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  1. #1
    Senior Member Hooch's Avatar
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    Angry Sewing Machine Frustration

    Ok, I need your help, HF gang. I tried to start in on my first true DIY project, but am having sewing machine issues (actually, the whole freakin' subscription). I'm trying to sew polyester straps on my sewing machine I got for Christmas (early). Every time I start sewing, I jam up after just a few stitches. The thread knots on the bottom and I'm stuck. What am I doing wrong? I've tried changing to a heavier needle, adjusting the top tension, adjusting stitch length and even changing thread. I'm at my absolute wit's end and don't have the foggiest as to what to do. Do any of the DIY crew have any ideas, tips, tricks or advice? Anything would be greatly appreciated. Thanx a mil in advance!
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  2. #2
    Senior Member tight-wad's Avatar
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    Thick straps take a little more TLC. Start with a couple of pieces of thin fabric and get the hang of it. Rarely, if ever, do you need to adjust the tension.

    Fear not, because you aren't the only one with bottom snagging. I've done a few projects and it happened to me (again) last week. Sometimes you just need to help the feed dog, by pulling the fabric with a VERY slight pressure from the sewed side. Let the feed dog do its work, but gently help it.

    For straps, you will need to go slow, real slow, very very s-l-o-w, and probably help the motor by turning the wheel (always from the top towards you) with your hand.

    If it is an older well used machine, a puff of air to clean out the bobbin area and a drop of oil may cure the problem. The lady at Hancock's told me they recommend oil every 8 hours. I did not find that out till after ten times that. She showed me how to put a tiny drop on a pin head and where to put it. That's all it takes.

    One last thought: My machine allows you to vary the # of stitches per inch. Set it on the widest stitch, fewest stitches per inch. And, forget bar tacks until you have very many hours under your belt!!!

  3. #3
    slowhike's Avatar
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    i've had that same problem... trying to remember just what i did.
    i'm thinking that someone here suggested that i needed to adjust the bottom tension.
    to do that, you take out the bobbin & there is a small screw on it.
    the screw is really small so you may need a eye glasses screw driver.
    it doesn't need much of a turn to make a difference.
    i believe you lift the bobbin up out of your hand & it should just slowly descend. if it drops to fast, it's to loose. if it doesn't let any thread out, it's to tight.
    maybe some others that know more about that stuff can say if that's right.
    i'll see if i can find the page i had read on adjusting the tension. it may have been on thruhiker.
    don`t leave the CREATOR out of the creation!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hooch's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info guys, I appreciate it. I'm going to start sewing on the ripstop, instead of the strapping. It will give me a better feel for things like Tight-Wad said. I don't think the machine needs oiling since it was new out of the box. I've practiced with some 1.9 I got out of the Buck Bin at Wally-World, so maybe I should abandon the strapping for now. I already had the stitch number on the fewest stitches/inch, so I don't think that's the problem. I'll try some of the other ides you guys gave me and go from there. Thanks again!
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  5. #5
    slowhike's Avatar
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    speaking of machine probs, i was having similar problems w/ mine yesterday.
    i ran out of thread & switched to some nylon thread that i had bought a while back not realizing that it was way thicker & heaver than i needed.
    it got jammed up so that i was barley able to force the needle up to get the material out.
    then i took the racer? out (the ring & other thing that the bobbin sits inside of) & now i can't seem to get the thing back together right???
    i gotta find my manual... or look it up on line
    don`t leave the CREATOR out of the creation!

  6. #6
    Senior Member tight-wad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowhike View Post
    then i took the racer? out (the ring & other thing that the bobbin sits inside of) & now i can't seem to get the thing back together right???
    i gotta find my manual... or look it up on line
    You may have to turn the wheel to get the inside part in exactly the correct spot on the left side.

    The lady at Hancock's was an angel sent to me during my darkest hours

    Hooch - gently pull on it from the sewed side as the machine is doing its work.

  7. #7
    slowhike's Avatar
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    this page has a couple articles on bobbins & tension...
    http://www.thru-hiker.com/workshop.asp
    don`t leave the CREATOR out of the creation!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hooch View Post
    Thanks for the info guys, I appreciate it. I'm going to start sewing on the ripstop, instead of the strapping. It will give me a better feel for things like Tight-Wad said. I don't think the machine needs oiling since it was new out of the box. I've practiced with some 1.9 I got out of the Buck Bin at Wally-World, so maybe I should abandon the strapping for now. I already had the stitch number on the fewest stitches/inch, so I don't think that's the problem. I'll try some of the other ides you guys gave me and go from there. Thanks again!
    It might help if you told what needle size and type (universal, sharp, or ball point) you are using. Same with thread type as best you can as well as stitch width and stitch length. How much control do you have over the sewing speed with your machine, can you sew as slow and as fast as you like or is it all out or nothing?
    Youngblood AT2000

  9. #9
    Senior Member Hooch's Avatar
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    Again, thanks for all the expert advice. I finally abandoned the straps for now, concentrating on my hammock body. Maybe I should have started there first, as I'm pretty sure it would have saved me a lot of fustration and bad language. I have, after quite a bit of practice on scrap material and having to go real slow, the end seams of a hammock sewn. Finally. Whew! I did find that after I sew one seam on a side, going back over it to double stitch is not a problem at all and goes much quicker. So for now, I'm out of Sam Adams Cherry Wheat, so will get more tomorrow and start on the sides. Funny, the more I drank, the straighter my hems or seam or whatever you call them got. I think it's a rolled hem, but not positive. Then all I have to do it whip it (Whip it real good) and I'm done. I'm hoping it won't take me 4 hours to do 2 seams this time. I do have to admit, my confidence with the machine is goign up with every seam I sew, so I'm sure I may actually be able to make something that I can actually use in the next decade or so.
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  10. #10
    slowhike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hooch View Post
    So for now, I'm out of Sam Adams Cherry Wheat, so will get more tomorrow and start on the sides. Funny, the more I drank, the straighter my hems or seam or whatever you call them got.
    yeah, just wait till you see them tomorrow morning
    reminds me of that song... the girls all get prettier at quitin time
    don`t leave the CREATOR out of the creation!

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