How to Remove Thread From Sewing Machine (Stuck or Tangled)

It is a basic task, yet some people never seem to know how to get it done. That is what makes sewing so unique. Even the basic tasks have a correct way and a wrong way to remove a thread from a sewing machine. It's simple and easy to learn how to do.

How to remove thread from sewing machine: The correct way to remove a thread from a sewing machine is to cut it at the spool. Then you pull the rest of the thread out through the needle. This comes in handy if you want to change the color of your thread as you can use the old color to help you re-thread the new.

To learn more about removing the thread from your sewing machine, just continue to read our article. It may be a simple task that you may think you already know how to do. But it may surprise you that you do not have the technique down pat yet.

How do You Take The Thread Out of a Sewing Machine?


If it is not tangled up then the technique to remove your thread is very simple. You can simply snip the thread at the spool then pull it out in the direction it was threaded.

This technique leaves everything in position for when you want to re-thread the next time you do some sewing. If you are merely trying to change colors, this technique will help you re-thread your machine and save you a lot of time.

All you have to do is double-check to make sure the thread has gotten to all the correct positions on your machine. The reason why you do not pull back on the thread is that sewing machines, at least the more modern ones, can be very delicate.

By pulling in the reverse direction of the way you threaded your machine, you could cause some damage that may be expensive to repair. If you do not want to waste any thread, snip it down by the first tension and save a little.

Why is My Thread Getting Tangled?

There are a lot of reasons why your thread is getting tangled. One of the worst places for it to take place is under your material. When it does, you have to remove the tangled thread and start all over after fixing the problem.

Here are some reasons why your thread gets tangled:

  • 1. A dull needle - a sharp needle makes the interaction between needle and bobbin thread flow smoothly. A dull needle can ruin that process and create a messy thread mess for you to work on.
  • 2. Improper threading - if you did not thread your machine properly, then the bobbin thread may not be pulled into the fabric like it is supposed to. All you can do is unthread the machine and then re-thread it
  • 3. Misplaced bobbin - if you have the bobbin in backward or it is the wrong one for your machine then it will not unwind correctly. This malfunction will cause the bobbin thread and the upper thread to not interact correctly.
  • 4. You have the wrong tension - with the threads coming out at different speeds you will end up with a tangled mess. The threads are not be sent through the machine correctly and end up not interacting properly.

How to Remove a Tangled Thread From Sewing Machine


The simplest way is to cut the thread on your fabric where the tangle is and then at the spool. Once you do that, you can re-thread your machine and try again. If this doesn’t work, you may have to look at the major causes for tangled threads listed above and fix those.

First, after cutting and removing the thread check your tensions to see if they are set correctly. Next, before you remove the thread see if you made a mistake in threading. After that, check your bobbin to make sure it was placed inside the bobbin case right and that it is the right one.

Even a switch from metal to plastic or vice versa can cause you thread issues like a tangled thread. Finally, check to see if you have a dull needle. If you do, take the tie to replace it. If you have a Brother sewing machine they have a 20 step program you can follow.

Why does My Sewing Machine Keep Bunching the Thread?

One of the things you will find if you are new to sewing is that there are a lot of common sources for the different threads and other sewing issues you encounter. If you remember the movie the Usual Suspects, you should be able to understand that point.

Sewing has a list of usual suspects that are responsible for a majority of sewing issues. Make a checklist to save you time when you have to solve a bunching or tangle thread problem.

For bunching thread, there are some common sources shared with the tangled thread problem. One of the first places to look is how the machine is threaded. Even if you think you got it right, check again.

Next, check your bobbin and verify that you have the correct one for your machine handling the lower thread. Finally, check your needle as a dull one or even a bent one can cause bunching of your thread.

Go through the checklist of usual suspects before looking for other sources.

How do You Fix a Thread Bunching Up On a Sewing Machine?


If you find that one of the usual suspects is the culprit, then you have some solutions right at your fingertips. Starting with the dull, broken or bent needle, you simply have to replace it with the correct one. Make sure to install the needle all the way up so as not to cause yourself another sewing problem.

Next, replace the bobbin with the correct one. Replacement is one of the go-to solutions on a lot of sewing machine problems you encounter. If those two usual sources are not the issue then you may have to re-thread your machine. You may have made a mistake somewhere and the only solution is redoing your work.

The Brother Sewing Machine company seems to put a lot of repair instructions on the internet. If you own a brother sewing machine, you can try this link to help you solve your bunching problem.

Top Thread Stuck in a Sewing Machine

Sewing machines are precision machines. That means that it does not take much to cause a problem. Just like removing your thread the wrong way can damage a tiny spring used in some brands of sewing machines, getting thread stuck doesn’t take much.

Also, you may get a lot of suggestions as to what is wrong with your machine. The first place to look is at how you threaded the machine. If that is done right, then move on down to your bobbin and check it out.

If the tension is off just a little your thread can get stuck. Next up will be the tension dials. If they are not set right you could get stuck thread. If those options are not the reason for your problem then try to remember the last time you cleaned your machine.

Even if you cleaned it recently, some dust, lint or loose thread may have gotten in somewhere and cause the thread to get stuck. Clean your machine.

Removing Stuck Thread From Sewing Machine


The first step in removing stuck thread is to make sure you turn your sewing machine off. You do not want any accidents to occur and cause you even more problems. Also, you protect yourself from the possibility of a shock by doing this.

Next, look to see where the thread is stuck and if it can’t be moved then you will have no alternative but to cut it out. You can cut the thread at the first tension as some sewers do and save yourself some thread. Or you can cut it at the spool.

Try to move your thread forward through the needle. If it won’t move then you may have to make a second cut somewhere along the thread route to free up the thread. One thing you should be aware of is that if the thread is stuck inside the machine, don’t try to release it yourself. Take it to a repairman and get it removed.

Sometimes you can pull the thread back towards the handwheel just to get the thread loose again. Then re-thread the machine.

Some Final Words

Modern machines are not the only sewing machines you cannot pull the thread back without hurting the machine. It is always best to pull the thread out in the direction you are to go when you thread the machine. There will be exceptions to this rule from time to time but not always.

Just make a checklist of the usual suspects and go through that when you have trouble with your thread.

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