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Re: Singer model 2638 will only straight stich all of a...
Try changing your needle. That is the most common cause for this. If you hit a pin or broke a needle, it could have been thrown out of time. Try changing the needle, that will in all likelihood correct the problem.
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This could be a combination of two things, to much down pressure on the spring loaded foot on top or the fabric distorting it, the other is a top stich tension issue adjust tension in and out to see if this improves the stich.
I can't tell whether you mean straight stitching and then turning your work 180 degrees to stitch atop the straight stitches in zig-zag, or continuing around the corner of your straight stitched side using zig-zag. But you can do either. You can mix up straight and zig-zag stitching at will.
Just ease up to a stop, ensuring the needle is positioned down inside the work when you stop.
Lift the foot.
Adjust to your desired stitch setting.
Lower the foot.
Turn the wheel toward you manually to ensure the stitches will be placed where you want them, and
Slowly engage the power again (via foot or thigh lever).
my suggestion is take the machine in to a sewing machine shop to be check to see if something inside is broken or come loose knowing the machine is in good working order gives peace of mind instead of wanting to through it out the window and get a instruction manual
Go to the singer website for a free pdf manual
Go to the home page
Go to customer service--click on it--it will show a small menu--click on instruction manual
In the box put the model number (example w265) & click search
Of course, you have to push the zig zag adjusment lever from the 1 position to one of the zig zag positions, 2-5. Also, the zig zag disc must be inserted. Take of the top of the machine (two screws to loosen the attachment and lift off the top), and you can see a steel connecting piece called the pitman and it should move back and forth when zig zag is engaged. If it isn't, maybe something is gummed up as has been suggested.
I would have thought there would be some sort of screw or adjustment to control stitch length but I can't find an image for your model.
However this image might help, http://www.johnharbsew.com/images/threading/JUKI-DNU-241-TD.jpg, my Singer 20U, has a dial like this with numbers on that you adjust for length, is there something similar on the Juki?
Make sure your presser foot is tight down. If the needle is going from side to side, it's doing it's job. If the stitches are coming out straight, the material is probably slipping back and forth to center area. The presser will eliminate this.
Did you switch the metal plate to one of the ones that won't allow left/right movement by any chance? If the wrong plate it in -The machine somehow figures out that the plate won't allow the needle to move in the left/right directions and only does a straight stitch or funky other stitches.