Topic

Help–sewing machine screwup


Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums Gear Forums Make Your Own Gear Help–sewing machine screwup

Viewing 24 posts - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #3806531
    Moab Randy
    BPL Member

    @moab-randy

    Has anyone encountered the machine screwup in the attached photo? It sews along fine, then mid-stitch line starts making birds nest tangles on the underside. My cheap Singer Talent machine.

    #3806538
    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member

    @philip-ak

    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    Are you sure that the thread is threaded correctly? That can be a sign that the tension is not correctly adjusted, and the tension comes from the serpentine thread path through the machines parts, especially the tension-adjuster plate (etc).

    #3806541
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    that happens to me occasionally

    what Philip said is good

    I have had the needle backwards (front to back) do that.  Or the wrong needle.

    If the pressure foot doesn’t hold the fabric down it could do that.  You could try pushing it down with your finger while you’re sewing to diagnose.

     

    #3806543
    Moab Randy
    BPL Member

    @moab-randy

    Philip, I believe it’s threaded correctly. This machine is prone to random and inexplicable fits of suddenly locking its tension, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in these instances.

    Jerry, what do you mean by having the needle backwards front to back? It only goes in one way, and I thread it front to back.

    This fabric is very slippery, so maybe that has something to do with it. I’m using a roller foot. Do you think there might be some way in this machine to increase the downward pressure on the foot?

    Thanks guys.

    #3806559
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    “It only goes in one way”

    I found a way to put it the other way, mindlessly.  I think with my machine it’s not totally idiot proof : )

    Can you try a non roller foot?

    I read on this site that roller feet are good so I tried one but didn’t have good success.  I don’t remember what the defect was.

    I forget what the problem was that caused the foot to raise.  Maybe something broke on the machine.  If the fabric is thick there’s more friction when the needle is pulled up which pulls up the foot, like sewing velcro.  I frequently have bird’s nests sewing velcro.  But you’re sewing light fabric so this is less likely.

    Sometimes I’ll just randomly try something and maybe that doesn’t work but it triggers some other idea that does work.

     

    #3806576
    Tim (Slowhike) Garner
    BPL Member

    @slowhike

    Locale: South East U.S.

    One important thing I have learned is that often times the problem is this.

    Even though it was threaded correctly, it was suggested that I rethread it anyway. You know the arm that you take the thread over when threading? It goes up and down as you sew.

    Well, I have found that occasionally, the thread will come off it as you sew for some reason. Maybe I don’t have the tension just right, but the stitching looks fine.

    I found it hard to believe that it could be my problem after looking at all kinds of stuff, but numerous times when things start messing up, that solved it immediately.

    Don’t know if it will help you but maybe it will help someone.

    And maybe someone could tell me why it does that on occasion.

    #3806590
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    Same here, I screw up threading occasionally

    On my machine when I thread it, I have to make sure the thread goes under this metal piece.  Normally, the thread just naturally goes where it’s supposed to go because they designed it to do that.

    #3806596
    Moab Randy
    BPL Member

    @moab-randy

    OK, Tim, I’ll give it a try. But because it’s an intermittent problem, I may not know for a while if that was the source.

    #3806610
    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member

    @septimius

    Locale: Southern Indiana

    Tim is right, best to just rethread everything first. Then try sewing with a regular foot and make sure needle is sharp and relatively new. If the problem still persists your machine’s timing is off or cheap machines usually have plastic gears that strip easily.

    #3806695
    tkkn c
    BPL Member

    @tkknc

    Locale: Desert Rat in the Southwest

    When I have thread problems, I always rethread.

    I also check the bobbin, and clean the bobbin holder.   Sometimes there is lint or ultra light fabric jamming the bobbin holder.

    #3806719
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    A problem I have encountered happens when I am sewing with some 100% synthetic threads. They run through the friction washers differently and the thread develops a serious twist, to the point it can jam up. I am not sure whether that is relevant here though.

    One can also get that problem when the upper thread is not going through the friction washers on the front properly, so that when the (arm which goes up and down with every stitch) is meant to pull the thread back it instead pulls more thread off the top bobbin.

    When there is too much fluff and lint around the bottom bobbin, that can prevent the top thread from pulling back up. Cleaning is good.

    Finally, sometimes I get that problem with the bottom thread being the one which goes wonky. That is usually because the thread is coming out of the bobbin without going through the friction spring. I didn’t thread it in properly.

    Cheers

    #3806735
    Michael D
    BPL Member

    @mdarnton

    Needles aren’t forever. Have you replaced it recently? One normal schedule is one needle per project.

    #3806739
    Moab Randy
    BPL Member

    @moab-randy

    I don’t understand how a dull needle can cause this sort of problem but I’ve read something about that before so I will attend to that, and check the bobbin.

    The roller foot is the only foot that consistently works well with this slippery silnylon. Otherwise the top layer and bottom layer don’t seem to advance in synch.

    How does a machine get out of timing, how do you know, and what can you do about it?

    Thanks again everyone.

     

    #3806740
    tkkn c
    BPL Member

    @tkknc

    Locale: Desert Rat in the Southwest

    Sometimes, the needle can get slightly bent.   Changing the needle, fixes the bent or dull issue either way.

    #3806753
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    The roller foot is the only foot that consistently works well with this slippery silnylon. Otherwise the top layer and bottom layer don’t seem to advance in synch.
    +1
    I hold the layers together front and back and keep them under slight tension, as the pic shows.

    This is not need when sewing cotton fabric as it sticks to itself, but with UL synthetics and especially silnylon, it is the only way that works for me.

    Cheers

    #3806765
    Eric Blanche
    BPL Member

    @eblanche

    Locale: Northeast US

    All of the above seam reasonable.

    Another possibility is the bobbin and/or primary thread and how it is wound. If thread path is clear and thread is good and correct (does this happen with all thread types/colors you have used?), then move to the bobbin. Do you wind your own bobbins? If inconsistent, they can cause intermittent issues resulting in something like your photos.

     

    Check all metal pieces touching the thread for burrs including bobbin and top thread components.

     

    *Anything as small as a broken needle or jammed thread could have the potential to bring the machine out of timing. Unlikely, but possible. If the machine is older or has been used significantly, parts can wear out, eventually putting the machine out of timing.

    When was the last time you had your machine serviced by a professional?

    #3807363
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    “When was the last time you had your machine serviced by a professional?”

    I know this wasn’t directed at me, but I have used my Janome machine for all my projects and never serviced it.  Several each of tent, sleeping bag, down and synthetic vests, pants, shirt, hat,…

    I keep meaning to take it somewhere but the stitches are fine.  I’ve never had any stitches rip out.  Except when I’ve mis threaded it or some other user error.  One brand of needles caused problems.

    Once something landed on top of the foot control and the machine went  full speed out of control until something catastrophic happened.  Some metal pieces were pulled out of place.  I unscrewed them and then put everything back and it’s been working since.

    That Janome machine has been amazingly robust.

    Actually, I tend to treat my mechanical things carefully.  It’s poor form to break them.

    #3807641
    Moab Randy
    BPL Member

    @moab-randy

    Service? What’s service? Hours away, more money, more down time . . .

    Good suggestions all, but sewing is starting to look more like voodoo than science. I just want to finish my little tent. Maybe I should give up and just buy something (but there’s nothing like this little tent . . .).

    #3807782
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    no!!!  these are easily resolved!  don’t give up!!!

    on the other hand maybe this is an addiction you don’t need : )

    #3807814
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Addiction?
    No way. Just a way of life . . .

    Cheers

    #3808371
    Sam Farrington
    BPL Member

    @scfhome

    Locale: Chocorua NH, USA

    Moab Randy,

    BPL no longer tells us a general location of the poster.  This wastes enormous time due to posters trying to help, but unaware of the situations in the original poster’s locale.  This may sound minor, but  often creates a ton of wasted time.

    You indicate you have a Singer machine, but suggest it may not be the best.  I picked up a Kenmore (made by Sears) “Zig-Zag” machine made in the 1970’s, and still love it, so from time to time have picked up additional Zig-Zags found on Craig’s list and such, and purchased them as back-ups, especially since AFAIK Sears no longer provides services and parts for these older machines.  That won’t work for you, but is step one in finding a good machine at a reasonable price.  In NH we used to have small sewing stores, called “Vac’n Sew” or the like, and there are a few still in business.  They want to stay in business; hence, so the excellent post above about the need for good machines, parts, and repairs.  The suggestion about finding a good small store is not only a good one; it is essential to find a good machine to purchase and maintain.

    Second, one must learn to use the machines.  We had a home-ec class in my high school, where the learning process began.  And it is also essential to take not just a class; but at least a semester or two to get the hang of sewing or just modifying anything like a tent.  Like many hobbies, it takes a while to learn to do it well, and there are no shortcuts.  I hope you can find courses near where you live.  T’wer me, I would stay away from do-it-yourself hobbies unless I had considerable time to invest in the learning process.

    I know this all may sound sanctimonious, but I’ve found it to be the truth.  It boggles my mind when I see the skills and speeds of folks who work in sweat shops in Asia.  But if one can develop the skill and resources to craft small projects well, it can be very satisfying to survive nights in horrid storms, while staying warm and dry.  But must keep from letting the dogs pee in the tent.  Human partners tenting in duo tents usually don’t present this problem.

    Roger and others have provided a lot of suggestions; but this is a do-it-yourself forum, and do-it-yourself is just that.  Good luck. It is a  very rewarding lifetime hobby.

    #3808528
    Moab Randy
    BPL Member

    @moab-randy

    Sam, I actually have one of those old Kenmores (with the metal gears) but it got mousified in our old house and no longer works well, so I just switched to this new little Singer someone gave me. I’m not giving up, especially since I’m so close to the end I’ll stumble through the problems. I’ll keep you all posted.

    Your advice on aligning with a good shop is good. We actually had a Sew’n’Vac in our nearest big city, Grand Junction, CO, but I think no more, must look for someone else.

    #3808588
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    it got mousified in our old house and no longer works well,
    So maybe there would be little ‘cost’ if you stripped it down, cleaned it and rebuilt it?
    Take photos as you strip it down: they help with the rebuild.

    Cheers

    #3808602
    Sam Farrington
    BPL Member

    @scfhome

    Locale: Chocorua NH, USA

    Moab Randy,
    One more thought. The Conway NH sewing shop that folded recently also sold new PFFAF machines and recommended them highly. It appears to be a good machine for gear, but have never needed to use it. The name might lead you to something in Colorado.

Viewing 24 posts - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Get the Newsletter

Get our free Handbook and Receive our weekly newsletter to see what's new at Backpacking Light!

Gear Research & Discovery Tools


Loading...