What is Wrong With My Embroidery Machine?

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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 saw 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
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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 been 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 the 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 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.

  1. Jeanne Pattison says:


    I love all your tips. I have used several with great success.

  2. kathy in buffalo says:

    Hey, Sara,
    I have a HV Topaz 30 and learned this the hard way. I find I like it better if I leave the thread cutter off completely. Cutting threads is easy compared to cleaning up a big mess. I also love your tips.

    1. Sara says:

      Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for your note! Happy Embroidering!

  3. Jean says:

    I have been doing this for a while now because when I have the thread cutter turned on my needle needs to be threaded every time it cuts the joining threads. You are right Sarah, the back is perfect without the thread cutter on. Do you know if it is normal for the needle to be re threaded constantly when the cutter is on for the 770. I tend not to use the thread cutter because of the needle threading, so most times it is always off. I do quite a lot of embroidery and just love the information that you pass on. Thanks you for that!

    1. Sara says:

      Hi Jean,

      If your needle is coming unthreaded when using the thread cutter, your Bernina dealer can adjust it for you. You are correct, it should not do that. 😉


      1. Jean says:

        You are the best Sara, thank you!

    2. dayyan says:

      this is very good article regarding PE770 issues and other embroidery thread problem.
      I also find some useful information about PE770 at

    3. Suzanna says:

      I am thankful to Sara for covering the embroidery machine issues in one place. You are doing a great job. You are right, I also not use thread cutter with my Brother Pe770 Embroidery Machine which I bought.

  4. Michelle Stora says:

    I have a Husqvarna Viking Designer SE, Ltd. How do I disengage the thread cutter. Also how is it done on a Diamond Royale. Thank you

    1. Sara says:

      Hi Michelle,

      You will find the thread cutter options in the settings menu. Here is a video to help:


  5. Trudy Moore says:

    Sara, I have an viking epic. I have a hard time centering my projects. I needed of help on embroidery

    1. Sara says:

      Hi Trudy,

      You will want to use the Design Positioning area to center your embroidery design. Here is a link to a video about this topic:


      Sara Snuggerud

  6. Corie says:

    I got for Christmas a Designer Topaz 40, The material is stuck in the feet area and my feet adjuster is not working.How do I
    release or remove the stuck fabric?

    1. Sara says:

      Hi Corie,

      You might need to cut out the fabric if it is stuck in the throat plate area. Sorry.

  7. Marie Andersen says:

    Hi! I just bought a Husqvarna Opal 650. When I embroider/sew a name, It was a total mess, the back is much, much nicer than the front. What did I do wrong?


    1. Sara says:

      Hi Marie,

      Double-check that you have the bobbin thread completely in the bobbin case tension. This video will help:

  8. Stacy Kenny says:

    Sara, I am a beginner but my husband bought me the Designer Diamond Royale anyway. I’ve been slowly learning the last 3 months, watching all your videos…. Today was my first day embroidering. My first embroidered shirt went okay. Everything worked. I think I had the wrong thread of needle as my tension seemed a little off and it was slightly messy in places. Only things I noticed. The second shirt (same exact design and Hoop) the machine was not cutting the threads between jumps. It was making the sound like it’s cutting though. I tested it out in sewing mode and it cuts the thread just fine. Do you think I need a new blade?

    1. Sara says:

      Hi Stacy,

      You are going to love your new sewing and embroidery machine! Yes, there is a time when a new blade may be needed.

      Make sure the bobbin thread is correctly in the bobbin tension. If it is not, the cutter will sometimes not work.

      You can also try a different bobbin thread. Some bobbin thread is very stretchy and the cutter has a hard time cutting through it.

      Happy Embroidering!

      Sara Snuggerud

  9. Crystal Moore says:

    Hi Sara,
    I have a Husqvarna Diamond Royal. I am trying to do an edge to edge quilting embroidery pattern, and my top thread keeps breaking. I stitched out the design on tear away stabilizer and it is perfect, but when I try to stitch it on the quilt my thread keeps breaking. I am using Aurifil 50 wt thread. Do I need to use embroidery thread, change the tension (if so to what), change my needle, use a special foot? Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Sara says:

      Hi Crystal,

      A top stitch 90/14 needle is needed for quilting with an embroidery machine. If you continue to get thread breaking, switch to a stronger thread like Isacord.

      Happy Embroidering,

      Sara Snuggerud

  10. Annette Postel says:

    Hi. Whenever my epic 2 starts to embroider I get a nasty 4-5 stitches (knots? ) on the back. I also get this during sewing when the fix function is on. How can I get the back of my embroidery and my decorative sewing stitches to look pretty on the back ?

    1. Sara says:

      Hi Annette,

      Would you send us a picture of what you are seeing on the back of your fabric so we have a better idea of what is happening?


      Sara Snuggerud

  11. Stephanie Richmond says:

    Hi, I want to embroider a hat but facing an issue with lettering as my hat embroidery machine (PE800) is not able to embroider letters on the hat quickly. Can you please tell me what I am missing? Thanks.

    1. Sara says:

      Embroidering on hats using a home embroidery machine is not very easy. Try using a sticky type of stabilizer and choose a soft, flexible style of hat to embroider on.

  12. Tamar says:

    My topaz 50 hates me. It’s only a year old, back from service for a week. I took it in because thread breaks & shredding.
    I have been embroidering on my brother for years so I know all the standard things to do/try. I’m ready to throw this away, I feel like I wasted my money

    1. Sara says:

      Hi, Please reach out to your local Husqvarna Viking store for assistance.

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