If your stitches do not look good on the top side you have a problem with the bottom thread. make sure you have the correct bottom tension: Is the thread under the bobbin tension plate and when you hold the bobbin and case lightly in your hand the tension should be set in a way that there is little resistance , yet still some, when you pull the thread. After you set your bobbin tension, you may have to adjust your top tension to balance. Also make sure the thread comes off of your bobbin the way your manual tells you, clock or counter clock wise.
Make sure your bobbin (plastic) is not sooooo old, buy a new one.
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Yes, because a zig zag stitch is creating a wide stitch and the tension on the thread is going to pull the fabric within the seam together, you can't seam thin fabric with a wide zig zag. It will "tunnel together". If you are using this stitch to neaten a raw edge, then try using the serpentine or three step zig zag where the needle pierces the fabric 3 times in each leg of the zig zag, this will give better results.
you start with the broad zig zag stitch bar across the top then you go down the left side using a smaller zig zag stitch then you make the the broad zig zag stitch at the bottom then you make the smaller zig zag stitch on the right side all the way to the top broad zig zag stitch & your done the right side zig zag does not go beyond the top broad zig zag stitch
since you bought the machine at a state sale it would probably be a good idea to have the machine serviced. you should be able to go from straight stitch to zig zag with out any problems. if you move the dials or knob & the machine will not do a straight stitch then it needs to be checked
The bottom stitch is affected by the TOP thread tension :) First go back and make sure your bobbin tension is correct since you adjusted it. It should drop slightly when held suspended by danging it by the thread. If it reels out to the floor it is too loose. If it doesn't drop at all it is too tight.
Now that you have that adjusted look at your top tension. If it is loopy on the bottom side of the stitch the TOP tension is too loose. Increase the top tension.
Now take some scrap material and set machine to a wide zig zag, medium length stitch and sew a bit. Compare the top and the bottom sides of the stitch. They should look identical. Remember the TOP side effects the bottom and the BOTTOM tension effects the top side. Adjust accordingly until they look identical with no loose threads or loops and no puckering (puckering means it's too tight).
Check the bobbin tension too. It could be too tight. Make sure you are using the right size needle for the material as well. Sheer, thin fabric needs a smaller needle, thicker material requires bigger needles. Bobbin tension is the typical problem as most think to adjust the top tension but don't check the bobbin tension.
Is your quilt peices cotton? Cotton shouldn't cause as much trouble sewing along the edge but don't use too long of a stitch length else it will seem to gather up. Puckering side to side however is a tension problem usually. With sheerer fabrics that cause a problem sometimes you can put thin paper underneath, sew through both and then pull the paper off after sewing. (thin like the iron on type interfacing type fabric but like paper).
i believe your machine is skipping the stitch on the RIGHT side as you sew and this is normally a timing problem. Lower your needle about 1/16 inch and try it . It might work to finish your project but it will need to be serviced to have the timing corrected. sewman7