I narrowed down my problem with my serger. The cutting knife isn't cutting the fabric when it feeds through. The fabric kind of rolls over instead of being cut. The knife is sharp, so I know this isn't the problem. I think the knife has been moved slightly over so it isn't in the right position when it locks into place. I need to figure out how to adjust the knife so it moves to the right about 1/8 of an inch. I know it's in the wrong place because when I disengage the knife and turn it to the back, the needle holder hits the knife when I turn the hand wheel. Can someone tell me how to do this?
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Usually, the upper knife can be lifted, but that is usually for the purpose of cleaning or threading. HOWEVER, it is recommended to never use the serger without the knives. What frequently happens is the fabric gets too far to the right and then interferes with the loopers. When that happens, the loopers can be damaged/broken. If you don't want to cut, just guide the fabric edge slightly to the left of the knife action so the fabric is not cut.
It is difficult to tell what exactly is happening with your serger.
First thing--make sure you RAISE the presser foot BEFORE you thread any of the threads. This releases the tension disks so the threads will seat properly. You may need to remove all the threads and rethread from the beginning, making sure you thread each in the proper order. Start out with the thread tensions set at the ideal setting--usually the halfway point between the high & low numbers. From there, you will adjust them to even up the thread tensions.
Are you actually trimming off some of the fabric as it is stitching? If so, you might try increasing the cutting width (moves the cutting edge further toward the right) so that there is more fabric caught within the looper threads. It also appears that the looper tensions may be too loose. Try tightening the upper and lower looper tensions so less of the thread loops don't fall off the fabric's raw edge.
Are you wanting to use the serger to sew a hand knitted sweater together? or do you mean a sweat shirt knit or other knit fabric. If it is the first option, I'd say don't bother, as you can't do it with the blades working because it will cut your knitting and the wool will unravel in the seams.
If it is the second option then I would start with the following settings.
Four thread stitch, so both needles and the upper and lower loopers threaded. Set tension on all four dials to 5, stitch length to between 2 and 3, and differential on zero. Move the cutting blade over to the right for a wider seam. Now test stitch on some fabric scraps double layer and see what the seam is looking like.
Now you want to adjust a couple of things: firstly width of the seam. Is it the size you want? If you'd like it a little narrower, then adjust the cutting blade back a little to the left to narrow the seam slightly - just depends on the fabric weight. For example if it is a loose open weave like boucle you would want a wide seam to make sure it holds the fibres fully.
Now you can adjust the upper and lower loopers to get the thread wrapping around the edge looking nice. Look at the seam and the fabric inside it. Is it tunnelling and pulling up the fabric? if so, release tension on both loopers a half number to put more thread into the seam. Test stitch again and see if the loopers are meeting nicely on the cut edge of the fabric. Upper and lower looper threads should be meeting right on the cut edge so if this isn't happening and one showing on the other side, then tighten the looser one by half a number and test again.
If the threads are hanging off the edge then you have the choice of moving the blade to the right to cut less fabric off, or tightening up the looper tensions to pull in the thread.
That's it, hope this helps you to master your serger.
If you'd like some images and further explanations of other stitching you can do with your overlocker, then Debbie Coswell has some great information on line at www.sewing.about.com, just search "overlocker" to find the specific pages.
Can you wind the lower cutting blade to the right to cut less fabric and therefore fill out the stitching? On most sergers the lower blade position can be adjusted sometimes with a little knob or dial. You need to raise the top blade out of the way first, usually you put pressure onto it to release the spring holding it up against the lower blade, then swing it up to do this. Then wind the adjustment on the lower blade and move it to the right to cut less fabric then test serge. Your manual should give you more specific information on this and should be your first 'go to".
I would adjust my looper tensions to suit the fabric and width of the stitch I'm trying to achieve so yes, the settings you've been given are average tensions but its okay to vary these too. From left to right, I'd set 4, 4, 4, 4 and test serge again and see if this pulls the looper threads in against the fabric if moving the blade hasn't tightened up the stitching.
Sergers are more variable than a straight stitch sewing machine so its okay to move tension knobs a bit, just turn each a half number each time you adjust, then test serge and look at the stitch formation. Your needles tension should be fine at 4, leave them alone.
I'd suggest if you can find one, go to a "Getting to know your serger" type class as there is lots of techniques such as seaming on a curve, turning right angles, both inside and outside and making rolled hem edges that are very helpful serger skills to learn along with making adjustments and troubleshooting. Or go to you-tube and search some of these techniques for videos. Also www.sewing.about.com is a great sewing resource and Debbie has pages on sergers/overlockers here too.
When I'm starting a new dressmaking project I will spend 10 mins on the overlocker/serger, changing the thread colour to suit the garment, then test serging and adjusting the stitch tensions to suit the fabric. I have 4 cones of thread each in white, black, beige, grey, pink and pale blue and these threads will give a suitable finish on most fabric colours and prints. Then there is wooly overlocker thread, this is a fluffy thread that you can use for rolled hems as the thread relaxes once stitched and "fills" out the closely stitched edge covering the rolled fabric edge and is another whole area of fun to try out.
Often I'll just use a three thread to neaten the raw edges of a seam I will press open. Or I will assemble a whole knit garment using the four thread stitch, so much faster then stitching seams, then neatening. Jersey knits and sergers are made for each other.
As an aside the D on your machine model would denote "differential feed" too - briefly differential feed is adjusting the amount that the two feed dogs move under the foot and means you can "hold back" the fabric as it is stitched (0.5), or "stretch" it out (1.5 or 2 setting). Really handy for loose weave fabrics that stretch as you serge them, you can compensate using the differential feed setting. And in reverse, you can create a "lettuce" or wavy edge by turning the differential feed up.
I hope that this helps you out with your Brother 1034D and hasn't just confused you. Good luck.
Possibly you need to adjust the knife. It sounds like the knife is positioned too far to the right which is causing the cut fabric to extend further than the edge of the stitching. The thread chain is probably so tight against the edge of the fabric that it is folding it over.Move the knife a little to the left and try it again. If the thread chain is hanging past the cut fabric then the knife was moved too far to the left.
Serger may have a threading diagram inside the front looper cover which should show the various thread eyelets that you need to pull the threads through and they may be numbered one to 4 also to indicate order of threading. The diagram is usually colour coded to match the tension dial colours and serger usually has colour dots on the different thread eyes to help you follow the thread path for each thread.
This video is great and hopefully will help you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zszJYQe2aws&feature=related, it has lay in tensions while yours has dials so just pull the thread around the dial right to left and then across to the next thread eye and this should pull the thread into tension. Dials are usually all set to 5 for normal stitch formation.
On my serger you thread up in the following order: top looper (second from right dial), bottom looper (right hand dial), then right needle, left needle; this video shows all threading going from right to left however, so if you have a numbered diagram inside your thread cover, then certainly use that order. But always loopers before needles.
Raise the thread aerial first before you start, put the cones onto the thread spools and if you have any cone holders (little plastic triangles) put them on the spools first to steady the cones. Now for each thread, take the thread tail from the cone, up through the aerial thread guide, then follow the coloured dots and take this down the front of the serger putting it into each coloured thread guide, through looper then up under the raised pressure foot. Repeat for next looper, then the needles.
Pull all 4 threads out under the foot to the left, lower foot, then chain off a little to start and test sew on fabric, adjusting the tensions if you need to.
Other adjustments are stitch length (usually a knob on right beside the flywheel numbered 1-4, blade position, a dial either left or right of the blade, press on the blade to release the tension on it before you try and move it. And differential feed, this is also a knob numbered 0.5 to 2 usually. If you can't see this on the right by flywheel then open up fabric plate (left cover) and look in there for these two adjustments.
I would suggest you start with tensions on 5, and stitch length of 2-3, and test sew on scraps of the fabric you wish to overlock. You can then either move the blade to cut wider or narrower to suit and adjust the two looper tensions if you need to close up the thread on the cut edge. There is no black and white settings as each fabric will behave a little differently, generally you adjust the looper tensions a bit until the stitch is encasing the cut edge and you have a seam width that suits the weight of the fabric.
Differential feed leave on zero unless you find you need it when a loose weave fabric goes wavy, then turn it down to close up the feeding. Sergers have two feed dogs, one before and after the foot and turning differential knob changes the ratio of feed between the two so either stretches the fabric, or pushes it together as it goes through the stitching sequence. So by turning differential feed up to 1.5 or 2 you are stretching the fabric and you can do a narrow rolled hem edge that is all fluted (lettuce edging).
I hope this helps you out a bit, if you are completely new to this machine and have never used a serger then I always suggest taking a class from a local dealer, it is really worth the money and time as they are quite different to sewing machines but once mastered, really change the dynamics of sewing and techniques are much more like commerical production with flat construction etc.
I really need to know what kind of serger you have , if it is the 905 910 or the 936 series take a look at the large headed screw that holds the knife in place. if you are doing fleece it will cause a lot of build up of lint behind this screw and not allow the knife to go all the way up and down causing it not to cut multi layers of fabric, and if this is the case it probably needs to go the an authorized tech for a thorough cleaning
I use my BLSE200 all the time and ran into the same problem just last week. After pulling out my hair in frustration, I finally realized it had to do with the stitch length. Something wasn't connecting after I adjusted the stitch length, so when I re-set the stitch length, it popped things back into alignment and the feed dogs started working again. *whew* Hope that helps!
There are 3 things that come to mind for me. I should say that I have a Bernina 1300DC, so your machine may not have the same parts, but check these things. First, are you using 3 threads? If so, is your needle in the narrowest setting, in the right hand hole closest to the body of the serger? Secondly, is your rolled edge lever retracted? This lever is attached to a wide tooth that holds the width of the seam in place. It is under the presser foot, between the loopers, and should retracted so that the stitches are allowed to become narrow. If your machine doesn't have this lever, don't worry, you can also try a third thing. Adjust your cutting width to a narrow setting. There should be a knob that moves the upper cutting knife from right to left-- right being a wider seam, leaving more of the fabric intact, and left making a narrower seam that trims off more of the fabric as you sew.
Hope this helps!
Stretch fabric is made for using the differential feed on your machine, sergers love stretchy things. Try widening the stitch you are using and turn your differential feed down one notch to allow the machine to get a good grip on the fabric, you may need to bump the differential feed up more if it still doesn't stitch nice, keep trying on a piece of scrap fabric of the same as you are using until you are happy with the stitch.Another solution is to put some lightweight tissue paper under the seams and then tear it off after you have sewn the seams, this works but will dull your blades over time.