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Why won't it sew? top and bottom stitches won't connect

Top and bottom stitches don't join

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  • 9 Answers

It sounds like you may either have the wrong needle installed or the needle is not inserted properly. Have you recently replaced your needle? Did you replace it with a needle recommended by the manufacturer? If you replaced it, did you put the flat side to the back?

Posted on Nov 14, 2014

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6ya6ya
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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bargainbox
  • 1388 Answers

SOURCE: bottom stitch all gummed up

If you are using a standard top tension of 4 or 5 and this problem has developed over time, the most likely cause is lint deposited between the tension disks....... if the top tension is loose, or in the tension spring of the bobbin case if the bottom tension is having troubles. In either case you need to remove the lint...... 
Raise the presser foot and with a length of scrap fabric, use an action like flossing your teeth to get between the top tension disks......in extreme cases a probe (old needle) may be used very gently to remove thread and lint, but be VERY careful not to scratch the polished surfaces. 
I have also written a tutorial on tension balance which may be of further assistance, particularly for bobbin tension issues: 

Please TRY the solution BEFORE giving your considered rating.

Ensure that all is clean and free of lint and jams, this is the most likely cause....now for tension troubleshooting .......

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 consistent diameter with good thread, and less compensating to be done by your tension plates and less thread breaks !
 
 
 
 
www.bargainbox.com.au

Posted on Dec 28, 2008

  • 69 Answers

SOURCE: Brother vx790, my stitches are reversed ( top is on botom & bottom is on top )

It sounds like your tensions are out of adjustment. Your upper tension should be between 3-5 and make sure the tension in your bobbin case is not too tight as well. Pull the thread through the bobbin case and make sure it comes out with a small amount of resistance. If no resistance, tighten the tension just a bit, if too much resistance, loosen it just a small bit at a time.

Posted on Feb 12, 2009

Mimito7
  • 128 Answers

SOURCE: Top thread stitches correctly but bottom thread loops.

FYI---- Loops on the bottom-- problem is in the threading..
Loops on the top--- problem is with the bobbin.

Posted on Apr 19, 2009

bargainbox
  • 1388 Answers

SOURCE: singer 237 stitches loose on bottom of fabric

Please TRY the solution BEFORE giving your considered rating.
Specific detail on bobbin case adjustment (with picture) near halfway down reply, the remainder will help you achieve a balance of top and bottom tensions.

Ensure that all is clean and free of lint and jams, this is the most likely cause....now for tension troubleshooting .......

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 consistent diameter with good thread, and less compensating to be done by your tension plates and less thread breaks

bargainbox.com.au

Posted on Sep 02, 2009

SOURCE: This machine will sew properly & then start

you might check your bobbin case tension---turn the screw to the left to tighten----to the right to loosen
also after every project check the needle to make sure it's in good condition

Posted on Sep 28, 2010

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1 Answer

Sewing machine won't stitch


try changing the needle
rethread the machine top & bobbin
if the suggestions don't work, it's possible that the machine
may have jumped time,, taking it to a sewing machine shop
the technican can tell you for sure

Jul 27, 2012 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

I altered the stitch to zigzag and now it wont stitch straight or anything!


try changing the needle
rethread the machine top & bobbin
make sure the bobbin is not warped or damaged
adjust the top tension one number or letter higher till the stitch looks normal
if these suggestion don't help then the machine needs to be serviced

May 11, 2012 | Necchi Sewing Machines

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Serger won't chain off a stitch. Stitches won't chain and hold to fabric. Added new needle, rethreaded whole machine. Stitches won't connect to fabric or make a chain.


is it possible that the needles are in backwards?
it's very possible that the machine is out of time & would have to be taken to a sewing machine repair shop to be retimed

Apr 02, 2012 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

My bottom stitches have loops


Your problem is probably with your tension. Let me give you instructions for adjusting the tension on anysewing machine. Be sure to have a scrap piece of the fabric you are using andthread the top of the machine with a different color of thread than thebobbin-it'll make it easier to see what's going on. Thread your machine with the presser foot UP. The disks that control the tension (threadgoes through them) are tightened up if the foot is down. Change the machine tension with the presser foot DOWN.Because the disks won't be engaged (see above) if the foot is up, the diskswon't move. Start at the middle setting, 3. Go up to tighten, decrease toloosen. Each machine is different, even 2 different machines of the same model.The best thing to do is start at 3 and use a different color in the top andbobbin thread so you can easily see what changes to the tension do to yourstitches. Now use a straight stitch a sew 3 or so inches. Take a lookat the top and bottom of the fabric. You don't want to see any (or at least notmuch) of the other color showing from the other side. Loops on the bottom of the fabric means you need to tighten(increase) your top tension. If you're stitches on the bottom are causingpuckering, then you need to loosen you're top tension. For the most part, youreally don't want to touch your bobbin tension-leave that to a repairtechnician. The factory setting shouldn't be touched except by someone whoreally knows what they're doing. Keep sewing a few inches at a time until you have the resultsyou want. Now you're tension is where you need it!

Jun 17, 2011 | Singer 3116 Simple

1 Answer

Stitches missing on the bottom of fabric, forming big loops, while top of fabric stitches are normal


It sounds as if you have a tension problem. Let me give you instructions for adjusting the tension on anysewing machine. Be sure to have a scrap piece of the fabric you are using andthread the top of the machine with a different color of thread than thebobbin-it'll make it easier to see what's going on. Thread your machine with the presser foot UP. The disks that control the tension (threadgoes through them) are tightened up if the foot is down. Change the machine tension with the presser foot DOWN.Because the disks won't be engaged (see above) if the foot is up, the diskswon't move. Start at the middle setting, 3. Go up to tighten, decrease toloosen. Each machine is different, even 2 different machines of the same model.The best thing to do is start at 3 and use a different color in the top andbobbin thread so you can easily see what changes to the tension do to yourstitches. Now use a straight stitch a sew 3 or so inches. Take a lookat the top and bottom of the fabric. You don't want to see any (or at least notmuch) of the other color showing from the other side. Loops on the bottom of the fabric means you need to tighten(increase) your top tension. If you're stitches on the bottom are causingpuckering, then you need to loosen you're top tension. For the most part, youreally don't want to touch your bobbin tension-leave that to a repairtechnician. The factory setting shouldn't be touched except by someone whoreally knows what they're doing. Keep sewing a few inches at a time until you have the resultsyou want. Now you're tension is where you need it!

Jun 10, 2011 | Brother XL3750 Mechanical Sewing Machine

1 Answer

My little friend has a mini style elements sewing machine, the thread tension seems to be the pr4oblem, how can i adjust both the top & bottm threads, also we are sure we have it threaded correctly,...


Let me give you instructions for adjusting the tension on any sewing machine. Be sure to have a scrap piece of the fabric you are using and thread the top of the machine with a different color of thread than the bobbin-it'll make it easier to see what's going on.
Thread your machine with the presser foot UP. The disks that control the tension (threadgoes through them) are tightened up if the foot is down. Change the machine tension with the presser foot DOWN.Because the disks won't be engaged (see above) if the foot is up, the diskswon't move. Start at the middle setting, 3. Go up to tighten, decrease toloosen. Each machine is different, even 2 different machines of the same model.The best thing to do is start at 3 and use a different color in the top andbobbin thread so you can easily see what changes to the tension do to yourstitches. Now use a straight stitch a sew 3 or so inches. Take a lookat the top and bottom of the fabric. You don't want to see any (or at least notmuch) of the other color showing from the other side. Loops on the bottom of the fabric means you need to tighten(increase) your top tension. If you're stitches on the bottom are causingpuckering, then you need to loosen you're top tension. For the most part, youreally don't want to touch your bobbin tension-leave that to a repairtechnician. The factory setting shouldn't be touched except by someone whoreally knows what they're doing. Keep sewing a few inches at a time until you have the resultsyou want. Now you're tension is where you need it!

Jun 07, 2011 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

The stitch on the bottom of the material is very loose and is bunching and looks terrible, the top thread keeps skipping and breaking, Ive fiddled with the tension and still having problems


Let me give you a general lesson on adjusting tension that will work for any machine. I suggest you thread the top of the machine with a different color thread than the bottom so that it's easier to see what adjustments you need to make.

Thread your machine with the presser foot UP. The disks that control the tension (threadgoes through them) are tightened up if the foot is down. Change the machine tension with the presser foot DOWN.Because the disks won't be engaged (see above) if the foot is up, the diskswon't move. Start at the middle setting, 3. Go up to tighten, decrease toloosen. Each machine is different, even 2 different machines of the same model.The best thing to do is start at 3 and use a different color in the top andbobbin thread so you can easily see what changes to the tension do to yourstitches. Now use a straight stitch a sew 3 or so inches. Take a lookat the top and bottom of the fabric. You don't want to see any (or at least notmuch) of the other color showing from the other side. Loops on the bottom of the fabric means you need to tighten(increase) your top tension. If you're stitches on the bottom are causingpuckering, then you need to loosen you're top tension. For the most part, youreally don't want to touch your bobbin tension-leave that to a repairtechnician. The factory setting shouldn't be touched except by someone whoreally knows what they're doing. Keep sewing a few inches at a time until you have the resultsyou want. Now you're tension is where you need it!

May 22, 2011 | Brother XL-5130 Mechanical Sewing Machine

1 Answer

What is the way to get even top and bottom thread tension. the machine is a Husqvarna 2000 6440


Let me give you a quick lesson in adjusting your tension. First, thread your bobbin and your upper thread with two different colors-it'll make it easier to see exactly what you need to adjust.

Thread your machine with the presser foot UP. The disks that control the tension (thread goes through them) are tightened up if the foot is down.

Change the machine tension with the presser foot DOWN. Because the disks won't be engaged (see above) if the foot is up, the disks won't move.

Start at the middle setting, 3. Go up to tighten, decrease to loosen. Each machine is different, even 2 different machines of the same model. The best thing to do is start at 3 and use a different color in the top and bobbin thread so you can easily see what changes to the tension do to your stitches.

Now use a straight stitch a sew 3 or so inches. Take a look at the top and bottom of the fabric. You don't want to see any (or at least not much) of the other color showing from the other side.

Loops on the bottom of the fabric means you need to tighten (increase) your top tension. If you're stitches on the bottom are causing puckering, then you need to loosen you're top tension. For the most part, you really don't want to touch your bobbin tension-leave that to a repair technician. The factory setting shouldn't be touched except by someone who really knows what they're doing.

Keep sewing a few inches at a time until you have the results you want. Now you're tension is where you need it!

May 10, 2011 | Husqvarna Sewing Machines

1 Answer

My zigzag stitch has loose tension


Let me give you a quick lesson in altering the tension on your machine. First, make sure you're using two different colors of thread in your bobbin and in the top of your machine (this will make it easier to see what is going on).

Thread your machine with the presser foot UP. The disks that control the tension (thread goes through them) are tightened up if the foot is down.

Change the machine tension with the presser foot DOWN. Because the disks won't be engaged (see above) if the foot is up, the disks won't move.

Start at the middle setting, 3. Go up to tighten, decrease to loosen. Each machine is different, even 2 different machines of the same model. The best thing to do is start at 3 and use a different color in the top and bobbin thread so you can easily see what changes to the tension do to your stitches.

Now use a straight stitch a sew 3 or so inches. Take a look at the top and bottom of the fabric. You don't want to see any (or at least not much) of the other color showing from the other side.

Loops on the bottom of the fabric means you need to tighten (increase) your top tension. If you're stitches on the bottom are causing puckering, then you need to loosen you're top tension. For the most part, you really don't want to touch your bobbin tension-leave that to a repair technician. The factory setting shouldn't be touched except by someone who really knows what they're doing.

Keep sewing a few inches at a time until you have the results you want. Now you're tension is where you need it!


May 09, 2011 | Bernina Virtuosa 150

1 Answer

How do I change the tension


Thread your machine with the presser foot UP. The disks that control the tension (thread goes through them) are tightened up if the foot is down.

Change the machine tension with the presser foot DOWN. Because the disks won't be engaged (see above) if the foot is up, the disks won't move.

Start at the middle setting, 3. Go up to tighten, decrease to loosen. Each machine is different, even 2 different machines of the same model. The best thing to do is start at 3 and use a different color in the top and bobbin thread so you can easily see what changes to the tension do to your stitches.

Now use a straight stitch a sew 3 or so inches. Take a look at the top and bottom of the fabric. You don't want to see any (or at least not much) of the other color showing from the other side.

Loops on the bottom of the fabric means you need to tighten (increase) your top tension. If you're stitches on the bottom are causing puckering, then you need to loosen you're top tension. For the most part, you really don't want to touch your bobbin tension-leave that to a repair technician. The factory setting shouldn't be touched except by someone who really knows what they're doing.

Keep sewing a few inches at a time until you have the results you want. Now you're tension is where you need it!


If you need any other assistance, leave me a comment. I check back daily, so I'll be sure to respond to you pretty quickly.

May 04, 2011 | Sewing Machines

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