Question about Bernina Artista 180

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Bernina 180 thread breaking and tension problems

The top thread breaks after sewing an inch or so. And, now, the back looks like a birds nest. I've done all the steps in the 'troubleshooting' section of the owners manual, but no go. Any hints? Advice?

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  • seahawk72 Feb 08, 2009

    i have the same problem...and have followed the troubleshooting in the manual...still no luck...HELP!!!

  • ggc77375 Mar 26, 2009

    I finally gave up and took my 180 in for service and repair. THe thread was breaking because of a small barb on the hook. I also was told that the machine was so dry that it was making the noises I had been hearing for some time. YIKES!!! With lubrication, oiling, and smoothing out of the hook, my 180 sews like a dream. Bite the bullet girls, take it to be serviced!!!

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First make sure that you are using a new needle in the proper size. A needle with burrs on it will cause the bird's nest problem. Also, is the thread you are using old? My repair guy told me to keep my filled bobbins in the freezer to maintain their humidity, and that has made a world of difference in my stitching. Finally, how long has it been since you had the machine cleaned and serviced, and was it by an authorized Bernina repair shop? Bernina machines have special screws that only Bernina authorized repair people have - I discovered that when I took my machine in to someone who was not authorized only to have the timing go off in a matter of weeks. The authorized repair guy found clumps of thread that had been air blasted into the inner works of the machine and those clumps were getting caught up in the new stitching and causing the same problems you described. Good luck!

Posted on Feb 28, 2009

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My problem is that I want to use yellow thread in the bobbin and either black or colorless on top in a baby quilt. I am trying to do a blanket stitch and the bobbin thread keeps coming on top or the black goes through to the botton. How do I set the tension so the yellow won't come through on top? or the colored threads wont' come through on the bottom? the bottom of the quilt will be yellow and the top is a combination of blue, red, yellow and white.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009

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1 Answer

Bernina activa 130 tension loose after needle breaking into bobbin area


Is it the bobbin tension that is very loose? Try tightening it. Also check that the bobbin has been installed in the bobbin case, turning the correct direction and that the bobbin tension is threaded properly.

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If it is the upper tension that is loose and creating "thread nests" under the fabric, the machine is either misthreaded or possibly the thread is not seated completely in the tension disk.

Remove the upper thread from the machine.
ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot and rethread the upper thread from the beginning--verify the thread path is correct.
Set the upper tension to the midway point between high & low number (the factory standard--although it may need tweaking later for your particular machine).

Retest your machine. Hopefully, the issue has been resolved. If not, it may need service.

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Oct 03, 2016 | Bernina Activa 130

1 Answer

Birds nest


Check the tension on both the upper and lower threads is similar. It sounds like the thread on the lower spool is under tensioned. On most machines the tension is increased by a small screw on the spool.

Aug 14, 2007 | Bernina Artista 180

2 Answers

What am I doing wrong when the stitching on top of the material is ok and straight and the backside is knotting?


wrong bobbin tension , but amazingly its actually easier to adjust the top threads tension to compensate for it , use your tension knob to slowly adjust , try an inch , slowly adjust try an inch , and so on to get a top and bottom thread tension to match , this will need to be adjusted for each major change in fabric (aka , knits to woven )

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1 Answer

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Hold the top and bobbin threads with your fingers, straight out in back of the needle, and that should solve the birds nest problem, a common one across all brands.

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You need a fatter needle. The skinny needle will not open the leather enough for a smooth flow of thread and that's why the bobbin is bunching up when the top thread is sticking. Make it easier on your machine by using an appropriate size needle while sewing leather.

Nov 04, 2013 | Bernina Activa 130

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My bobbin threat is bunching and after a couple of inches, the top thread breaks.


Check that the thread is tight around the bobbin. Make sure that the bobbin is in the right way around - the bobbin thread should double back on itself coming out of the bobbin holder. The bobbin tension adjustment is the small screw in the plate on the bobbin case that the thread passes under as it comes off the bobbin and goes out.

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2 Answers

My Singer Futura keeps beeping and stopping every few seconds.


There are a few problems this could be. Your top thread could be broken or about to break; your bobbin thread could be broken, about to break or empty/about to become empty and is loose around the bobbin; you could have a birds' nest (a mass of thread just under the fabric/presser foot and/or within the feed dog and bobbin) forming and causing a jam; or it could be your Futura having a little bit of a hissy fit. Obviously, if you've checked for broken thread you need to move on. Check for a birds' nest by removing the fabric and clip your threads. If you find one, clear it, rethread your bobbin and begin sewing again. If there's no birds' nest, then place the fabric back in and try sewing/embroidering again. If the machine acts up again, I recommend removing the fabric/hoop, rethreading your top and bobbin threads, replacing fabric/hoop and resuming where you left off. If the machine still gives you trouble, try hitting the start button for a couple of times and seeing if the problem doesn't simply resolve itself. When you're embroidering areas that have a few small, short stitches only, the machine seems to act up a little and then behaves fine once you bypass the area. Be sure to take all of the other steps first, though, because a birds' nest will RUIN a beautiful seam or embroidery.

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1 Answer

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My manual says the needle thread tension is too loose , OR the needle is to fine/heavy for the thread being used.

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Sometimes when I need to use heavy thread for top stitching to reinforce a seam that has come undone, I will use the heavy thread on the top and regular thread on the bottom. I haven't tried it the other way around for hemming but I would think it would work. I do not currently have a Bernina.

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