I have a Brother XL-6562 machine. I was hemming my son's jeans. I have a denim heavy duty needle in the macine. It was a little tough getting over the side seam, where it was thick, but I found if I pulled it through, it would go through ok. I went through a side seam, then finished the hem. It seemed to be fine, then I went to start another hem and the machine makes a sound, the bobbin seems to be jumping around and the lower thread just bunches up and tangles. The material stops feeding due to all the tangled mess on the bottom. I've tried re-threading. Any suggestions?
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Refer to 'Manuals Online', Brother sewing machine user manual. There is an excellent guide to tension settings for all fabric types. Also remember to check upper and lower thread has been wound through correctly and are using the same thread top and bottom. Ensure you have the correct needle size for denim ie 100/16 and the correct thread size ie 40-50 cotton or heavy duty polyester.
a lot of machines struggle with denim because it is such a heavy and dense textile. Many domestic machines won't stitch it at all due to this. Things you can try however:
Denim needle, this has a deeper groove at the back and is a heavy gauge needle, or use size 110 if you don't have denim needle.
Bash the side seams with a hammer in the area you will be stitching, to soften up the fibres.
Use a seam jumper, this is a piece of plastic to put in back of the presser foot as you approach a cross seam to help keep the presser foot pressure even across the fabric. Sometimes called a "thingy-a-jean" or similar.
Don't bother trying to use the heavy gauge yellow jean thread unless you put it through the bobbin and sew with the right side down. But even then, many machines can't handle having this heavy thread underneath and the regular 50 cotton on top, my Janome 1600 won't do it.
put your machine on slowest speed if you have a variable setting and turn the flywheel to assist it through the heavy side seams.
Personally, I never bother with the twice turned hem on denim if shortening, I just overlock the raw edge, turn up 1 cm and stitch around in a matching blue thread so it is seen as little as possible.
Are you trying to use a heavy thread like buttonhole twist through the needle like the yellow thread on store bought jeans? Most domestic machines will not cope with this heavy thread and it will be too large for the eye of the needle too.
If you are using regular weight 50 polyester thread and its breaking then it could be because the top tension is too tight. Just loosen off 1/2 a number on top tension dial and see if this helps.
If possible, buy a pack of jeans needles size 100 too, these are blue coated with teflon I think, and makes it easier to slip through denim which is a very dense fabric.
Hemming denim jeans is probably one of the toughest jobs for a domestic sewing machine so if you are trying to do this, its a good idea to take it slowly and use a "humpjumper" which helps to maneouvre over the thick side seams.
However, even with all the above, many machines won't sew more than one layer of heavy dense weave denim.
I turned up my husband's jeans using a size 100 needle. You can get easy thread needles that have a small gap in one side that you slide the thread through. There is a good way to turn up jeans and keep the original hem without having to cut them. Have a look at this site http://www.daciaray.com/?p=38
Generally when the needle does not pick up the bobbin thread, it means the needle is either too far in or just plain the wrong length. YOu might want to try lowering the needle just a hair and see if that helps.
There is special thread for denim/jeans. It usually comes in shades of brown. It's a little heavier and might help with the breakage. You might also want to try a little less tension. I assume you already have a Schmetz denim needle?
About the needle problem, Brother's FAQ gives the following response:
Make sure the needle is correctly inserted with the flat side facing the back and pushed up into the machine as far as possible.
The needle could have been damaged or bent. If so replace with a new one.
Make sure the fabric is not pulled excessively when sewing. Let the feed dogs move the fabric. Do not pull the fabric.
The combination of needle size, thread size and fabric is incorrect. Be sure to use the correct needle and thread size for the fabric you are sewing.(example: Denim-size 16 needle and 40-50 heavy duty thread).
As for the manual, here's the link: http://welcome.solutions.brother.com/BSC/public/files/dlf/doch000063/ps21xl55565700ug02en.pdf
It may be the machine, although most machines would have trouble going over the seam. First, use a Denim needle, 90 or 100 and place a "shim" also called a "jean a majig" to keep the presser foot level. If the foot is shifted, the machine will not sew over the bulk. The machine is not real heavy duty, may have problems , anyway.