the machine and change the needle, the problem should go away, but it can also be caused by worn or bent parts.

Correct thread tension

One of the main reasons for sewing machine looping underneath is incorrect thread tension. When you have the wrong thread tension, the bobbin thread either can’t unwind or doesn’t have enough tension while sewing, which can cause the stitches to sink into the fabric.  

To avoid this, be sure to check your sewing machine manual for how to adjust the thread tension. Many machines have an automatic tension control that is set to the factory default, which can cause looping.

Make sure that the tension control is set to a medium setting and make sure that the bobbin case is filled with the correct amount of bobbin thread for your sewing machine.  

This can be found in your sewing machine manual.

Add a Stretch Band to Stretch Fabrics

Often your sewing will loop underneath in the bobbin area. This is often caused by using sewing stretch fabrics and sewing cotton fabrics.

To help prevent this, you can add a stretch band to help take the excess stress off the sewing machine. This will break up the tension between the bobbin area and the sewing machine.

You can use any stretch band that will fit over the bobbin case. You can also use a hairband, rubber band, or elastic.

If you have a serger, you know that sometimes the fabric can loop underneath the needles and cause you problems when sewing.

You can have the needle bar lowered and the loopers come down, but the fabric loops under there and causes problems.  The best way to fix this is to turn your fabric every so often.

In Conclusion

Many sewers do not know that the looping issue of the sewing machine is caused by the lower thread tension, but in fact, the upper thread tension is also related to this issue, because the upper thread tension directly determines the lower thread tension.

If you want to avoid looping underneath the fabric, you should adjust the upper thread tension to the proper one, and also pay attention to the length of the stitch.

Kirsten Carter

Kirsten Carter

Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she's not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.View Author posts

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