Around age 6 & 1/2, I asked Gramma to make me a costume.
She did some quick math, figured that if she made ME one, she might be expected to make one for EACH of eighteen to 20 grandkids.
So, instead, she taught me to sew, using her foot-treadle SINGER.
Sunday the 19th, I figured I'd cuff up the several pairs of pants I had gotten at the thrift shops.
Apparently, long-legged people die sooner than us Normals!
The first cuff went just FINE.
Bobbin ran out during the second one.
Got out the instruction book, refilled the bobbin, started in again.
Had put the bobbin on the little holder thingy wrong, and the machine jammed.
Fixed THAT, and the machine STILL jammed.
So, changed the NEEDLE, in case that had ANYTHING to do with it.
Machine ran without JAMMING, but the underside mof the stitch is just loose loops.
Any advice from you seamsters and seamstresses?
Tension adjustment. It's always the tension adjustment. Two wives, 47 years, at least a dozen sewing machines, and it is always a tension problem. For some reason the more experience one has with a sewing machine the more problems they have with the tension. Fortunately, I have no sewing skills and therefore never have this issue, except when I have to correct the problem for someone else. It's that chrome plated knob near the foot lift that says "Turn me until something breaks."
If you are sewing Denim you can reduce some of what you are seeing by rubbing the layers with a bar of soap prior to stitching. Some people also rub soap on the needle. A fatter needle also helps.
Now that I think of it, when was the last time anyone here got a new banjo because there was a problem with string tension?
I'm no seamstress, but I know one and she said: "Whoa! It looks like the tension is too loose." She figures Doug is on the right path... you should be able to adjust the TOP tension with "that numbered knob" ...and that it's relatively rare that one needs to fiddle with the screw that adjusts bobbin tension [located somewhere below the bed/table]. Good luck!
Edit: How come, if you got everything back to the way it was, a "machine" frequently doesn't do the same as before? I just took a look at the PFAFF downstairs.... tension apparatus mounted horizontally, although the general principle looks the same. The seamstress I know says to also check that the thread is threaded thru all the gizmos in the right places/sequence.
Edited by - Owen on 01/20/2020 10:29:33
Yer usin one of them new fangled lectric machines ain't ya. Get out gradma's foot-treadle SINGER and do like she show'd ya.
That or adjust the tension.
I learnt sewing in the service. Ditch the machine...needle and thread it by hand...don’t forget your thimble!
You should also check for lint packed around the bobbin cradle. Most of the time I find the tension problem is really a cleaning problem.
And like Owen said, don't fall for the advice on adjusting that screw on the bobbin cradle. That's just a trick to get you to buy a new machine.
EDIT: And if the owner of the sewing machine tells you the timing is out, just hand her the credit card and back away slowly. You cannot defeat the "timing" argument.
Edited by - DRH on 01/20/2020 11:08:05
It could be a number of things:
1. Tension, as mentioned above. Most bobbin cases have a little screw on the side of them that you can loosen or tighten to change the tension. Since you're having problems underneath the material, tighten the screw and see if that helps.
2. Wrong needle size for the material you're trying to sew. If you're sewing on a thick material and it's doubled or tripled, you need a bigger sized needle. Try a 14 or if it's denim, a 16. 11s and 12s usually end up breaking because they're not strong enough to pierce through the material.
3. Lint in the bobbin case (mentioned above). Use a small brush to clean the bobbin holder or use one of those cans that spray air to clean the bobbin case.
4. Top threaded wrong. Be sure the top part is correctly threaded.
5. Bobbin in wrong (you already mentioned that).
6. Needle has a tiny burr on it, need new needle.
7. Trying to force the material to move. This can cause all sorts of problems. The material should travel without any assistance as you sew.
If none of those ideas work...... take it to a repair person because it probably needs a good cleaning and checkup.
I dunno Mike. Might be best to just hem up the cuffs with some safety pins?
If you absolutely don't have an Ouija board around, you should cough up the cash and find a medium to conduct a seance and you can ask Gramma yourself. Gramma misses you and would love to have a chat from the great beyond. Be a good sonnyboy and give gramma a call.
Edited by - Mooooo on 01/20/2020 12:06:14
Turns out that Gramma, age 17 ( very much a PRE-Gramma) is standing like that because she ripped her dress getting off the streetcar on the way to have her portrait done.
I tried various things with the top tension, checked the drawings in the instruction book, dang thing STILL ain't working right.
I wimped out, went to the craft store, bought some iron-on hemming tape.
And THAT ain't working as expected.
So I will GO to youtube, see which of the umptyzillion geegaws and doodads I did NOT get the top thread in right.
OR--- how about a row of staples, with black enamel over them?
Youtube was SOME help, even though the tutorial had WHITE thread against a WHITE Kenmore Multi-Stitch 10 ( my exact machine)
So, now SOMETHING is causing the upper thread to break off inside, where the bobbin is.
There doesn't seem to be any dust inside the bobbin area, according to a small flashlight.
I suppose I could swipe around with a Q-tip, see if anything shows up.
Meanwhile, since the iron on tape isn't working like i want it to, may as well try the squeeze-on and iron GLUE.
IRENE was a theater-level seamstress. She died.
ALICE was a whiz at mending and hemming. She died.
The CURRENT galpal is charming, funny, plays BANJO, but doesn't do anything involving sewing machines.
Like Joe E. Brown said, at the end of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"
Check your local classifieds (if you take the paper) or look on the internet for a seamstress in your area. I shouldn't cost much to have a couple of pairs of pants hemmed and she could probably do it in an hour or so.
Staples! That was always our go-to method of shortening the legs of our brand-new denim trousers back in the day. Tuck the extra inside and staple so the pointy part aimed -away- from the tender tissue of the ankle.
Only drawback was the fade line once you had to adjust the length after a wash.
...why not go whole-hog?
...those thingies kinda look like they'd work like staples.
Edited by - Owen on 01/20/2020 14:47:55
Hey, why not?
Wouldn't be the FIRST guy to sparkle while singing a classic country hit!
"Hey, Mike! Gimme that Squared Eel, and STAND BACK!"
Check your needle, did you put it in backwards, there is grove down the front of the needle that the thread runs along. check that first, other wise check tension, show a picture maybe we can tell what the problem is, bobbin or top tension. Also many not be between the tension spring all the way. best bet after checking the needle is to rethread the whole thing from the start,
Thank you, ms. 2 Horse.
Perhaps the BESTEST best bet would be to smear some of THIS stuff around!
And the HLL with sewing!
That brings back some memories. I hung out with a crazy bunch when we were all in our early 20's.
5 guys in a 5 bedroom apt over a legit massage parlor. We all had jobs & 2 of our buddies worked in a cement plant & they wore out the fronts of their jeans pretty quick hand bombing bags of cement off a conveyer belt.
They discovered this stuff called Quikie Sew. They'd cut the front of one pair of pants from the pockets to the knees & glue them onto another pair. Reinforced!
One guy saw this & ran & got 2 pairs of jeans. One pair that was full of holes on one leg from a leaky battery & the other had the butt worn out. He cut the same leg off both pair & glued on the good leg with a 2 or 3 inch overlap.
We called them his Frankenstein pants. He wore them with pride & when he got too close we would try to rip that leg off! It held pretty good .
I used it to hem up some goodwill dress pants for a bartending job & used Quikie sew for that too. You have to put some weight on it to get it to really stick.
Mike I used that Liquid Stitch years ago in the Army.
Put a line of it down the seams of the uniform shirts and trousers.
Man did I have 'sharp' creases. Always looked neat on parade.
Thanks for the memory, Mr. Paw.
Back in the days before Permanent Press, Mom bought us Sunday pants with the seam sewn in.
Like kneeling on a piece of WIRE!
If it isn't a tension problem, the machine may need a good cleaning. I get mine professionally cleaned at a local sewing machine shop every 5 years or so, and it generally fixes any problems it may be having.
I've seen your sewing work close up, and it's beyond impressive.
I'll take it in.
But for the Time Bean,
I've got the glue.
I would lend you my profession seamstress sister, but I don't think she'd appreciate being shipped from coast to coast.
Side Story. My father started out knitting and stitching, making girdles and bras. When he was starting out his boss wanted him to know how to maintain a sewing machine, so he had him take one apart. My father carefully laid out all the parts as he removed them in order. The boss then scooped up all the parts, threw them into a box, and then said, "Now put it back together and make sure it works." He quickly learned sewing machines inside and out.
...I dunno whether that qualifies as a "side story" or not Dave. Seems to me that there's a clear and pertinent message for Mike: completely dis-assemble your machine, scramble the parts, and then put it back together and Bob's yer uncle.
'Flathead to Archtop' 3 hrs
'2004 Gibson ESS' 4 hrs