Embroidery trouble shooting

Finally after more then a year getting time to use my singer 9985. With the holidays around I bought some machine embroidery thread and tried to embroider.

It was very inconsistent and was told to try using some backing and see if it improved. It did sorta. It is still very inconsistent.

16078923187841873409844006297067 hosted at ImgBB — ImgBB (with backing) 20201209-132821 hosted at ImgBB — ImgBB (without backing)

The manual is of little help.

How does one adjust this so it’s legible/trouble shoot the issue? Or is it a job for the sew shop to fix?


Hi Annoyednewbie!
Wow, sorry you’re having problems with your Singer 9985. This isn’t an embroidery forum or a Singer forum, so you might try the embroidery discussion forum at

When you want to design some patterns come back and talk to us some more.

Happy Holidays!


Alright will do. And figured Id try here only place I know of that has people I know who are good a sewing…who might have an idea about this machine.


My only idea is to check that lint hasn’t collected anywhere that you can’t even see easily. I understand that’s a common malady for machine repairers to encounter. Especially at tension points.

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I see that you’re working on a very loosely woven fabric, so this would affect the embroidery a lot. Perhaps try embroidering on a plain cotton fabric or using a water soluble stabilizer on top of the fabric so that the stitches don’t sink into the fabric, as well as the stabilizer underneath.

There is also a very helpful group on Facebook which teaches embroidery and even digitizing your own designs that have a really friendly, helpful crowd: https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=oml%20embroidery%20university

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We do some embroidery at my shop, so here’s my 2 cents

Backings are a must… especially with loosely woven or stretch fabrics. If using a hoop, need to make sure the backing and fabric are taught. Even if you use a backing you don’t want the fabric bouncing up and down - it will affect the stitch. I do a fair amount of “tackle twill” or applique using the zig zag machine on stretch lycra - which can be a nightmare. What works really well is this backing that has a slight tack to it - about as sticky as masking tape - and it stabilizes the fabric really well. It tears off really easy.

Something obvious, but often overlooked… Make sure you’re using the correct needle, that it’s installed correctly, and that it doesn’t have any burrs on it. This applies to any sewing machine. If it ain’t stitching right the first thing we do is change the needle. Also depending on the fabric the size of the needle can affect the stitch - which can be more important with embroidery as you literally can be stitching over stitches.

Also what’s really important with embroidery is your thread tensions. Another tip is to use a thread net on your thread cones… they keep the threads from twisting and / or knotting up - especially with metallics which are prone to twisting. Thread lubricant can also help as it helps to reduce heat build up from friction from certain fabrics or high speed operation.