Question about Singer 2638 Mechanical Sewing Machine

5 Answers

Bottom Stitches a mess

How do I adjust the bottom stitches on my singer 2638? These are the stitches that appear on the bottom of the piece I am sewing. No one seems to be able to help me with this and the instruction book does not cover this problem. Thank you.

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  • Anonymous Apr 21, 2008

    big loops on bobbin thread

  • foxchris Sep 01, 2008

    have cleaned out bobin holder, stitches bunch on bottom, break at needle level on top.

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5 Answers

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  • 1,388 Answers

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 Tension 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....

Bottom Stitches a mess - 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 Apr 14, 2008

  • Bargain Box
    Bargain Box Apr 24, 2008

    Just wondering how you got on with the looping and whether my suggestions were of any value ?

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WOW!!! I know next to nothing about my machine so this helps ALOT!!! Thanks!  From Tara in Rapid City.

Posted on Nov 20, 2008

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Thank you I think your advise helped I fixed tension, on top and on bobbin casing, and different thread did two pair of pants, and all is well right now. thank you.

Posted on Oct 15, 2008

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Bargainbox... I know the original poster never reported back, but I wanted to thank you for your post. I am actually saving off the text for future reference. It looks to be quite complete, and the next time I find myself in a jam (pun intended) I will be very glad I saved this.

Thank you so very much!

Posted on May 15, 2008

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  • Bargain Box
    Bargain Box Dec 27, 2013

    All very welcome, and thank you for the fedback....we have a new website just gone live B4 Christmas...bargainbox.com.au

  • Bargain Box
    Bargain Box Dec 27, 2013

    All very welcome, and thank you for the fedback....we have a new website just gone live B4 Christmas...bargainbox.com.au

  • Bargain Box
    Bargain Box Dec 27, 2013

    't'wil take some time to load all the content, so drop a line or give a call if there is anything you might need, all the product ranges will take some time to load up !!

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Top stich perfict but bottom stich too loose on vivo singer machine 1004


Your bobbin tension needs adjusting, and although it is not hard to do and doesn't require that you take the machine apart, you MUST do it systematically. If you don't, you'll make things worse.

First, download the user's manual from the Singer site if you don't have one. On page 20, you'll see a discussion regarding tensions, and what improper tension looks like. Tension is a balance between the top and bobbin.

Then, using scrap fabric, set your top tension on Auto and make sure your needle is all the way up in the clamp. Run a line of straight stitches, and next to it, run a line of zigzag stitches, maybe four inches, and examine it. The illustration on that page will show you what your straight stitches SHOULD look like. If your zigzag stitches show one side that looks like "chicken tracks" but the other side looks like it should, the chicken tracks side is too tight. In your case, if the bobbin is too loose, the top will look like chicken tracks. It helps a lot to use two different thread colors, as well as a third for the fabric.

To adjust the bobbin tension, you will need a tiny straight blade screwdriver. If you have an indication that the bobbin side stitches are too loose, take the bobbin case out of the machine and locate two screws on the side. One is a Phillips--don't touch it. The one on the left of the Phillips is a straight-slot screw--that's the one you want. The saying is "lefty loosey, righty tighty." If your test indicates the bobbin tension is indeed too loose (which can happen over time), you need to tighten it by turning the screw 1/4 (ONLY) turn to the right (righty-tighty). Test again. You should see at least some improvement to indicate you're on the right track, and repeat--turning ONLY 1/4 turn--until your top and bottom tension are balanced. Don't forget to also test with a zigzag; I have adjusted bobbin tensions in the past that looked OK on the straight stitch, but the zigzag indicated I wasn't quite there yet.

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