3 solutions to stop thread breaking when sewing

Welcome back! Did you get your panels sewn together? Mine are all sewn together and today I’m going to focus on quilting the designer tote bag.

First though, I need to put the layers together. I have 3 layers – outer bag, batting and interfacing. The batting is optional but not the stabilizer as it’s what gives the bag some form and stiffness so that it just doesn’t collapse into a big lump of fabric.

3 layers to baste together

The best way to put these 3 layers together is with temporary spray adhesive such as 505 or SpraynBond. You could baste the layers with pins but the spray glue is much easier and more effective for this project because you don’t want any slippage of the 3 layers when quilting. I take my fabrics to the garage and spray out there on newspapers so that I don’t get any unwanted glue in the house plus it’s well ventilated in the garage.

Remember there will be a ½″ of the outer bag panel showing around the batting and backing which are the same size. The batting I put between the fabric and the stabilizer. Try to center the batting and stabilizer on the panel as best as possible.

After auditioning some Sulky Blendables thread on the panel I decided on the red and the green threads. The green for the burlap and the red for the rest of the bag. I don’t want the quilting to stand out and say here I am but I still want to be able to see it – the red/black variegated will work perfectly as it’s a muted color.

Auditioning thread

I started with the green thread and did stitch-in-the-ditch on each side of the burlap strips to secure them in the place. Using the walking foot the stitching was very easy as the seam is very defined with the canvas-like cotton.

Stitch-in-the-ditch on the green burlap

Straight lines will work best for the quilting of this project to mimic the burlap strips in the panel. I didn’t want to use any marking pens on this fabric so I used masking tape to mark my quilting lines and stitched along the edge of the tape.

Masking tape to mark the quilting lines

I did find that my thread was breaking while I was quilting – maybe because of all the glue or the thicker layers. Not sure why it was breaking but there are a few things one can do when the thread is breaking to help prevent further breakage.

#1 – use the appropriate sized needle – I had a Microtex 80 in the machine and so I changed it to a Microtex 90 since I was using a 30 weight thread. The eye of the 80 may not have been quite large enough to accommodate the 30 weight thread. If you have the appropriate sized needle in place and the thread keeps breaking then change the needle to a new one.

Microtex needles

#2 – use a free standing spool stand – put the spool of thread on a free standing spool holder by the machine. This allows for the thread to have further distance to come off the spool and straighten before it goes through the machine.

Free standing thread stand

#3 – if the thread continues to break, place the free standing spool stand on the floor which definitely allows for the thread to straighten before going through the machine.

Spool stand on the floor

I also found that I was getting some skipped stitches when I was quilting even though I was using a walking foot, had the appropriate tension and was taking my time. This could have been because of glue build up on the needle. I always keep alcohol swabs by my sewing machine so that I can give the needle a swipe with a swab to get any glue off of it. Nine times out of ten this fixes the issue of skipped stitches.

The red/black thread looks great on the panels. Just the look I was wanting.

Front and back panels quilted with straight horizontal lines

Repeat the basting process with the bottom and side panels then quilt with vertical straight lines. I decided to go with vertical lines as I didn’t want to have to match up the quilting lines on the side panels with the front and back panels – that would have been very tricky.

Side and bottom panels quilted

If I had had enough burlap I might have pieced my side panels to match the front and back and have the green accent strips go all the way around the bag. I think that would have looked quite nice but I didn’t have enough burlap.

Tomorrow it’s time to add some embellishing since we moved right along today quilting the designer tote bag. Happy Quilting!

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1:  Sulky stabilizer makes a quilted bag sturdy

Go to part 3:  How Fray Stop helps your quilting projects

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S. Brown May 12, 2021 - 1:18 pm
Thanks for your Tips!! I just got a juki tl2010. I was having issues with thread breakage while free motion quilting (so many variables there!!) I know a lot of it was due to drag etc. Then I pieced my son's quilt with zero breakage. Then I went to quilt his quilt and the breakage started occurring again. I had spray basted his quilt but not the first one. Once I was done with his quilt (and so frustrated by the breakage) I tried to piece and the breakage persisted. I am now thinking that the spray baste has something to do with it. I have what appears to be spots of gunk on the little extension table, like little balled rubber glue dots all over. Anyways, I think no more basting spray for me! If it is on the bed of the machine, I can just imagine what is happening when the needle goes through the basting and how it could be messing up stitch formation, or, just gumming up the thread! Again, thanks so much for the tips. I
Kathy E. March 5, 2017 - 9:01 pm
These are very helpful tips to keep in mind when the thread breaks. Mine was doing that recently and it frustrated me so much that I just had to walk away. Next time, I'll apply these ideas to get me back on track! Thank you!
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