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here are some hints to keep it working the way it should.
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"My bobbin is loopy!"
It is probably not your bobbin that is the problem. Try rethreading your top thread making sure you have the presser foot up when you thread the upper tension.
The thread you see down in the bobbin area is the top thread being fed too fast without the proper tension to regulate it. When your presser foot is up it opens the tension disk so that your top thread can "seat" itself completely into the disk, thus allowing for a nice balanced stitch. Once you are sure you have it threaded correctly, check your top tension. It should be between 4 and 6 for most threads for general sewing. If it is on a smaller number try increasing it until you get the desired balance.
Bobbin tenions are designed to be left alone unless you are using a specialty thread that is much heavier or ligter than normal sewing thread. In this case we recommend you purchase a second bobbin case to use for those special threads. If you repeatedly adjust a bobbin tension it will get to a point where it won't hold the setting any longer. This is because the screw that adjusts the tension is so small that it looses its grip with too many adjustments.
"My bobbin is stuck on the bobbin winder!"
You probably have a machine with a top loading bobbin system, with plastic bobbins and a plastic bobbin winder spindle. You probably wound your bobbin at full "pedal-to-the-metal" speed (never a good idea with any bobbin style). First, by doing this you are apt to wind the thread too tight, which will cause it not to feed smoothy and therefore give you a poor stitch quality. Second, speed (with a plastic bobbin) can actually cause the thread to squeeze the bobbin so tight that it will warp it and/or "fuse" it to the spindle. The fix for this is to unwind all the thread off the bobbin. Once the thread is removed you should be able to remove the bobbin and start over again at a slower speed. Before you do that check your bobbin . If it is supposed to have a slightly rounded top and bottom, it may have been sqeezed flat. If this is the case throw it out and start over with a fresh bobbin.
"My bobbin thread is showing when I embroider!"
1. You may need to lower the top tension or...
2. You may need a lighter weight bobbin thread.
3. If you are using a polyester or metallic embroidery thread you may need to use a cotton bobbin thread which will "grab" the slippery top thread better.
4. If you are using a metallic thread you may also need to slow your machine down. This will also reduce breakage.
5. If you are using a monofilament thread in your bobbin you will need to wind it at a slow speed and only wind it half way.
"My thread keeps breaking!"
The first thing to do is to use good quality thread. Be sure you are using an appropriate thread for the project you are doing. For example embroidery thread is a decorative thread that is not strong enough for home dec or most garment sewing.
Next use the right needle for the kind of thread and type of fabric you are using.
Did you know that a needle only has about eight hours of life before it is time to retire it? And embroidery needles (because of the high speed) only have a life span of about three hours?
If you are using a cotton thread it may be dry, You can give it new life by spritzing it with water, place it in a plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator over night. It should perform better the next time you use it. I also like using a lubricant on occassion. Sewers Aid by Dritz is excellent.
Pre-wound bobbins (especially polyester) do not have a lot of "give" to them making them not very suitable for garment sewing which requires flexibility.
If you are using metallic thread you will need to use a needle designed for that purpose. It has a larger eye to allow the thread to move freely through the eye which is coated to reduce heat build up caused by friction, which is what frays and breaks the thread. You may also need to sew or embroider at a slower speed to get the best results.
"My machine keeps jamming!"
All machines require that you have the take-up lever up when you insert your fabric under the foot to start your stitching and when you remove your fabric when you are finished stitching.
In order to form every single stitch, the take-up lever starts at the top and moves down to release the right amount of top thread to pass over the bobbin, grab the bobbin thread and returns to the original up position. This is the cycle for every stitch.
If you try to sew before your machine has completed this cycle it is very likely to jamb. This is because the top thread is still in the middle of doing the job of grabbing the bobbin thread.
Many sewers like to put their needle down when they start to sew. This is a good way to start as it helps to eliminate any small knotting underneath the starting point. As long as the take-up lever is up when you first insert the fabric under the presser foot, everything will go smoothly.
"My machine IS jammed!"
The important thing for you to do here is to have a gentle touch. Don't try to fix it if you are mad at it.
If you have a machine with an automatic thread cutter do not use it now. You could cause some damage.
If you have a no-jam top loading bobbin system you should be able to turn the handwheel clockwise (no more that a quarter of a turn) to release your fabric. Once your fabric is released you should rethread the machine. Most likely you missed threading the take-up lever the first time causing the jam.
Check the bobbin case to be sure it is seated securely. Sometimes a bad jam will cause the bobbin case to be pulled out of position. Check your manual for the proper way to seat your particular bobbin case.
Also check the bobbin area to be sure there are no threads caught that shouldn't be there.
This would be a good time to change your needle as the jam may have caused it to bend or get a burr on the end or even break.
Sew a sample to be sure that everything is in good working order before you restart on your project.
If you have a front loading bobbin system with a metal bobbin case that you remove to get at the bobbin, carefully disasemble the bobbin area. Move the clips that hold the bobbin case in place away from the case, remove the bobbin and bobbin case. You may have to remove the needle first by loosening the screw that holds it in place, carefully turning the handwheel to raise the needle bar and grasping the needle and pulling up to remove it. Everything should come loose and move freely at this point.
Once the hand wheel is moving everything freely you can reassenble your machine. First check to be sure there is no thread or lint (good time to brush it clean) caught in the bobbin area. This would also be a good time to oil the bobbin area if you haven't done so recently. Just two drops of sewing machine oil in the area where you will be inserting the bobbin is sufficient. Run the machine without thread for a few seconds to distribute the oil before you put the bobbin back in.
Rethread the top thread. You probably missed the take-up lever the fist time , causing it to jam (see My machine keeps jamming for threading advice). It is a good idea to put in a new needle. Test sew before you return to your project to be sure everything is in good working order.
Sometimes after a machine is jammed it will not pick up the bobbin thread and form the stitch as it should.
The simple fix is that you changed your needle and in doing so did not use the right needle, put it in backwards or did not insert it all the way in.
If the needle is in correctly and it is still not picking up the bobbin thread it is probably "out of time". This happens when the syncronization of the parts is thrown off by the jam (this also occurs if you sew over a pin or sew something very heavy causing your needle to break). This is a fix that needs to be done by a trained repair person. We have trained technitions that handle most brands of machines.