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  1. #1
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    HELP - sewing 4 layers of ripstop - issues

    Hello,

    I am having trouble sewing 4 layers of ripstop. The top thread keeps breaking. I have tried both 14 and 16 needles and both universal and ballpoint. I am using Gutterman thread. I have also tried Coats and Clarks which was horrible. I am close to ordering thread from Speer as I am unable to identify the thread weight on what I have.

    I have tried adjusting the tension on both bottom and top. Matter of fact I have zero tension on the top - spool to the spring. I have a old singer 15-91. I can sew two layers but I am obviously missing something.

    Any ideas?

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    Member hdbint's Avatar
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    I believe that the top thread on the stitch is actually fed from the bobbin. I would say you need to adjust the bobbin tension.

    Disclaimer. I'm far from an expert but from what I understand, you want to be careful about messing with the bobbin tension.

    There's nothing wrong with Speer thread but I don't think the thread is your problem so i wouldn't order it just yet. Gutterman thread is top notch IMO and experience. One of the more experienced guys will be along shortly.

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    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    The top thread is from the spool on top.
    You should not need to adjust your bobbin tension unless you messed it up adjusting before.

    Gutterman thread should be more than fine
    if you are having no difficulty with sewing two layers you should have no breakage problems sewing 4
    unless your thread or needle is too big for the machine.

    Carefully recheck the threading of the machine... both spool and bobbin
    make sure the bobbin thread is moving easily and the wpool thread is threaded through all the springs and stuff.
    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

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    Senior Member fred1diver's Avatar
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    Red face

    Hi, first off is your fabric coated or uncoated?
    are you sewing at a slow pace or at high speed?
    if your fabric is coated and you sew fast the heat may melt the coating and snag the thread.
    make sure your needle is sharp and not blunt
    did you check the tensioning mechanism on the top thread?
    sometimes if the thread isn't properly placed, it may add tension and snap it
    to test it lower the presser foot and try to pull on the thread... if it doesn't move and your tensionner is at min pressure, you have a snag somewhere.
    also make sure your presser foot doesn't have too much pressure.

    check the bobbin tension, depending on the model (I'm not sure what your model looks like, is it the old black steel model?) if you have a bobbin casing, there are screws on the side to adjust it, no too tight. With a proper stich no loops are to be visible on either side, the connection point should be in the middle of the material.
    hope it helps.
    keep us posted
    FRED

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    tight-wad's Avatar
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    Is it 1.1 oz or 1.9 oz ripstop?
    Is it sil or uncoated?
    If you can sew 2, but not 4, layers I would suspect a dull needle. But that would not explain breaking thread, especially with 0 tension on the top ... hmmm.... Is the thread feeding from the top spool freely? Anything catching it?

    Ripstop is pretty slick, the difference between 2 and 4 layers is minimal for a machine.

    I remember reading somewhere that you should not fool with the bottom tension (the screw on the bobbin holder). 99.99% of the adjustments you need to make can be done from the top tension. Unless... it is a rusty, dirty, un-oiled, old machine, or something has been abused at some time or another.

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    Senior Member TiredFeet's Avatar
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    Also check how you have the needle inserted in the machine.

    On one side of the needle you will find a slot for the thread. When sewing the thread rides inside that slot.

    If that slot is on the wrong side when in the machine, the thread will break, especially when sewing thick, stiff or heavy material.

    Check the instructions and make sure you have the needle inserted properly.

    If you don't have the instructions, consult a professional repairman. On some machines, the slot faces to the left and on some to the right. It all depends on how the machine was designed to operate.

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    JaxHiker's Avatar
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    Hmm, I just went through 4 layers like they were butter. Don't know what weight it is but it's uncoated. Just your run of the mill JoAnn's ripstop. I think my thread tension was about 4. I'm using an 80s Singer Merritt 2404.

    ETA: I'm using a #9 needle.
    Last edited by JaxHiker; 09-09-2008 at 21:20.

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    Senior Member fin's Avatar
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    When using upholstery thread, I've had to go to a size 18 or 19 needle.

    Is the thread shredding at the needle when it breaks, or is it a clean break?

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    Have a Singer 15-91. In the learning phase of sewing. Using the thread available from RayJardine. #14 sharp Organ needle. No problems going through 4 layers of silnylon. Not sure on the weight of the silnylon (scrap pieces). Have been able to re-hem some bluejeans & canvas trousers without any real problems. These old Singers with the correct combination of thread and needle should be able handle 4 layers of ripstop. Are you sure the thread is running between the disks on the tension adjustment part? Flat side of needle shaft facing to your left?
    Noel V.

  10. #10
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    1. The only possible way you can break the top thread is if something is binding it. And it DOES feed from the top.
    2. Check the threading pattern. The thread should pull through the needle smoothly when you tug on it AND the swing arm - that arm that goes up and down as you stitch - is in the right position, part way down before the needle moves downward. The machine is supposed to release some of the thread tension there through its cycle. If you have loosened the top thread tension all the way, there should be no binding at any point in the machine's cycle whatsoever. If there is, you are threaded wrong or something has broken/worn out. Since Singers last practically forever, and are almost foolproof, you are probably threading it wrong.

    3. Work forward from the thread spool to find where the binding is happening. If you can fix it there, good. Once I had let the thread fall off the spool and wrap around the spool spindle. Of course, it broke at the needle, not at the spindle. IOW, start there and go forward along the thread track.

    4. Competent repair shops are easy to find. If you can't solve the problem yourself, take it to an expert. Every machine needs a thorough lub job and tune up by an expert now and then, anyway.

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