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Polar Fleece Broke My Machine
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SewMadeUP
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Date: 9/13/12 7:27 PM

I'm new to sewing and this is my first question. I thought I would have time to introduce myself before running into a problem, but this is an emergency. I bought a Kwik Sew Pattern K3838 as my beginner project, and I chose Polar Fleece as my fabric. But the fleece fabric went right through the sled dogs and got stuck in the slats. I couldn't remove it by pulling, so I unscrewed the plate on my machine and was finally able to free it from the dogs. However, my bobbin hole is no longer level. It appears to be crooked! In other words, when I drop my bobbin inside the hole, it slants downward on one side. It just won't sit level, so now I can't get my bobbin thread into it's slot. My machine is a Brother LX 2500 that I got from Walmart for about $79.00 plus tax. This is the 2nd Brother machine that I've broken. Is there any way to get the bobbin seat level again? This is just crazy. Waa!
-- Edited on 9/13/12 7:29 PM --

Miss Fairchild
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In reply to SewMadeUP <<
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Date: 9/13/12 9:02 PM

Take the machine apart again, move the large knob on the right hand side of the machine toward you until the needle is at its highest position, then reseat the bobbin case. Chances are, your bobbin case is sitting too high and you need to reseat it.

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Warbler
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In reply to SewMadeUP <<
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Date: 9/13/12 9:05 PM

Welcome to PR! Sorry to hear that your first foray into sewing has been such a challenge.... sounds as though you have unseated the bobbin case of your sewing machine. The bobbin sits in a case that rests in the bed of your machine under the needle plate. The bobbin case is the thing that helps to hold tension on the bobbin thread as the stitch is formed. By pulling hard to remove the fabric, you very likely dislodged the bobbin case. First off, take a deep breath and exhale slowly and allow yourself to relax. We have all been down this road and know how it feels. You are among sympathetic friends.

Unplug or turn off your sewing machine before you begin to correct this problem, it's just a good safety practice that should become habit whenever you need to service your machine.

I hope you have taken time to thoroughly read the sewing machine manual as it can be very helpful in trying to resolve issues you may encounter with your machine.

Find the section about the bobbin case and read about how it is inserted into the machine and make sure that when you go to replace it that it looks properly set. While you are under the needle plate, clean any lint that may have accumulated there. There is likely a little brush that came with the supplies of your machine that can accomplish this task.

Fleece is a challenging textile if you do not have the correct sewing machine needle. I would use a ballpoint needle, sized 14/90. If you do not have one then a universal needle may work OK in the meantime. But fleece is a knit and ball point needles are used with sewing most knit fabrics.

When once you have properly replaced the bobbin and its case, and think you are ready to sew again. Re-thread the machine making sure that the pressure foot is up while threading so the thread will seat properly between the tension discs. Do some test sewing on regular fabric to make sure the machine is behaving correctly. When you are ready to sew, hold the top and bobbin threads behind the pressure foot as you begin to sew. This will assure the thread is not pulled into the machine creating a thread nest. This is likely the culprit when your fleece got pulled into the machine. After you have sewn a few stitches, then you can let go of those threads and guide your fabric along. If this all works well then you should be good to try again. I hope this helps.

There are many books that can help you learn how to sew. And there are books that can teach you about sewing machines and the common problems and fixes to everyday sewing. I do not have titles to recommend at my finger tips but google can help and sew can YouTube. Let us know how things turn out.


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crankyoldlady
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Date: 9/13/12 9:31 PM

To tell the truth, depending on the quality and thickness, fleece can be a challenge to work with. It is not the best choice for a beginning sewer.

I have several sewing machines and only a couple will sew through fleece without problems.

a7yrstitch
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In reply to SewMadeUP <<


Date: 9/14/12 3:51 AM

In regard to your other post which I'm too lazy to find, I bumped a thread for you under the Sew Along Section. It's called Sewing Techniques Sew Along. You might be interested in noting it for later.

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annakeeton
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Date: 9/14/12 5:42 AM

Hi there,

I frequently sew Polartec Polar-type fleece and I usually use a Universal 80/12 needle for mid-weight fleece, changing to a 90/14 or higher for areas with more than 2 layers. For the wind/waterproof types, I might use a Jeans/Denim needle.

These books by Nancy Cornwall and Rochelle Harper are good sources for sewing fleece:

Adventures with Polarfleece

Sew the New Fleece...

-- Edited on 9/14/12 5:45 AM --

ryan's mom
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Date: 9/14/12 6:21 AM

Posters have mentioned using the proper needle, and this is very important information. annakeeton mentioned the Adventures with Polarfleece series by Nancy Cornwall...I second that. Great tips in there. Remember to use a longer stitch length too.

I've sewn a slew of things in Polarfleece and cheapo fleece. Even stitched a 200 and 300 weight reversible fleece cape together. The only thing my machine balked at was 8 layers of that fleece at seam junctions. What I'm trying to say is the Walmart machines may be low end and not particularly good with fleece. I have a Janome Memory Craft 3000 purchased in 2003 that handles fleece quite well. I'm not going to say it never jammed on fleece (can't remember), but if it did it was rare. My machine was sold to me by the dealer as a "jam proof" machine, and I'd have to agree.

Do I think there is a difference between a $79 Walmart Brother and a $500 Janome dealer machine as far as durability and ease of use? From what I have read in certain threads here, yes I do. A Sears Janome-made Kenmore might be a good bet, too, and at a reasonable price.

Does the machine matter? I'm one that thinks so. It doesn't have to be super high end and costly, but it sure is nice to go to a dealer with fabrics that have given your current machine a challenge and see how they perform. It's worth considering if you stitch up a lot of fleece.

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jadamo00
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Date: 9/14/12 7:57 AM

Okay, this advice is a little late and I hope others are helping you fix your machine.

Woven cotton fabric. Your first projects will be easier if you stick to woven cotton fabric. It pins easy, it cuts easy, it handles well: keeps it's shape, it sews up nicely, it presses smooth, it spans all seasons, and makes crisp garments that you can throw in the wash.

solosmocker
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Date: 9/14/12 2:12 PM

I agree with Ryan's Mom. The machine makes a huge difference and even more so having a dealer who can pull you out of these jams. Dealers often have older used machines that are way more quality than any you could buy at Walmart and at very reasonable "beginner" prices.

I also want to welcome you to this great craft. We are here for you when you need help and critiques.

I agree that a woven cotton fabric would be more manageable for a beginner. How about a cotton print pencil skirt? Just use a cotton twill or at least something heavier than a quilting cotton for your skirt. Good luck!

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