Sewing Machine Thread Bunching Up? Here's Why!

You’re in an excellent sewing groove, your machine humming along when out of nowhere your thread begins tangling on your fabric. So. Very. Annoying.

Known as bunching or bird nesting, this is one of the most common — and maddening — sewing-machine headaches. But it’s also one of the easiest to fix without requiring a desperate trip to the sewing-machine mechanic.

Here’s how to untangle the problem.

If the Thread is Bunching on Top of Your Fabric

The culprit is most likely your bobbin.

1. Is Your Bobbin Thread Threaded Correctly?

If your machine uses a bobbin case, take the bobbin completely out of the case and re-thread it. Be careful to follow the instructions for your machine.

Also make sure you have the bobbin thread engaged in the bobbin tension. A good test: Hold on to the bobbin thread with one hand. If the bobbin drops all the way to the floor, you missed the tension spring in the bobbin case.

2. Is Your Bobbin-Case Tension Too Loose?

Have you loosened the screw on your bobbin case to accommodate thicker threads for surface design work? If so, you may not have re-adjusted it correctly for regular thread. After properly threading the bobbin case, tug gently on the bobbin thread. You should feel some resistance, but the thread should move freely. If you do make any adjustments to the screw, do so in small increments to avoid dislodging it entirely.

If the Thread is Bunching Underneath Your Fabric

The problem probably has to do with your needle tension.

1. Is the Needle Thread Threaded Correctly?

Cut the thread a few inches from the spool and pull it through the needle. Then re-thread it, taking care to engage the upper thread completely in the tension discs.

A little trick: Hold the thread on either side of the tension disc, then slide it back and forth a bit between the plates with a flossing motion. The tension discs need to “grasp” the thread snugly.

2. Is the Presser Foot Up?

Duh. We’ve all done it!

3. Is Your Machine Clean?

A good cleaning may solve your bunching woes (check your manual for guidelines on cleaning and maintenance; your machine may also need to be oiled).

To prevent stitch glitches, be sure to frequently dust underneath the throat plate and along the thread path, and to periodically clean and oil your machine. Also, always use the correct bobbins for your machine’s make and model, along with good quality thread, and a new, sharp sewing machine needle.

This should keep your machine — and all your awesome sewing projects — humming along.

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

9 Responses to “Sewing Machine Thread Bunching Up? Here's Why!”

  1. Viola

    How do I fix my single soil machine?When the ge gathers in the bottom the thread

  2. Esther waweru

    Thank you your advice was helpful

  3. Jeri

    The bread bunches up under my fabric,

  4. ElmaBrown Mitchell

    thread bunching up.

  5. leroy

    dont know how to adjusi the tension singer model 3102

  6. GerardAnilm

    <b>6]We are happy to advertise the inauguration of our website</b> <a href="" rel="nofollow ugc"><b>5]</b></a> <b>5]We hope this will bring you joy and you will identify the cheats for the games you're looking after!</b> <b>5]Related Media</b> <b>5] Feedbacks can be found on our website and Discord Server! We have been on the store since 2020!</b> <b>6]Happy Shopping!</b>

  7. Diana Conner

    Sometimes When I start sewing, the machine does not feed forward, but sews in place.

  8. Jayne

    Singer sewing machine. The bottom thread is bunching up sporadically, mostly when I'm approaching a seam. I have tried all the fixes, such as: replacing the needle, using the right size needle, rethreading both the thread and the bobbin, cleaning the machine. I have the tension on auto, but I have tried it on other settings to no avail. I've tried with scrap fabric and it always works fine, but when I try sewing the garment, it keeps bunching!! I'm at my wit's end with this. Can you suggest anything I haven't already tried? Thanks!

  9. Lisa

    I have a Brother CS6000i and the upper thread has started wadding up what is causing this