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zig-zag stitches bunch up
Can you tell I learned on a straight stitch machine?
dove29

dove29  Friend of PR
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Date: 4/2/10 4:02 PM

A lot of the time when I sew with a zig-zag stitch, the fabric bunches up in it. Instead of looking like a real zig-zag, it looks straighter but the fabric gets bunched up in it. I see it a lot if I'm trying to finish a seam & especially if it's a light, soft fabric.
How do I keep this from happening? I suppose something is adjusted wrong...
Sewing on an old Kenmore that has about 12 stitches, & don't know where the manual is.
Thanks!

Patti B
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Patti B  Friend of PR
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Date: 4/2/10 4:09 PM

It sounds like one of the tensions is messed up. I'm not much help because I haven't sewn on this machine but the stitches and the fabric should lie flat.

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Patti

R-r-r-ripping my way to fitting success

Doris W. in TN
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Doris W. in TN  Friend of PR
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In reply to dove29


Date: 4/2/10 4:32 PM

If you mean 'bunched up' as in gathered, I agree that it's a tension issue. If the zig-zag stitch width is pretty wide, and the part you are zig-zagging is bunching up under the thread, that is called 'tunneling' and you may need a stabilizer .

Michelle T

Michelle T
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In reply to dove29


Date: 4/2/10 5:50 PM

Are you sewing on one or two layers of fabric?

Do you have a Overcast foot?

This foot helps to keep lightweight fabric flat when zig zagging.

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Proud parent of a Dwight International School Honour Roll Student

sewsally
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sewsally  Friend of PR
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Date: 4/2/10 7:17 PM

After checking the thread path and making sure the thread is not caught on the spool or anything else, I would try loosening the needle tension first.

Maybe a wash away or tear way stabilizer under the fabric.
Shorten stitch width and length since the fabric is fine.
And use a small sharp needle 60 or 75.


dove29

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In reply to Doris W. in TN


Date: 4/3/10 1:06 AM

I didn't want to say "gathered" because it's not happening along the length of the seam (it does not become short.) What happens is that it bunches up sideways, so a 5/8 seam allowance looks narrower and lumpy.
Hope this makes sense. I'll play with the tension a bit.

clt3
clt3
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Ohio USA
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Date: 4/3/10 6:34 AM

Try holding on to the ends of the thread with your left hand as you start stitching,

------
Singer 66-16. Singer 600e, Kenmore 158.1913 , Viking 1100, Brother 4000D, Brother Quattro, Bernina 930, White 634DE,
Babylock Evolve, 2 Featherweights ,Pfaff Creative Performance,Janome Coverpro 1000CPX






aquamarineerica

aquamarineerica
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Date: 4/3/10 10:28 AM

Mine has done that too. If you have a 3-step zigzag, that works well also. Seems no matter what I do, if I use a regular zigzag stitch, it will tunnel. Although now, I will try what clt3 says and hold the threads!

Good luck!
Erica

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Every day is a clean slate.
"Decisions are made by those who show up"...Allison Janney, The West Wing

Everyday Sewist
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Everyday Sewist
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In reply to Michelle T


Date: 4/3/10 10:33 AM

Quote:
Are you sewing on one or two layers of fabric?

Do you have a Overcast foot?

This foot helps to keep lightweight fabric flat when zig zagging.


Ditto what Michelle T said.

I always have this problem when ZZ stitching over the edge of a seam. It has nothing to do with the tension, and the overcasting foot always corrects the problem and results in a perfectly flat seam edge.

Now, if you are having the bunching even when sewing away from the edge, then it may be a tension problem.
Doris W. in TN
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Doris W. in TN  Friend of PR
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In reply to dove29
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Date: 4/4/10 1:25 PM

Quote: dove29
What happens is that it bunches up sideways, so a 5/8 seam allowance looks narrower and lumpy.

That is called "tunneling" and it will happen when zig-zagging, especially a lightweight fabric. Try some of the suggestions already given here (on some scrap fabric) but it's better if you have an overcast foot. Most modern machines come with them as a standard accessory. Be sure the edge of the fabric is not sticking out beyond the 'pin' of the overcast foot.
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