Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The tension is getting to me

I am hoping that one of you out there may be able to help me. I am trying to make a shirt for The Husband. I struggled for an hour this afternoon with the tension and nothing I do seems to make a difference. The fabric is 100% densely woven cotton. My machine has a drop in bobbin and the pressure on the foot is automatic. I have tried every needle from every size Universal I have, a Denim 16, Microtex 12 etc. I have cleaned my machine thoroughly, and it was serviced recently. Other fabrics I can make the tension work. Just not this one. Is there some fabrics that a machine just will not sew?
As you can see, the stitches on the top look fine, but the bottom the bobbin thread just lays on top of the fabric.
There is barely any difference between the tension being set at 1 and being set at 8.
 Does anyone have any ideas?


Updated June 20

After testing on another fabric, where the damned tension was fine (sigh), I removed anything removable from my machine. Cleaned the tension disks with fuzzy dental floss. Blowed air at the tension disks as well (canned air, not human air). The tension was improved, not perfect but improved.. Thank you all for your help! It is much appreciated.

13 comments:

  1. Well now that is a conundrum. I presume based on what you've said that your machine allows you to adjust the tension of the thread only, and not also of the foot itself? First thing I'd check is if the thread is actually threaded through the tensioner. For me rethreading is like the equivalent of turning a computer on and off again. Sometimes it seems to 'solve' the problem! If that fails... we'll both have to rely on the intelligence of someone else! goodluck :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And by rethreading I mean pull both your bobbin and your spool completely out and do it all again from scratch ;)

      Delete
    2. I have done that twice already, but I will try again. Tomorrow, if I try again tonight I may end up dragging the machine behind my car for a mile or two. Best to wait.

      Delete
  2. I second poppykettles advice about rethreading the entire system. I've had a similar thing happen, and it was a mess-up with threading. Otherwise, I have no idea. :( Hope you figure it out!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Please report back after rethreading-I had a similar problem a few weeks back and I just started completely over with new bobbin and top thread. How annoying for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will try that tomorrow. Thank you for your help. 8-)

      Delete
  4. Another thing to try might be to unthread the whole machine, run some floss through the tension discs (loosen them up so you don't throw the tension off--just remember to put the tension back! LOL!) and then rethread. I had this problem once and it was caused by a teeny little piece of lint in the disks (damn C&C thread!) that threw the whole thing out of whack.

    Other than that, it might be time for a spa visit....for your or the machine, I'll let you decide which. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. What kind of a machine have you got? On my old singer, if I had the same problem, I would conclude it was the bobbin tension. There is a screw on drop-in bobbin machines to adjust the bobbin tension, but it's harder to find.

    By the way - is it sewing other fabrics ok, or is it just this one?

    ReplyDelete
  6. My machine does that from time to time and it really seems like the tension dial does nothing to fix it. I hope rethreading works, I like CG's idea of dental floss. Let us know what ends up working, I think it's been rethreading and dumb luck that has fixed it for me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So the top tension is too loose---either something's jamming the mechanism, as mentioned, or the thread isn't sitting quite right, or it's a quirk of this fabric that the tension needs to be higher? (I've had this happen with topstitching thread but not usually with regular thread.)

    Alternatively the bobbin tension could be too tight, so I'd take that out and clean all through there, too, and maybe double-check your manual for the exact way to thread it because that has confused me in the past (even when I thought I knew exactly what to do.)

    I've hacked tension a couple of different ways before---to get more tension out of my plastic Janome, I would wrap the thread an extra time around the bobbin-winding guide, which has a little bit of a spring to it, that would bring the tension up high enough that it could actually sew with topstitching thread.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just got my machine back from the repair man and he found all sorts of things out of tension and with the bobbin doing the backspin and making a load of racket I just could not stand it any longer. When was the last time someone opened the machine for a good look? Hope you solve this problem!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She was at the salon just a month ago, and I haven't done much sewing since I got her home.

      Delete