I am very new to using a serger. So I'm not even sure how to trouble shoot it.. It seems to still be threaded right. But the fabric stopped going through. Even if I can get it to start it just chops up the fabric and gets stuck. It still sews a chain.
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Re: Fabric will not feed
If the serger is new, then take it back if its not new,, it sounds like there could be a problem with the feeddogs or with the timing, it would be a good idea to have the machine checked at a sewing machine repair shop..
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It is difficult to tell what exactly is happening with your serger.
First thing--make sure you RAISE the presser foot BEFORE you thread any of the threads. This releases the tension disks so the threads will seat properly. You may need to remove all the threads and rethread from the beginning, making sure you thread each in the proper order. Start out with the thread tensions set at the ideal setting--usually the halfway point between the high & low numbers. From there, you will adjust them to even up the thread tensions.
Are you actually trimming off some of the fabric as it is stitching? If so, you might try increasing the cutting width (moves the cutting edge further toward the right) so that there is more fabric caught within the looper threads. It also appears that the looper tensions may be too loose. Try tightening the upper and lower looper tensions so less of the thread loops don't fall off the fabric's raw edge.
... not quite sure what you mean by "not stitching", here are a few things to check. If the problem is more specific, please leave me a note with more details.
Let's start right from the beginning (for 4-thread overlock/serge):
1. According to the serger manual, ensure that the proper needles are being used. That they are inserted all the way up into their positions and that the flat side of the needle is facing away from you. The left needle will appear to be shorter that the right, that is OK, all is going perfectly.
2. Use four good quality spool of serger thread (good quality sewing thread is fine also) and place them on the spool or cone holders. There should be "little bucket looking things" that fit onto the cone pins to make the cones sit nice and straight, use them. Rattling thread will cause grief.
3. The first thread to be loaded onto the serger is the Upper Looper ...it is the big needle looking thing that swings left to right and back again above the sewing surface. Follow all the threading guided according to your manual, the threading guides are generally coded in a colour specific for this looper. Once the eye of the Upper Looper is threaded, place the thread under the presser foot and to the left. Presser foot down.
4. Next is the Lower Looper, the big needle looking thing that swings left to right and back again under the sewing surface. It can be a bit tricky in some sergers as the thread need to pass to the left and then back to the right under the sewing surface. Your manual should have a good diagram if you can not follow the threading guides on the serger itself. Again the threading guides are generally colour coded with a different colour but specific for the Lower Looper. Once the looper is threaded, it is important that the thread is placed directly OVER the Upper Looper as it comes out of the eye of the Lower Looper. Place the thread now under the presser foot and to the left. Presser foot down.
5. Thread the right needle front to back and place the thread under the presser foot and to the left. Presser foot down.
6 Thread the left needle front to back and place the thread under the presser foot and to the left. Presser foot down.
7. Hold the four thread ends firmly in the left hand and give each thread individually a good pull down over the serger and behind, this will ensure that the threads are all engaged in the tension dials.
8. Set the tensions to the middle number, although this may vary with the brand and model of your serger. If you have the manual check for the correct settings specific to your unit.
9. Set differential to 'normal', or '0' (if your unit has one)
10. Set stitch length to about 2 1/2 to 3.
11. Make sure that the blade is in cutting position. We can trouble shoot blade position later if needed.
12. Make sure that you have the overlocking plate installed ... not the rolled hem plate (if your serger has two plates). Some sergers use the same plate for both functions.
13. Using two layers of medium weight fabric do a test stitch, what is the result? Is a chain forming? Are there stitches on the fabric? Are they looking the way they should?
Hopefully this has helped you, please let me know.
I take it this is a serger from the fact you have a looper. Try changing which looper thread is on top when you thread it. Mine jams if they're not done just right. BTW, the easiest way to thread a serger once you've got it once is to tie the new thread to the old and pull it through.
Can you wind the lower cutting blade to the right to cut less fabric and therefore fill out the stitching? On most sergers the lower blade position can be adjusted sometimes with a little knob or dial. You need to raise the top blade out of the way first, usually you put pressure onto it to release the spring holding it up against the lower blade, then swing it up to do this. Then wind the adjustment on the lower blade and move it to the right to cut less fabric then test serge. Your manual should give you more specific information on this and should be your first 'go to".
I would adjust my looper tensions to suit the fabric and width of the stitch I'm trying to achieve so yes, the settings you've been given are average tensions but its okay to vary these too. From left to right, I'd set 4, 4, 4, 4 and test serge again and see if this pulls the looper threads in against the fabric if moving the blade hasn't tightened up the stitching.
Sergers are more variable than a straight stitch sewing machine so its okay to move tension knobs a bit, just turn each a half number each time you adjust, then test serge and look at the stitch formation. Your needles tension should be fine at 4, leave them alone.
I'd suggest if you can find one, go to a "Getting to know your serger" type class as there is lots of techniques such as seaming on a curve, turning right angles, both inside and outside and making rolled hem edges that are very helpful serger skills to learn along with making adjustments and troubleshooting. Or go to you-tube and search some of these techniques for videos. Also www.sewing.about.com is a great sewing resource and Debbie has pages on sergers/overlockers here too.
When I'm starting a new dressmaking project I will spend 10 mins on the overlocker/serger, changing the thread colour to suit the garment, then test serging and adjusting the stitch tensions to suit the fabric. I have 4 cones of thread each in white, black, beige, grey, pink and pale blue and these threads will give a suitable finish on most fabric colours and prints. Then there is wooly overlocker thread, this is a fluffy thread that you can use for rolled hems as the thread relaxes once stitched and "fills" out the closely stitched edge covering the rolled fabric edge and is another whole area of fun to try out.
Often I'll just use a three thread to neaten the raw edges of a seam I will press open. Or I will assemble a whole knit garment using the four thread stitch, so much faster then stitching seams, then neatening. Jersey knits and sergers are made for each other.
As an aside the D on your machine model would denote "differential feed" too - briefly differential feed is adjusting the amount that the two feed dogs move under the foot and means you can "hold back" the fabric as it is stitched (0.5), or "stretch" it out (1.5 or 2 setting). Really handy for loose weave fabrics that stretch as you serge them, you can compensate using the differential feed setting. And in reverse, you can create a "lettuce" or wavy edge by turning the differential feed up.
I hope that this helps you out with your Brother 1034D and hasn't just confused you. Good luck.
Serger may have a threading diagram inside the front looper cover which should show the various thread eyelets that you need to pull the threads through and they may be numbered one to 4 also to indicate order of threading. The diagram is usually colour coded to match the tension dial colours and serger usually has colour dots on the different thread eyes to help you follow the thread path for each thread.
This video is great and hopefully will help you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zszJYQe2aws&feature=related, it has lay in tensions while yours has dials so just pull the thread around the dial right to left and then across to the next thread eye and this should pull the thread into tension. Dials are usually all set to 5 for normal stitch formation.
On my serger you thread up in the following order: top looper (second from right dial), bottom looper (right hand dial), then right needle, left needle; this video shows all threading going from right to left however, so if you have a numbered diagram inside your thread cover, then certainly use that order. But always loopers before needles.
Raise the thread aerial first before you start, put the cones onto the thread spools and if you have any cone holders (little plastic triangles) put them on the spools first to steady the cones. Now for each thread, take the thread tail from the cone, up through the aerial thread guide, then follow the coloured dots and take this down the front of the serger putting it into each coloured thread guide, through looper then up under the raised pressure foot. Repeat for next looper, then the needles.
Pull all 4 threads out under the foot to the left, lower foot, then chain off a little to start and test sew on fabric, adjusting the tensions if you need to.
Other adjustments are stitch length (usually a knob on right beside the flywheel numbered 1-4, blade position, a dial either left or right of the blade, press on the blade to release the tension on it before you try and move it. And differential feed, this is also a knob numbered 0.5 to 2 usually. If you can't see this on the right by flywheel then open up fabric plate (left cover) and look in there for these two adjustments.
I would suggest you start with tensions on 5, and stitch length of 2-3, and test sew on scraps of the fabric you wish to overlock. You can then either move the blade to cut wider or narrower to suit and adjust the two looper tensions if you need to close up the thread on the cut edge. There is no black and white settings as each fabric will behave a little differently, generally you adjust the looper tensions a bit until the stitch is encasing the cut edge and you have a seam width that suits the weight of the fabric.
Differential feed leave on zero unless you find you need it when a loose weave fabric goes wavy, then turn it down to close up the feeding. Sergers have two feed dogs, one before and after the foot and turning differential knob changes the ratio of feed between the two so either stretches the fabric, or pushes it together as it goes through the stitching sequence. So by turning differential feed up to 1.5 or 2 you are stretching the fabric and you can do a narrow rolled hem edge that is all fluted (lettuce edging).
I hope this helps you out a bit, if you are completely new to this machine and have never used a serger then I always suggest taking a class from a local dealer, it is really worth the money and time as they are quite different to sewing machines but once mastered, really change the dynamics of sewing and techniques are much more like commerical production with flat construction etc.
How do you mean the tension are off? A serger should have 3 or 4 tension knobs (although yours looks like it is push button digital settings) and generally from new these will produce a standard stitch when all are set to 5. Are you sure that you've got the thread pulled into the tension discs fully? Check each one by pulling on the thread below the tension disc and feel for resistance, if the thread pulls very easily, then recheck and thread again.
Have you got the thread aerial raised up to the full height? Remember also to put the plastic cone holders under the thread cones as you want the cone to stay still and the thread to feed off it - it does this very fast, sergers sew at 1500 stitches per minute so the thread streams off the cones very quickly.
Using a serger is quite different to a sewing machine and your model looks like its one of the later computerised ones with multiple stitch options including coverstitch. I'd suggest that you go back to your dealer and ask to spend time with them for a demo, thread up in front of them for pointers or take a class to familiarise yourself fully with the machine. Then go home again, break out the manual, and go through threading up from scratch several times until you've got it off pat. Remember to thread top looper, bottom looper, left needle, right needle in this sequence always, then pull all threads under the foot, lower pressure foot and serge off a short chain. To change colour thread, you can always cut and knot on new threads, turn tension down and pull through the loopers, but you've got to thread the needles fresh each time you change colour.
There is some good videos on You-tube, Nancy Zieman has a several and she's also written several books on using a serger and obviously the manual is first point of reference.
Each fabric will behave differently so for each new fabric, you will need to adjust tensions and move the blade to get it stitch and just encasing the cut edge at a suitable width. To work out how it should look, break out some ready to wear garments and have a look at those seams, then test and practice with your machine to get a similar stitch. Always test serge two thickenesses if you are going to use it to construct your garments and pull open from the right side to ensure the needle thread is tight enough so the seams don't pull open under wear.
Good idea to keep your test seam samples in a notebook and write down the settings you used for reference next time. I have to say, I've done flatlock with silky decorative thread once in 19 years - but I do know how to set up the machine for this. However, rolled hem with wooly thread is very useful and I often use this to edge hems. I'm envious of your coverstitch option, this is great for hemming and necklines and is something early sergers didnt do.
Just checked out this model on an Ebay vendor's site and it mentions a training DVD, you've got several different stitch types to master with this machine so there will be some learning and practice involved to get it right. Good luck - I hope this is of some help but I'd be visiting the dealer for specific help if you can.