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I just got a Brother sewing machine for my birthday. I’ve never sewn before. I followed the instruction in the manual. I wound the bobbin using the machine and set up the bobbin and main thread just like the manual said. But when I sew it looks like this on the underside: http://www.majabarlo.com/uploads/images/IMG_20121023_185357.jpg

What am I doing wrong?


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  • 2012-04-02_15_00_35_large

    Oct 24, 2012, 11.57 AMby Lindsay Whitehead


    That is really frustrating when that happens. It is most likely a problem with how the bobbin is threaded.

    Make sure the bobbin is put in the case the correct way. make sure it is put into the machine fully (it should click). make sure you use good thread (one of my machines won’t sew with bad quality thread.

    If it was an older machine I would suggest cleaning any fluff out from under the feed dogs etc. but for a new machine that shouldn’t be the problem.

    If it is a new machine can you take it to the dealer it was bought from? they should help.

    I hope this may help

  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Oct 24, 2012, 12.13 PMby katexxxxxx

    90% of the time, loops on the underside of the sewing are an UPPER thread tension problem cause by not threading the machine correctly. Check that your needle is properly inserted and the correct way round (flat to the back), that you have followed all the thread guides, and that the thread is fully inserted between the tension disks. Also make sure you have threaded the thread take-up lever correctly. Set the machine to straight stitch, the tension to the middle of the range and the stitch length to medium, and test again. If it’s all OK, go from there. If it’s still being loopy, get back to us.

  • Koala_large

    Oct 25, 2012, 01.37 AMby MaiBsquared

    Thank you for all your advice. It’s still not working. Here are some pictures of the machine: http://www.majabarlo.com/uploads/images/Sewingf.jpg. I’m not sure if the pictures are too dark but if you guys do see anything obvious please let me know. I tried re-threading it many times. I tried putting the bobbin tread through position 1 and 2 that I labeled on the picture. Position 2 made it so it move less freely. I tried setting the tension higher (from 5 to 7). I’m using thread from a multipurpose sewing kit I got when I was 12 from my grandmother. I’m not sure what kind of thread it is. Would using a spool that doesn’t sit right on top of the machine affect things?

    I really appreciate the feedback.

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Oct 25, 2012, 08.46 AMby katexxxxxx

      I would suggest starting again from scratch, with winding a bobbin full of good quality COTTON thread such as Guttermann or Coates Cotton. Make sure you have a new sharp size 80 UNIVERSAL needle in the machine. Set the stitch length to about 3mm and the tension to 5 on your dial. This is where the engineers start when testing machines.

      Now, with the bobbin, insert it into the bobbin case and pull the thread down the slot on the side and under the leaf spring. It should come out of the hole… Look at the bobbin turning in the bobbin case. When you pull on the thread the bobbin should turn in a clockwise direction.

      Insert it into the machine, making sure that the finger on the bobbin case is in the little notch on the shuttle race at the top, and push it well in: on some models there will be a click as it goes in, but not on all (not on my Bernina, for example).

      Now go back to the upper thread. When you thread up, follow all the thread guides carefully, aco0ding to you manual, and when you get to the tension disks, make sure that the thread is well tugged in between the disks. You need to do this with the presser foot UP.

      Once you have threaded everything except the needle, put the presser foot down and pull on the thread. There should be quite a lot of resistance. If it pulls through easily, go back and make sure you have the thread between those tension disks. Misthreading the tension disks or missing out the take-up lever are the two most common threading errors, after not threading the bobbin correctly.

      Your stitch sample shows that for some reason the takeup lever is taking new thread off the reel rather than pulling the excess thread back up from forming the loop round the bobbin, leaving those loops on the underside. Misthreading is the number one reason for this: failing to get the thread between the tension disks. It’s sometimes hard to see that the thread really is between the disks on these machines with buried tension disks, so look carefully.

      I usually find that when my Lily starts doing this, it’s because there’s a build-up of lint between the disks, and a quick ‘flossing’ with a clean microfiber lens cloth (NOT one of those fluffy ones with lens cleaner in – they are useless!) round the tension dosks and their spindle cures it. Though this is a new machine, you have been using cheap old thread that may be much more fluffy and linty than quality thread, and it may well be worth trying this in addition to the rethreading.

  • Koala_large

    Oct 26, 2012, 04.52 AMby MaiBsquared

    I bought some new thread from the fabric store and blew out the machine with canned air. I wound the bobbin again and threaded the machine while reading the manual veeeery carefully and it work!! I’m already half way through making a circle skirt for my Halloween costume. Thank you all so much (especially Kate) for your advise. It was very helpful and I’m happy to be sewing.

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Oct 26, 2012, 08.30 AMby katexxxxxx

      Excellent! And we are all glad to help.

      Beware of canned air. It’s fine for industrial machines where you can take the casing off and blow through, but with a domestic machine the potential to blow dust, scraps of Lurex or other harsh threads, and bit of broken needle (and there WILL be bits of broken needle eventually!) into some inaccessible cranny and cause problems later is too high for me to use it on mine! It can also chill delicate electrical components and cause condensation… Far better to get one of those little sets of tools that fits on the vacuum cleaner and SUCK it out!

      Remember to start every new project with a brand new needle of the correct size and type for the fabrics being sewn, and give the machine a good clean and oil (according to the manual! Don’t oil anything if it tells you not to!) before packing it away.

      Also, if you store the machine somewhere cold, let it warm up to room temperature again before using it.

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