Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hosed up Sewing Machine

All righty, so I might have invited this problem by being overly proud of how I hadn't had many problems with this extremely unpopular model of sewing machine. It's a White 2037, and if you search for reviews online, they are pretty much all bad.  Many passionately so.  I also have experienced problems with broken threads and need to frequently adjust the thread tensions (yes, including the bobbin tension, the one you're never supposed to need to adjust, the screw is a bit too loose, it works itself out over time).  BUT - I have always been able to fix these problems by checking and doing a few things.  Today as I was searching around, I found a great concise checklist that includes everything I usually try plus a few more good tips (LINK TO YAHOO ANSWERS PAGE).  I'm going to quote the page here, because you never know when pages are going to disappear.  The author of the quote below is Kay, a top contributor on Yahoo Answers. 

Here's the post:
Here's what I call the 10 minute tuneup... even if you don't know what's wrong, it fixes nearly everything that's user-fixable on a machine. While your machine is probably too new to be dirty, it may have some bits and pieces of trapped thread still in it, so go for the full cleaning and rethreading.

I did a series of photos of what happens with some common misthreadings of a sewing machine. They're in pairs; the first pair is from a correctly threaded machine, the rest are from the same machine that I deliberately misthreaded. See if you find a match here -- red thread is in the bobbin, blue thread on top:…

As far as cures:
The 10 minute fix for most of what ails most sewing machines:
Dig out the manual. Take all the thread out of/off of the machine. Pull the needleplate and the bobbin case if it's removeable. Clean and oil per the manual's recommendation. Use a brush and vacuum, not compressed air (which blows lint in farther), and real sewing machine oil, not 3-in-1 type oil (it  hardens and freezes the machine) nor WD-40 type stuff (it's a solvent, not a lubricant).

Put in a new needle of the correct point style for the fabric you're sewing (ballpoint for knits, sharps for wovens) and the right size for the thickness of fabric (10/70 for shirting weight fabrics, 12/80 for heavy shirtings or light pantsweight. 14/90 for medium to heavy pantsweight, 16/100 for very heavy fabrics. Make sure the needle is in right way around--a needle in backwards will skip stitches or not stitch at all.

Take a good look at the bobbin. If it's lumpy or you spot loops, strip off the thread and rewind. Bobbins should be smoothly and evenly wound. Wind at a slow, steady speed--it helps with tension issues if the thread isn't stretching as it's being wound.

Rethread, with manual in hand. Make sure the presser foot is UP when you thread the top--it opens the top tension so that the thread actually gets in between the tension disk (loops on  the bottom, not enough tension on top).

Fetch up the bobbin thread. You need about a 4" tail of thread top and bottom. Run both threads under the presser foot and behind it.

If you've been playing with the top tension, set it to 4. If you've been playing with the bobbin tension, you're likely to have to take it into the shop.

Now, each and every time you start to sew a seam, this is how you do it:
  1. Place the fabric under the needle, and use the handwheel to lower the needle into the fabric (be sure to turn it the right way... see the manual).
  2. Drop the presser foot.
  3. Hold the thread tails behind the presser foot with your left hand.
  4. Take a couple of stitches
  5. Drop the thread tails and sew normally.

If this doesn't fix your problems, you may have some thread caught farther in the machine than you can spot... doesn't take much for some machines to start pitching a fit. Or you may have accidentally knocked the machine out of time with one of the jams. Bad timing is actually a fairly rare event, often preceded by broken needles and loud noises, but a good solid jam is another way to throw off the timing. You can check here to see if you think timing is the problem: <… Machine Hook Timing.htm> or (you'll have to paste that back together) but that's generally something that a repair shop needs to adjust.

Really good habit to cultivate: whenever you sit down at the machine for the first time that day, take two minutes and give it a basic cleaning. You'll save $$$ on repair bills and extend the life of the machine.

Source(s): 50 years of sewing

All right, so I did all that.  I moved the position of my thread, tried different bobbins, rewound the bobbins, cleaned the bobbin case, changed needles, adjusted thread tension and then adjusted it again, etc. etc.  I don't really know what to try next, I just keep getting the top thread jammed up in the bobbin case and then it breaks.  Aargh!!  I am posting to PatternReview and will let you know if I find anything out.  Any ideas??  


the dizzle said...

sooo you've probably already done this but the last time i had a jam i unscrewed the plate and then the metal part that the bobbin goes into and took tweezers to get out any little pieces of threads i found. it didn't work. so i oiled my machine. then it worked! i used machine oil that i bought before i realized that my sewing machine actually came with it. in any event, if you can't get it figured out, you can always borrow my sewing machine (it's nothing fancy - a singer protege from target but it'll sew!), just let me know!

- danielle

IowaHoodlum said...

Hey Danielle,

Thanks! I actually didn't oil it, so I will try that next and let you know if it works or not. But not tonight, I am going to sleep! :-)

Hope you had a good weekend and see you soon,

n said...

Hey Christine! I'm really glad you linked this blog on your fb page... it's awesome! I will be following! I love this side of you!


IowaHoodlum said...

Thanks, Emily! I'm glad you like it! I'm definitely having fun. I hope this sewing machine problem gets worked out soon, or I might just have a bunch of wadded up tulle at the wedding instead of pompoms! Hope you're doing well,