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. Yahoo! This worked for me. I’m back to sewing and I didn’t need to get it serviced so it saved me money too!

  2. Has anyone not had luck with this fix? my machine stops about ever 28 stitches and states that i need to rethread my upper thread. Nothing has worked. My husband has took it completely apart and found some threads i had not (they were rather greasy too). But it still won’t work. Is it possible that the error code just won’t “clear”? He said that is the case on some cars, etc.

    • Pam, i had the same thing happening, that i have to rethread upper thread. Seems that the thread gets stuck behind the little wheel and there for makes a tension, so it breaks. Also it is possible that there is a piece of thread in between the tension disc, but in my case, it gets stuck behind the little wheel that holds the roll of thread. Annoying for sure, but at least i know what causes my problem.

  3. So glad I found this! I am having the same problem and live 2.5 hours away from service support. Hopefully this will fix it. It certainly sounds like the same problem.


What say you?