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Forum > Beginner's Forum > issue with top thread breaking ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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issue with top thread breaking
have a question about adjustments for top thread
alohatogo
alohatogo
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Date: 3/16/12 3:54 PM

Hello, I am new to this site sorry if I am posting in the wrong place. I am currently sewing on a newly acquired Singer 401A. As with most of my machines they do fine with thin fabrics. I am currently sewing between 4 to 8 layers of fleece. my problem is that often the top thread breaks or seems to half way break where there is a thin piece still attached and a lump that is getting pushed up of the thread just before it breaks. Also 2nd issue is that it skips stitches when I go through the thicker areas. Any help is appreciated. using a 18 needle and regular thread. top tension is low

CraftAddict
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Date: 3/16/12 4:02 PM

try lengthening your stitch length so your needle has time to get thru all those layers.

Mufffet
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In reply to alohatogo <<


Date: 3/16/12 4:17 PM

Check the thread path carefully and see if there is a place where the thread is getting slowly shredded as it passes - I have seen this on a couple machines I have had. sometimes a rethreading and a new needle and a taking out of the bobbin and reseating it and so on can cure all this. Your needle may have an invisible burr on it as well. Good luck!

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I have sewing machines

alohatogo
alohatogo
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Date: 3/16/12 4:44 PM

Okay I may have solved the issue with the skipping stitches and top thread breaking. I used 600 grit wet/dry paper to file under and around the point that catches and releases the top thread as the bobbin thingamagiggy spins around. It definately has cut down on the skipped stitches and the top thread is not breaking now. seems to be working through the 8 layers of fleece now. But if any one has any ideas why the machine would skip or break the thread I am still interested to hear. I would say the 401A is 99 percent better but not completely solved. I do understant there are a lot of things at work and I need to have a good balance for it to sew well.
thanks for reading and posting any replies!

alohatogo
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Date: 3/16/12 4:51 PM

Thanks! I did lengthen the stitch a bit, but I like lots of tiny sitiches for more strength. I am sewing at 8 per inch now and it seems to be working. Now i have also used the 600 carbide sand paper on the opening in the top plate to be sure there are no burs on that either. did seem to be some type of thread snag issue!

I wish knew exactly what the issue was.
-- Edited on 3/16/12 5:20 PM --

beauturbo
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In reply to alohatogo <<


Date: 3/16/12 5:25 PM

When you see that thin piece of thread still there intact, but the rest of the thread that is supposed to be around it all pushed up in a lump like that, I think that is just because it's cotton wrapped polyester core or polyester wrapped polyester core thread, so what is left intact is just that thinner core place as it frays off there, and the "wrapped" part is the part that gets all pushed up like that. If you had not a thread that had wrapping around a core piece, and still sewing just the same though, it would probably still just break instead. But that inner core on wrapped thread is a bit stronger than the outer part, so when exposed to friction and stress, or maybe a nick sometimes it actually is possible that it does not break the whole thread, but that part remains and gets all stacked up there.

Just in case you wanted to know what that was, and why it looks like that when that happens.

I like your kind of machine a lot, but you are expecting way too much from it and I don't think it would work good for me on 8 layers of Polar fleece like that ever at all either. I think that is getting a bit/ actually way too tall and thick. Try only 1, 2 3, 4 layers maybe at most. And even then, that would be only in a few places,(spots) where garment seams might cross each other. And still grade your seams down even then. Also size 18 needle is way too thick and big for that kind of thing. And just the eye of the needle would be way too big for me too.When your thread jumps around in that too big of a needle eye, that helps you get all those skipped stitches. And that thick big needle is not going to be able jam itself all that well though that dense thick polar Fleece at all. I would only use that if sewing a woven tent or something with much thicker thread, and it might be even the thing nicking/fraying your thread if it makes metal on metal hit in there. Maybe try a size 14 universal or ball point needle (just try both and see what you like best) on a waste scrap of Polar Fleece instead and not so many layers and use much longer stitches (not any small ones at all) and see if you like that any better. That would work a whole lot better for me.

alohatogo
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Date: 3/16/12 5:36 PM

Dear beauturbo
thank you so much for the detailed explanation. i think you are correct that another thread would just break. As for the 8 layers. I was using an "el cheapo" Singer bought for me as a gift 20 years ago that i understand sold for about $120.00. I have abused that one for many years and it was able to go through the 8 layers and ocasionally skipped. My repair guy recomended to go to the 18 needle for the thicker layers which made the older machine work like new. So when i decided to upgrade i went to the Singer 401A since it has all metal gears. compared to the other generic Singer i can say the 401 does infact do fine on the 8 layers. I also generally sew at FULL speed since i do things other than clothing. I have discused the issues with a local repair man and i think using the fine emery cloth to remove any burs has helped. He told me if you break a needle you can cause burs on things. also since the 401 is very old i have oiled it and i definately think removing the burs helped. it gives a very nice uniform stitch now. it was going fine through a couple layers, as most any machine can, but my sewing requres 4-8 layers. I will let you know if i learn anything else! thanks again for everyones help!

beauturbo
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In reply to alohatogo <<


Date: 3/16/12 5:40 PM

That huge size 18 needle in there, and the way too tall and thick 8 layers of polar fleece jammed under your pressure foot, at the same time, and even worse if using all those small stitches, things are not feeding through good. Then if you go to try to "help it" feed though with your hands, by pulling and tugging on it, you have not much space or leway left at all for error and your needle may be striking your stitch plate and your hook and leaving sharp rough places on the metal of both of those, that even then also start snagging and knicking your thread even more than all the other not very good kind of factors going on. That would be if you were lucky. If unlucky, maybe a needle strike might even brake off the tip of your hook instead. If that happens, I think you will get no stitches, at that point.

beauturbo
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In reply to alohatogo <<


Date: 3/16/12 5:52 PM

Good thing you got a repair guy, as sounds like you are going to need him a lot :)

alohatogo
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Date: 3/16/12 6:58 PM

Well call me crazy! yes i am sewing 4 - 8 layers of fleece. i do go at full speed every chance i get and i also do have the foot tension on so light that i can rotate the fabric 180 without lifting the foot up. i also sew reverse to close the stitch by just pulling it backwards while the machine is still in FWD because i dont want to take the time to stop and move the lever. I know all bad habits. but i very rarely break the needles. NOW since i sanded the top plate this new/old Singer 401A is working like a dream. i have no skipped stitches and no broken threads. My repair guy was the one who recomended that i get an old singer with the metal gears when he heard what i was going to do with it. I have never made clothes. always tote bags, denim or leather, fleece stuff. I have to say that i am very impressed with this old Singer! I did take a brief look at the recomended machines for beginers on this site and did not see much about the old singers on there. I got this one for $40 bucks. that, a little oil and some fiddling and it is working like a power house. I know it is only day one and i will let you know if it explodes sometime later this week! haha. I also picked up a Singer 414G which only does straight stitch and that one also did the job on the fleece too, but i went with the 401A to have a zig zag stitch and others built in. well thanks again for your interest and reply! good luck to you on your projects and i will let you know if the 401A keeps going!

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