Recently my sewing machine (Brother CS6000i) has started acting up, such that the lower stitches are pulled through to the top, and the top thread is so taut that the fabric puckers or bunches up. I was able to un-gather the fabric every few inches by pulling more thread through, but that's far from an ideal solution.

It seems like the tension on the upper thread is way too high. If I try to gently pull the thread through the needle, for instance, it takes much more force than usual. However, I hadn't changed my tension dial before this started happening, and cycling through the settings didn't seem to make a difference. This is happening consistently and on all fabric types.

When it first started, I swept out and jiggled various things, which got it working again for a short time, but since then no luck.

Any idea how to fix this issue? Do I need to get it serviced?

  • Have you tried re-threading? If you get the thread even slightly in the wrong place, it can cause this symptom. Just to make sure, I would re-thread both top and bottom.
    – Martha
    Sep 20, 2016 at 13:39
  • Yep, I've tried re-threading both top and bottom a few times.
    – user812786
    Sep 20, 2016 at 14:07

2 Answers 2


Are you using the correct needle point and size for the fabric?

  • Ball points for knits
  • Straight points for woven fabric

Sometimes the needle just needs to be changed.

The other problem could be the thread holder, are you using a spool or cone? How is it attached or docked to your machine or the table?
spool adapter image If it is a spool that is loaded sideways, the thread might be getting caught in the spool's edges and you just need the slide on piece (spool cap) that holds the spool in place. This may also help on a vertical holder.
spool cap

If you are using a cone, check to see if the thread is not releasing, sometimes it can get caught up underneath. You may want to get a spool holder and mount it to your table near the back of the machine.
cone holder

  • Thanks for all the useful info! I just checked all these things: cone thread, no obstructions, new straight point needle on woven fabric... my machine is still doing it :( The thread is loose as normal between the cone and machine, so it must be somewhere in between machine and needle that it is getting hung up.
    – user812786
    Sep 24, 2016 at 2:27
  • Have you oiled your machine? Sep 28, 2016 at 15:06

Check your manual, or download one. Carefully look at the thread flow, make sure you really have it correct. Are you using spools or cones of thread. Cones are inexpensive, but you need a cone holder. Did the spool wrap a few rounds on the post that holds it. My old treadle singers do it all the time. I use cones. Can you pull the thread "no so easily" through the needle eye? Not too hard, you'll bend/break the needle... if it is sticking. Take a few feet of white thread & unroll it from a spool. Put a dot on it every 2" for a few feet. Now thread & try, where does it stick... dots should help you find it!

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