Question about Bernina Artista 180

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Thread tension problem when sewing on heavy fabrics

I have a Bernina 180 and I'm trying to sew some denim using special denim thread (heavier than the usual C&C stuff you buy for a buck-fifty).

I am using a jeans needle.

But I cannot get the thread tensions to lay properly and it looks like a mess! Using standard Bernina 180 tensions, the top *looks* somewhat okay from the topside although the stitches are not *neat*, they are a little crooked.

The bottom side looks awful. The top thread is pulled to the bottom as loops and the bobbin thread looks very *zig-zag*-ish between each stitch. And when I pull out the mess of stitching, the bobbin thread easily pulls straight out without any fight from the top thread that looped through to the bottom.

How do I fix this??? I cannot seem to find the right combo of tensions to make the stitches look neat both top and bottom.

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Re: Thread tension problem when sewing on heavy fabrics

If you are using buttonhole twist or heavy topstitch and normal thread underneath machine tensions wont like it. Try using regular thread top and bottom but use two same colour on top and thread both through needle but put one either side of tension discs if you can. Top stitching jeans is problematic for manymachines even Berninas

Posted on Jan 13, 2012

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Re: Thread tension problem when sewing on heavy fabrics

Sometimes when I need to use heavy thread for top stitching to reinforce a seam that has come undone, I will use the heavy thread on the top and regular thread on the bottom. I haven't tried it the other way around for hemming but I would think it would work. I do not currently have a Bernina.

Posted on Feb 08, 2008

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Iam sewing seats. but the threed stared braking at the needle & it want saw.

Most likely, it has to do with incompatibility of the needle, thread, and fabric. The force of the needle penetrating the fabric multiple times is actually causing the thread to (wear &) fray and eventually break. There are needles with larger grooves that tend to protect the thread during stitching. Some may recommend a Top Stitch Needle (Home Machine Needles Superior Threads Why Topstitch? The Topstitch needle is the most common needle type used and recommended by professionals and educators. We recommend the Topstitch for piecing, quilting, embroidery, appliqu?, and construction. These needles are available in four sizes to accommodate all thread types, including metallic threads. The Topstitch needle has a larger eye and deeper groove. It is often referred as the MAGIC NEEDLE. It really does make a difference in your sewing experience.)
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Also, if the thread is a tight fit through the needle eye, it will also tear the thread. Make sure that the thread will slip easily through the eye. Go to a larger needle, instead of 90, try a 100.

Be sure to use a brand-new needle.

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You may also consider changing the type of thread you are using. Go with a stronger thread, ie polyester, rather than cotton. Cotton will shred and break easier.

You will probably need to re-adjust the thread tension. If it is too tight, it will also break the thread. If you are using a heavier weight of thread, you will need to adjust both the upper and bobbin tension to accommodate the heavier thread.
Bobbin Tension How and Why Tension is Adjusted

If you sewing fabric that is sticky, ie vinyl, oilcloth, you should try to use a roller presser foot, a teflon presser foot, or a walking foot to help the fabric move with the feed dogs.

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Apr 22, 2016 | Sewing Machines

2 Answers

Need help with tension as thr stiches are puckering.

If the fabric is puckering when you sew, it is most likely because the thread tension is too tight. Make sure you are using a brand-new needle compatible with your fabric--using a 70 or 80 needle and a lighter weight thread may work better as a 90 or higher needle is big enough that it can stretch the fabric before penetrating it, causing puckering.. Puckering also occurs more frequently when sewing light-weight fabrics and may necessitate using a walking foot or a stabilizer to help give the fabric more body as it is stitched (wash-away stabilizer would probably be good when sewing washable fabrics). Another thing that may cause puckering is when the bobbin is wound at a fast speed. Slowing down when winding the bobbin will reduce the amount of stretch added to the bobbin thread. If it is stretched going onto the bobbin, it will shrink back up when it is stitched to your fabric. Also check whether your machine has a presser foot pressure adjustment. The pressure should be lighter when sewing finer fabrics, ie silk, and heavier when sewing thicker fabrics like wool or denim.

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Apr 10, 2016 | Sewing Machines

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What are the tension numbers for a Bernina MO-203 over locker sewing machine?

Basic Tips for All
  1. Always turn the handwheel TOWARDS you (counter clockwise) as turning it in the opposite direction (away from you, clockwise) may knock the timing out requiring repair from a service center.
  2. Always be sure your presser foot is in the DOWN position before sewing. Sewing with the presser foot in the up position will cause your thread to tangle and your bobbin to jam.
  3. Change needles regularly (after 16 hours of use) as dull/weak needles can cause damage to your machine and fabric. Only use SINGER needles on your SINGER sewing machine.
  4. Always be sure you are using the correct bobbin for your machine. Class 66, Class 15 and Class 15J bobbins look very similar. However, using the incorrect bobbin class in your machine can cause damage.
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May 23, 2015 | Bernina Sewing Machines

1 Answer

What causes the bottom stitch to look like it's catching the material when I sew?

try changing the needle--flat side to the back of the machine
the needle & thread & fabric have to be compatable
light weight fabric requires a different needle than medium to heavy weight fabric
if you do not have a manual check with bernina customer service about one
try a top tension of 3 or 4
clean under the needle plate & in the bobbin area for loose thread or lint

Mar 30, 2012 | Bernina Artista 180

1 Answer

I have been sewing denim, and the top thread keeps breaking at the needle. What adjustments do I need to make. It also bunches from the bobbin.

Are you trying to use a heavy thread like buttonhole twist through the needle like the yellow thread on store bought jeans? Most domestic machines will not cope with this heavy thread and it will be too large for the eye of the needle too.

If you are using regular weight 50 polyester thread and its breaking then it could be because the top tension is too tight. Just loosen off 1/2 a number on top tension dial and see if this helps.

If possible, buy a pack of jeans needles size 100 too, these are blue coated with teflon I think, and makes it easier to slip through denim which is a very dense fabric.

Hemming denim jeans is probably one of the toughest jobs for a domestic sewing machine so if you are trying to do this, its a good idea to take it slowly and use a "humpjumper" which helps to maneouvre over the thick side seams.

However, even with all the above, many machines won't sew more than one layer of heavy dense weave denim.

Jul 20, 2011 | New Home HF-106

1 Answer

My bobbin stitch is loose. I have tried adjusting tension and have changed the needle.

A. To correct loose stitches, try the following: (1) Balance the thread tension. If the stitches are loose on top of the fabric, decrease the tension to the next lower number. If they are loose on the underside set the tension to the next higher number. (2) Make sure the needle/upper thread follows the threading path. (3) Check to see that the bobbin case is threaded properly. (4) Use a different size needle. For fine fabrics, use a smaller needle (size 9, 11); medium-weight fabrics require a size 14 or 16. And use a size 18 or "Denim" needle for heavy corduroy or denim.

Sep 20, 2010 | Singer Curvy 8770 Electronic Sewing...

1 Answer

The top thread is really loopy on the underside of the fabric, sometimes it misses a stitch, sometimes, the upper thread breaks, and it often gets so tangled underneath that the machine won't feed.

Your tension is way too loose on top or too tight on the bobbin. Try adjusting the top tension one number at a time until you get it right. (Only adjust the bobbin tension as a last resort). Also you could have different thickness of thread in the bobbin than on the top or are sewing a very heavy fabric. Try adjusting the tension with same thread in both bobbin and top and use a normal weight fabric until you find the right tension to get you back to a normal stitch before going to a heavier fabric or thread.

Nov 19, 2009 | Craft Master 4300 Mechanical Sewing...

1 Answer

Similar issue with bunching on the bottom side of vinyl

when sewing thick fabrics and when using thick threads you will usually need to tighten top tension - on most machines to maximum in order for the machine to pull the thread up into the fabric. you must also use a needle which will slide along the thread when thread is through eye of needle (take needle out of machine, put thread through eye and see if needle will pass freely along thread - if not, use a larger needle)


Jul 11, 2009 | Bernina Activa 130

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The needle thread on my bernina minimatic keeps breaking.

There is special thread for denim/jeans. It usually comes in shades of brown. It's a little heavier and might help with the breakage. You might also want to try a little less tension. I assume you already have a Schmetz denim needle?

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2 Answers

My bobbin thread is making big loops

Bottom looping says upper tension problems (too loose). Rethread it making sure the presser foot is up so the thread is inbetween the tension discs.

Dec 11, 2008 | Bernina Bernette 75

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