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Message Board > Sewing Machines > Why are my stitches forming loops on top and bottom? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Why are my stitches forming loops on top and bottom?
Tension problems?
snipsnip
snipsnip
Member since 12/26/12
Posts: 21
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Date: 12/30/12 7:22 PM

I'm giving this sewing thing another go after many years off. I've never gotten past the beginner stage, so am unfamiliar with needles, tensions, threads and fabrics.

I gave up after getting a new Singer when the tension kept going off. Every time I tried to sew something with thicker fabric, it started skipping stitches. The serviceman who fixed it told me this is just how those new Singers are. It got put in a cabinet and there it sits.

Fast forward about ten years, my daughter has been asking me to teach her how to sew (haha, funny prospect that) and while researching sewing machines, I settled on the Janome DC1050. There were no complaints online about this machine having tension problems, so I thought she'd be shielded from my earlier frustrations starting out. In fact, I liked the sounds of this machine so much, I bought me one too!

Now, this thing whizzed through three pairs of jeans letting out the hems for my rapidly growing teenage son. It didn't whine and didn't hiccup, just plowed on through like a good machine should. I was so impressed and so excited, I pulled out all of my old sewing gear, stocked up on whatever I couldn't find hidden in the recesses of my closets, then started on a stitch reference.

Everything went splendidly until I got to the fancier stitches. Threads started breaking, the top thread balled up in the bobbin case, and now the stitches are making loops on top and bottom of the fabric. It looks like the top thread tension is too tight and the bobbin thread too loose. I've tightened the bobbin and loosened the top, yet nothing seems to fix this loopy thing.

I'm using a medium weight muslin fused to a fleece interfacing, an all-purpose weight of thread, and a universal needle (not sure of the size but it did fine until the complex stitches).

Would anyone have some thoughts on what I'm doing wrong, or is this machine as unreliable as the Singers were earlier in the decade?

MegquiltsinVT

MegquiltsinVT
Intermediate
VT USA
Member since 6/3/09
Posts: 113
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Date: 12/30/12 7:28 PM

I don't have the same machine as you, but I'd suggest that you remove the top thread and the bobbin for starters. Check for lint behind the bobbin (and everywhere). Carefully check to see that the bobbin is loaded correctly and re-thread the machine. Try to to 'reset' everything to form a nice straight stitch. Once you have started at 'ground zero', re-attempt the decorative stitch. Good luck!

------
Pfaff QE4.0, 1222E, 796
Janome 1000cpx, 1110 dcx
Singer Featherweight, grandmother's treadle
New Home treadle

snipsnip
snipsnip
Member since 12/26/12
Posts: 21
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In reply to MegquiltsinVT <<


Date: 12/30/12 8:29 PM

Thank you. I checked for lint, rethreaded, changed to a fresh needle, everything was in order.

What I found is that I seem to be getting the most even stitch between top and bottom when the top tension is set to 9 and the bobbin tension is as loose as it will go. Does this sound right?

Even at this setting, some of the top thread shows through on the bottom and every now and then a little bottom thread will show through on the top, but it's the most even setting I can get.

ShantiSeamstressing
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ShantiSeamstressing
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Member since 6/11/10
Posts: 1578
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In reply to snipsnip <<


Date: 12/30/12 8:46 PM

Quote: snipsnip

What I found is that I seem to be getting the most even stitch between top and bottom when the top tension is set to 9 and the bobbin tension is as loose as it will go. Does this sound right?




That doesn't right to me. I'm not a sewing machine technician by any means, but it doesn't sound "normal," kwim?

So.....you've given the bobbin case/bobbin race a good brush-out (it would have needed that after three pairs of jeans' hemmings); and are you sure that needle + thread + fabric match one another? In other words, you're not using a needle that's too heavy for the fabric; or fabric that's too heavy for the needle; etc.?

And it is absolutely, positively threaded properly and the bobbin is definitely wound properly and sitting properly in the bobbin case? Because nine times out of ten, tension trouble is actually threading or bobbin or dust/lint related.

Another thought: When you begin sewing, you are putting the needle in the fabric before beginning to sew, right? Because even something that simple will mess up the stitches. Also, does your manual discuss any troubleshooting points that might address it?
Marie367
Marie367  Friend of PR
Intermediate
OH USA
Member since 5/28/11
Posts: 2227
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In reply to snipsnip <<


Date: 12/30/12 9:09 PM

The bobbin thread is too loose. Your top thread tension should be about halfway so you have room to tighten and loosen it; you should not need to adjust the bobbin tension. Normally I loosen the top tension for decorative stitches. It is going to take you awhile now to fix the tensions and if you can't get it you will need to take it in. I am not a technician but I have tweaked my tensions. Since you figured out how to adjust the bobbin tension, you should be able to adjust it back to where you get a good stitch. You need two different colors of thread-one for the top and one for the bottom and a piece of material that you can easily see the two threads. Set the top tension to a middle number (on my Janomes that is a 4 or so). Now in very small increments tighten the bobbin tension and sew a straight stitch for an inch or so and check the stitch. It should look the same on the top and bottom. Sew for several inches to make sure you have it set right. Then try some of your decorative stitches. On most machines and for most sewing you should never need to adjust your bobbin tension just your top. I think the last time I messed with the bobbin tension it took me a long time to fix it. Hopefully you will get this fixed and there isn't anything else wrong with your machine. HTH
edited to add: you have a good machine; I think you just have the tension messed up. Another thing on many modern machines you need to thread with the presser foot up or the top tension will tighten up and it will not be right when you try to sew.
-- Edited on 12/30/12 9:13 PM --

Edited to add another thought-you got two of these right? Is the other machine ok? Can you take the bobbin case out of the one that is working right and try it in the one that is acting badly? If it sews ok then you know the bobbin tension is so out of adjustment that that is the problem. If it is still acting badly, there might be something else wrong with the machine and you will have to take it in.
-- Edited on 12/30/12 9:20 PM --

snipsnip
snipsnip
Member since 12/26/12
Posts: 21
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In reply to ShantiSeamstressing <<


Date: 12/30/12 9:22 PM

Shanti, I did not do a thorough job checking for lint. Thank you for pointing that out. Just a mention of hook race led me to it. There are some other suggestions in the back of the manual. I'll check all of this first and then be sure to put the needle in the fabric before beginning sewing. I was not doing this. Hopefully, one of these fixes does the trick.

Yarndiva
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Yarndiva
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CA USA
Member since 3/28/06
Posts: 386
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Date: 12/30/12 9:25 PM

A general rule is if the bottom stitches are messed up, it is a top threading problem. If the top stitches are the problem, it is the bobbin. Tangles all over top amd bottom are often the needle. I do not have the machine you are using but may these tips can help, they apply to many machines.
Bobbin tension is not often adjusted. Top tension is more so but not on each project. It sounds to me like there is an incorrect needle situation. Make sure it is the right kind. For muslin you should be using an 80, for denim I use a 100 or 110. Skipped stitches often mean a too small needle. Shreadded thread may mean a too big of one.

Check also to make sure the thread is going through all the places it should, every little loop and dial. Check that the thread is going through the needle as it should (left to right or front to back whatever your machine requires). Make sure it is in flat side back, or side as the manual says. This one causes me the most trouble.

Back to bobbin tension : the thread should not pull out of the case freely but come out only with a slight tug. If it does and just comes right through it may not be in right maybe the thread is not passing through a tension leaf or slot in the case. Check that before you alter the bobbin tension. Check your manual for how to adjust bobbin tension, my machines all are asjusted by turning a small screw on the case.


Top and bottom tension should be about equal.

Thread from the top should pull freely only if the tension discs are released ( often by lifting the presser foot). It should pull through with some resistence if the presser foot is down.
-- Edited on 12/30/12 9:27 PM --

------
http://silkmothsewing.blogspot.com/

Harriet P.
Harriet P.
Intermediate
TN USA
Member since 6/30/05
Posts: 233
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 12/30/12 9:30 PM

Hi, Also after you get the tensions correct, be sure to put stabilizer under the fabric. You will get a nicer stitch.
Harriet

snipsnip
snipsnip
Member since 12/26/12
Posts: 21
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In reply to Marie367 <<


Date: 12/30/12 9:36 PM

I hope I haven't messed it up too badly. The stitches were forming loops before changing the tensions. I tried going up and down with the top tension at several levels before changing the bobbin tension. It's now a quarter of a turn looser than it was when I toyed with it originally. I made sure to eyeball how much adjustment it was getting in which direction, seeing as how there are no numbers to use as a guide.

My daughter has the other machine. She's grown and out on her own now. We won't be able to get together until later in the week at the earliest to compare notes.

I thought it was odd, too, that the top tension adjustments weren't affecting the stitch problems last night. I should have come here first before changing anything.

My poor machines. They've probably all been brutalized through ignorant neglect!

Marie367
Marie367  Friend of PR
Intermediate
OH USA
Member since 5/28/11
Posts: 2227
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In reply to snipsnip <<


Date: 12/30/12 9:44 PM

A quarter of a turn can make a huge difference and it might have been off a tad to start with. You probably can't it hurt it any more at this point and you might be able to fix it. Others gave you good advice about cleaning everything and using a stablizer with your decorative stitches. Just make sure to thread it with the presser foot up. I think it is probably a simple fix if it is only the tensions. At the worst you will have to take it in to get it looked at. Just think of all that you are learning! Glad you are back sewing and that you found us here!

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