My machine will make a correct stitch on straight sewing however when I switch to a quilt top..that only contains 2 layers of cotton fabric and a thin batting it will not sew regular spaced stitches. Sometimes they are so small and then it will change and go to a larger stitch or at any moment revert back to a small, small very tight stitch. I have done all the regualr things, change needle, both threads are the same, top and bottom, clean the machine...etc. HELP!!!
Sounds like the feed is your problem. Most likely you need a different foot. Check the bottom of the foot - it should be quite smooth to allow the dog feed to move the denser layers along smoothly. Hope this helps.
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Quilting is a bit more finicky than regular sewing. Be sure to ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot when threading the top thread. FWIW, I use a separate bobbin case for FMQ that I have tightened the tension to keep the bobbin thread from coming to the top of the sandwich, but I tend to use a finer thread for quilting so adjusting the bobbin takes care of it. In your case, however, it sounds like the top thread is staying under the fabric. I would try tightening the top tension. Also, install a brand new needle--a top stitch, embroidery, or microtex needle seem to work well for me. Test well on a sandwich made of the same fabric and batting and get it adjusted well before sewing on your quilt. Sometimes sewing speed will affect stitches under the fabric, or even on top.
TIP: A general rule of thumb is that if the stitch looks bad on the top it is the bottom tension.
If the stitch looks bad on the bottom it is the upper tension. The upper and lower threads play
tug of war with each other.
You need correct tension on the top and bottom threads, but you must also have correct tension on
the quilt held between the rails. You should have a small amount of "sag" in your fabric. This allows
enough movement of your quilt layers for the needle to penetrate and make good stitches.
Before you start making adjustments to your machine ask yourself, "What changed?" If your machine
was stitching great and all of a sudden it has loopies on the back or puckers, "What changed?" Did
you just change the bobbin? Did you just lift the take up rail? Did you lower the take up rail after
finishing your last quilt? Did you recently change the needle? Did you just roll the quilt?
If the take up rail with the quilted portion of your quilt is too high, it will result in poor stitch quality. You
need a finger tip space between the quilt and the machine bed. Higher will result in poor stitch
quality, too low and the quilt will create a drag on your machine's movement.
Look at your bobbin, a sloppy wound bobbin will not create a good stitch. Make sure that the threads
on the bobbin are snug and evenly wound. Check to see if there is a piece of lint in the bobbin case
Sounds like the upper tension needs to be tightened, or the bobbin thread needs to be loosened. At any rate, the tension is correct when the two threads meet in the middle of the fabric for general sewing.
For free motion quilting, the tension should be adjusted so that the bobbin thread does not show on the top of the fabric, however, it should not lay in a straight line like it sounds like it may appear currently. What you are currently producing is a gathering stitch where the bobbin thread can be easily pulled.
make sure that the thread tensions are correct for the thickness of material
remember that only the bottom foot walks and draws the material through so it may need a help and be pulled as it sews.
I find that women in sewing shops just love to talk about problems and how they can help so find a shop and discuss any problems with them
Slow down and watch what you sew over.
No needle is going to sew through the metal part of a zipper.
With many layers of fabric you have to slow down. If you have multiple layers of a thick fabric you may have to resort to using the hand wheel to get through the layers.
Another tip would be to not pull on the fabric. The machine is capable of "feeding" the fabric at the rate it requires. When sewing with many yards of fabric the weight of the fabric may create a pull on the needle. If the needle is pulled so that it no longer goes through the need plate properly it will hit the metal of the needle plate and break. Instead rest your hands on either side of the fabric and gently steer the fabric. Do not pull it out of the back of the machine or shove it into the needle. With large yardages wad up the fabric around the machine so that the weight of the fabric isn't causing strain around the needle.
One other tip. If you have a needle plate in your machine that only supports straight stiching, that is one with a needle hole that is just big enough for the needle to move up and down, and you switch to a zig-zag stitch, you will break the needle. Most factory installed needle plates have a needle hole large enough to support the largest zig-zag that the machine can support. But some machines have custom needle plates (for quilting) that only support a straight stitch.
Usually a walking foot is for straight forward stitching only.It keeps the many layers from shifting for you. The "hand-look" quilting takes a couple stitches forward then one back. If you look close, you will see about every other stitch is thicker and stands out more.