Question about Sewing Machines

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Top thread intermittently goes through middle of bobbin thread

Every 20 stitches or so I am seeing where the top thread appears to sew through the bobbib thread. I have noticed this while ripping out stitches on a twin size quilt. Any ideas why this is happening?

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  • Sewing Machines Master
  • 627 Answers

If it does ok for around twenty stitches and then pulls the bottom stitch to the top there is this problem:
1. Top thread has tension added all at one time. This means the thread is getting a snag somewhere.
2. When you thread the top do it with the foot up. As you are threading make constant small tugs to see if there are any snags.
3. When a snag is found it will have to be smoothed for the thread to move smoothly.
4. Check the thread while it is flowing through the needle. If it is getting a puff ball you will need to replace the thread with a quality embroidery thread.

Posted on Apr 09, 2015

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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bargainbox
  • 1388 Answers

SOURCE: When sewing the needle goes

It may be a tension issue going on, however if you cannot form any stitch at all, it is more likely Timing, in which case, look here for a link
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

Best Wishes
Martyn
Bargain Box in Australia

Posted on Sep 10, 2009

Testimonial: "Your instructions were clear, concise and easy to follow. This is the step by step , clear directions which I needed. Thanks, Now I can get back to s"

  • 255 Answers

SOURCE: top thread doesn't pick up the bobbin thread (Toyota sewing m.)

Hi! This may sound silly, but if you changed your needle and put it in backwards (which is easy to do), the top thread won't pick up the bottom thread. Take your needle out and check the flat side of the needle shank--which way is it facing? With a lot of the newer machines, the flat side goes to the back, but check your manual to make sure.

Let me know if this helps, ok?

Happy Sewing!

Robbie

Posted on Feb 13, 2010

  • 460 Answers

SOURCE: sewing machine will not stitch.

Is this the first time you have used the machine? If so you need to bring up the bobbin thread by hand before stitching. Only when both bobbin and top threads are up through the needle plate nad pulled towards the back of machine, will the machine form a stitch.

Posted on Dec 17, 2010

  • 223 Answers

SOURCE: When I use the "Fix"

Sounds like it's tightening the top thread on 'fix'. I'd just backstitch it- some new things are great and some don't work like they should have, it's just how it goes.

lp

Posted on Jan 11, 2011

  • 192 Answers

SOURCE: I have a janome 1600P, it will not sew without either the top thread breaking or the bobin thread breaking. It will sew for about a quarter of an inch and then the thread breaks, I have changed the bo

My experiences with thread breaking with machine on a quilting frame make me look at the upper tension being set too high, the needle being worn or movement of the machine is too fast. Reduce the upper tension first, then sew in straight lines at first. See if you can sew slowly, in straight lines and reduce the upper tension until the thread stops breaking. If so, try some 1-2 inch circles, again going slowly. If the needle thread is pulling to the back, you will need to increase the upper tension again until the stitches meet in the middle of the fabric. If you can't locate a balanced spot where the needle thread is not pulling to the back side and thread doesn't break, try taking the machine off of the frame and sewing on a table. If it won't sew this way, it needs some professional help. If it does, you will probably save a lot of time taking it in for service, making sure to explain to the repair center that you have problems on a quilting frame, not while sewing normally. When the machine is adjusted to sew normally on a table and you move it to the frame, you will probably need to reduce the tension by 1-2 complete turns of the tension knob.

Posted on Nov 17, 2011

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1 Answer

Tension on sewing machine


Check your stitch sample. The looping under the fabric is most likely the top thread. If so, this is call bird nesting or thread nesting. Most common cause is the top thread is not completely seated in the tension disk.

Remove the top thread from the machine.
ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot and rethread the top thread.
Set the top tension at the midway point (this can be tweaked later).

Test your stitch. Increase or decrease the top tension until the top & bobbin threads meet in the middle of your fabric.

What causes Bird Nests Superior Threads

Sep 06, 2017 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

The tension on my machine is off.I don't know which thread to adjust.bobbin or top thread. on fabric top stitch seems ok,bottom stitch bunches up and is loose.How do I readjust the tensions?


If the thread problem appears under the fabric, it is a top thread issue.

If the thread problem appears on the top of the fabric, the bobbin thread is the issue.

Perhaps the upper thread is not seated completely in the tension disk. Remove the upper thread from the machine, ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot, then rethread from the beginning. Make sure the thread path is correct. Test your stitch.

If the thread is still looping under the fabric, the upper tension is too loose. Set the upper tension to the midway point. Test and adjust the tension until it is where you want it. Preferred tension is when both threads meet in the middle of the fabric.

sewing machine tension Google Search


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Oct 29, 2016 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

How do I adjust the tension?


Set our machine's upper tension dial somewhere around the midpoint (between the lowest & highest number).

RAISE the presser foot and then rethread the upper thread from the very beginning. (The tension disks are released when the presser foot is raised allowing the thread to seat properly.) (When testing tension, it helps to use different color threads in the bobbin vs the top thread so you can see how it is sewing.)

Sew a test on the fabric you will be stitching. The ideal tension is when the upper thread and bobbin thread meet in the middle of the fabric. If the bobbin thread is appearing on the top of the fabric, the upper tension is too tight and needs to be loosened. If the upper thread is appearing under the fabric, the upper tension is too loose and needs to be tightened. Righty-tighty and lefty-loosey!

...

Nov 19, 2015 | Sewing Machines

2 Answers

Why isbobbin stitch on top weird how do i fix


sorry but the bottom stitch does not move but the top one does . if you want straight stitch the machine setting has to be changed to straight .

May 22, 2015 | Sewing Machines

2 Answers

I have juki 1541industrial machine . It started sewing upside down . Instead of nice stiching on top show side it on bottom. Any ideas


This is caused by the tension between the bobbin and needle threads being out of balance. If the knots between the stitches are on the bottom side, then you need to tighten your needle thread tension a little at a time until the knot is in middle of fabric. The reverse of this is if the knots are on the top, then either your bobbin tension is too loose or your needle thread tension is too tight. If this occurs, then loosen your needle thread a little at a time to see if knot goes down in middle of fabric. If it does not, then you need to increase the tension on your bobbin thread. This done by taking bobbin case out and tighten the small screw located in the middle of the spring on the side of the case. You only need a slight, steady pull on the bobbin thread - the more you put on the bobbin, the more you are going to have to put on the needle thread.

Feb 13, 2015 | Juki Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Machine won't stitch


If by "won't stitch" you mean that the top thread will not pick up the bottom thread, make sure you have the needle threaded properly. If the machine is a top loading bobbin, the thread goes in the needle from front to back. Same if it's a side loading bobbin (bobbin faces you as you sew). If it's a front loading bobbin (bobbin faces left of machine), the thread goes in the needle from left to right.

Oct 12, 2014 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

My stitch does not sew on right side of fabric. I sew & see the underside of the stitch. I remove the fabric & the stitch is on the underside.... Never known sewing machine to do this. Help!!


Hi. first thing is to remove the threads from the machine, top thread and the bobbin, and replace to manufactures instructions. If still the same the problem sounds as if there is no tension on the bobbin [under] thread, adjust to a light tension. Then adjust top thread tension until the knot is in the middle of the cloth. Most times people keep tightening the top tension..

Aug 10, 2013 | Brother XL-2600I

1 Answer

I had my machine in the closet for 5 years and now need to sew a hem on my cotton pants. What should the settings be set at? Right now it is at a 4 and the stitch length is a 2 1/2. The thread is too...


If your machine has been stored for 5 years, you should give it a good clean and oil according to the manual before you do anything else. Then put in a new needle and wind a fresh bobbin, checking that the bobbin has been wound smoothly as a badly wound bobbin can cause poor tension and stitching from the bottom thread.

You want the thread to go from the spool through a tension disc or eyelet to the bobbin and keep some gentle tension onto the thread spool using your scissors handle or similar so that the thread winds off it smoothly and the spool doesn't bounce around. Also give the thread a nudge with your finger tip as it winds onto the bobbin so it fills evenly, top, middle and bottom, not all in the middle.

Are you wanting a straight stitch to sew around the hemline? If so, your stitch length is right, but stitch width should be zero. You don't say what knob is set to 4, if its your top tension then that should be close, usually between 4 and 6 if dial goes from zero to 10.

Which thread is too tight? top or bottom. Firstly check the threading path to ensure that the top thread isn't catching on anything, is through the take up lever properly and coming from the thread spool without catching there. Some thread spools have a little knick in the top where you can catch the thread to store it, but you dont' want the thread to catch here when seaming, so turn it around the other way on the spool so it can't.

Try test stitching a medium zig zag stitch on scrap fabric, and you'll be able to see if the bottom thread is pulling in or the top one, then adjust the tension dial a little to lessen this.

Hope these pointers help, if you can't get a good neat stitch after trying these things, then consider taking it for a clean and service, the technician can get inside and clean the machine thoroughly and also check for any other issues that might be there.

Apr 30, 2011 | Singer 57815 Mechanical Sewing Machine

1 Answer

I am sewing a cotton piece of fabric for a dress and i do not know how to set the tension for cotton


The tension for cotton is set the same way tension is set for any fabric:

1. The thread should pull freely with a small resistance before/after it goes through the needle, on many machines that's half way on the tension adjustment.

2. The bobbin thread when dangled by the thread with the bobbin inside the case should drop down a bit when slightly flicking your wrist like you do with a yo-yo. If it reels out to the floor the tension is too loose. If it doesn't drop at all it is too tight.

3. Now make sure you use the right type of needle. For cotton you want a "sharp" and for reg. weight cotton about a size 10 maybe 12.

Now take a piece of strap cotton material like you're going to sew a seem and sew with a wide zig zag. Example the top side and then the bottom. They should appear identical, flat with needle holes at each side where the thread disappears to the other side. You should see no loop where the threads over lap each other and the material should not be puckering in the middle.

If that is not what you see then think this way:

The TOP side of the stitch is effected by the BOTTOM thread. the bobbin tension.
The BOTTOM side of the stitch is effected by the TOP /needle tension.

Adjust the responding tensions until the stitch looks the same on both sides. Now you are ready to sew your cotton! :)

Apr 26, 2011 | White Sewing Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Sewing machine will not stitch. The thread goes into the material but does not make a stitch. I've changed the needle, cleaned the bobbin, rethread the bobbin and the top thread.??????????????


Is this the first time you have used the machine? If so you need to bring up the bobbin thread by hand before stitching. Only when both bobbin and top threads are up through the needle plate nad pulled towards the back of machine, will the machine form a stitch.

Dec 17, 2010 | Singer Confidence 7467 Mechanical Sewing...

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