Question about Singer Featherweight 132Q Mechanical Sewing Machine

1 Answer

My sewing machine was not on the is actually a singer touch and sew 775..When I'm sewing thin fabric the bobbin thread is getting all tangled and appears to be getting snagged on the bobbin case somehow. I tried adjusting the presser foot pressure and that didn't help, I cleaned out the tension disks and adjusted the tension. It did not have a problem with thicker fabric at least when i tried it this time. It also appears like the thread that is wound on the bobbin is really uneven and i'm not sure how to fix that or if that is causing a problem as well...any help would be appreciated!! :)

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  • pipkinfiver Jun 01, 2008

    Thanks for all the info bargain box! I hope it's ok to ask one more thing before i dive into your instructions from the beginning since i have already spent so much time before i posted my question here already doing a lot of the things that you posted... Yesterday i put white thread on top and black thread in the bobbin...I began sewing a straight stitch at moderate speed on thin fabric and it makes a perfect stich - i had the tension set on 3 (i had stopped using the machine entirely b/c it had started having this problem so bad, i would sew a very short distance on any type of fabric and it would jam up - i cleaned the tension disks with my lint brush and when i put in two different color threads it was the top thread that was looping and i lowered my tension to 3 and it has improved to the point where the stitches are perfect and i sew a lot further of a distance before the problem starts - just explaining why the tension is on 3) and the stich length is between 9 and ten, i have a brand new needle in, my top thread is white gutermann thread, and i have been cleaning between the top tension disks every time i change the thread, i also brushed out the bobbin case yesterday with the brush and checked for burrs with my finger- anyway all that said i kept the bobbin case cover open as i slowly sewed and watched what was happening with the thread - as when i would open it up when i would hear the problem start the top thread had wrapped itself around the bobbin itself and a peice of it would always be looped around the metal piece that holds the bobbin in place- but at the very onset the thread seems to be getting caught somehow in the underneath part of the bobbin case - where i could not see how or on what it was happening...ok so you may already know that this is just the result of me still needing to perfect the tension- but i wanted to mention it in case it is indicative of a different problem. Beyond all that i wanted to ask you if you could just be honest with me- this is an old machine (singer touch and sew 775) and though even when i get a new one i would like to keep it for "rough" jobs i would appreciate it if you would just tell me honestly if in your experience this is going to be an ongoing "problem solving" goose-chase because it is such an old machine. i'm really not interested in spending hours upon hours problem solving to get very little sewing time in return - i tried to get it looked at by a shop and they wanted $70 which is way more than my machine is i would like to fix it myself if in your honest assessment there is an end in sight where i will be problem free for some months..? Thanks a lot for your help!



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Uneven tension on the bobbin is not good......check the instructions to make sure you have the correct flow of thread thru the tensioner....start again & try winding on at half speed, not flat out.

As to general tension issues, if you cannot find a small adjustment of the top tension works on a test sample, try this........

Ensure that all is clean and free of lint and jams, this is the most likely 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.

Ensure sharp new needle,
Thread guides and Bobbin are Clean & Clear of lint
Set Top Tesion to 4 ....then....
Balance Bobbin to suit.

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

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 !

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.

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 .....actually .....need adjust the bobbin case, first check there is no lint trapped in the metal spring where the thread is tensioned.

Drop-in Bobbin case will look similar to this image with the tension screw in the middle of the metalwork....

My sewing machine was not - 4c76dc1.jpg ...the other screw at one end is holding it all together, so 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 !

....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
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 is,
and eventually, you do get a "feel" for the correct tension and then it happens quite 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 !?!?!)

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 ? 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 !)

If it is worth spending the time, energy and money on making something that you would like to give lasting enjoyment......use quality thread, 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

Posted on May 31, 2008

  • Hassy
    Hassy Jun 02, 2008

    The tension troubles can also be a result of corrosion on
    the tension discs or the tension spring in the bobbin case ......we live on the
    coast, and it is a real problem here.......guess if you lived in Ari(d)zona it
    would not be such an issue !?!?

    Rather than a brush to clear the tension dials, try a
    length of fabric, moistened with methyl alcohol or similar, drawn to and
    fro...........I have recently taken to using a length of stretch lycra.........

    Run your finger over the
    hook beneath the there any rough burr ? very fine 1600 grade wet & dry (black)
    emery paper may be used gently to file it smooth.

    If there is obvious corrosion
    on the bobbin case, even a light dusting, it will create havoc with the
    movement of the thread over what needs to be a polished surface........ again,
    use fine emery paper to remove the worst, then a very small amount of cutting compound ( like used
    for motor vehicle paint restoration or Silvo, Brasso etc) to finish, then buff
    and ensure you remove excess residue. The top surface where the thread passes
    is your major target.

    If the needle thread
    tension discs are slightly corroded, the result is usually a variable tension as thread moves from more
    or less corroded surface and this varies tension......a small amount of the
    cutting compound on a length of rag will be needed to polish between the discs.

    I still recommend you aim
    for a top tension of 4 or 5 and then balance the bobbin tension to the moment, the bobbin is too loose and you have reduced the top
    tension to accommodate it.........the reverse is really what you need to do to
    have an overall tension balance close to the original factory settings.

    This model is a design classic and built in the far off days when things were supposed to last generations. Fancy stitches it may not have, but this is a tool for the homemaker looking to make and mend.

    The tension balance without corrosion troubles is not a challenge to achieve, with corrosion it is a variable beast and can be very to an honest assessment.......well without looking at the machine it seems that you have a very good chance of success if no corrosion is evident, less so if there is.

    Use of several Silica Gel dessicant sachets (like those in Vitamin Jars) kept close by the machine can also be helpful in reducing ambient atmospheric moisture around the machine when stored.

    The only Singers I have had to declare DOA are too rusty, or have had catastrophic hook gear failure ......not that the gear cannot be replaced, rather that the parts may be difficult to source on elderly models, or more likely, the time required to repair them renders the idea uneconomic in relation to a new machine with 12mth warrantee.



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