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Topic: The Zig Zag Stitch....  (Read 1155 times)
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novamc
« on: November 01, 2012 06:35:54 AM »

So Iím very new to sewing (just about mastered sewing in a straight line yay!) and Iím having a little trouble figuring out the zig zag stitch and I was wondering if anyone had any tips/advice...

I attempted it when trying to make a pair of pants/underwear/knickers Grin i found that it just ended up a complete and utter mess and i gave up... but now Iíve decided to make a pair of pyjama pants for a Christmas present and would really like to do them properly - I have the pattern etc but the instructions involve the dreaded zig zag stitch!  Shocked

Iím sure I had the machine at the right setting.... then again did I?

So....am I stitching too close to the end of the fabric? Not close enough? Is there some secret to zig zag stitching that nobody told me?

Iím probably over thinking it arenít I....  Roll Eyes

any help would be appreciated. Thank you! x
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2012 07:37:57 AM »

I'm not sure I understand what the issue is enough to tell you what's wrong!  Do you have a photo of the stitches? Can you describe what's happening?
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2012 09:29:14 AM »

I know on my machine to get it to work right  I have to change the stitch setting as well as the stitch width.  Are all your settings set correctly?
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novamc
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2012 01:29:15 AM »

ill try and get a photo.

its more than likely my settings. its just whatever i seem to try doesnt work and it ends up a mess - mainly on the underneath.

ill have to practice on some scrap fabric before starting my main project.

thank you x
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2012 09:46:23 AM »

if it's underneath--make sure everything is threaded properly--both your bobbin and your top needle.  Also make sure you are putting your presser foot down before stitching (I sometimes forget and it turns into a big mess). 

Another thought, it might be the tension of your machine, but I have no advice on that topic.
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lunamadre
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2012 12:19:58 PM »

It might not be the zig zag that's your nemesis, it might be a complete coincidence that the thread made a mess while you tried that stitch.
If you are getting a big mess of tangled piled up thread on the underside of your sewing, that's what sewers call "bird's nests". I just recently started having that problem with regular stitching, not zigzag. Bird's nests can happen while doing any kind of machine stitching. It's a pain in the butt, and I panicked recently because I thought my machine needed fixed or I was doing something wrong. I looked it up on some forums and tried some various advice, and my machine is fine now. No more bird nests.

Here are a few things to try if your bobbin thread is jamming up on the underside of your work:

-Lift the presser foot UP and then completely rethread your needle thread. (this is the thread that comes from the spool and through the top of the machine.) When the presser foot is down, the tension discs are closed and the thread can't be pulled through it. This can cause improper tension and the thread to jam up into a big ol' mess. This is especially true if the first few stitches seem fine and then it all of a sudden starts to jam up. That's because the thread is not feeding through the tension discs properly. Make sure the thread is correctly anchored into each part of the machine.

-Put in a new needle. Just like changing razor blades, an old used needle can cause more problems and messes, get a nice fresh one. Sewing machines like that. Smiley

-Check your bobbin. Make sure that it is not tangled up and re-insert it, and bring up the thread again. Look at your machine's manual and make sure you put the bobbin in the right way, some machines are picky about that. Is your bobbin wound too full or almost out of thread? Maybe a new bobbin is the answer too. Is it the same thread as your needle thread? Sometimes using two different kinds of threads can cause tangling, if your machine is picky about that too.

-Are your feed dogs up? The feed dogs pull the fabric through and under the moving needle. If the feed dogs are down, the fabric stays put and just sews in place, and... you guessed it...makes a bird nest.

-Put your presser foot down before you start sewing. You can also try holding the tails of the thread to the side while you take the first few stitches. Sometimes the machine will pull them back down into the bobbin case and start to ball up into a bird nest. You can do this with the hand wheel if you want before you push the pedal, to free up your hands/fingers.

-If all else fails....clean and oil your machine. Here's a great video tutorial on how to do it, you can get sewing machine oil in the notions section of Joann's or any other craft/sewing supply store.
http://youtu.be/4AYV3hbqF4U

Also....
if it IS a zigzag stitch problem, it might be that you didn't adjust the stitch LENGTH or stitch WIDTH. Try making zigzag stitches on a scrap piece of fabric, trying different stitch lengths and widths so you see how that affects the stitch. I usually do this before I start sewing on my work to make sure I have it set to the size I want for my particular project. On my machine, the zigzag stitch and the straight stitch are the same setting on the knob. Making the stitch width bigger is what creates the zigzag. (A stitch width of "0" is a straight stitch.)
It can be a long loose zig zag, or create a small tight row of stitches like you would want for a button hole binding. Play around with it, don't be nervous about it!

Hope that helps, it's so frustrating when you want to sew and all you do is battle the machine. Just keep in mind that ALL sewers have tangling problems, and sometimes it's not the stitch, or the machine, or YOU....sometimes it's just a simple fix. Good luck!




« Last Edit: November 04, 2012 12:27:40 PM by lunamadre » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2012 10:50:42 AM »

lunamadre that's a great sewing troubleshooting list, thanks.
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Sometimes you get to change the world, and other times the world changes you.

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lunamadre
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2012 11:31:00 AM »

lunamadre that's a great sewing troubleshooting list, thanks.

You're welcome...it's all stuff that got me out of a bind and allowed me to finish my Halloween costume without crying, LOL!
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novamc
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2012 06:04:10 AM »

lunamadre that's a great sewing troubleshooting list, thanks.

You're welcome...it's all stuff that got me out of a bind and allowed me to finish my Halloween costume without crying, LOL!

Yes thank you! its all these little things that I struggle with being a beginner, it can be so frustrating when all you want to do is sew and little things get in your way... as if you werenít finding it difficult enough trying to learn terminology, sewing in a straight line and figuring out patterns that look like they were meant to be made on another planet!!  Grin
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KitsuneClaws
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2012 11:51:38 AM »

I get bird's nests sometimes, too, no matter which stitch I'm using.  Usually all I have to do is take out the bobbin and just rethread everything.  I also clean out the bobbin cradle and make sure there's no extra thread clogging up the hole where the needle goes down into the cradle.  Keeping that bobbin cradle clear works wonders for me and my cheap-o machine.
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