Question about Bernina Activa 130

5 Answers

Thread bunching and knotting under fabric

I will be sewing along beautifully then all of a sudden I'll hear a different noise, the thread breaks and I have about 2 yards of thread bunched up and tangled on the bottom of the work.  If I watch the bobbin case while sewing VERY slowly I can see the thread coming to the outside of the bobbin case and crossing over it! Is my tension off? How do I fix this?

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  • 4 more comments 
  • LydiaJo Feb 19, 2008

    I am having the very same problem. Only it won't sew anymore.

  • Anonymous Apr 03, 2008

    I read and reread the "Best Solution" and finally fixed my problem. The material and trim created such a thick amount of material that putting the thread between the discs, or feet as I call it, was the problem. The thread had no "wiggle room". When I took the thread out from the discs and left to one side the problem was resolved!

  • Anonymous Jun 23, 2008

    bunching and tangling which makes me stop every time I try to mend something- it's time consuming now and have turned me off sewing all year

  • Anonymous Nov 25, 2008

    Excellent post. I think you solved my problem!!! If this doesn't work then I know I'll have to take it for repairs or get a new machine. I just started sewing and I felt the solution to the bunching up under my work was a simple one. I thought about all the things you mentioned and you just confirmed all my suspicions in a nice organized way. And I think you saved me 50 dollars.

  • Anonymous Mar 23, 2014

    When I start sewing the bottom thread from the bobbin is bunching up and tangling. can you tell me what the issue is?

  • Anonymous Mar 26, 2014

    my bobbin is bunching.

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5 Answers

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  • Bernina Master
  • 1,388 Answers

The thread does pass over the top of the bobbin case to form a stitch, perfectly normal, whether front or top loading bobbin.

Ensure that all is clean and free of lint jams....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....

Thread bunching and knotting under fabric - 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 consistant diameter with good thread, and less compensating to be done by your tension plates and less thread breaks !

If you want any more help with this, just post back here, or, drop a line through the "Contact Us" page at www.bargainbox.com.au

Posted on Feb 24, 2008

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There is a dial at the verytop of the machine looking down. Mine had gotten turned to 1 somehow. I tuned it back to 5 (where the red line is). Then I took the bush and swept between the tension disks to make sure there was nothig 'stuck' in there. That resolved the issue enitirely. Make sure the thread moves freely though all the tensions on the top. My thread was getting stuck (not completely, but not moving freely) and it was causing the thread on the botom of the fabric to bunch up and break. HTH!

Posted on Oct 08, 2008

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  • Bernina Master
  • 5,869 Answers

The first thing to try is replace the needle with a brand new needle (you may have better luck going with a better quality needle, ie Schmetz or similar, rather than a generic brand). The cheapest and most common fix for sewing machine problems is the needle.

You can also try changing the type of thread you are using. Some threads do better on certain machines than others. A thread lubricant could also be helpful.

Something else you can try:
You may have nicked the hook causing the thread to catch. Remove the bobbin case and hook. Wrap your finger with fine fabric, like an old pair of hosiery you no longer use, and gently rub your finger around the edge of the hook. If it snags anywhere, you can use a very fine emery board to smooth that nick. If the nick is very large, you may need to replace it as altering the hook too much may be problematic as well.

Another checkpoint is whether your bobbin is installed in the bobbincase properly so it turns in the correct direction. I believe Bernina bobbins usually turn clockwise (as you are looking at the open side of the bobbincase).

Posted on May 26, 2015

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I can't get the needle to caught the bobbin thread

Posted on Oct 22, 2014

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After talking to my favorite Bernina dealer... I discovered a fix for my machine. And I"m going to guess it will also be your problem. The hook has grooves worn into it. This either needs to be filed very hard to remove all of the grooves or you can purchase a replacement hook. By the way they only make metal replacement hooks and my machine has a plastic one. So this must have been a common problem. My husband just filed mine down considerably and it's finally working. I am still planning to buy a metal hook to have on hand. Hope it helps you! Lydia Jo

Posted on Feb 25, 2008

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