My Brother Embroidery Machine has been HEALED!

My Brother Embroidery Machine has been HEALED!

Bobbin not pulling up thread embroidery.

Behold! The power of the Internet!

Sometimes, the conglomerate of all things we know and all of our shared experiences being accessible around the clock is incredibly useful. On Tuesday I cried a bit about my embroidery machine’s mostly deadness. On Tuesday evening he was fixed by the grace of a fellow POD’ers in the POD Facebook Group. I say big big thank yous to Jeff and Annette. To pay if forward, here’s the problem and fix with lots of search engine text strings I used when I tried to find the answer myself. Maybe, just maybe, someone having the same problem will find the answer right here.

Top Thread Looping to the back on Brother Embroidery machine.

Here’s the back of my embroidery projects – I had noticed that the small fonts were looking pretty crappy, but wasn’t too surprised since they have been wonky in the past with the little tiny letters. When it stitched out some of the bigger letters and there was no bobbin thread to be seen, I knew I had a problem.


First, I reset everything. I turned the machine off, replaced the needle, replaced the bobbin, rethreaded the top thread, and cleaned out any lint hanging around in the bobbin case.

When all of that made no difference, I tried adjusting my top thread tension from the machine settings as described in the manual with no change to the poor quality of stitching. I then tried to adjust the bobbin tension with the tension screw as described in the manual (note, I marked where it started with a sharpie line – that turned out to be really useful for putting it back. Do that, you’ll be glad). The next time it went to stitch the machine made a horrible whining sound and the needle popped around in unexpected ways. I shut it down and went back through the “reset everything back to the way it was” steps. Every attempt to stitch after that would run 10 – 15 stitches looked something like this from the back.


Tension issues on my Brother Designo DZ820E

I became quite frustrated and started to try to take it apart. I can’t help it, I’m a fixer. When the plastic cases resisted being removed, I decided I was better off not doing things that might void the warranty and waited to call in the problem with Brother. They tried, but decided they couldn’t help me over the phone and I would need to take it to a service center. Fortunately for me, I told the story on the internet and someone with the exact same problem stepped in and told me how to resolve my it.

The problem was that I had thread stuck in the upper thread tension discs. Those discs are hidden behind the plastic casing on the top near the thread. To get to them, you have to remove the plastic cover by taking out the small screw and snapping it loose from its seated position. It takes a little effort and patience, but it does come off (scary, I know).



Here’s the little jerk thread that was causing the trouble. See that sneaky thread in there? It was actually about 3” long and had frayed. It looks like it was completely clogging up the tension discs and explains why everything was failing miserably except that one time I somehow managed to get the thread in the tension discs despite the clogs.



Check upper thread and tension issues error message

Once I pulled it out and put all my settings back, everything stitches beautifully again. I’ll even show you a sneak peek of the next Harry Potter block (Free embroidery file download will be available Monday or Tuesday of next week) .…


See how pretty?? It is a real relief to not have to deal with service mostly because I’m a M-F 9 to 5er and it is hard to fit traveling around to places that close before 6. I’m happily embroidering along again and I have completely left the screw out of the cover. I’ve already found it useful to remove the cover to un-thread the path when a thread shredded on me working on a really small column stitch. No more threads stuck in the upper tension discs for me!


I will say – I find this to be a blight in general on most sewing and embroidery machines. I know they are protecting me from myself, but it would be nice if these areas were more easily accessible. Despite the drama, I’m still happy with the machine, the Brother phone support, and the process in general. Looking forward to many more embroidery blocks!



  1. Hi I’ve just found you. I have been given (yes – given) a dream machine. It has been working fine until yesterday when I wanted to do some regular sewing. I kept getting an error message… “Lower the Presser foot” – which of course I checked and it was down. You know the 3 buttons at the front of the machine.. the bottom one being an arrow. Green for sewing, red for stop. It remains red. I have gone through every check I can. Then I found someone on Fix ya who suggested it might be a little switch which is located under the tension wheel. I have ummmed and arrghed about this for 24 hours – thinking it would have to go in for a service. Then in a fit of pique I tentatively removed that cover (over the left hand end of the machine. – shone a torch in there and found a loose part! It is rounded at one end, with a tiny screw on one side. A small arm below, with another protrusion. It was just sitting there in the small space… I have no idea where it came from. Any ideas PLEASE?

  2. Have been so frustrated with my Brother NQ3500D lately because of looping and tangling of the upper thread under the fabric. Everything I read said it was the upper tension, lint under the bobbin plate or having the machine threaded wrong. This machine has already had 2 big repairs (covered under warranty). The warranty just expired. I knew that the service center would charge almost $200 and be a long drive to take it in. I replaced the needle plate just in case there was a little burr on it. Late last nite I found your website. Thank you! Thank you! This morning I could hardly wait to open up the machine and look for thread in the tension disc area. I had to use my flash light and there it was, a short yellow thread with a small tangle on the end! It is embroidering fine now. Thanks again!

  3. Thank you sooo much!!!! You saved me from driving 75 miles!!!!!


What say you?