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I'm trying to do a zig zag stitch (which I did just fine yesterday) and the thread isn't catching underneath. It's making a hole for every attempted stitch, However, sometimes it will grab but not evertime.

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  • Sewing Machines Master
  • 1,122 Answers

First thing to check, did you change the needle and perhaps put the new one in backwards? Take it out and put in a new one, with the flat shank to the back.

Or if you are sewing a stretch fabric with a sharp needle this could cause skipping stitches too.



Posted on Apr 10, 2011

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1 Answer

Thread breaks when zigzagging but straight stitch ok


Check that the bobbin thread is not pulling the top thread down when zig-zagging. If so, the bobbin tension may be too tight.

Also, there could be a burr or nick somewhere that is catching the thread when zig-zagging. Wraps very fine fabric around your finger (silk, old hosiery, etc.) and run your finger around the needleplate and underneath. If there is a snag somewhere, the fabric should catch on it. Generally, carefully sanding with a fine emery board or sandpaper can smooth it.

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Jan 04, 2017 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

When I sew silk or fine fabric the thread breaks and the fabric bunches up, what am I doing wrong, I first had the A foot and changed to B, changed the needle and still the problem persists


Check to be sure you are using needles and thread that are compatible with the fabric. Generally, finer threads will work better on fine fabrics along with a smaller needle. Be sure to change needles frequently as dull, bent, or nicked needles will cause very frustrating issues.
All About Needles

Remove the thread completely from the machine. RAISE the presser foot and rethread from the beginning, making sure the thread path is correct.

Some machines have a presser foot pressure adjustment (consult the owner's manual). Adjusting the pressure that the presser foot applies to the fabric & feed dogs is helpful when sewing especially fine or heavy fabric. Also, when sewing fine fabrics, loosening the tension could be beneficial.

Changing presser feet may also help, ie try using a straight stitch foot vs a presser foot for zig-zag stitching.

Something else you can try is finding a presser foot with a teflon finish or a roller foot that will glide or roll with the fabric through the machine. Even if you can't find a brand name presser foot for your particular machine, an adapter shank can probably be found that would allow you to use snap-on feet of all different designs and uses. Provides a lot of choices for presser feet for less than purchasing a brand-name presser foot. There are snap-on kits available on eBay and other auction sites.

Some machines also can take a straight-stitch needle plate--usually an additional accessory that can be purchased. The hole where the needle penetrates the needle plate to access the bobbin thread is actually a small round hole. With a zig-zag needle plate, the hole the needle penetrates is a wide rectangular hole that can allow fine fabrics to be pulled down through the hole. Zig-zag capable machines usually have a zig-zag needle plate as standard.

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Feb 22, 2016 | Sewing Machines

2 Answers

Machine zig-zags but why does it leave a straight seam?


not catching the bobbin thread every time .

Nov 30, 2015 | Sewing Machines

2 Answers

Elna machine puckers silk on zig zag stitching, Elna 2007


Yes, because a zig zag stitch is creating a wide stitch and the tension on the thread is going to pull the fabric within the seam together, you can't seam thin fabric with a wide zig zag. It will "tunnel together". If you are using this stitch to neaten a raw edge, then try using the serpentine or three step zig zag where the needle pierces the fabric 3 times in each leg of the zig zag, this will give better results.

Jul 07, 2015 | Elna Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Raw edge zig zag stitch bunching underneath


When zig zagging over a raw edge, the tension on the thread will pull in the fabric, especially in lightweight cottons or even lighter organza. Its not the best edging method for very light weight fabrics. You can try using a smaller zig zag, loosening off the top tension a little bit. Or if your machine has it, use the triple zig zag or serpentine stitch, where the needle goes through the fabric three times to make up each zig stitch, this stitch is better for edging most fabrics and is my preferred stitch.

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1 Answer

Why won't my Bernina zig zag bobbin thread catch underneath; the top looks great.


have you tried changing the needle?
have you tried adjusting the top tension?

May 13, 2012 | Bernina Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Bernina activa 210 won't zigzag and has bobbin issues on straight stitch


it's very possible that the machine is slightly out of time & needs to be service at a sewing machine shop
is the fabric & thread & needle compatable with each other?
did you use every thread guide when threading the machine?
is the bobbin in correctly?
is the bobbin warped?

Mar 20, 2012 | Bernina Sewing Machines

2 Answers

Zig Zag Stitch not working


THis problem occurred as I was sewing on Neoprene. I was using Gutterman all-purpose thread and a size 80 needle. Tried switching to a size 70, then to size 90. Still unable to zig zag. After inserting a test sample of cotton, the zig zag worked perfectly, so I knew it was not a mecahnical problem. I switched needles again. This time to size 90 for stretch fabric. Voila! Problem solved.

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1 Answer

Brother vx790, my stitches are reversed ( top is on botom & bottom is on top )


It sounds like your tensions are out of adjustment. Your upper tension should be between 3-5 and make sure the tension in your bobbin case is not too tight as well. Pull the thread through the bobbin case and make sure it comes out with a small amount of resistance. If no resistance, tighten the tension just a bit, if too much resistance, loosen it just a small bit at a time.

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