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wrong bobbin tension , but amazingly its actually easier to adjust the top threads tension to compensate for it , use your tension knob to slowly adjust , try an inch , slowly adjust try an inch , and so on to get a top and bottom thread tension to match , this will need to be adjusted for each major change in fabric (aka , knits to woven )
that use to happen to me on my sewing machines, I would rethread the machine to make sure the thread is not caught on anything like the thread spool, or around anyone of the thread guides
also for both top & bottom threads, I keep a thread tail of 3 to 6 inches & before I start sewing I pull the thread behind the needle to the back of the machine & the I put the fabric under the foot & start sewing & now I don't have that problem anymore
It is your top threading, totally rethread, then with presser foot up, pull on top thread, it should feed smoothly, now put the presser foot down, pull thread, it should barely move. This should seat the thread in the tension discs.
It is because the thread is not going through the tension discs right. Rethread, then pull on the top thread with the presser foot up, it should feed smoothly, now lower the presser foot, the top thread should barely move. This usually seats the thread in the tension discs.
Something is not threaded right on the top, or the thread is tangled. Take the thread completely out and rethread. Also, make sure that no thread is caught in the bobbin area, if necessary take bobbin casing out and clean with a brush. Always turn the handwheel towards you, never away from you because it can mess up the timing, Also google Singer 401a there is a great blog on this machine
"Birdnesting" occurs when there is no tension on the needle thread to pull the bobbin thread. This is easily corrected by rethreading the machine, following the threading path carefully and making sure the thread is fully engaged in the tension mechanism.