Thursday, April 28, 2011

SOS: Save Our Sewing Machine! A Question (desperate plea for help) for All You Sewers.

I'm about to go crazy.

I was oh-so-sure I'd fixed the problem with my sewing machine in my last post. It all went back together so easily. But because the girls woke up I didn't get to test it out until this afternoon. And then I realized that something is horribly wrong.

I think it has to do with the hook. I followed the manual. I carefully put the hook and the ring back together just like it said to. And yet now, when I sew, I have a mass of thread on the backside of my trial piece of material. I've tried taking it out and putting it back in over and over again (I even tried different ways just in case the manual was missing something). I get sideways stitches with a mass of string. I get no stitches. At one point the machine tried to eat the fabric and actually sucked part of it down below the plate.

I tried to look at Yahoo answers but they said two things: 1) Read the manual (that's how I got into this mess!) and 2) Take it back to the store where it was purchased and have them show you how to reinsert it (I don't think Walmart does that... which is, I believe, where this machine is from...).

Any ideas on what I'm missing? It looks like it's working. It rotates when I watch it. It just creates giant knots on the back. I'm going to be experimenting with everything from the troubleshooting guide tonight... Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

If all else fails I guess I'll be making the hour long (both ways) drive to a repair shop...

Edited to Add: It was the needle! I took it out and put it back in (I had changed it yesterday when the other one broke!) and apparently it was a tiny bit off. It looks exactly the same now but it's running like a charm! Thanks for all of you who offered help!


  1. Oh no! I have no idea, but I hope its an easy fix!

  2. Couple questions...

    Have you tried changing your needle? Believe me, it matters. You should change your needle with relative frequency or your stitches will go berserk and thread will definitely snap. I couldn't believe the solution was so simple the first time I ran into the problem... but that's all it took (that and a first class headache).

    Is your bobbin inserted correctly? (I was careless about this at first and it took me an embarrassing number of times before I paid attention)

    Is your fabric very thin? A very light cotton, satin or seersucker will get "sucked in" if it is not reinforced. If you're working with Summer weight stuff so this might be causing or compounding your jam.

    Hope this is cleared up for you quickly!

  3. Only a minute, but a couple of thoughts...

    1. Are you SURE it is threaded correctly, both upper and lower? Sounds silly, but I've thought my maching was, had my machine do strange things sounding much like yours with threads bunching up, and found out I had missed threading it somewhere. Did the bobbin thread get looped around correctly?

    2. Did the tension get changed significantly in the process?

    3. Did you use canned air to get any dust bunnies out? I had a repair shop guy tell me that chunks of dust could mess it up also, as well as threads.

    Ok, have to run to do dinner, but I'll ponder this question some more - although by the time I get back some other wonder woman may have solved your problem! LOL!

    Angela - who will stop signing in anonymous soon!

  4. Thanks you guys for the responses so far! I just popped in a movie in hopes that I might be able to fix it now.

    I've been careful putting the bobbin in, so I don't think that's it. But I did just change the needle. So I'm going to reinstall it. I'm hoping that's the problem.

    I just used the brush to clean it out and two drops of oil behind the hook. My fear is that the hook (behind the bobbin... it was a mistake... the manual said to take it out, but I'm really afraid that is the problem) timing is off now.

    The fabric I've been testing it on it a kind of heavy cotton. I couldn't believe how the machine just sucked it in (it was a scrap from my red dress!).

    Now to go take everything apart and put it back together!

    And all suggestions are appreciated. I'm trying everything!

  5. Melody you are a genius! It was the needle! It wasn't in correctly (apparently)! It looks exactly like it did before. I just took it out and put it back in and it is running so smoothly!

    Thank you all for all the suggestions!

  6. It sounds like a bobbin issue. Is your bobbin threaded tightly? Sometimes if your bobbin threaders tension is loose it will appear that your bobbin is fine when it's not. Mine would do that and then I go and thread it and it would catch on the fabric and knot up like your describing.

    The other thing is to take it to a repair shop (which is who I get to oil my machine). A minor repair doesn't cost very much and ends up saving you a headache. A lot of sewing machine repairers also repair vacuums and other small machines so it may not be obvious who can fix it.

  7. Even though you fixed it here is a good way to check your bobbin tension. Thread your bobbin. Hold the thread with the bobbin case dangling. Do a quick wrist drop. If an inch of thread is released you have good tension. More than an inch released and the bobbin is too loose. Less than an inch and the bobbin is too tight.

    Always wind the bobbin exactly as stated in your manual. If you don't you may have unequal tension in your bobbin before it gets threaded. I would try to cheat by not unthreading the machine but take the thread from going through the needle up to the bobbin winder. Inevitably my tension would be off.

    Also, watch the bobbin wind. The thread should evenly wind around going all the way up and all the way down the bobbin. If it gets top heavy or bottom heavy it will be off on your tension.

    Even though it might be obvious never tie your thread to your bobbin. It can break your machine. I've seen it happen many times and I'm always shocked when I see it.

  8. It sounds like a problem I recently had...if it looks like a birds nest underneath the material it most likely has something to do with the tension. Make sure your machine is threaded correctly, or you may need to find a local sewing machine shop that offers service on machines. Mine ended up needing the tension rebuilt and no more birds nest. Good luck! Hope you figure it out soon!!


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!