Question about Bernina Activa 130

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Singer sewing machine will not zig zag

My machine will not go into the zig zag mode. It runs perfect on straight and backwards stitches.

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  • Anonymous Mar 25, 2014

    Zig zag setting stitching straight



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  • Bernina Master
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Over time, and especially when not used, there is a likelihood of dust and old oil forming a sort of glue, or clag....

Remove the needle for safety, then, when you have the setting on Zig zag, gently push the needle arm to the opposite side of the zig stitch.......release the needle arm, and if it springs back quickly, it is fine, if it moves slowly, or almost not at all, then the clag needs removing with application of few drops of methylated spirit to start, at the sort of piston affair that shifts needle arm L & R .....move the needle arm back & forth until it frees up, a drop of oil to finish.........if almost seized, may require leaving overnight after using a penetrating lubricant if it is really resistant....I have had them on the bench for 3 days with manual manipulation a few times each day before they finally come good.

Denatured alcohol is fine, surgical spirit too, different countries have different names or products, essentially alcohol with few impurities that will evaporate quickly with little residue.

Hope this does work for you, tho' as I said, it may take a little time to penetrate depending on severity........the same applies to the reverse mechanism of many machines when they seize.
If you want any more help with this, just post back here, or, drop a line through the "Contact Us" page at

Posted on Feb 24, 2008


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Check that your sewing machine is even capable of zig-zag. Some machines are straight-stitch only.

Consult your owner's manual.

If your machine can do zig-zag, somewhere there is a dial or setting called "stitch width" that will determine how wide the zig-zag will be.


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From the pattern selector (the bigger dial), select the zig-zag stitch. Then, using the stitch length dial (the smaller dial), adjust the stitch length. The closer your stitch length is to "0", the more dense will your zig-zag stitch be.

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My new Singer machine ("Curvy") purchased last week (3/2014) has a page on stretch stitches. The way the book is written, it lists Straight Stretch Stitch on the same page as Ric Rac, HOneycomb, and...

A zig-zag is also a stretch stitch. Usually, a "built-in" stretch stitch will stitch forward a couple and then stitch backward and then stitch forward again (time consuming and uses a lot of thread--but suitable if that's what you want). Whatever you are sewing, whether it is a seam or finished raw edge and the fabric is stretch, you will need to use a stretch or zig-zag. A straight stitch will pop the threads as soon as the fabric has to give.

You can test your stitches on some scrap fabric and see what looks best.

An Over-edge stitch is just that, just a stitch over the fabric edge. It probably would not be suitable for sewing a seam.

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White sewing machine won't stop the zig zag stitch

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

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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.

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My singer does'nt do dverlockWhat can I do ?

No sewing machine does a true overlock stitch, that is what sergers are for, they trim and form a stitch on the edge of the fabric using 1 or 2 needles and two loopers. Costs more for an additional machine but the finish is much more like a shop bought item.


Some sewing machines have an overcasting or interlock stitch which looks like stitch 10 in this picture above. Your machine may have this stitch?

If not, does it have a three step zig zag? It looks like a zig zag but the needle goes into the fabric three times as it forms each leg of the zig zag. This stitch is great for neatening a raw edge and I use this a lot myself. Especially on wovens as it is always faster to seam with this rather than the overcasting stitch where the feed dogs move the fabric forwards, then backwards, then forward to make the stitch.

The sewing machine made overcasting stitch can be used to sew knit fabrics, attach rib around an neck line and neaten raw edges but it is always going to take longer than a serger and there is no trimming function so its never going to look like a shop made overlocked item. However, you can sew knit fabrics with a sewing macine with a bit of patience as long as the machine has some "Forwards/backwards" type stitches as these put elasticity into the seams - if you seam knit with a straight stitch, seams can break when under tension during wear.

And use a twin stretch needle and straight sttich to sew the hems, this looks a bit like a cover stitch and has a bit of give in it too.

Hope this helps you a little. You can find some good sewing general info on or invest in a good sewing book. I refer to my Vogue Sewing Manual and my Singer Sewing Secrets often. Or take a sewing class, its a great way to learn new things, get enthused and have fun.

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