Correct position of needlebar thread guide

On Brother embroidery machines and higher value sewing machines there is an important thread guide on the needlebar just at the top of the needle (usually listed as number 6 on the machine).

Sometimes the spring clip that holds the thread into the guide can slip out of position when changing a needle and needs to be put back before your needle is inserted. It’s unusual for this clip to move with the needle in position and when you insert a needle it should stay in the correct place.

The effect of this being out of position is that your thread will not stay in the guide which causes shredding, snapping and poor stitching so it’s worth taking care when changing your needle and checking the spring if you’re having top thread problems.

This needle has been inserted with the spring clip in the wrong position. To put it right you need to remove the needle.

Thread clip

Thread clip 2


Reposition the spring above the metal guide. If the spring immediately flicks back out then push it more firmly into place.

Thread clip 3

Your needle will help to keep the spring clip in place.

Thread clip 4


Please understand that Keith Lord & Lords Sewing are not responsible for anything you undertake as a result of reading these articles and information guidelines.

Open the PDF version of this information.

Vintage Toile with Yvonne

TogetheroptTile embroidery is a simple method for creating large projects by combining smaller segments or tiles. Each tile is cleverly co-ordinated to make a larger scene and popular with embroiderers.

Anita Goodesign collections include full tutorials on each disk and here we give a quick run-down of how Yvonne has created a couple of attractive table adornments in different sizes from Toile Tile Scenes Special Edition collection.

These lovely designs are digitised to look like vintage toile with beautiful countryside scenes that contain animals with floral motifs and laurels.


Each of the scenes comes in four sizes: 7.8”, 6.8”, 5.8” and 4.8”. There are also sashing blocks included for making large quilts. The designs were created using a unique 4-ply stitch that when finished look bold so that all of the details stand out.

MachineoptHoop a single piece of Floriani No Show Mesh (non-fuse). The design will sew a single placement stitch and stop.

Place a piece of wadding over the placement stitch such as Thermolan. This will be stitched down by the design, remove the hoop and cut to the sewn line.

A placement line is stitched for the fabric, lay the fabric in place and then stitch out the scene.

The beauty of this collection is that the designs are all in one colour and quick to stitch out. Yvonne used Floriani variegated thread for extra effect: V11 Royal Blue Stripe.

Anita Goodesign – Toile Tile Scenes


Finished1optYvonne added the blue sashing and backing fabric. She then stitched in-the-ditch to hold the layers together, finally adding a binding around the edge to complete the project.

Intricate stipple stitch

Stipple stitch included








Step-by-step instructions and colour-guides are included in the beautiful book supplied with every Special Edition Collection.


Brother PE-Design – The Design Database

Blog-Database Overview wide image

Brother PE-Design software can be used as a stand-alone program for any home embroidery machine. You can save designs in most popular formats and convert from one to another quite easily. This series of beginner-style video tutorials walks you through most functions of Design Database.

It’s a part of PE-Design that’s separate from the digitising and design elements which allows you to organise and catalogue your designs. You can see your designs as thumbnail images for finding, sorting and printing.

Keith Lord guides you slowly, step-by-easy-step, assuming that you know practically nothing. Whilst using a version of PE-Design NEXT on a Windows 7 computer, the basics are pretty much the same in earlier versions and you should be able to apply the knowledge you learn here to your own software.

Design Database Part 1 – Overview

An introduction to Design Database which is a very useful part of Brother’s PE-Design NEXT program. You can see your designs and where they are located, organise them efficiently, convert formats, print catalogues of them and much more. Keith Lord takes you through the basics step-by-step across a series of videos, of which this is the first.

Design Database Part 2 – Select and Move

How do you select more than one design at a time? Find out how to select multiple designs and move them to different folders so they are organised in a system where you can easily find them when needed.

Design Database Part 3 – Organise & Copy

You can copy designs to a different folder rather than move them, which can be useful when you want designs for a specific project – putting them into one location without moving them from the original folder.

Design Database Part 4 – Printing

You can print out your own catalogue of designs. Perfect for keeping with a quilt project or showing to friends who may want you to embroider something for them. Placing 12 designs on one sheet of A4 paper is also economical.

Design Database Part 5 – Convert Formats

Brother’s PE-Design allows you to convert designs into different formats either individually or as a batch. Perfect if you have more than one manufacturer’s machine or you have designs that are in the wrong format for your model.

Design Database Part 6 – Write to Media

Easily transfer designs to your machine using the memory card or USB flash drive. Learn how to select designs from different locations and write them to your media all at the same time using Design Database.

PE-Design Version 10 is the latest release and improves further on the dramatic changes that made NEXT a so much easier and user-friendly version. When NEXT was created Brother changed the whole style of the screen layout, bringing into easy reach a lot of the functions that were previously hidden in menus. The icons on the screen were much easier to understand and use. In Ver 10 it’s got even better and you can upgrade any previous version from 5, 6, 7, 8 and NEXT.

New Brother XV Embroidery Machine Feature Videos Review

[This is part 2 of our posts on the new Brother machine read part one here]

Following our most successful launch of any Brother sewing and embroidery machine on 13th & 14th September 2014 Keith Lord managed to sneak home the Brother Innovis XV prototype model – being used for demonstration – for a few hours to create a video review.

Since this post was published you can see video tutorials on Keith’s Youtube channel.

Brother Innovis XV Embroidery Machine overview

See the physical make up of the world’s latest and most advanced domestic dream machine. Keith overviews the reasons why it would appeal to so many quilting enthusiasts and embroiderers. A long arm for large embroidery frames and the space to accept full size quilts. A huge strengthened 9.5 x 14 inch embroidery hoop, dual feed foot and many more accessories make this machine the most awesome you’ve ever seen and the easiest to use.

 A Touch Screen like a Tablet

As soon as you encounter the new Brother Innovis XV sewing and embroidery machine the tablet-style touch screen just blows you away. Detail, clarity, colour and speed are just simply awesome. Every screen function is logical and simple to follow. You can see  sewing stitches in magnificent detail and editing or combining your embroidery designs is now so easy to see that you’ll take your specs off! In this video clip Keith demonstrates why you would want to own this delicious piece of kit!

Scan & Auto Stipple

Unbelievable! The new Brother Innovis XV can quickly scan an image from the supplied Scan Frame into the machine, convert it into embroidery and then offer the option to stipple inside and/or outside the design. You may prefer to convert it into fill stitch and running stitch. There’s also an option to just import a jpeg image from your usb memory device and convert to embroidery. The process is quick and easy, the results dynamic! Watch Keith Lord from Lords Sewing in this video clip demonstrating the magic.

Embroider & Stipple the easy way

This is a quick video of how you can easily stipple around an embroidery design you’ve just stitched-out on the new Brother Innovis XV sewing and embroidery machine. Free-motion stippling is an art that eludes many quilting enthusiasts and until now you would have needed to create this auto-stippling in embroidery software such as PE-Design on a computer. Watch how simple it is to add a stunning effect that runs effortlessly around the contours of a design you have just finished sewing out. This video is Keith’s first attempt while he had his hands on an early prototype XV for a few hours. “I would trace right up to the design next time, I didn’t realise it would add a little space around the tracing so I didn’t need to allow for it – but it’s just so easy.” This is even easier than the video below in a new video tutorial.

Perfect sewing with Brother XV Laser Guide Line & Dual Feed Foot

In this short video Keith shows you how the Laser Guide Line that’s built into the Brother Innovis XV machine enables you to position your fabric perfectly in line with the needle, perfect for stitching in the ditch on hard to see ditches. You can also set it up to follow the fabric edge so that it guides you while the needle is sewing quarter of an inch to the left (you choose the distance). Included with the machine is an amazing electronic Dual Feed Foot that grips the top of your fabric for the best feeding ever.

Buying the Brother Innovis XV with video tutorials

The new Brother Innovis XV dream machine can be purchased from Lords Sewing with video tutorials that can be watched on the fabulous built-in screen whenever needed.  Lords sewing are the UKs leading home embroidery specialist centre and number one dealer for the Brother Innovis XV and NV1 (Innovis I) models.


[This is part 2 of our posts on the new Brother machine read part one here]

The new Brother Innovis XV is just the most amazing embroidery machine ever!

We played with the new Brother machine yesterday and it’s as desirable “in the flesh” as it looks in the USA videos.


[This is part 1 of our posts on the Brother XV when it was released in 2014 read part two here]


Get email updates about the New Brother machine by joining our newsletter

Brother Innov-is XV price

Brother have done well to keep the price to only £500 more than the NV1e at £6499 considering all the improvements.

The Innov-is XV sports a large 9.5in x 14in frame is reinforced down the sides and really grips the fabric creating a stable embroidery area, the speed of the camera and the ability to capture images and convert to embroidery and then auto stipple is awesome – the design functions in the new My Design Center allow you to set running stitch outline when converting an image.

Are you excited about the new Brother XV ? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
New Brother Innovis XV Embriodery Machine

New Brother Innov-is XV Embriodery Machine

The inclusion of the Dual Drive Feeder with additional couching foot (something we played with and very impressive), LED pointer for positioning, Laser light guide (the best feature that was built into the V7) – all included!

The screen is majestic, like having an iPad built-in, with the ability to play MP4 video – a format that will allow us to create video tutorials which could be put on a flash drive and you can bring up right there on the screen as you need them!

The Innov-is VX also has a  new roller system on the embroidery arm also adds stability and smoothness of frame movement.

Brother VX machine

To give a part-exchange valuation of your NV1 would you be able to let us have the serial number off the back of the machine and take a picture of page 5 (as below) of your machine setting like this one and email to

brother embroidery machine screen

Or let us have the details of –

1 – Which upgrade kits have a tick next to them
2 – Service Count
3 – Total Count
4 – Machine Number


Know your top thread tension


It’s unusual on a Brother machine to need to adjust top thread tension for embroidery unless you’re using unbalanced thread, such as a heavier than normal weight of thread or perhaps a metallic etc. In this case your instruction manual will explain how to temporarily adjust tension for the design you’re undertaking. When you choose another design it will revert back to default tension setting.

Screen tension

I don’t recommend adjusting default setting of top thread tension. If your bobbin case is correctly tensioned then default should work perfectly.

Golden Rule: If it isn’t broken – don’t fix it! The following information is supplied to help you if your tension is causing you problems. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have perfect tension as long as the results you achieve are good enough for you.

Important Note: Safety First – SWITCH OFF the machine before undertaking any removal of covers or putting your fingers under the needle bar or inside the machine etc. Also don’t invalidate your warranty by damaging your machine, only undertake these steps if you can be confident of doing this type of action and don’t “force” any part into place – Brother products are manufactured to a high standard and don’t need brute force at any time – just knowledge and care.

Sometimes, for no apparent reason and very suddenly your top thread can start behaving badly. Lets assume that you are using a thread that normally sews OK and that your design isn’t anything that is out of the ordinary, fabric well stabilised etc. If you’re unsure then set up a simple test fabric and stitch a letter A as per my other blog Correct Bobbin Tension for Embroidery.

The most common problem attributable to poor top tension is that your thread “nests” under the fabric or needle plate when you start to embroider or sew or you may get very loose stitching on top of the fabric. The problem is likely to be thread caught in your tension disks.

You can check this easily by doing the following. Thread your machine as normal and select a design or stitch (if in sewing mode). Make sure that you take your design right through the screen stages to the point where the machine is ready to start embroidering. With the presser foot in the UP position the thread should pull easily through the needle eye to the back of the machine. With the presser foot DOWN the thread should slightly bend the needle and be much tighter when pulling through as in the image on the right.


If this is ok then your issue with nesting is more likely to be a problem below the needle plate such as a damaged bobbin case or burr on the needle plate or similar.

If the thread pulls easily through the needle when it shouldn’t then you’ll need to check out the top tension unit for contamination. The following example is for an Innovis 4000/5000 but most models are similar in that they have a cover that is removable. You’ll need quite a slim screwdriver to reach the screw on some models and I find it’s handy to have one that is magnetised at the tip.

Before removing the cover make sure your presser foot is in the UP position and then switch off the machine.

Remove the screw and put it somewhere safe. Lift the cover from the back and pull towards you, there is a clip at the front that can be a bit tricky so carefully keep pulling until it’s released.


Raising the presser foot opens the tension disks making it easier to see between the disks and also gives better access with pointed tweezers or an old needle or pin – anything to fish out the offender from between the disks. Sometimes this can be a large piece of knotted thread or a tiny speck of fluff trapped at the very back of the disks.

Tension Disks

Check thoroughly and give it a blow out the system with compressed air if you can. Once you are happy then reassemble and test tension as before. When replacing the cover you need to put it on at the back first, locating the two lugs on the cover with the two locating pins. Then clip in at the front gently. Don’t force at any stage.


Place the back of the cover onto the locating pins first –


Gently push the clip down at the front and replace the screw –


You should have it looking like this with the back of the tension cover slightly higher than the main machine cover –


There are 3 blogs relating to tension, all with a downloadable PDF which are handy guides to keep with your instruction manual. Here are the links to the other 2 posts and the PDF to this one:

Unraveling the Mystery of Brother Bobbin Fill
Correct Bobbin Thread Tension for Embroidery
This Blog: Know Your Top Thread Tension

Please understand that Keith Lord & Lords Sewing are not responsible for anything you undertake as a result of reading these articles and information guidelines.

Open the PDF version of this information

Correct Bobbin tension for embroidery


If you own a Brother combination sewing and embroidery machine a bobbin case with a green marking covering the tension screw has been installed in the machine at the factory. On recent models you will have been supplied with an alternate bobbin case with pink marking or no marking provided as an accessory. The alternative bobbin case is tensioned tighter and is also adjustable, enabling you to achieve correct tension for the threads you are using.

When using the #60 embroidery bobbin thread provided, please be sure to choose the green marked bobbin case when performing utility stitch sewing and embroidery functions. When in the embroidery function mode, if you use substitute embroidery bobbin threads (other than what is accompanied with your machine #60) then the alternative bobbin case should be used for adjustment to tension. See our separate help guide about understanding Bobbin Fill.

For embroidery-only models you have just the alternative bobbin case fitted which can be adjusted.

Golden Rule: If it isn’t broken – don’t fix it! The following information is supplied to help you if your tension is causing you problems. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have perfect tension as long as the results you achieve are good enough for you.

Important Note: Safety First – SWITCH OFF the machine (or put it into Safety Mode if you have this feature) before undertaking any removal of covers or putting your fingers under the needle bar or inside the machine etc. To remove the bobbin case on most Brother machines you do not need to undo the screws securing the needle plate. Just slide the L-shaped plastic cover forwards and then take out the bobbin case. If you do remove the needle plate screws at any time always replace the needle plate first and securely fasten down BEFORE replacing the bobbin case. Failure to do it in this order can result in the machine becoming locked-up.


When replacing the bobbin case align the two markings if you have them, otherwise just replace with the adjusting screw facing the front, ensuring the bobbin case fits snugly in the race. You should be able to turn the balance wheel freely and the bobbin case shouldn’t “pop-up”.

Note: We recommend that you don’’t adjust the tension on the factory-set bobbin case where the screw is held in place with green screw sealant. Once the seal is broken the screw will move from any setting you have adjusted to because it’’s no longer secure. Make your adjustments with the thread removed from the bobbin case.

Alt bobbin case

The alternative (adjustable) bobbin case may have pink sealant or no sealant on the tension adjustment screw.

Don’t touch the cross-headed screw on the bobbin case.

Don’’t touch the cross-headed screw on the bobbin case.

Important note before making adjustments: If you are suddenly experiencing a lot of top thread locking up below the needle plate then this is likely to be a top thread tension issue where there is contamination in the upper tension unit or a damaged bobbin case (sometimes caused by a jam or needle breakage) or the bobbin case has been inserted incorrectly. These issues are covered in a separate help notice Know your top thread tension.

SpringIf your bobbin tension has suddenly become loose it may be because contamination has lodged itself under the tension “spring”. Before adjusting thoroughly clean the bobbin case and then insert a pin gently into the spring to hold it open and blow hard, or gently dig around with the pin to remove the tiny offender.





Firstly, make sure that your machine top thread tension is set to 00. You’’ll find this in the Machine Settings section. Check your instruction book if you can’’t find it.

Screen tension

To check your tension frame up a piece of medium weight, non-stretch fabric with a tearaway backing with both items fully secured by the frame. Choose the basic font in your machine, letter A, set for Large, and stitch your first letter in the top left of your frame. After stitching each letter remove the frame and check the underside.

Frame fabric

The bottom row of samples is the underside for each A:

Top View

Too tight2

Too tight. Adjust the screw in quarter turns in an anti-clockwise direction to loosen it.



Too Loose2

Too loose. Adjust the screw in quarter turns in a clockwise direction to tighten it.


Make your adjustments in stages until you have a balanced result as in the middle example. Don’t force the screw at any point. If tension is too tight you are likely to experience excess puckering of the fabric around your embroideries. Too loose and your bobbin thread will show around the edges of your embroideries giving poor definition.

There are 3 blogs relating to tension, all with a downloadable PDF which are handy guides to keep with your instruction manual. Here are the links to the other 2 posts and the PDF to this one:

Unraveling the Mystery of Brother Bobbin Fill
Know Your Top Thread Tension
This Blog: Correct Bobbin Thread Tension for Embroidery

Please understand that Keith Lord & Lords Sewing are not responsible for anything you undertake as a result of reading these articles and information guidelines.

Open the PDF version of this information.


Unravel the mystery of Brother Bobbin Fill


Brother embroidery machines are supplied with bobbin cases (Inner Rotary Hooks to use their technical name) which are tensioned for use with Brother bobbin fill thread. The advantage of using this very fine thread is that you don’t have to swap the bobbin for a new one as often as you would with a thicker thread. Also, because it’s always the same thickness, you can achieve consistent stitching across your embroideries when used with most good quality top threads on the market.

Brother supply two types of bobbin fill:

Bobbin Fill White

The non-shiny white thread which is on a turquoise-coloured bobbin and labelled as #90 is for use with embroidery-only machines (machines that are not convertible into a sewing machine) such as NV750, V3 etc.XD1855351 700 750

The bobbin case for this thread does not have green sealant on the tension screw and can be adjusted if necessary to achieve correct tension. The screw will keep its setting intact without the need for a screw sealant due to the way it’s manufactured.


The shiny thread is available in white and black and is on a grey-coloured bobbin and labelled as #60. Use this with the bobbin-case that is supplied fitted to machines that are both sewing and embroidery models (NV1250, NV1500, V5 etc).

This bobbin case has green sealant on the adjusting screw and is optimised to give good tension across both sewing and embroidery providing the correct bobbin fill is used. If you use a different type you will probably experience the bobbin thread appearing on top of the fabric around the edges of your embroidery giving poor definition of the design. Don’t adjust this bobbin case.

Green sealantBUKBobbinfillno60









Brother have been generous with their more expensive combination machines. If you check your accessories supplied with your machine you will see that you have an alternative bobbin case that doesn’t have green sealant on the adjusting screw.

If you decide to use another type of bobbin fill or have poor tension on the standard bobbin case just swap it for the alternative and you’ll probably find that it works perfectly because it’s tensioned tighter. It’s also the adjustable type too!

Bobbin cases can become damaged and may need replacing to achieve a good stitch. Check for burrs and nicks that could catch your threads. If you have an alternative one try it and see if it cures your problem. We carry all the different Brother bobbin cases in stock for replacement should you need one. And both types of bobbin fill.

There are 3 blogs relating to tension, all with a downloadable PDF which are handy guides to keep with your instruction manual. Here are the links to the other 2 posts and the PDF to this one:

Correct Bobbin Thread Tension for Embroidery
Know Your Top Thread Tension
This Blog: Unraveling the Mystery of Brother Bobbin Fill

Please understand that Keith Lord & Lords Sewing are not responsible for anything you undertake as a result of reading these articles and information guidelines.

See our separate blog on how to achieve correct tension for embroidery

Open the PDF version of this information 

Matching your colours perfectly


Do you find yourself struggling to match thread colours to the fabric that you intend to use in a project? Maybe you are about to run out of a thread colour that you want to replace as near as possible with another make.

We haven’t found an accurate conversion chart yet that perfectly matches threads between manufacturers so unless you’re ordering the same type of thread and have the relevant product code it can be a real lottery if ordering online or by telephone. It’s much easier if you can take your thread or fabric with you to a store and match up (providing the lighting is good of course).

The best solution is to have a comprehensive shadecard of a thread type that you like to use. Not a pa-
per printed version but one which contains a wrapping of the actual thread so that you can compare
between the myriad of shadings that can make such a difference to your embroideries and stitching.

Matching your colours

Take your shadecard and fabric to a window with natural daylight or use a Daylight Lamp if you have one and your matching can be done at home with total accuracy. If you don’t trust your own eye then ask a friend or family member who has good colour sense to confirm.

Not all manufacturers can supply this type of chart and of those that do they will most likely charge because they are costly to produce – but for any sewing enthusiast it’s a lovely resource to have at hand and well worth the investment.

If you like to use Floriani embroidery thread you can buy the latest shadecard at half price. A generous wrapping of Floriani thread for every colour has been inserted into this gorgeous six-page fold-out card for easy matching.

At only £2.99 for a 1,000 Metre King Spool this high-lustre, smooth running polyester embroidery thread is attractive and affordable making it a popular choice since its introduction 10 years ago for hobbyists and even commercial embroidery.

Matching your colours 2

The collection includes 60 fabulous new colours including vibrant blues, reds, greens as well as soft off-whites and skin tones.

Now totaling 360 solid shades plus an additional 35 variegated and twisted colours the range of threads have become even more exciting for UK embroidery enthusiasts so if you haven’t tried it yet we can happily recommend. Why not try one before investing in a shadecard? We have also made it very easy and quick to order all the solid colours on our website with our Quick Buy system where you can just put a tick next to your colour choices and add them all into your cart in one go.

Matching your colours 3

FREE POSTAGE is available on all orders above £30. With so many embroidery and sewing products available in addition to threads most customers have no trouble achieving free carriage. Floriani thread is also available to buy off the shelf 7-days a week in our store at Oswaldtwistle Mills.

Open the PDF version of this information


Create your own African safari quilt

Jose Bardsley

Josephine Bardsley

Jose and her Brother Innovis 4000 machine never stop! Together they have just finished this fun mini-quilt from a recent Anita Goodesign release. We love the way Jose matches her fabrics and this African Safari quilt has all the right ingredients to pull-off the desired look.

African Safari Quilt

Each block is like a miniature work of art, in fact they are more arty than life-like which is perfect for creating a modern look to a wall hanging, even in a minimalist environment.

And as with most Anita Goodesign embroideries they are appliqué stitch-outs which mean they are quick to create, easy to do and can have a completely different look just by changing the fabrics used.

While Jose was creating her quilt Kirsty stitched off this zebra design because she really liked the idea of incorporating some hessian fabric she had in her stash. She used a piece of white fabric for the zebra body and the black is finally stitched onto the white as part of the embroidery design to complete the look.

African zebra Design

When you look at Jose’s zebra it’s completely different. She just happened to have a piece of black and white striped fabric that looked amazing therefore she didn’t need to stitch the black embroidered parts saving time and giving a unique finish. Below is a little more detail from the quilt.

African Safari 2

For all her embroidery designs Jose uses Floriani embroidery threads and stabilisers ensuring a consistently high quality throughout.

African Safari Quilt

All techniques used to create this quilt are included in tutorials with the designs in the African Safari Quilt collection which is part of the Anita Goodesign Mix and Match Quilting series. The CD rom includes formats for practically all manufacturers’ machines.

African Safari Quilt 2

Open the PDF version of this information