I am trying to sew a piece of a t-shirt onto cotton fabric using a zig zag stitch. The bottom thread is a mess. The straight stitch on my machine works fine but when I try to do zig zag the thread is just a jumbled mess.
When ever a machine is jamming up the bobbin thread, it is a result of your top tension. It is either set to low (under 4), or the thread has come out of the take-up lever. Check your threading, fromt he spool pin, down to 2 and up to 3. Three is the take up lever. From the take-up lever down to 4. Set the thread behind the thread guide and thread the needle form front to back. Low quailtu thread 9dual duty or all purpose) can also create this problem.
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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.
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.
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.
The bes way to hem a t-shirt on a household machine is to use a double needle, straight stitch. You will see two straight stitches on top and zig zag on the back. Just make sure the zig zag catched the top of the hem.
Because it is almost a straight stitch but the needle continues to move in a zig zag fashion is reason to believe it is in a long stitch. By changing the number of stitches per inch there will be a very noticeable looking zig zag stitch.
I do not have a buttonhole foot, but I can tell you how I do it with the zigzag foot on the Singer 132Q machine.
1. Mark the spacing and size for the buttonholes with chalk or marking paper. This consists of a straight line with a perpendicular line at the top and bottom that lets you know how big to make the hole. There is probably a pattern piece to let you know what the spacing should be, and you can get the size of the hole for the top and bottom line by laying the button you are going to use on top of the line you draw with the pattern.
2. Make sure the bobbin has plenty of thread.
3. Put the zigzag foot on the machine.
4. Set the stitch size to 1 or maybe a little less. You want a tight stitch to hold the hole together.
5. Start at the top of the buttonhole with the perpendicular line barely visible in the zigzag foot. Think of it as placing the "T" made by the mark in the "T" made by the opening in the zigzag foot.
6. Set the needle pattern to #1 of the buttonhole pattern (2nd from the top). Make sure it is toward the top of the number to insure you get a wide zigzag stitch. If you are getting a narrow stitch, you may have to fiddle with it, but it will work. Stitch 4-6 times making sure the stitch is wide, and end on the left side of the stitch.
7. Change the needle pattern to #2 of the buttonhole pattern and zigzag stitch down to the bottom mark. Do not pull the fabric or you will stretch the stitch. Make sure your last stitch is on the left hand side.
8. Change the needle pattern to #3 of the buttonhole pattern (same as #1), and zigzag stitch 4-6 times ending on the right side this time. Make sure the stitches are wide.
9. Change the needle pattern to #4 of the buttonhole pattern and straight stitch back to the top mark. Be prepared to hand roll the needle the last few stitches to make sure you do not pass the top stitches you have made.
10. Change the needle pattern to #5 of the buttonhole pattern and zigzag stitch back to the bottom mark. Hand roll the last few stitches and end on the left side.
11. Raise the foot and remove the fabric. You are now ready proceed to the next buttonhole or cut the buttonhole open with a small pair of scissors or a seam ripper. Make sure you do not cut any of your stitches.
Make sure you practice on some scrap fabric of the same thickness (2 layers of fabric plus pellon) to make sure you have the size right before you sew the buttonholes on the garment.