Service and Repair


Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) or Questions and Answers (Q&A)

I get asked a lot of questions so here are some Frequently asked Question snd my responses.


Embroidery Placement Chart

Where do you place the design on your clothing and embroidery Items?

I copied this from




Read more: Embroidery Placement Chart

A Thread of Truth


Thread is thread… right? WRONG. You can reduce thread breaks and make your embroidery look better by using a higher quality thread. I am not suggesting that you replace all of your old thread, just be aware that you may have more problems with what you have now. Replace it as you use it with the higher quality thread.

Here are a few things you need to know about thread.

  • Thread type –
    • Most new machines come with 40 weight polyester thread.
    • With thread the higher the weight in thread the smaller in diameter it is. If you go from a 40 weight thread to a 60 weight thread the thread diameter is smaller. You will need to tighten the upper tension to adjust for smaller thread.
    • Thread comes in many different flavors including polyester, rayon, cotton, silk, acrylic, metallic, etc… Most machines will use any type of thread you just may have to adjust the tension to make it work.
  • Thread quality –
    • Spend a little more money and buy a good quality name brand thread. I would suggest Madeira, Isa-Cord, Coats, Robinson Anton, and Gunold. You will see a big difference in the color and diameter consistency, and the strength of the thread.
    • Cheaper thread and thread that you get from the bargain sites tend to be brittle and inconsistent. I had problems setting the tension on some threads and found that the diameter of the thread changed as I pulled it through my fingers.
  • Thread source –
    • Be careful where you buy your thread. Fabric stores and department stores may have thread stored in warehouses for years in non-climate controlled conditions. Thread gets brittle with age and if improperly stored.
    • Some colors are more popular than others, watch out for the spool that keeps getting pushed to the back of the shelf.
    • You may need to buy that one small spool to monogram that baby blanket with a special periwinkle. Just be aware that you may have more thread breaks than normal.
  • Thread Storage-
    • Humidity, UV rays, dust, dry air, and age all have effects on the durability of thread.
    • I use plastic tubs to store my thread in.
    • Be careful about buying your inventory of thread. Try to rotate your old thread out as you use it.

Where do you get the parameters for Chinese machines


I found your website because i was reading articles about chinese embroidery machines. So i found out that you know much about them. So maybe i can ask you few questions about them directly.

Here we have all kinds of machines, also chinese ones. As you wrote, some work great, some not that perfect. Now my question is: When a customer call you for service or help, from where do you get all parameters for the chinese machines to check and set? I repair all our machines by myself, but for chinese machines i just can try and check if all works. For Happy machines (as example) you get a complete service manual with every single parameters. For chinese machine it seems that such stuff doesnt exists. 

Regards from Austria,


Dahao software is a generic software used in 99 percent of Chinese machines before about 2008 . Dahao supplied the electronics and many of the motors and electrical sensors for the machines. The software is still used today in most Chinese machines. Dahao software is configured to the specific machine that it is loaded on. The software has a lot of features that your machine may or may not have. The software will still have the settings for Sequins, Cording and Boring that you may not have on your machine. The features are there and can in most cases be activated.

As for the answer to your question, I understand most of the Chinese machines are built by a couple of companies and rebranded for sale. You can start your own company by supplying your specs, (this size motor for this, this monitor etc…). They will build your machine and put your name on it. The parameters are set for the specific machine by the manufactures when they build the machine. The settings are not generic for all machines. Higher quality Chinese machines usually come with an operator’s manual with the parameters for that machine noted in the manual. Your best source for the parameters is the company from whom you buy the machine from.

Memory Loss with Embroidery Machines


Subject: GS1501

I purchased a GS1501, got it running. But, when you turn it off, it does not save the design, or any of the settings. There is a place to change machine parameters, but it is password protected, is there a generic password or a way to reset to factory settings?


Many Commercial Embroidery Machines have a battery that maintains the parameters, settings and stored designs in the memory of the machine. The most common reason these machines loses its parameters is because of a dead battery. You will usually notice that the machine will not store any designs, it may come up in Chinese language and will not maintain any settings.

Read more: Memory Loss with Embroidery Machines

What do I need to know when I am thinking of getting into embroidery?


Breaking into embroidery? Thinking of adding an additional embroidery machine to your shop? Should you buy a single head machine or a multi-head machine? Here are several things that you need to consider when buying an embroidery machine.

What do I plan on doing with an embroidery machine?

During my time working on embroidery machines I have seen a huge variety of clients that have been successful in this industry. The main things that makes an embroidery business successful is turning out quality  products, producing the items when you promise them, and finding your niche in the business.

Turning out quality products is important. You only have one chance to impress a customer, so I advise you to never let anything go out the door that you are not completely happy with. Too often I have clients that are new to the business and buy an embroidery machine. They are so excited and start taking orders from customers, sometimes even before they get the machine. Be aware that there is a learning curve that comes  with embroidery. We got our machine and it took us several weeks to turn out a consistent product. I do my own digitizing and it took me about 6 months to get consistent.

Delivering your product when you promise is tremendously important. Don’t promise something this afternoon if you not sure you can deliver. I would rather tell a customer that you won’t finish it until Friday and call them to tell them that you completed it early.

Finding your niche is important. There are all kinds of sources for customers, you need to identify your customer base. Some examples… sports, public safety, military, motorcycle clubs, schools, Greek organizations, churches, weddings, funerals, children, Christmas, fraternal organizations, monogramming, and the list goes on. You can focus on any one or combination as your customer base.

Single head or multi-head machines?

Do I need a single or a multi-head machine? This depends on what you are doing. if you are doing large quantities if the same design you probably need to look at a multi-head machine. If you are going to be doing names and monograms you need to look single head machines.

Read more: What do I need to know when I am thinking of getting into embroidery?

Which is the best embroidery machine?


The majority of Commercial Embroidery Machines are made in China, Korea, and Japan. Just about, all of them share the same basic mechanical design. In fact, many of the parts are interchangeable. The main difference in the machines is the components and workmanship included in the machines.To make it a little simpler to understand consider the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra. Both share the same basic design and use the same parts. The difference is in the workmanship and cosmetics of the vehicle.

Read more: Which is the best embroidery machine?

Pop goes the needle!


I was wondering if you could offer any advise on to what causes needle breaks when switching to cap frames? My Toyota 9000 sews just fine on flats, as soon as switch over to cap frame and begin sewing, pop goes the needle.

Thanks, Eric.

AJST = Broken needles when doing caps can be cause, by a number of things. Here is a list of the things that I check when troubleshooting this issue.

Read more: Pop goes the needle!

Metalic thread problem-Help!


Hi !

I need an advice for metalic thread. Specially When I am doing 3D job , keep thread break happens. I tried adjust tension (Top & Bottom) , replace new needle(75/11) , slow speed , adjust density.... I tried 3 different machines , still same problem. I am using Marathon thread. Is it better use madeira , RA or isa cord? I need a advice .

Thank you in advance..

AJST = As I understand it, (help me out if I am wrong), Metallic thread is usually made with Mylar chips. Mylar is the same thing they make those metallic looking balloons with. Grip the thread between your pointy finger and thumb and pull the thread and you can feel the chips.

You may have two separate effects interacting with the tension.
1. The larger chips causes more tension in some parts of the thread path because of the larger particles. example.... Butterfly clips. (Think playing cards in bicycle spokes) At the same time the plastic slides through some areas of the thread path easier. Example... under the tension disk where the thread holds the plates apart.

2. Because of the way the thread is made the strands of fiber holding the thread together may stretch under tension. Hold a piece of the thread about a foot apart and if you pull it it may stretch another 3 to 6 inches. The poorer quality thread will stretch more.

How to solve the issue...
1. Some metallic thread stretches so much you may not be able to adjust it out.
2. Loosen the upper tension a lot... I have even bypassed the per-tensioner at the top of the machine to get it to sew out.
3. Metallic thread has the tendency to knot up and kink. This is because of the rougher thread causes friction on itself and knots up. That is probably why Robert has had success with the silicone spray and EMBThtreads has had success with the Styrofoam.
You may want to try the plastic sleeves that some EMB supply companies offer. They hold the thread on the spools and keeps them from tangling.

You may also want to look at this youtube video. Metallic Thread Embroidery on a Commercial Embroidery Machine (Baby Lock Enterprise)

Types and Classes of Embroidery Machines


From time to time customers ask me what is the difference in this type of embroidery machine or that one. Which one is best for my particular goal. I am just going to be monogramming which machine is the best for me?

There are so many name brands and models that it is difficult to grasp the concept. Emboidery machines manufacturers do not follow strict guidelines in designing their machine and the attributes cross over from one type to the other.

You need to consider what you want to do with your machine and where you want to be in the future. If you are just going to stitch out a few designs for the grandkids for birthdays and Christmas you may not want to shell out $16,000 for a top of the line machine. If you are going to be turning out production of 50 to 100 shirts at a time you may want to look at something more than a table top to get the job done.

There are three basic types or classes of embroidery machines. Here is a general breakdown of the machines.

Read more: Types and Classes of Embroidery Machines

AJST - Cut in Place Applique'


This is a method for doing Cut-In-Place Applique'.

I have had a lot of customers that have asked me how to do applique'. This is a how to, or DIY method for sewing it out yourself. I will try to do a digitizing article fo

r this later.

There are two main methods for making applique'. There is Pre-Cut Applique' and Cut-In-Place method for making applique'.

Here is one technique I use to make Cut-In-Place Applique'.

Read more: AJST - Cut in Place Applique'



Avance 1501C machine onlyI work on most brands of embroidery machines and in a unique position to evaluate and test most brands. I try to keep an unbiased opinion for my customers. This is what I think of Avance’.

Avance’ is one of the better Chinese machines on the market. It is patterned after the Pantograms GS-1501 with improvements, and upgrades. The biggest advantage of owning an Avance’ is the quality control used in building the machine and the customer support from the distributor. Each machine is set up when it is received from the factory and they test-sew and verify that the machine works like it should.  They sew a flat and cap design out on your machine. There is a single head model and a multi-head design. 

Read more: Avance’

Thread Tension


Thread Tension

Thread tension is often misunderstood and an elusive skill to most embroidery machine operators. Some machine manufactures advise new owners to not touch the tension. In most cases they are right.

As you learn how to use your machine the correct tension will make a huge difference in quality of your work.

This article looks at thread tension and how to adjust it.


Read more: Thread Tension

Embroidery Machine in NEED of repairs...

I have a 12 needle embroidery machine that powers up but that is about all, can't get the needles to advance.  You gave me advice on this back in April 2014, with no luck on getting it going again.  Last year was just a plain wash since we moved our business..but now I would like to get this going again.

Here is a run down of events

Replaced battery~didn't help

Read more: Embroidery Machine in NEED of repairs...