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

Have lots of thread on the under side of fabric


Thread nesting or bird nesting resulting usually from: mis-threading, upper thread not seated completely in the tension disk, upper thread tension too loose. HINT: ALWAYS raise the presser foot when threading the upper thread.

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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.

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Stiches at the bottom come out like a rats nest not sewing right?


Generally, thread issues that appear under the fabric are the result of an upper thread problem. What you describe sounds like bird nesting or thread nesting and are usually a result of: mis-threading, thread not being fully seated in the tension disk, and/or upper tension too loose.

Remove the upper thread. ALWAYS raise the presser foot. Rethread from the beginning. Verify the thread path is correct. Set the upper tension to the midway point between high & low numbers (although this will probably need to be tweaked for your particular machine). Retest your machine. Adjust the upper tension until both threads meet in the middle of your fabric.

FWIW, mis-threading may not be your mistake. I have an older machine that the take-up lever is open at the top. Sometimes, usually when sewing fast, the thread will literally "jump" out of that take-up lever and...instant thread mess... So, if this sort of thing occurs frequently with your machine, try to narrow where the problem originates. With my machine, I "manufactured" a method of closing the opening in the take-up lever. Voila! No more jumping thread!

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Check whether it is bobbin thread or the top thread accumulating under the fabric. Generally, if thread problems exist "under" the fabric, it is a top thread issue. If the problems exist "above" the fabric, it is a bobbin issue.

Sounds like a thread nesting (bird nesting) problem where the top thread is globbing under the fabric. Usually, this is caused by misthreading (confirm the thread path), the thread not seated in the tension disk (ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot when threading!), or very loose top thread tension.

Remove the thread. Raise the presser foot and rethread from the beginning. Check that the thread path is correct. Set the upper tension at the midway point between high & low numbers (this is the beginning point for tension and will most likely need to be tweaked for your particular machine).

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increase the top thread tension up a bit
it is known as "bird nesting" and indicates that the top thread is not pulling the bobbin thread up tight
needle thread tension is NOT a "set and forget" item as different thread thicknesses , material thickness and needle eye size all have an impact on the tension and it has to be change to suit

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That is thread nesting or bird nesting. Could be the result of several things, but main reasons are upper tension too loose and the thread not being completely seated in the tension disk.

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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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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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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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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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