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Bobbin thread showing on top


Bobbin thread showing on top
« on: August 06, 2017, 16:23:43 PM »
My new embroidery machine (Husqvarna Viking Topaz 25) has been sewing like a dream.  However, in the past few days a couple of patterns have had a ridiculous amount of bobbin thread showing on the top.

My manual suggests that this means the top tension is too high.  Lowering it (the machine wants it to be 2.8, I've been down as far a 0.2) improves things a bit, but not enough.

The bobbin thread is only showing on stitches that go from right to left as it is being stitched - the vertical stitches are absolutely fine at any tension. The design where I'm having the problems is all satin stitch.  I've tried using different weights of fabric with exactly the same results.

The internet makes a number of suggestions.

  • The bobbin isn't threaded correctly.  It is.  I have checked and reloaded it.  The top thread too.
  • Only purchased, prewound bobbins should be used. You must be joking!!
  • The same thread should be used top and bottom (weight and fibre).  I'm using special bobbin thread, and it is different to the top thread.  Could this be it?  It did improve when I used the same thread, but it goes against all other advice that I've seen (and would mean I had to waste the 5000m reel of bobbin thread that I've just bought).  I also hadn't had a problem with this thread before now, even when paired with metallics.
  • Tighten the bobbin tension.  I really don't want to do this.
  • Use heavier stabiliser.  I don't have any at the moment.  The tearaway stabiliser I used at first just ripped and was useless.  Since then I've been using a medium weight fibrous soluble one - not the one that feels like plastic.

Does anyone have any experience or insight into this?  Is it possible that it is the pattern that is to blame?  The one where I'm having most trouble was created using the trial version of the Hatch software, using lettering, and there is no question that I could have missed all sorts of things that might have helped!
I might look as though I'm talking to you, but inside my head I'm sewing.


Re: Bobbin thread showing on top
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2017, 18:37:33 PM »
First thing I'd try is use a different stabilizer and see if things improve.
What does your manual say about prewound bobbins? Mine says specifically that prewound paper bobbins should not be used.
Do you have a special embroidery bobbin case?
If this just happens on just a couple of patterns and is fine on the guess would be it's the patterns.
Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.


Re: Bobbin thread showing on top
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2017, 19:15:34 PM »
I will do that - I have the stabiliser samples that came with the machine somewhere, although I'm not sure where.

My manual doesn't mention prewound bobbins at all, although it does say not to use non-Husqvarna bobbins, and I haven't yet seen any prewound ones, so I suppose that decides it!

The machine has a drop-in bobbin so the bobbin case is fixed.
I might look as though I'm talking to you, but inside my head I'm sewing.


Re: Bobbin thread showing on top
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2017, 19:52:31 PM »

A slightly thicker, iron-on, tearable stabiliser helped just a little bit.

Lowering the tension helped just a little bit.

Using the same weight and fibre of thread in the bobbin and at the top helped... A LOT.  Red top thread and yellow bobbin thread, and almost none of it showed through to the top.

Still has to be said that I've been using this reel of bobbin thread almost from the beginning and it has mostly been fine.

I might look as though I'm talking to you, but inside my head I'm sewing.


Re: Bobbin thread showing on top
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2017, 19:56:38 PM »
Maybe it's just this design? Did any bobbin thread come with your machine? Mine does have some, but it doesn't say what weight.
I'm not sure if your machine is sewing + embroidery or just embroidery. Mine has different bobbin cases (drop in) for sewing and from embroidery, with different tension settings, to avoid changing the tension on the bobbin when you switch between sewing and embroidery.
Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.


Re: Bobbin thread showing on top
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2017, 20:38:23 PM »
It is sewing and embroidery.  For sewing you tell it what sort of fabric you are using and it sets the tension for you (although I think you can override it).  For embroidery it sets it according to something I haven't yet figured out (although I've wondered whether it's set in the design - I need to do more research).  Again though, you can override it.

It came with three reels of thread, but they're all the same weight and fibre, and not marked as bobbin thread.
I might look as though I'm talking to you, but inside my head I'm sewing.


Re: Bobbin thread showing on top
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2017, 20:49:11 PM »
Acorn is this a purchased design?  If so which one?   What is the width of the satin stitches? 
Please don't mess with the tension on the bobbin case.  People always see a problem and fiddling with the tension always seems to be the first thing they alter.  There are lots of things to try before resorting to that.  If it is only these stitches, then it,s noun,I key to be  a tension problem, otherwise they would all be off. 
On embroidery designs you  should be using bobbin thread as it is finer.  There is no need to use embroidery thread in the top, that works out very expensive.  Of course, free standing lace designs are different as you can see the bobbin thread. 
As regards pre wounds, I wouldn't use them in that machine.  You could invalidate your guarantee.  And there is no need.  The machine is a nice one, only use the Husqvarna bobbins.


Re: Bobbin thread showing on top
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2017, 21:18:33 PM »
Thanks Ohsewsimple.  The design was one made by the trial version of the Hatch software, and is all lettering, and all satin stitch - about 5mm long.  It is only stitches in one direction that are causing a problem - left to right as you look at the machine.

I am having another problem, and I think I will have to contact the dealers about this (unless anyone has any advice).  When I set the machine to move the hoop to 'Bobbin Position' - ie so that I can change the bobbin while in the middle of a design - with some hoops it doesn't move far enough for me to get the bobbin out, or with one hoop I can just about get it out but can't put the new one in.
I might look as though I'm talking to you, but inside my head I'm sewing.


Re: Bobbin thread showing on top
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2017, 21:40:58 PM »
I don't know this software.  But I assume you have done this. Is it possible to go back and use a fill stitch rather than satin?  Have you got underlay under the satin stitches?   The maximum width you can really do is about 6mm for satin stitch before it becomes a problem getting caught etc. But I think I would be using underlay on a 5mm width.  This will stabilise the design and stop any pulling of fabric  etc. 
As regards the Bobbin Position, is it when you have a large hoop on!   Is it possible that you don't have enough room behind for the hoop to move to and it's being stopped by a wall or something?  I have a Husqvarna so know what you are talking about.  :). It,s a great feature. 


Re: Bobbin thread showing on top
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2017, 22:00:23 PM »
It gives me the option of something called Tatami, which seems to have a slightly woven appearance, satin, satin 3d, blanket stitch and embossed.  I will have a go with one or two of those - I only have 8 days of the trial left.

I would think I could come up with something similar using the Husqvarna truetype font creator thingy, which certainly ought to be optimised for my machine.

The bobbin position problem occurs with my endless hoop, which is 170 x 100 - that's the worst one - and the lesser problem is with the hoop that came with the machine (240 x 150).  My little (100 x 100) hoop is fine.  The machine is on a table with nothing at all in the way.
I might look as though I'm talking to you, but inside my head I'm sewing.


Re: Bobbin thread showing on top
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2017, 22:17:19 PM »
I would definitely try a fill stitch or laying down some underlay stitches.
Strange about the hoop position problem.  If you're certain nothing is stopping it, then I would get it back to the dealer.


Re: Bobbin thread showing on top
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2017, 13:26:21 PM »
Satin stitches in one direction are affected . . .   -  Yep that's a clue.

There's a technical explanation involving the physics of stitch formation by the machine, stitching speed and the need to manage the marriage between - top thread type and size, bobbin fill thread, stitch direction (angle), stitch width, stitch density, top thread tension, fabric properties, stabiliser type and hooping method.
So pretty much everything - but don't worry.

Where to start -

Quick fix 1 - Reduce the tension of the top thread for sewing satin stitch.

It is very, very common for users to have to reduce the tension of the top thread for machine embroidery.
On my previous machine, with one brand of Rayon 40s top thread and the bobbin fill I was using, as a matter of course the top tension had to be reduced by 3 points from the default, but when using a polyester (40s) the top tension had to be increased by 1 point above the default setting because of the stretchiness factor in the thread.

The default settings on any machine for machine embroidery (and decorative stitches) are only ever a starting point.  The operator is expected to adjust the top tension to get the effect wanted because different thread types and thickness behave in different ways along with different fabrics.
Avoid adjusting the bobbin case tension unless using an extra or spare bobbin case that you specifically want to callibrate for a particular bobbin thread.
Do download the free design and use it as a tester design for setting the top tension for your machine + the fabric, stabiliser and thread combination you've chosen.
It's a useful little design to do that until you digitise your own tester designs for choosing which digitising settings you prefer to use.
Another tension test designs -

Quick Fix 2 - Reduce the stitching speed setting on the machine
It's physics and there's plenty of technical explanations of what happens and why out there in cyberspace if you want to know.

Not so Quick Fix 3 - On your design file (not the stitch file) Reduce the stitch density (stitch spacing) of the satin stitch 
Your Satin Stitch settings are on a long stitch length and that's a factor along with the stitch direction and stitch density (aka stitch spacing).  It's usual to reduce the stitch density of most stitch patterns when digitising shapes and especially so with columns (and shapes) of satin stitch.
If it's a closed shape of satin fill or a 5mm wide run line of satin stitch try Object Settings of  -
Manual spacing 0.4, 0.5 or 0.6  (on the Fill Tab)
On the Stitch Settings tab try
Underlay 1 - Edge Run stitch length 2mm,  Underlay 2 - Zig Zag stitch length 3mm spacing 2mm, pull compensation of 0.2 or even 0.3 and a stitch angle of 3 rather than 0

You will still probably need to reduce the top tension on your machine for the stitch out.

Long way round fix -

digitise a test design for satin stitch so you can explore which settings to use on your machine and in the digitising programme.
Vertical & Horizontal columns of different widths, circles, rectangles and also fills of circles and rectangles of different sizes.
Also try different stitch angles, different stitch densities, different underlay settings and different pull compensation settings to explore how the settings selected when you digitise are critical to the effect that you want with the design.
It's worth watching this video to start getting your head around some of the digitising settings -

Any digitising software is only a tool to create and edit designs.  Whichever package is used, learning and understanding digitising techniques and how they behave when stitched is the same.

Re Wilcom Hatch Digitizer - it's a great programme that is independent of a sewing machine manufacturer's brand. It's the one I would choose over any on the domestic market at the moment, mainly because if there are any problems Wilcom have an interest in fixing any issues that arise.

Using a programme created for a brand like Janome, Brother, Bernina etc. you have to hope and pray that the brand company will evewntually refer the issues to the company that develops their digitising software for improvements and problems to be fixed.  Despite the expensive price of the packages, the brand companies don't really want to have to pay the bill for sorting out issues for fixes & updates and may prefer to delay things until a scheduled upgrade is due so they recover the cost from the user.

Currently I use Janome Digitizer V5 (just because it was part of a deal when I got the machine). 
Digitizer V5 is a sophisticated digitising programme that offers a great deal of scope and has several attractive and easy to use features.  Like all programmes, they're fantastic when they run well without glitches.  However, if there is a problem that is in the programme and needs a function improvement or a software fix - frustration, frustration, frustration. Right now I am experiencing a recurring issue with V5. 

At least with Hatch if there is an issue, you raise the problem directly with the company who created the programme.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 13:31:31 PM by Morgan »


Re: Bobbin thread showing on top
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2017, 14:40:21 PM »
Thank you so much Morgan.

I don't think I am going to be doing much digitising, at least for a while.  My trial version of Hatch runs out in a week, and I could buy soooo much thread and fabric for the cost of the full package...  :o  I do like to have some understanding of why things are happening though.

I was alarmed at how much I was reducing the top tension by - if I did that for normal sewing I'd have a birds' nest - so it is good to know that it is normal.

I am going to have to pay attention to the content of the threads I am using - fortunately most of them are the same make and composition. 

I may just do some samples and pin them to my notices board with a record of the tension needed for the different threads.

I have just heard back from the dealer about the issue with the bobbin position of the hoop.  Apparently it's just the way it happens with this model   -<  and I can get round it by removing the hoop and using the 'current stitch position' facility.
I might look as though I'm talking to you, but inside my head I'm sewing.