Machine Terms

1: Jump Stitch – This is the term used when the needle goes up (& stays up) then the machine moves from the section to another without putting down stitches.

2: Jog – To move the hoop frame back & forth to a specific stitch point, usually one stitch at a time from the memory cache.

3: Color Stop – The Machine stops for a moment to allow the head to change needles to a different color (on a multi-head machine) or in a single needle machine it stops for the operator to change thread colors.

4: Thread Break Stop – When threads break or bobbin runs out of thread many machines have sensors that automatically top the machine so the operator can fix the problem.

5: Stop – Frame & sewing action halt & will not continue until the operator intervenes.

6: Backing Up – Reversing the direction the frame moves stitch by stitch through a design. This allows operator to go back & stitch an area where stitching didn’t take place when the thread broke or the bobbin ran out of thread etc.

7: Trace – Machine outlines a design’s outside shape, this is so you can adjust design placement and make sure the hoop your using will accommodate the design so you can avoid having the needle run into the hoop & damaging the machine.

8: Push Out – A non-stitch movement that pushes the frame out from under the needle into a position where it is easy for the operator to unload & reload without placing their hands under the sewing head.

9: Bounce & Jiggle – Bounce is where the garment (& many times the hoop it is in) lifts away from the needle plate & drops back down causing inconsistent stitching. Jiggle is unwanted motion caused by worn & loose parts or improper attachment of parts, which also causes inaccurate sewing.

10: Step & Repeat – A program that allows the machine to sew a design & then move to other positions to sew the design again.

11: Retrace – Tracing backward through the design.

12: Needle Up Move – Needle lifts up & the frame moves to a new location.

13: Back Stitch – Many machine have a feature that automatically back the frame up through five to eight stitches when a thread breaks.

14. Hoop – a device made of wood, plastic, or metal that holds the garment tightly during embroidery, it consists of an inner & outer ring that “sandwiches” the goods between the two rings.

15. Bobbin – the little spool that holds the thread that sews on the underside of a machine that loops together with a machine’s top thread to form stitches.

16. Bobbin Case – the metal container that holds the bobbin & clips into the hook assembly & feeds out the thread.

17. Pigtail – on most bobbin cases there is a small spiral piece of wire that the thread is passed through to position it’s loose end for pickup by the loop of thread as it makes a stitch.

18. Bobbin Tension Spring – a long leaf spring that arcs along the top of the bobbin case & presses down against the thread as it spools out. Tightening the tension screw will push the spring tip harder against the thread & increase the tension. (Important note: it is possible to catch lint under the spring between its tip & the tension screw, causing the tension to loosen as the screw is tightened.) To properly adjust bobbin tension, take hold of the bobbin thread between the thumb & forefinger & let the bobbin dangle, if it slowly slides lower it is too loose, if you give it a tiny jerk & it doesn’t move it is too tight, if it drops slightly when you give it a tiny little jerk upward it is correct.

19. Hook – the pointed, leading edge of the rotating portion of a hook assembly that enters the loop of thread formed as the machine sews.

20. Hook Assembly – the part of the machine’s sewing arm containing the bobbin. The assembly rotates as the needle bar goes up & down. It is positioned behind the needle.

21. Race – the bearing surface between the hook’s two main pieces, it is a flat, slender, raised, machined bearing surface all around the hook assembly’s inside that keeps the two hook parts aligned as they move. It needs to be oiled regularly with Stainless Machine Oil.

22. Stainless Machine Oil – this is a clear mineral oil used to lubricate many machine parts, particularly on the hook & needle bar assemblies. It is called stainless because it is easily removed for a garment with common household cleaning fluids.

23. Birdnest – a tangled mess or threads that collect between the needle plate & the garment. Caused by things like incorrect top thread tension, improper threading, flagging (the hoop flapping around in the breeze) etc.

24. Tension – the tautness of the thread as it runs through the machine as it forms the stitches, the top thread & bobbin thread are set independently but must work together to form the correct balance for a correct looking stitch. To check to see if tensions are correct sew out an H or an I, then turn the fabric over, if the tensions are right you will see one third bobbin thread right down the middle & two lines of stitches the same width on both sides of the bobbin, so you have 1/3, 1/3, & 1/3.