Question about Bernina Activa 130

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I'm trying to hem a piece of flannel and the top stitching looks fine but the bottom stitching looks loose and sloppy? i'm thinking this is the bobbin tension but not sure either way how to fix it

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  • Bernina Master
  • 7,365 Answers

Try adjusting the top thread tension just a little and then sew on a scrap piece of fabric till the bottom stitch look correct.

Posted on Aug 01, 2013

6 Suggested Answers

6ya6ya
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

bargainbox
  • 1388 Answers

SOURCE: how do I know which tension to adjust?

Are you sure that a stitch is being created each time, or is it missing some....

On a scrap, sew a zigzag to ensure that at least the stitches are being formed, if not, or missing some, look to timing.

This solution is for tension problems...if you cannot form any sort of stitch, the issue is quite different, so please let me know if you need a different problem solved.....

It is quite long, but just work through each section in order.
The "knotting up" can reveal a lot. If you have loose threads on one side or the other, the tension on the opposite side will be the culprit.

QUICK SUMMARY FIRST:
Ensure sharp new needle,
Thread guides and Bobbin are Clean & Clear of lint
Set Top Tesion to 4 ....then....
Balance Bobbin to suit.

TOP THREAD TENSION:
If the looping threads are on the underside as you sew, it is the top tension. Top tension ought to be between 4 & 6 (this variation to allow for the different weights of fabric in your
projects).

IS YOUR NEEDLE SHARP ?
If you are using a needle that has seen quite a deal of work, or you suspect it may be blunt, change it for a new one !

TOP TENSION & GUIDES:
Make sure that when you thread the machine the presser foot is up so the thread goes between the discs and not to one side, top tension between 4 and 6, and that you have threaded through all the guides, including the last one, usually on the needle arm, just above the needle clamp.

It may be there is lint trapped between the discs, this will keep them slightly apart and reduce the actual tension, sometimes dramatically.

If tensions appear correct, and the thread is definitely in the channel between the discs, but still too loose and looping, try raising presser foot and remove your thread.

Now, with a 2" (50mm) wide strip piece of fabric 8 - 10" (20 - 25cm) moistened with methylated or denatured spirit, gently insert the fabric strip and clean between the discs with
a see saw / to and fro action.

In the worst cases, gentle use of a needle to pick & remove the jam may be necessary, but be very gentle and make sure the tension is set at Zero and the presser foot is raised, (to
disengage tension plates).... do not gouge or score the plates, they need a polished surface to work correctly.

BOBBIN TENSION:
Far less common, but if the loose threads are on the top, it is bobbin tension that is loose, it too may have lint in the spring and be giving a "false" tension.

I would not recommend fiddling with bobbin tension without good reason, it may end up with missing small screws and spring pieces, however, you can take the needle plate off to clean
the hook race area (where bobbin case sits)

...this is just good housekeeping, my wife does this every time she replaces the bobbin....

just take it out and clean the bobbin case and the fixed metal hook race with a small brush to remove lint. If there is a significant amount of lint, use a vacuum and small brush to get the worst.

Then wipe all this area with a cloth or cotton bud (Q tip) moistened (not soaked) with methylated spirit, especially if there appears to be fine dirty deposits....oil and lint combine to conspire against you.

If it seems likely that you ......really ....do .....actually .....need .....to adjust the bobbin case, first check there is no lint trapped in the metal spring where the thread is tensioned.

TOP LOADER:
Drop-in Bobbin case will look similar to this image with the tension screw in the middle of the metalwork....

4c76dc1.jpg ...the other screw at one end is holding it all together, so beware....it is not a tragedy to undo the whole lot and clean it, but very gingerly and lay the bits out in sequence and orientation, or you risk tearing your hair out !

FRONT LOADER:
....this is a bobbin case from a front loading machine and works in a very similar fashion to the top loader with drop in bobbin, again, if you dismantle it, take care so you can put it all
back properly.
165ca5c.jpg FINISHING UP
GETTING THE BALANCE RIGHT:
When you are certain there's no trapped lint in top tension or bobbin, set the top tension to 4 and the bobbin tension to a point where you just begin to feel resistance.

Try using good quality thread of contrasting colours so you can more easily spot the changes.

Set your zigzag to one width less than maximum (eg. 5 of 6 ...or... 4 of 5 etc) and sew a sample for a few inches and check the result.... adjust the bobbin tension screw very little at
a time, perhaps 1/16 of a turn.

You may find you are playing with this balance for some little while and if you are putting the needleplate on and off each time begin to think it cannot be correct to do this.....BUT....it is,
and eventually, you do get a "feel" for the correct tension and then it happens quite quickly.....as a user you won't be doing it very often unless there is lint built up (or are there small hands at work around the house !?!?!)

OTHER ISSUES:
If you live near the ocean as we do, salt air can play havoc with metalwork inside and out, so to help minimise this, keep a few small packets of dessicant (silica gel) in your machine
case....no case ? then make some sort of cover !

Same applies in any damp or humid environment, keep your machine dry and dust free.

Budget for a proper full service every couple of years (more often if heavily used) and if you don't use your machine for a few years, be aware that old oil will dry out and combining with
dust and form a "clag" like glue (another reason for some sort of cover, even a teatowel !)

FINALLY, A WORD ON THREAD:
If it is worth spending the time, energy and money on making something that you would like to give lasting enjoyment......use quality thread, .......it may seem to cost a little more at the
time, but the results, ease of use and added longevity will be worth the extra, and as a bonus, your tension troubles may be fewer and further between, because there is a more consistant diameter with good thread, and less compensating to be done by your tension plates and less thread breaks !

If you want any more help with this, just post back here, or, drop a line through the "Contact Us" page at www.bargainbox.com.au

Posted on Feb 24, 2008

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: Bernina Aurora 440 knotting below my fabric and into bobbin area.

Are you sure you have the bobbin the right way round in the holder....when you look at the bobbin and tug the thread, the bobbin should move clockwise.
Pull out the foot pedal and use bsr2 with the start/stop button.
Bring bobbin thread to top of work before starting to sew. This may help knotting problem

Posted on Jun 17, 2009

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: I have a Bernina Virtuosa 155 and use it daily. Without

In checking I can either adjust the tenion screw and if that does not work, purchase a new bobbin case.

Posted on Oct 28, 2009

  • 234 Answers

SOURCE: my bobbin straight stitch is wavy and loose and

If you have any spare bobbin holders, I suggest you exchange it with the troublesome one and see if you get better results, Some times the bobbin /holder gets worn and no adjustment will correct it, therefore, you need to replace it. Or, could be that the timing (syncronization) of the upper and lower movements have changed and need to be realigned (not all models allow you to do this realignment syncronizing). Goodluck, Macgivor

Posted on Jan 31, 2010

Tally Girl
  • 1125 Answers

SOURCE: Thread tension problem when sewing on heavy fabrics

If you are using buttonhole twist or heavy topstitch and normal thread underneath machine tensions wont like it. Try using regular thread top and bottom but use two same colour on top and thread both through needle but put one either side of tension discs if you can. Top stitching jeans is problematic for manymachines even Berninas

Posted on Jan 13, 2012

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try adjusting the top thread tension one number or letter higher
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Pfaff varimatic 6091 sew a rag quilt with jean and flannel,I can't get my tension right it seems to be funny on the bottom stitch,where shoulf the top tension be set at 4 1/2 ,when do I adjust the bobbin...


Hi! The bobbin tension rarely needs to be adjusted. First, make sure you're using the appropriate size needle and thread for your fabric (I'd probably use either a 'denim' needle or a universal size 14) and also that the upper thread and bobbin are threaded absolutely correctly. These can throw off the tension! Also, take the time to clean out the bobbin area. That can throw your stitch off also.

If the stitch on the bottom is loose, so that you see the top threads, then the top tension is too loose. If the top stitch is too loose and you see the bobbin threads on top, then the top tension is too tight.

It helps to thread the machine with different color thread on top and in the bobbin, and then stitch an inch or so on the same type of fabric as you're using in your quilt. Check the stitch. If you need to adjust the top tension, make sure the pressure foot is down! Adjust a little, stitch a few inches, and check again. Repeat until you don't see any (or very little) bobbin thread on the top or top thread on the bottom.

If you go through all these steps, and the bobbin thread is still loose (and you've tightened up the top tension), then there is a tiny little screw on the side of the bobbin case that you can use to adjust the bobbin tension. Turn the screw just a little bit (less than a quarter turn), stitch, check, etc. Once the bobbin tension is set, you shouldn't ever have to change it.

Let me know if this helps, ok?

Happy sewing!




Feb 10, 2010 | PfaFF Sewing Machines

2 Answers

Jams


I make flannel square quilts for babies, it is a nightmare itself. It makes a lot of lint in the bobbin case and under the face plate, try prewashing the fabric before using it and clean out the bobbin case frequently while sewing. When i dont prewash it, i just open the bobbin area and blow the cotton dust out with my breath or i use the small brush to clean it out

Dec 12, 2009 | Singer 2250 Tradition

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I have just recently picked up sewing again. Haven't sewn in 30 years. Anyway.... I'm having an ongoing bobbin problem, or at least I think it's the bobbin. When I sew a straight stitch, the top stitch...


I think that is your problem. You should see a little slip in the bobbin holder. Hold the bobbin with one hand and pull the thread through the slot. I think that is where your notches are. The thread should not be real loose coming out of the bobbin. I hope this helps.

Oct 19, 2009 | Singer Sewing Machines

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The thread bunches at the bottom. It worked fine then one day in the middle of my sewing it bunched. I rethreaded. I adjusted bobbin tensions with the little screw and on top. Help


Welcome to FixYa! I am the sewing machine expert that chose to help you with your issue.

There are really only two things that can cause bottom (note: remember that problems with the bottom thread, almost always comes from the top and not the bobbin. Bobbins rarely need tension adjustments). These two things are:
  1. An area was missed when the machine was threaded (most machines have an arrow at each area on the thread path where the thread MUST run or the stitch on the bottom will be sloppy. Threading can be tricky and even the most experienced miss once in a while.
  2. The tension adjustment mechanism in the thread path. If the thread is not properly through this area, the thread on the bottom will be sloppy or if, threaded properly, and the tension is set too loose, the stitch will be sloppy. If the tension is set too tight, the bottom thread will be tight and pucker the fabric.
It is counter-intuitive that problems with the top tension cause problems with the bottom stitch but it sure will.

So try it and see if that helps.

Thanks for using FixYa.com

P.S. - If you find that the solution/answer I provided led you to, or resulted in a fix, please close the ticket with a FixYa! rating. I would be very grateful for your show of appreciation.
If it hasn’t, please do not assign a rating just yet. Please post back as to what steps you took, results, etc, and I will try to assist you further.

Jan 31, 2009 | Singer 3116 Simple

1 Answer

Loose stitch


Welcome to FixYa. I am the sewing machine expert that chose your issue to solve.

When everything seems to be working fine and an occasional stitch is loose.....now get ready.......here it is.......the needle!

It seems impossible, but the needle is the most neglected part of the machine. The one you are using could be slightly bent or have a slight burr that you won't see with the naked eye. Also, needles, especially in an embroidery machine (which work their buns off), are only good for about 8 hours of cumulative use. I would say that an embroidery needle should be retired after 3 or 4. They get dull like a razor blade which can cause enough drag to create a timing issue that's barely perceptible.
Welcome to FixYa! I am the sewing machine expert that chose to help you with your issue.

There are really only two things that can cause bottom (note: remember that problems with the bottom thread, almost always comes from the top and not the bobbin. Bobbins rarely need tension adjustments). These two things are:
  1. An area was missed when the machine was threaded (most machines have an arrow at each area on the thread path where the thread MUST run or the stitch on the bottom will be sloppy. Threading can be tricky and even the most experienced miss once in a while.
  2. The tension adjustment mechanism in the thread path. If the thread is not properly through this area, the thread on the bottom will be sloppy or if, threaded properly, and the tension is set too loose, the stitch will be sloppy. If the tension is set too tight, the bottom thread will be tight and pucker the fabric.
It is counter-intuitive that problems with the top tension cause problems with the bottom stitch but it sure will.

So try it and see if that helps.

Thanks for using FixYa.com

P.S. - If you find that the solution/answer I provided led you to, or resulted in a fix, please close the ticket with a FixYa! rating. I would be very grateful for your show of appreciation.
If it hasn’t, please do not assign a rating just yet. Please post back as to what steps you took, results, etc, and I will try to assist you further.



Jan 31, 2009 | Bernina Bernette 75

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Welcome to FixYa!

Loose bottom stitches come from the top, not the bottom. Seems weird, but that's the way sewing machines work.

The dial tension should be set at the mid range and make absolutely sure that you have the machine threaded correctly. Both things will cause a sloppy bottom stitch.

Thanks!

If you find my solution helpful, I'd appreciate a FixYa rating....

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1 Answer

Topand bottom stitches are not even


Could be a tension issue.

Try this to see if it helps:
Remove top thread.
ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot and rethread from the beginning.
Start the top tension set at the midway point and then adjust.
Check that the bobbin is threaded and installed correctly.

Understanding Thread Tension Threads

Sewing Lesson 10 How to Fix Tension on Your Sewing Machine

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