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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Top Spool Tension and Bottom Loops

    The biggest problem I've run into has been bottom tangles when trying to do bartacks on straps.
    JohnSawyer posted this on another thread and I thought it might be worth talking about. Not wanting to hijack the thread I'll start a new one.

    This is one of the biggest issues raised when the DIY crowd has problems. It is important to look at how the machine works and why this is a top thread tension problem. Almost always, barring some more exotic malfunction, increasing the top thread tension is required to fix this and that is all that is needed.

    Step by step

    1 The needle pokes through the fabric and withdraws leaving a loop below the fabric. This loop is what the hook catches and the bobbin thread is locked into the loop.

    2 The take-up lever goes up and down synched, but offset with the needle. As the needle reaches the top point the take up arm is still rising. The function of the take up arm is to pull the loop up from under the fabric tightening the lock stitch formed by the hook.

    Here's the dynamics of the system. The needle pulls the thread from the spool as it goes down. The take up arm pulls the slack out from under the fabric and tightens everything up in the stitch.

    If the top thread tension is too loose the take up arm does not overcome the resistance of the fabric. As a result it leaves the loop below and draws thread off the spool on its way back up. The way to solve this is too make the resistance from the spool side greater than the resistance from the fabric side.

    That's why, as strange it may seem at first, the loops under the fabric are caused by the top thread tension being too loose.

    End of dissertation.
    Last edited by Ramblinrev; 10-26-2010 at 16:00. Reason: clarify some wording
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

    We Don't Sew... We Make Gear! video series

    Important thread injector guidelines especially for Newbies

    Bobbin Tension - A Personal Viewpoint

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Good clear explanation, Rev. Makes sense to me.

    Jbo

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lonely Raven's Avatar
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    I just had this problem the other night repairing a dog leash. I was all happy with myself for doing a *perfect* box, triple stitched, only to turn it over and find a mess of loops on the bottom.

    Thanks for the clear explanation! I'll make some adjustments tonight and see how it works!

  4. #4
    Senior Member bigbamaguy's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for the dissertation Rev...........I had to consult the seamstress in the family to get this corrected with the underquilt projects that we are doing at my house right now!!!!!!!!!
    Par Si Vis Pace Para Bellum

  5. #5
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    Great write-up - Totally makes sense. I've used this very advice a number of times and have been mostly successful.

    My issues have been bartacks on straps, I've set tension and run a few bartacks with no issues, and then the third tangles... it's frustrating.

    I'm thinking I went over the bartack too many times...

    I did find that using a heavier needle helped, though... Since then I moved on to using longitudinal stitching, and haven't had a problem since.

    Thanks for all the sewing advice over the last year and a half! My DIY stuff has definitely gotten off the ground, and I never would have even tried it if it weren't for your videos!

    John
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


  6. #6
    Senior Member Big Jim Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnSawyer View Post
    My DIY stuff has definitely gotten off the ground,

    John
    Pun intended? Plus one on Rev's advice, I sure appreciate it too. We should have a sewing bee some day...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lonely Raven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Jim Mac View Post
    We should have a sewing bee some day...
    I nearly choked on my bagel reading that.

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