Sewing Issues

My Satin Stitches Dont Cover The Fabric

Sometimes when sewing an applique you might notice that the fabric isnt covered in one or more areas in your finished product. Consider the following:

1) Don't Resize an Applique (It's density gets all garbled).  Appliques come in various sizes so that you dont have to resize. Embroidery does not do well if its resized.  Only the raw native digitizing software allows for safe file resizing.

2) Trim close to the tack down stitch that secures the fabric down. Very close.

3) Use Heat n Bond Lite on your applique fabric to keep it from getting puckered and pulled

4) Be sure that you secure the embroidery arm. On most machines you have to secure the arm. Some machines do not alert you if you leave that lever up.

5) Finally, on occasion, an applique may have a missing section due to a mistake during the design process. Planet Applique designs are tested carefully, but if you find an error, please tell us so we can correct it. We strive for perfection.


My Applique Is Out of Alignment

There are some main culprits to misaligned appliques.  There is nothing wrong with the applique design itself.  Many issues can play a factor in this common problem. Consider the following in importance from first to last:

1) Make sure the embroidery arm is secured. If you forget to press the lever down that locks it in the machine, your entire design will be out of alignment from north to south, if facing your machine is north. This often occurs after trimming applie fabric and beginning the satin stitch phase. You will have to start over again.

2) The design you downloaded was an incomplete download, often due to slow internet connection speeds.  This is easy to find out. Go into your account on our website and find the download link again. Beside the link will be the file size of the design.  Make sure the size on your file on your PC matches the byte size listed on the website. If it doesn't, you need to redownload the file. 

3) Resizing the applique can cause unexpected results. Sometimes you can get away with it and the design is fine. But if you have resizing the design or altered it before stitching, anything could go wrong. Test sew the original of the design to determine if this is your error.


My Thread is Shedding

This is a very common issue with embroidery machine, particularly on lower end models.  There are some important ingredience that create this issue.  You should always have your machine serviced once a year and twice a year if you use it heavily to correct skipping, tension issues, and other mechanical wear.

1) Thread.  Make sure you are using a high quality thread. All Planet Applique designs are test sewn with Embroidery Shop (Poly X-40) thread without issue. Its a very good afforable thread brand.

2) The color of the thread.  White thread is stronger than black or brown thread. The reason for this is becuase the dye process weakens the fibers in thread and so dark colors take on more dye and can become more fragile.  When you find you have a bad cone of black or other dark color that breaks easily, throw it out and get a new one. Its best to always keep at least three each of your dark colors. They are prone to causing thread breakage.

3) Needle Size and eye size.  The default needle that ships on an embroidery machine when its sold it generally not good for applique work. Its often a 70/12 needle.  The problem is that the eye in this needle is too narrow, the needle too skinny. Logically you would think that this would slip through the fabric layers more easily.  But on the contrary, you need a bigger needle to make a BIGGER hole or opening in the fabric to reduce friction. The larger eye allows the embroidery thread to feed more freely. Replace your needles with 90/14 or 90/16 needles. Bigger needle and bigger eye. Another good rule of thumb is to buy titanium needles as well.

4)  If you have broken or bent a needle recently, you could have caused a bur to form on the bobbin casing. The bobbin casing is a black plastic circular shaped disc that lies beneath the metal feed dog plate. It will have a screw on it and a metal band on the inner portion.  Remove it and inspect it closely. If you broke or, worse, bent a needle, there is a very high probability that you chewed up that bobbin casing. You may be able to sand it smooth again. But its best to replace it. They are typically around 20.00 and no not require a repairman to replace if you are familiar with your machine.  Its a good idea to keep at least one spare bobbin casing and more if you can afford it.


My Needles Keep Breaking or Bending

Similar to the issue above and often related to shredding thread, needles can bend and break easily if the bobbin casing is burred or nicked.

1) Use titanium needles. These are stronger and stay sharp longer.

2) That pesky bobbin casing. If you've ever bent or broke your needle you most likely have a nicked bobbin casing. Remember its best to replace it and also to keep spares. A bobbin casing is shown above. The nicks occur where the needle passes it.  It passes so closely, within micromillimeters of actually touching it when its in perfect condition.  So any malformities in it will sever thread, bend more needles or break them, and chew up your project.

3) Your shirt, stabilizer, or garment is too thick.  Increase the needle size again to something larger and with an even bigger eye.

4) Thread jumps pull at the thread in your needle and can bend your needle.  When, for instance, sewing eyes on an applique of a person, as the machine moves from one eye to the other, if your machine does not trim the thread before moving over to the next eye, it can pull your thread too quickly and snap the needle, the thread, or even the bobbin thread. Be ready at your machine to manually trim with scissors if you machine does not automatically trim thread during jumps, or upgrade your machine to one that has this feature.


My Garment or Shirt Is Getting Eaten!

We've all had this happen multiple times. Its unfortunate to spend all that time trimming applique fabric and hooping your garment only to have it pulled down inside the machine!  Ugh! Here are some things to consider:

1) Your garment is too thick or your stabilizer is too thick. Increase needle size with a bigger eye. Or consider switching to a sharp needle versus ball point, even in knits. Sometimes its necessary. All test sews done on Planet Applique designs are done with a sharp 90/14 titanium needle on knit fabric or felt.

2) Your tension is off. It is not recommended to fix tension by yourself. Take your machine to your local dealer and have them reset the tension and TIMING on your machine. Take with you a flash drive to test the design you were originally sewing out to be sure the issue is resolved.

3) Check the bobbin casing.  That little piece can cause a world of woes if it is damaged even slightly. It must be perfect.

4) Check your bobbin.  If its not seated properly, the needle can hit it and bend or break, and a bird's nest will form in the bobbin cavity creating a tangled mess that will cease up the embroidery mechanics. The skirt will be 'sewn' to the bobbin area and when the arm moves the shirt wonts wont. It will pull the shirt and be garbled up. Check out the bobbin area completely and free the skirt. Remove the metal face plate and clean it all out. You can use a seam reaper to free the shirt. Be patient and gently work it free.

5) Do not attempt to sew again until you are certain the bobbin area is perfectly clean, your needle is straight, and your bobbin casing is without blemish.

6) If your machine continues to eat shirts and you are certain that your bobbin, bobbin casing, and needles are perfect, its a tension and timing issue. See your local dealer for service.


My Bobbin is Showing Through on the Top!

There can be a few issues that can cause bobbin thread to end up showing on the right side of your design in the satin stitching.

1) Your bobbin tension is too tight.  This is the least likely especially if you embroider often and it has just begun to show this problem.

2) Your base fabric is thin.  If your garment is thin fabric, then the bobbin may have a hard time staying where it should due to easily shifting fabric threads. Thin ginghams and broadcloth fabrics as well as thin light knits, tulle, lace, and netting or sheer fabrics can show bobbin thread on the top of the design.

Its important to test out some things to trouble shoot your issue.  Your first step should be to remove and reseat the bobbin.  Next, in this situation, you want to hoop a new piece of stabilizer and test another type of fabric and run the design. Does the bobbin still show?  If yes, then fabric is not the culprit.  If the problem persist, hoop thicker stabilizer for your design. This can be prevalant in heavy filled embroidery designs or filled areas of an applique. If you still experience your bobbin showing after following the suggestions above, it may be time to take it to your local dealer to have the tension checked.  Curious children, pets, and something we ourselves inadvertantly hit the tension knobs on our machine without realizing it. Its very difficult to perfect the tension on your embroidery machine. This is best left to the pros!