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Topic: I want to kick my sewing machine out of the window!!!  (Read 2810 times)
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« on: May 19, 2008 02:19:03 PM »

I bought a sewing machine about 18 years ago. Granted, i haven't used it much, but it's in very good shape, and it's a Husqvarna Viking, which is a good brand. At the time I purchased the machine, Singer's reputation was hitting the skids b/c they were making the internal sewing machine parts from plastic then, and their machines weren't very sturdy at the time (I don't know if they have changed this since...)

I got my machine out the other day to try to make a very simple challis skirt.

No matter which stitch type or stitch length option I choose, the threads on the bottom of the fabric I am sewing get very bunched up and loopy, all the way down the seam, and the seam is too loose. I've tried every stitch length from .8 to 3, and still the same problem.

I spent only about $250 on this machine.  I bought it from a dealership and the machine is in very good condition, I just can't do a darn thing with it!!!!

I believe the store still has a trade-up policy, &  I *do* still have my receipt, and the option of trading in the machine to use as a credit against another, new machine.

Can anyone recommend an inexpensive, beginner-model sewing machine (preferably Husqvarna so I can trade up, but at this point, I just want a machine I can USE!!)?

I need one that is so dead-easy a three year old could sew a seam, no problem.

Maybe the problem is my bobbin winder? I never liked it; the thread on the bobbin always looks very messy, like the machine doesn't keep an even tension in the thread while it's winding.

I don't have the machine specs on me at the moment, so I can't give you the model number, but does anyone know about this type of sewing machine problem?

I know that probably a more expert sewer could make adjustments to get the machine to work right, but I am NOT expert, and every time I sit down to work with a different type or weight of fabric than I was using with the last project, I get this problem and I cannot fix it - & I can't just keep driving my machine across town every time I have a problem, to get the store owner to show me how to do this again? I'm tired of it, and I am not enjoying my sewing machine at all.

I really need:


Recommendations please!!

thank you!
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2008 02:23:40 PM »

Maybe you need to service it? Like you said you don't use it often and it could be filled with dust and lint under your bobbin. That's what is usually going on when I am having issues with my machine.

If you can lift up the bobbin and get under it then try to clean out underneath very carefully with tweezers (if you see big huge pieces of lint/dust) or with a Q-tip. If you don't fee comfortable doing that then I suggest you take it in for servicing. It runs about $100 on average to get that done and they should be able to figure out if there is something else going on with your machine other than cleaning it.

HTH. Don't get rid of your machine yet. It sounds like it's something relatively minor, though frustrating as hell.

Spring semester is kicking my butt.
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2008 02:26:31 PM »

Well, I could just get this one:


It's a Janome, and got good reviews, plus it's designed to be easy to use....

And it would cost about the same as having the old one serviced...
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2008 02:38:57 PM »

I pay half that for service, but I know service varies a lot regionally.

I'm with RockstarMom, I think lack of use is against you, heat, cold, dust, and dry air or high humidity depending on your location are all working against your machine when it sits idle. Machines can wear out & break merely by not being used, granted this proccess is much slower indoors but it does happen.

I say sit here & read the tutes, learn how to maintain your machine and save yourself a lot of money and in the long run, time. Smiley Now that this forum exists, they are all right here at your fingertips! (Thanks again Leah & Mods!)
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2008 03:12:27 PM »

Well, I suppose it could be that. I have kept it stored inside a closet in its hard plastic carrying case for years, though, so I don't see how heat, dust or moisture could have set in....?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2008 03:40:35 AM »

Does no one think it might just be tension?   Maybe you need to tighten your bobbin tension slightly.  Like 1/8 or 1/4 of a turn at a time, a little makes a big difference, and make a note of where the screw was when you started.

Although when you say the bobbin looks messy - a badly wound bobbin can cause problems.  Also (sorry to insult your intelligence!) are you absolutely sure you threaded it right?

I agree don't write it off till you've had it serviced.  That Hello Kitty machine might be easy to use but  no way is it as good a machine as a Viking that would have cost a lot more than $250 new.  It's definitely worth having it looked at.

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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2008 07:39:04 AM »

I have a simillar machine to the hello kitty one. The problem with them is they are only made for light weight fabrics and small sewing projects. No fleece, flannel, thick cottons, denim etc. If you want to alter a t-shirt it works great. If you want to do real sewing then I suggest you keep playing with your old machine.
It sounds like you really aren't to familiar  with how your machine works and that is a big issue. It does no good to have a simple machine and not know how to use it. You'd have the same problems (to an extent) with the hello kitty machine.
I suggest you go through Penlowe's tutorial at the top of this page. You need to be familiar with how your machine works before you can really sew on it. This is frustrating but it's highly possible you have a simple fix on your machine and you just don't know it. Get out your manual and read the trouble shooting section.
Try the different fixes and when you make adjustments make them small. And make them one at a time. It's easy to want to jump ahead and make a huge change but that can throw your machine even more out of whack when it may only need a small adjustment.
If none of this or the advice of others is working. I'd try having it serviced before trading it in. It's a high likely hood if you are adjusting the bobbin casing or the bobbin is winding to loose that your machine needs a tune up. Most places that fix machines will give you an estimate for free. If you find that the estimate is too high then I'd trade it in and get a machine from the dealer that does exactly what you want.
For basic sewing a zig-zag and straight stitch are most commonly used but having some other stitches is handy. Perhaps a inexpensive computerized machine would be good. Just stand firm that you don't need any frills just the basics. Explain the materials you like to sew with, and have them help you.
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2008 08:11:24 AM »

<<<< are you absolutely sure you threaded it right?>>>

I am pretty sure I threaded it right, I followed the manual anyway, although it's not much of a manual. What's really funny is the video that came with the machine, it's just a long advertisement for Husqvarna, and has no helpful information whatsoever! LOL

Since the top seam (?) is fine, just the bottom is messy, I think it is an issue with the bobbin, either the way it's being wound, or some issue with the thingy you put it in (below the presser foot, I don't remember what it's called).

I will go through the Penlowe tutorial, and look up my machine's model number and see if there is more information or a better & downloadable manual somewhere...
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2008 06:00:53 AM »

It sounds like you need to learn how to adjust the presser foot and thread tension dials. 

My own Viking 400 is about the same age as yours and it's -- knock on wood -- humming along just fine.

All sewing machines, whether basic models or the most advanced computerized models require adjustment according to the sewing task.  No matter what machine you buy will require changing needle sizes and presser feet, and adjusting thread and presser foot tension dials.

Even after all these years, I keep my manual handy for reference.  When I first got the machine, I bought a video which was also useful, but I can't use it anymore because it's a VHS tape and I no longer own a VCR. 


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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2008 09:11:13 PM »

Don't go buying a new one, anything that's cheap will be a piece of crap. You're better off getting this one serviced and learning to use it.

First does your machine have a drop in bobbin or front load? If it's drop in make SURE you have wound the thread around the little thingy in there correctly. (I have no idea what it's called but if you don't do it the thread won't be tensioned.) If it's front load make sure the bobbin case is snapped in all the way!
Second, make SURE it's threaded correctly and a new needle's in.
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