I am sewing vinyl and i'm using a walking foot but the top thread seems to bunch-up on the back side, i've changed the tension but the problem is still present. i'm using a 16 needle and the needle goes throught the layers fine.
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Ok. Depending on the thickness... garment weight leathers can be sewn with a domestic machine... Most often an even feed foot (the home version of a walking foot) is needed. You will likely need a larger leather needle and somewhat longer stitches than you would normally sew.
As for stitches looking messy on the back that is a top tension problem... you'll need to tighten the tension until that goes away. AFTER you have made sure you have your machine threaded correctly with the presser foot in the up position.
Clean out the bobbin area if there are any thread tangles there.
Refer to the maintenance section of the manual - see the configuration of the bobbin case and shuttle race? The bobbin case as an extending arm and the race a notch. When inserting the bobbin case into the shuttle, turn the handwheel so the needle is at it's highest position. Then lift the lever on the back of the bobbin case and insert the cast into the shuttle, arm pointing straight up toward the bed of the sewing machine.
Now thread the machine with the presser foot up - always - and see if the tangling stops.
When you forget to lift the presser foot before threading the machine, the tension control does not open to capture the thread. Then when you begin to sew, the top thread has no tension, and the bobbin thread, which does have tension, pulls the top thread to the bottom in messy loops.
It sounds like you have a tension problem. If you can test using a piece of scrap vinyl to set the tension, that would be the best.
Let me give you instructions for adjusting the tension on anysewing machine. Be sure to have a scrap piece of the fabric you are using andthread the top of the machine with a different color of thread than thebobbin-it'll make it easier to see what's going on.
Thread your machine with the presser foot UP. The disks that control the tension (threadgoes through them) are tightened up if the foot is down.
Change the machine tension with the presser foot DOWN.Because the disks won't be engaged (see above) if the foot is up, the diskswon't move.
Start at the middle setting, 3. Go up to tighten, decrease toloosen. Each machine is different, even 2 different machines of the same model.The best thing to do is start at 3 and use a different color in the top andbobbin thread so you can easily see what changes to the tension do to yourstitches.
Now use a straight stitch a sew 3 or so inches. Take a lookat the top and bottom of the fabric. You don't want to see any (or at least notmuch) of the other color showing from the other side.
Loops on the bottom of the fabric means you need to tighten(increase) your top tension. If you're stitches on the bottom are causingpuckering, then you need to loosen you're top tension. For the most part, youreally don't want to touch your bobbin tension-leave that to a repairtechnician. The factory setting shouldn't be touched except by someone whoreally knows what they're doing.
Keep sewing a few inches at a time until you have the resultsyou want. Now you're tension is where you need it!
Put the tension back up to about 5. Rethread the machine entirely, and make sure you have the pressure foot in the up position when you rethread. If your getting bunching on the bottom, it's probably your top thread that's bunching up. After you rethread, put a small piece of fabric under the pressure foot, lower the pressure foot, and turn the handwheel in the forward direction and watch the thread as it comes around the bobbin case. If it goes around smoothly, try it with the foot control. If it hangs up as it goes around the bobbin case, you might have a burr on the black plastic bobbin case. Take it out, check for any burrs, sand them down, and try again.
Probably a little heavy duty for a domestic machine - most don't like thread through the bobbin tension device any heavier than 50 grade.
Some tension devices have a hole that you can use to bypass the tension spring (Elna is one) which allows thread like perle cotton to be used in the bobbin. But you still can't put it through the needle (just on the underside for decorative sewing effects) .
In the past I've needed to sew vinyl tractor seats where I was stitching the vinyl to a 1/4" thick foam and after trying everything (roller foot, leather needle) on the domestic machine, I bought a Singer 20U industrial machine with 1 1/2 hp motor in a table in order to seam this weight of textile. Different system needle used and the bobbin could handle heavier weight thread.
Most of the time it is caused by the top threading, Could your thread be old, or tangled? Double check your threading by this little trick, put your tension dial on 3, totally rethread, insert a new needle (flat side facing rear). Then with the presser foot up, pull on the top thead and it should pull smoothly, now put the presser foot down, pull again, it should barely move. This usually seats the thread in the tension discs. Hope this helps.
The problem is never the bobbin when you have this problem. It's the top thread. Take the thread off the top of the machine and rethread the top. Make sure the small tension dial is on 4 or 5 (the larger dial on the front left is for the pressure on the foot, not the thread tension.) After you thread the machine, put the pressure foot down but NOT on the thread. Then pull gently toward the back of the machine. When you do, the needle should bend slightly backwards before the thread comes through the machine. If it pulls with no resistance you could simply have "fluff" or remants of thread between your tension discs. If you do, put the dial on zero and using an old needle, clean between the discs and try threading the machine again with the "pull test" I described earlier.
No tension on the top of the machine, lets the bobbin tension win and it pulls all the thread to the bottom of the fabric.
when sewing thick fabrics and when using thick threads you will usually need to tighten top tension - on most machines to maximum in order for the machine to pull the thread up into the fabric. you must also use a needle which will slide along the thread when thread is through eye of needle (take needle out of machine, put thread through eye and see if needle will pass freely along thread - if not, use a larger needle)