Question about Sewing Machines

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My Elna Supermatic model 722010 now skips stitches.

It skips stitches on some fabrics and on other fabrics doesn't catch the bobbin thread at all. When I go back to the first fabric it stitches again. It doesn't stitch consistently any longer.

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  • Sewing Machines Master
  • 1,388 Answers

Take a look through this comprehensive list of
TROUBLESHOOTING
symptoms and possible solutions, it may also be useful for further reference in other times of need.

Check the timing of the needle to the hook. HERE is a guide to generic principles of Timing



Now also take a more specific look at tension issues....
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....

My Elna Supermatic model 722010 now skips stitches - 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

  • Tally Girl
    Tally Girl Mar 03, 2011

    Martyn, love your work above, very detailed and spot on.
    I've worked as an Elna demonstrator for several years in UK and would see lovely TX's, SU's and Carinas coming in with a whining owner telling me the machine was no good. I'd open up the needle plate, remove the bobbin holder and the rotary hook would actually have a wad of feltted cotton and lint in it under the bobbin holder. A clean out, drop of oil, pop it back together again and give it a test sew. Off they'd go happy back to their sewing rooms.

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  • 1 Answer

Check your needle, mine just did the same thing. I had put the needle in wrong. The flat goes to the rear and that fixed my skipping problem.

Posted on Mar 28, 2010

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1 Answer

What is the rght tension for The Elna Contessa 410 sewing machine?


Every machine is different, so a "right" tension will vary. The factory standard tension setting is the midway point between high & low number...BUT that needs to be tweaked per your machine.

Skipped stitches? Be sure to use a brand new needle and a needle that is compatible with the thread and fabric you are sewing. (Replacing an old needle is the most common and least expensive fix for a lot of machine problems.)

Optimal tension is when the upper and bobbin threads meet in the middle of the fabric.

Basic Maintenance Tension Skipped Stitches

What to Do If Your Sewing Machine Is Skipping Stitches

Feb 24, 2017 | Elna Sewing Machines

Tip

Have you acquired an early Swiss Elna Sewing Machine??


There are still many of these Elna Supermatic sewing machines around and being used; they might not have all the electronic bells and whistles of a new model but they are a very well made solid metal case machine, parts can still be found and they will produce a good quality stitch and handle a wide range of fabric types.

Maintaining these early models means regular cleaning and oiling. Each time you get your Elna out to sew you need to remove the needle plate and open up the bobbin cover, take out the bobbin then using a little brush carefully remove all lint and fluff that you can see from the race, around the feed dogs and in the surrounding area. Your model may have marked red dots for oiling points, usually one in the middle of the bobbin holder, and often another red dot nearby in the race area. Plus a couple on the body area sometimes or top of the machine. Oil these marked points with a drop of good quality clear sewing machine oil when you get the machine out to sew, especially into the bobbin holder, then run the machine slowly without a bobbin or thread for a few seconds to spread the oil through the moving parts.

Use Swiss Elna metal bobbins only, they are very distinctive and only have holes on the top with a smooth underside and are slightly dished. Always wind the bobbin with holes on top and load it into bobbin holder same way; this way you always have the thread coming off the bobbin in the right direction.

It is important to always click the bobbin thread into the tension spring on the outside of the bobbin holder, there is usually an audible sound as you get it into tension. Just hold the thread tail with one hand and pull it around into the groove on the outside of the bobbin case, then put a finger onto the bobbin to hold it still, and push down on the thread tail with your index finger to push it down into the tension spring, you should hear it click in. Lift the thread tail vertically to check, the thread wont come out if its in fully.

Whenever you start a new seam ALWAYS hold the two threads at the back of the needle plate firmly as you start stitching until you've completed 4 or 5 stitches, to keep them clear of getting pulled back into the bobbin race. This saves those horrible jam ups happening when you start a seam.

Change your needle regularly to ensure it is sharp and use the right sized needle and type for the fabric you are sewing; these machines take the standard 130/7H needle system, and always install flat shank to the back of the needle bar.

Happy sewing on your vintage Elna.

on Oct 02, 2011 | Elna Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Where to get a user manual for Elna Supermatic 722010 sewing machine - vintage 1963-1964


Hi Beverly,
My suggestion is that you join up the Yahoo group called "Elna Heirlooms" you'll find lots of very helpful fellow supermatic owners there and probably what you are looking for too. Here is one page from the manual for threading the bobbin into tension, once you've mastered this on the Elnas, its the same for all the Swiss ones.
10_14_2011_9_57_45_pm.jpg

Yes, top threading is important, you need to get the thread into the tension discs and also the take up lever. Have you cleaned out the tension discs too? these do get gummed up with fibres and dye particles sometimes. Just turn tension down to zero and "floss" between discs with the selvage edge of a clean piece of waste cotton fabric.

Might see you over on Yahoo, several of the members there are really knowledgeable on these great machines.
cheers
Tallygirl

Oct 13, 2011 | Elna 2007 Mechanical Sewing Machine

1 Answer

On my elna supermatic 722010 sewing machine, the thread makes the bobbin pop out and the thread get tangled underneath. I have had it fixed twice, which is expensive. Should I just get rid of it and buy...


not unless you can find another swiss elna, like star series su. check bobbin in right way, holes on top to wind and load. you havent bought anothet type bobbin??? go to www.arizonaexpressionz.com and download a manual for supermatic. then read bobbin winding and threading carefully and rewinf bobbin and thread up again. make sure thread goes into tension spring all the way. bobbin should turn anticlockwise when yoou pull thread. also please brush clean bobbin holder area and check for any threads caught there. now a drop of quality clear machine oil in middle hole and gently run for 30secs to work in. do this every time you get your machine out. there are several oiling points shown in manual. oil them. these machines are quality but yours may need love tlc from a elna tech especially if it has not been serviced in a while. but a well maintained elna will out stitch a new plastic machine any day in my humble opinion. if you want to join yahoo group elna heirlooms, experts who service their own and share photos info manuals and love these vintage classics.

Jun 16, 2011 | Elna Sewing Machines

1 Answer

I need a manual for an Elna Special machine. I am not sure of how to thread the machine properly and I don't know what one of the dials on the front of the machine does.


There is also a Yahoo group for Heirloom Elna owners which this model is.
You can find threading diagrams and manuals at www.sewusa.com. the supermatic will be closest to your Special. This webpage has images of threading the bobbin; all Swiss made Elna's have this wonderful top loading bobbin system and they are great. Important: use Elna bobbins, they have holes on the TOP ONLY. When you wind the bobbin, ensure the thread winds evenly by nudging the thread with your finger tip, keep the thread under tension as it winds by placing the handle of your scissors onto the top of the thread reel. Cut the thread, then place the bobbin into the bobbin case, holes upwards. The bobbin will turn anticlockwise as you pull thread from it. Follow the directions from the threading diagram, you need to "click" the thread into the tension spring. Now thread the top thread through the marked locations in the diagram. Hold the end of the thread as it comes from the needle and manually turn the flywheel to lower the needle down and up once to catch the bottom thread and bring it up to the needle plate.

ALWAYS hold both the two threads at the back of the needle plate when you start sewing, really important. I tally_girl.jpg You will have a knob with numbers going from -4 to 4, this is your stitch length dial. The negative numbers are "Reverse" normal stitch length is 2.5. The white knob is stitch width when the needle swings from side to side. Straight stitch would be zero, and then higher numbers for zig zag etc. The little wheel gives you different needle positions. And the metal slide at top of case is the reverse lever.
Hope this helps you a little. Early Elnas are all very similar and wonderful machines to use.

Feb 24, 2011 | Elna Sewing Machines

1 Answer

I was given an Elna Supermatic 722010 and am not sure how to wind the bobbin.


A link to a supermatic manual is here
http://www.arizonaexpressionz.com/elna_instruction_manuals/Supermatic.pdf - I suggest you download this and print it out as this machine is over 50 years old now and manuals are scarce.

Disengage the clutch by holding the outside of the fly wheel and turning the inner knob of the wheel towards you.
You need to take the thread from the spool across to an eyelet on top left, then back to the bobbin winder, up through a hole in the top of the bobbin and hold the thread tail. Flick the bobbin across against the stopper. Now press the presser foot or knee control to start the motor. Hold the thread tail until youve got coverage across the bobbin enough to hold the start, then stop winding and cut the thread tail with scissors. Now continue winding but put the handle of your scissors on top of the thread spool to stop it bouncing and ensure your thread winds smoothly and under tension.

Watch the bobbin fill and give the thread a nudge to fill top and bottom as well as the middle evenly, you want a nice even wind. Fill to 3/4 and stop, flick bobbin back off the stopper, then cut the thread. Remember to re-engage the clutch by reversing the first step.


tally_girl_25.jpg
This is a lovely heirloom Elna machine - you need to thread the bobbin as the manual describes and get the thread into the tension spring. Please read the manual information on oiling too, this machine needs to be oiled on the red spot locations every time you use it according to the manual, use good quality clear sewing machine oil for this purpose.

Oct 21, 2009 | Elna 2007 Mechanical Sewing Machine

1 Answer

What bobbin size for elna supermatic 722010 Can I purchase metal bobbins for this machine at a Joannes? or ? Is there a staner bobbin number or size to ask for?? thanks@ The Elna I have came with ONE...


Elna Supermatic 722010 is a very vintage elna and would take the metal 7 hole dished bobbin like this.



11_10_2011_3_18_34_am.jpg

Don't try to use any other bobbin in it, and always load and wind with the holes on top.

You can still buy these; one supplier is sewingpartsonline, here is like to the item

http://www.sewingpartsonline.com/bobbins-elna-426000-10pk.aspx

Aug 17, 2009 | Elna Heirloom Edition 6005

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