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  1. #1
    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
    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 pure_mahem's Avatar
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    happened to me too, I went through 4 needles and don't remember if I fixed the problem or if I just ended up hand sewing them with button thread as I can recall doing that for something.

  5. #5
    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

  6. #6
    Senior Member pure_mahem's Avatar
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    Who are we going to nominate eh uh um everyone take a step back and leave someone in the front, to go and post on a sewing message board to find the answer for our uhm er gear making power tool?

  7. #7
    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!

  8. #8
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    I too often have this problem. What I do to clear it is to pull the thread all the way out and re-thread the machine from scratch. Most times that fixes it because I see in doing this that the thread slipped out of the arm that takes it up and down, ie, the center loop that you have to go through to thread the machine.
    If that doesn't work I do it again but now also take the bobbin out and reinsall it. Finally, one other reason it happens to me is that the fabric UNDER the webbing is so light that the needle pushes it down into the hole on the plate that holds up the fabric so the needle can pierce it easily.
    When I take apart the whole shuttle assembly that holds the bobbin I usually cuss a lot before I get it back together. One thing you need to do is turn the machine by hand to a place where the shuttle would be 90 degrees from where you are trying to assemble it, then do it another 90 degrees off until you figure it out. The circular shuttle within the bottom assemble must be timed with the needle to let it go back together and I cannot seem to remember which way it WILL go back.
    Be scientific about it and record what you do that does not work and you will finally have an Eureka moment. I hope. LOL Mule
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  9. #9
    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.

  10. #10
    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!

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