Question about Singer 5160 Mechanical Sewing Machine

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Janome Overlocker After sewing and when you open the seam the stitching is really big and loose.

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Re: Janome Overlocker

Try this quick fix to identify the culprit........

Rethread the machine in this sequence (from R to L) with a different colour thread in each

(use thread of the same gauge or weight for a perfect result.....if one is heavier, the result will need to be adjusted to compensate when you change back to your actual project thread)

  1. lower looper
  2. upper looper
  3. R needle
  4. L needle
Having ensured correct threading and that the thread is located in the tension unit correctly, you will soon see the offender, and after a few samples with minor adjustments you ought to get back to work !


Posted on Jan 27, 2008

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Re: Janome Overlocker


Is it a three or four thread machine?

A three thread has little strength used as a seam.

On a four thread,basically, it is a tension problem. You need to ensure that the presser foot is in the up position before threading. The correct path is followed for all threads. You are using good quality thread. Reset the dials to 'normal tension' #3 or 4 .... then slowly work your way from there. The manual should offer advice on which tension to adjust to correct a particular problem.

Good luck!

Posted on Oct 22, 2007

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1 Answer

The top stich is loose on my Janome Harmony 8100, I have cleaned and changed bobbins, but nothing seems to help.

Ok, Let's understand exactly what is going on. You said. "the top stitch is loose." So that we are you mean that you are getting loops on top of the seam? Or do you mean that you are getting wiggly stitches on top and small loops on the bottom of the seam? It's important to know... Because loops underneath means the top tension isn't right. Maybe you didn't thread with the presser foot in the UP position... or your tension is dialed too low.

Now, if you are getting loops on top of the seam... that means the top tension is too tight. Loosen the top tension. Make sure your bobbin is inserted correctly. If loosening top tension isn't enough, you may have to tighten the tension screw on the bobbin case/ or bobbin carrier.

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On my bobbin side of the materal after i sew its just tons of thread on that side and the stitch is not tight

Loose on bottom indicates trouble with top tension. Re thread your machine with the presser foot UP. sew a test seam. If you still have problems adjust the top tension. sew a test seam. If you still have problems clean between the tension discs with some sturdy fabric and unwaxed dental floss. Sew another test seam.

Still problems? Wind the top tension tight then back off 1/4 turns until the seam is balanced.

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1 Answer

What are the settings for overlocking stretch fabrics

For knits with lycra in, you are best to thread up four threads and seam with the 4 thread marrowing stitch like this, preferabbly with ball point needles in your overlocker, size 80. Use cones of polyester thread, 3,000 metres or 5,000 metres rather than normal thread. (Although if you have trouble matching thread colours you can use a small reel on the left needle as this is the thread that will show on the right side of the garment.)


Start with your machine tensions on 5, both needles in and threaded, stitch length of 2.5 and no differential (set it on zero) and test stitch. Using stretch or ballpoint needles is a good idea too to avoid any deflection and skipped stitches. Then practice serging on some fabric scraps, double layer and look at the seam, if it is tunnelling (pulling up the fabric), then move the cutting blade to the left. Test again and if still tunnelling, then loosen off the tension on the top and bottom loopers by a half number and test again.

If the opposite is happening and the threads are looping off the edge of the fabric, then move the cutting blade to the right to trim less fabric, test again. If still too loose, then tighten up the top and bottom looper tensions by a small amount and test again.

You want the seam to lie flat, the two looper threads to meet right on the cut edge and the needle thread to be just visible from the right side when you press open the seam.

There is always a small amount of adjustments needed on an overlocker when setting up for a new project as every fabric will behave differently. Don't tighten up the tension on the needles much past 5 though, or you may get thread breakage.

If you find that the seam is flutting then you can use the differential feed to adjust for this too.

There is some good overlocking info on Debbie Cosgroves website,, with images which may help too.

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1 Answer

Correct settings for 804dsp serger to sew a sweater.

Are you wanting to use the serger to sew a hand knitted sweater together? or do you mean a sweat shirt knit or other knit fabric. If it is the first option, I'd say don't bother, as you can't do it with the blades working because it will cut your knitting and the wool will unravel in the seams.

If it is the second option then I would start with the following settings.

Four thread stitch, so both needles and the upper and lower loopers threaded. Set tension on all four dials to 5, stitch length to between 2 and 3, and differential on zero. Move the cutting blade over to the right for a wider seam. Now test stitch on some fabric scraps double layer and see what the seam is looking like.

Now you want to adjust a couple of things: firstly width of the seam. Is it the size you want? If you'd like it a little narrower, then adjust the cutting blade back a little to the left to narrow the seam slightly - just depends on the fabric weight. For example if it is a loose open weave like boucle you would want a wide seam to make sure it holds the fibres fully.

Now you can adjust the upper and lower loopers to get the thread wrapping around the edge looking nice. Look at the seam and the fabric inside it. Is it tunnelling and pulling up the fabric? if so, release tension on both loopers a half number to put more thread into the seam. Test stitch again and see if the loopers are meeting nicely on the cut edge of the fabric. Upper and lower looper threads should be meeting right on the cut edge so if this isn't happening and one showing on the other side, then tighten the looser one by half a number and test again.

If the threads are hanging off the edge then you have the choice of moving the blade to the right to cut less fabric off, or tightening up the looper tensions to pull in the thread.

That's it, hope this helps you to master your serger.

If you'd like some images and further explanations of other stitching you can do with your overlocker, then Debbie Coswell has some great information on line at, just search "overlocker" to find the specific pages.

Good luck

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My needle breaks 2 in a row

Don't pull your fabric as you seam as this is a sure fire way to break needles.

Also, make sure you have got the right foot on it for the stitch sequence it is sewing. For example, don't use a foot with a little hole in it when doing a zig zag as the needle will strike the foot. The general purpose clear plastic foot is usually a good one for most stitching.

If you are trying to sew something pretty heavy then this can cause breakages too as the machine may struggle to pierce through 6 layers of denim when you cross another seam. For example, hemming jeans, when you stitch over the side seams, your machine is trying to pierce probably 7 layers, the leg, plus the felled seam turned twice. It will struggle. You can help it by using a "Jeans-a-jig" a little plastic device you hold in front to get the foot up over the lump and give it grip. But take it really slow and sew one stitch at a time.

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How do I adjust the stitch length on a Janome "My Lock" 234?

Is there a dial on the right above the flywheel? This is where you adjust the stitch length on most sergers. It might be numbered from 0 to 5 or 4.

If it has differential feed, there would be a dial there for this too, possibly under the stitch length knob - it would have numbers like -1, -0.5, 0, 0.5 and 1 on it.

If you are new to sergers/overlockers I highly recommend a class, demonstration or investing in a good book to get you started as they are not like sewing machines and many of the techniques are best demonstrated such as rolled thread edging and flat lock seams.

I've borrowed he Singer book "Sewing with an overlocker", or "Serge with Confidence" by Nancy Zieman from my library but there would be other titles too.

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I am interested in buying a Janome 525 but want to know if it has a built in overlocker

A sewing machine and an overlocker are two completly different things, but a sewing machine is usually able to do a cover stitch. An overlocker will cut the fabric at the same time, a sewing machine cannot do this.

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I've just got janome 634d serger, how can i make the bottom of a T-shirt ? Thank you so much

If you want the bottom of the T to look like RTW with the double row of stitching, you cannot do this on a serger.

You can achieve the effect by using a twin needle, two spools of thread, bobbin and a straight stitch.

Make sure the double/twin needle will pass through the presser foot and opening in the needle plate below the presser foot.

Practice on a double layer of a scrap of the T shirt material as the tension may need to be slightly looser than the normal setting.

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Whats the differance between a overlocker and a sewing machine? I am new to sewing and want to know with to purchases, iv no idea where to start or what to buy?

A overlock machine helps you clean finish the seams. You can do many things with a overlock It can cut your sewing time down. The sewing machine is good for many thing too,Mostly the construction of the garment. I have three machines. A indstrialstraight stitch, a home machine and a overlock.Al for different tasks.

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