Embroiders get very concerned when they see all these extra threads tangled up on the back of their embroidery project. Is there something wrong with my embroidery machine?
First, there is nothing wrong with the embroidery machine. But if you do encounter this ugly looking back after completing an embroidery design, here is what is going on and how to fix it.
It is a combination of just the right, or should I say wrong, scenarios all coming together at once:
- You are using an embroidery machine that cuts between every thread jump
- There are lots of small embroidered areas next to each other like letters
- The back of the fabric will be seen (not covered) like on the back of a tea towel
Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff embroidery machines are programmed to magically cut the jump stitches so the user does not have to at the end of the design.
NOTE: Not all embroidery machines cut both the top and bottom threads at each jump. If you have never seen this problem on your embroidery machine, you have nothing to worry about.
These embroidery machines are designed to pull the top thread down to the back and cut both the bobbin and needle thread at once. This process does leave a set of tails on the back side of the fabric. When multiple thread cuts are so close together the tails can start to look like a small forest.
When the design has so many starts and stops like for lettering, that’s a lot of cutting! So much so, that the threads being cut start to look messy on the back.
When Does it Not Matter What the Back Looks Like?
When the finished project does not have a covered back, this can appear a bit messy. Tea towels are one of the most obvious places this can be seen.
When a finished embroidery design’s back will be completely hidden, there is no worry to turn off the thread cutter. If it will not be seen, no one will ever know. This would be on quilt labels, garments with linings, potholders with backs, quilts, and table runners with backs, etc.
Turn off the thread cutter.
But I spent all this money on a fancy embroidery machine and you want me to turn OFF the thread cutter? Yes. If the thread cutter is off the back of the project will look almost as perfect as the front. When the back is going to be seen, turn off the thread cutter.
How to Turn Off the Thread Cutter for Embroidery?
In both the Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff embroidery machines, go into the Settings area of the machine and find the “Thread Cut Options” and uncheck the boxes.
This video talks about where to turn off the thread cutters. Click here to start the video at 2:56.
An Extra Benefit For Turning Off the Thread Cutter
An embroidery design with lots of lettering will actually embroider out FASTER with the thread cutter turned off. Because the machine is not starting and stopping to cut all those threads, the design will quickly stitch out everything without pausing for one second. Yes, you will need to trim between the letters when it is finished, but that is the easy part.
Remember to Turn the Cutter Back On
Leave yourself a reminder or sticky note to remind yourself to turn the thread cutter back on at the end of the project. We often have students who have forgotten they turned off the thread cutter and then went months before getting back to their embroidery machine. If you don’t use your machine often to remember that it was turned off it might never get turned back on until someone in a class notices it!
TIP #1: When I have lots of small trimming to do, leave the project hooped. Hooped fabric is the easiest way to trim all the small jump stitches.
TIP #2: If you are doing lots of embroidery and thread trimming, purchase a second hoop so that when one design is done, another embroidery design can be all hooped up and started immediately.
Thread cutters are amazing, but knowing when and when not to use them is the key to successful embroidery.