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  1. #1
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    What am i doing wrong?

    Just started using my sewing machine to make stuff sacks...etc.
    I have never touched anything related to sewing until a few days ago so I am a total noob.
    When I get to the end of a seam, raise the foot, and remove the fabric to the rear of the machine, cut the thread and leave 5" or so of excess on the machine, I have to re-thread my top thread on the machine almost every time. Any ideas what I may be doing wrong? I am using an "invisible" polyester thread that looks good on the seams, but is a pain to re-thread all the time.
    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Frawg's Avatar
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    I assume the thread is pulling back when you start stitching and not when you cut the thread. Just need to hold the thread tails at the start of each line of stitching, until the first couple of stitches grab. If it's pulling back immediately after the cut, though, just make sure there's very little tension on the threads at the time you make the cut.

    Edit: FWIW, I always press the threads against the presser plate with my left index finger while the first couple of stches grab, and often also start those stitches manually, i.e., turning the wheel by hand.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member G.L.P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frawg View Post
    I assume the thread is pulling back when you start stitching and not when you cut the thread. Just need to hold the thread tails at the start of each line of stitching, until the first couple of stitches grab. If it's pulling back immediately after the cut, though, just make sure there's very little tension on the threads at the time you make the cut.

    Edit: FWIW, I always press the threads against the presser plate with my left index finger while the first couple of stches grab, and often also start those stitches manually, i.e., turning the wheel by hand.
    2nd that ....
    It puts the Underquilt on it's hammock ... It does this whenever it gets cold

  4. #4
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    Make sure you are actually using polyester thread. Most of the "invisible" thread I have seen is nylon. I'm not saying clear polyester doesn't exist... I'm saying it is not typical. Nylon thread can stretch considerably in the machine causing it to pull back and pull out of the needle. If you are having to rethread any more than that something else may be going on. I personally do not recommend the invisible thread for anything but hand sewn repairs or closing up stuffing slots.
    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."
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  5. #5
    Senior Member KerMegan's Avatar
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    2x on the non invisible thread- use a color close to the fabric color, (slightly darker will make it fade from sight), or use a contrasting color for 'decorative detailing' (and to be able to find it when you must use the seam ripper).
    KM( who is on her third seam ripper this decade...)

    ps. how far back do you have to go to re-thread? just the needle, or up the looper, or as far as the tension mechanism?

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the input. It makes sense that the thread is pulling through the eye of the needle when starting a new seam. I will have to watch out for that.
    As far as the thread, it says 100% polyester on the spool and it is a clear "invisible" thread. Not sure what that means, but that is what the spool says. The brand is Sulky i think.

  7. #7
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    When you stop your stitch, spin the wheel by hand to where the tension arm is at the highest position.
    Then trim your thread 2-3 inches away from the foot, leaving a tail.
    Alway keep the tails tucked under the foot ( which is a no-brainer on the bottom thread, but do it for the top thread as well.)

    If you'll notice as the tension arm lifts, it pulls the thread tight, which, since its not caught in the fabric yet, it pops out.
    Keeping the tension arm in the highest position, the thread has no tension as the needle drops down and starts a new set of stitches.

    Its all about timing.
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  8. #8
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    <slaps forehead!>

    Great idea, G!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gargoyle View Post
    When you stop your stitch, spin the wheel by hand to where the tension arm is at the highest position.
    Then trim your thread 2-3 inches away from the foot, leaving a tail.
    Alway keep the tails tucked under the foot ( which is a no-brainer on the bottom thread, but do it for the top thread as well.)

    If you'll notice as the tension arm lifts, it pulls the thread tight, which, since its not caught in the fabric yet, it pops out.
    Keeping the tension arm in the highest position, the thread has no tension as the needle drops down and starts a new set of stitches.

    Its all about timing.
    This is certainly something to watch for. However if the fabric pulls out easily and allows a tail of 5-6" I don't think that is the major problem. While the take-up arm is down the thread is often engaged below the throat plate. The needle should be in it's highest position as well as the take-up arm. (although if the take up arm is there the needle should be as well.) If you could get a video of what is happening we might be able to assist you farther. I'm having difficulty visioning what is going on.
    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

  10. #10
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    I really think it depends on the machine. One of my first machines (Blue Jeans Machine by White) would always lose the top thread if I didn't have enough excess thread out along with having the tails neatly pulled to the back before dropping the foot.

    Take a scrap, toss it in the machine and have a good 10-15 inches out the back then toss in a few stitches. When you pull the piece out you should be able to see how much of a tail you still have before the machine started stitching. That should give you a general idea how much tail you need when you start a new stitch each time. Positioning the thread or pulling it back may also help but I'm too lazy to find and hold the threads for every dang stitch when I may put 10hrs behind the machine in a day.

    I think spinning the wheel is nice and all, but simply not practical if you sew alot and it can be hard to find the top travel of the uptake arm unless you've got a good visual on it. You need to figure out your machine and work with it. Eventually all those nuances will become second nature. It's just something that happens on a mechanical machine. The uptake arm just doesn't automatically stop fully extended when you finish a stitch, therefore when you start a new one it may travel a bit and pull whatever thread has less tension which happens to be the end piece through the needle.

    Also, I'd drop the invisible thread and get yourself some 100% Polyester by Gutermann. I feel it's much better quality than Sulky and will break less, snag and birds nest less, sew better and last alot longer in whatever you make.

    It also helps to have and use high quality needles. It depends on the fabric and how many layers you need to go through. For all the lightweight momentum I use the Schmetz "Microtex Sharp Needles" in size 8 or 9 depending on the application. Usually a 10-14 is good though as the 8's are tiny and can break alot easier. The Schmetz "Universals" are also good, but if you can find the Microtex Sharps I feel they work super.
    Evan Cabodi
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