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Forum > Beginner's Forum > Zigzag stitch problems ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Zigzag stitch problems
Cannot seem to get it correct
minnie76

minnie76
Intermediate
Florida USA
Member since 3/9/04
Posts: 114
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Date: 4/20/05 2:04 PM

I have a zigzag machine (Tailor Professional, apparently similar to a Singer model too). I cannot seem to get the settings correct or something. If I zigzag close to the edge of the fabric it gets all bunched up. I have tried different stitch lengths and widths. I have used different fabrics and it still doesn't seem right. What could I possibly be doing wrong?

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If it doesn't fit, it was ugly anyway.

Stitchology

Stitchology
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Maryland USA
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Date: 4/20/05 3:35 PM

Might be you need to loosen the thread tension, or could be because the edge of the fabric is getting caught up and not feeding smoothly. Try using a strip of stabilizer or tissue paper under it to provide a wider area to feed under the foot.

Also try a new needle. A dull needle will distort the fabric as it meets resistance going through, and edges distort easily.

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Buy the best and you only cry once.

minnie76

minnie76
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Florida USA
Member since 3/9/04
Posts: 114
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In reply to Stitchology


Date: 4/20/05 4:20 PM

Well the needle is brand new so unfortunately that is not an issue. I would try to adjust the tension, but I had a time trying to get it set for basic stitching when I first started using the machine. Maybe I can find a way to mark where it is now before I try to adjust it. That way I can at least get back to where I am now. I will try that next time I need to zigzag.

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If it doesn't fit, it was ugly anyway.

Peggy L
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Date: 4/20/05 6:20 PM

Do you have a zigzag foot? You may have better luck with a different foot.

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Everyday Sewist
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Everyday Sewist
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Date: 4/20/05 9:30 PM

I had the same problem until I got an overcast foot. It has a little bar which holds up the edge of the fabric and keeps it from bunching up.

Just be sure to turn the handwheel manually for a couple of stitches when you start sewing, to make sure your needle is properly positioned so as not to strike the bar. (I've broken both a needle and a foot because I accidentally set the wrong stitch and forgot to double check with the handwheel!)

Another option is to not sew on the very edge of the fabric, but a little farther inside the seam allowance. Then cut off the excess seam allowance after finishing it.

SewVeryTall
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Date: 4/21/05 4:46 AM

If you mean the threads are bunching up at the beginning, be sure to hold onto the thread tails as you start.

If you mean the edge of the fabric is bunching up, sometimes this is unavoidable. A single layer of fabric just isn't stable enough to hold the zigzag stitches out flat. If you're finishing the edge of a seam, and the seam edge bunches a little, it's ok, it'll still do the job of not letting your fabric ravel.

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Ardis

the lefthanded daughter of a lefthanded mother

Elona
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Date: 4/21/05 5:17 PM

As Betty says, the overcast foot with that little bar--plus loosening your tension slightly--should fix much of the problem. What you need is some slackness of the thread as it overcasts the edges, otherwise it will scrunch things up there.

It is true that on thin fabrics, you may have little success overcasting, though.

Does your machine have other stitches, like a serpentine stitch, that you can use to prevent raveling?

minnie76

minnie76
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Florida USA
Member since 3/9/04
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Date: 4/22/05 10:59 AM

Peggy L - What would a zigzag foot look like?

Betty - I will have to check out the overcast foot. I am pretty sure I do not have one. I have been sewing a little farther in b/c of the bunching. I was a little scared to trim close for fear of cutting into the zigzag stitch.

SewVeryTall - It is bunching up at the edge not the beginning. In some places it is not a big deal, but on the side seams of pants it creates a little ridge which I do not like.

Elona - What exactly is a serpentine stitch? I have several types of stitches but I do not know the names of them. My machine is a Tailor Pro which is similar to this old Singer Model Finesse 834. Would this kind of machine have that stitch and which would it be?

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If it doesn't fit, it was ugly anyway.

Peggy L
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Date: 4/23/05 5:53 AM

Michelle - look in your instruction manual and see if it suggests what foot to use. It sounds like your problem is trying to sew right on the edge. Some feet are designed to hold the fabric flatter - I even have one called an edgestitching foot. Your dealer might be able to suggest a foot. There are other seam finishes you could try, too. Pinking shears are an old standby!

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Elona
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Date: 4/23/05 2:56 PM

Michelle, there are several kinds of machine stitches that involve making a zigzag pattern in several "steps." Here's a picture of one, called a "three-step zigzag":

3-step zigzag

Sometimes, you can use on of these more successfully right near the cut edge of your fabric.

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