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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Technical Talk - Does your machine skip stitches?

Sometimes sewing machines skip stitches.   The machine usually has a manual that lists causes of skipped stitches - usually to do with the needle being bent, blunt, inserted incorrectly,not the right size, wrong type for the fabric, poor quality needle or the thread may not be threaded properly.

There is another reason as well, and not one you will find in the sewing machine manual.


THREAD!!

This is a little known fact.  I use the threads that are marketed as "good quality"and was sewing with the above reel yesterday. And noticed that the odd stitch was being skipped.  It didn't matter on what I had done, but I wasn't going to keep going.

I replaced the thread with a new reel of a different brand:

PROBLEM SOLVED...

I learnt this some years ago when I used to hire an industrial  machine. (yes, I have a past life in sewing).  I was grumbling about problems with stitches and thread breaking and was told it was the thread.  My mother also had an experience like this - she uses a domestic machine.  She has stitch problems and was told to use a "good" thread.  She uses the recommended by all shops brand - which is quite different from that used by sewing professionals.  Trouble is, you have to buy that by volume.

So, I now use the home sewers "quality brand"and have found one of these works better than the other on my machine.

I just thought I would share this in case any of you have had similar problems that have not been solved by changing needles and rethreading the machine correctly.

Sarah Liz :)

24 comments:

  1. My sewing machine is a real prima donna. Only the best is good enough for her ;) A friend of mine had troubles similar to yours, turned out she was using different brands on the spool and the bobbin!

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    1. Well, at least you know what to give her :). Amazing that your friends machine was so able to tell the difference between the threads. Mine isn't that discerning, thank goodness :)

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  2. You know our machines have personalities - some of them are more demanding than others!! Thanks for sharing your experience, you never know when you will hit a similar snag!! Cheers, Karen

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    1. I am sure you are right Karen. And you need to know how to talk to them :). I like to share experiences, in case there is anything useful to any of you :)

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  3. I have a friend that I introduced to sewing and my most important piece of information I gave her was "and don't buy that cheap thread!". She is thrifty and she called me one day to say her machine was not working I asked her immediately if she was using that cheap thread (3 in a bag at Big W or similar) and she sheepishly said yes - she has learned her lesson. The technician who fixed my overlocker told me that black thread on overlockers sometimes causes problems also.

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    1. Hi, I am not surprised at the cheap thread story, but the black thread one is quite amazing - how does the overlocker know the difference! :)

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  4. I also have a sewing machine with what I call 'Golden-Tastebuds!' Give her an inferior quality thread (even sneak it onto the bobbin) and she has a little tanty! The chewed up, spat out thread mess just isn't worth it ... J

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    1. Well, she knows how to get what she wants, doesn't she! :) There is nothing worse than clearing up a thread tanty...

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  5. Thank you for sharing.. Thread does pay a specific role in how the sewing machine runs..
    I have also discovered, that the good thread will start to break and skip stitches,if you happen to get a hold of old thread.. So frustrating ,when this happens..

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    1. I never thought of that - so thread may also have a shelf life - so another reason to use up our stashes - fabric, thread, they both deteriorate over time.

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  6. My machine dislikes topstitching thread, ironically it has no trouble coping with multiple layers of denim just the thread

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    1. How annoying! So what do you use to topstitch with I wonder? It's funny how we learn ways of doing things when hit with a technical hitch :)

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  7. Occasionally I have skipped stitches when sewing knits. I've found that my problems are usually caused by the wrong needle type so I understand what you are talking about.

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    1. Yes, my machine doesn't like all knits either - I wonder why they don't?

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  8. My sewing machines are pretty calm. My serger, on the other hand, needs to chill out with the 'tude. =)

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    1. Oh no, I can just imagine you and the serger with 'tude. It must be a tough battle :). My serger and I had long sessions together that were not always happy, but finally it has learnt the error of it's ways (until next time :))

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  9. I only ever use Gutermann's threads too. Like the ad says, "you're worth it" :)

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  10. I've always used either Metrosene or Gutermann's threads per my Bernina store recommendation. Never thought there could be a difference even between the two of them!

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    1. I think different machines may have different tastes in thread, looking at everyone's comments :)

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  11. Interesting! My machine actually WAS skipping stitches for a pair of culottes I just finished making. The fabric was very densely weaved and 'shiny' and I realized I was using the totally wrong size and type of needle. But, good to know that if all else fails, it may be my thread!

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    1. Yes, some fabrics really are quite difficult to sew - with my overlocker I have to change all sorts of settings for dense poplin, for instance. It's handy to have all sorts of tricks up your sleeve for these problems - and thread is one of them:)

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  12. I've noticed that too about the thread. The best thread I've found is this non-named brand that my grandma has heaps of in every colour, left over from her furniture and fabric store!

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    1. I'll bet she got it from somewhere that stocked "good stuff for trade". Sewing must run in your family, Zoe :)

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