How to stop thread jam and cotton lock for beginner sewer

It’s frustrating, right? You’ve just figured out how to thread the machine, filled your bobbin, got it all going, you start to sew, and it just turns into a big, ugly mess. All the threads are jammed up.

They’re all knotted, or they disappear, or just, it’s a disaster. So, you re-thread it, put it all through, think you fixed it, and it just keeps happening. I know, it’s so frustrating. I’m going to tell you the top three things that all new sewers can do to help stop thread jamming, so you can get on with your sewing.

My first tip for new sewers to avoid cotton lock and thread jamming is to actually leave a longer length on your threads. You need a decent amount of length from your threads here, both your bobbin and your top thread. I see a lot of students cut them off down here, for example, and then they start sewing, and these are too short. As your machine starts turning around, it actually draws those threads back through, into itself, in which then, if you find that your needle thread falls out all the time, this is probably why.

So, you want to make sure that you pull these out, and leave a good, at least 15 centimeters of length in those tails. Even if your thread cutter cuts them off at a certain length, just give yourself a little bit longer, longer is better to start with. My second tip to stop and avoid thread jamming, is to actually hold onto these tails when you start sewing. So, as I was mentioning, those threads are drawn back into itself as you begin to sew, if you put a little pressure on these and hold them, it will stop them from tangling up as you begin to sew As you start sewing, getting in the habit of just putting your finger down here, to put a little pressure on it, as you begin to sew, is a good habit to get into.

My number three tip to avoid thread jamming and cotton lock, is to actually not start sewing right at the very edge of your fabric. A lot of new sewers will actually put their fabric right on the edge, and the needle will then go down right onto the very, very tippy edge of the fabric, and that will actually cause the needle to pull down fabric with it. And that can cause all sorts of knotting, and all sorts of jamming. So, what you want to do, start about five mil, or even one or two centimeters would be fine when you’re just learning. Start there, go forward your two or three stitches, and then, reverse back past where you started from, so it actually sews up those fabric edges, and then continue to go forward.

Because the fabric would have already locked itself into the fabric, and then you won’t get any knots as you get close to that edge. So those are my top three pieces of advice for all new sewers. They’re the things that I find most commonly not done, and is the reason why most people get that horrible, dreaded cotton lock or thread jamming. So, I hope it has given you a little advice in your sewing, and you might be able to now avoid those horrible cotton locks and thread jamming that is just so disruptive to your sewing.