Lets look at the basics of the thread on your machine, before you even try to navigate a clothing pattern. The first thing you need is a machine that sews properly and evenly.
What if your thread wont pick up?
What if the thread is unevenly sewing, or snapping before you even get half a seam sewn?
Here are all the things I look to when this happens to me.
Is the top thread and the bobbin thread from the same spool? Is it the same weight? If you use a thick thread in the bobbin and a thin one in the top, or vice versa, then tension problems can occur. Even if you’ve used different colours, that’s fine, as long as the weight of the thread is the same.
Consult your manual to make sure your machine has been threaded properly. The thread tension is so important, that if you’ve missed a loop, or a tension gauge, then it can make all the difference. Make sure the thread is sitting in the tension plates as it ought to, sometimes it looks like it is, but it is just resting on it, or resting behind them.
Sometimes I will pull all the thread out and rethread it from start to finish just to be sure.
Remove the bobbin from the bobbin case and make sure the thread has been spun evenly on it. Sometimes people set their machines up to wind the bobbin, and just trust that the machine will spin it evenly for them. The truth is, some machines need to be guided and spun slowly, otherwise you end up with what i call “bubbles” in the tension. You can see it clearly.
If that’s the case and there are bubbles in your bobbin, then you need to unwind it. Just pull all the thread off it, and start again.
Make sure it’s winding so that there are no “bubbles”
The uneven tension affects the flow of the machine, it’s rhythm stalls and starts and stalls and starts, and the thread gets caught, and sometimes knotted, and can snap, causing immense frustration.
If the machine is still not sewing properly, there could be other things influencing this.
Look at the thread line in your sewing sample to decide where to look next.
If the bottom thread looks normal, or is a straight line, not even meeting the top thread half way, and the top thread is making loops underneath the fabric, then the top tension is too loose. You may find tightening the top tension makes a difference.
If the top thread looks normal, or is a straight line, and the bottom thread is making loops through to the top, then the top thread is too tight. Loosening the tension at the top may make a difference.
[box type=”note”]There is another way to regulate the thread tension, and that is to tighten or loosen one of the screws on the bobbin case. However, if you are reading these beginners tips, I don’t recommend you play with that. It should already be set where it needs to be. Take you machine to be professionally tuned rather than start playing with the bobbin case.[/box]
[box type=”info”]I used to go to a place in Bondi Junction. Unfortunately, because less and less people are sewing these days, the store had to close down. Now after a bit of fluffing around, trying this place and that place, I take my domestic machines all the way to Chatswood. They really know what they are doing, and sort out my machines beautifully, which is a relief after the run around I’ve had with other machine centres closer to Bondi. They tell you exactly what needs to be done, and give you a clear choice of options. I was so happy to find them, that I am now recommending them.
Chatswood sewing centre.
If the thread isn’t picking up, then:
Use appropriate needles for the fabric you sew. Ball point needles for stretch fabric, and sharper needles for other fabric. Sometimes your needle may be bent. If that’s the case, change it. Sometimes the needle may be blunt. You may not even be able to tell, but sometimes simply changing the needle can make a difference.
And if you are still really stuck after all that…take it to a professional!
Now Happy sewing! Go get creative!