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Topic: Inconsistent tension - help  (Read 1286 times)
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« on: March 06, 2014 07:58:26 PM »


I have a Singer Harmonie 400, approx 20 years old. It's one of the ones with a plastic bobbin which is filled whilst it is in the bobbin case under the needle, not a metal bobbin which is filled up near the thread reel.

Have a new problem where the tension is inconsistent. When sewing a regular straight seam the stitches will be fine for a couple centimeters, then loose, then fine, then loose again and so on. Sometimes the top thread is the one that's loose sometimes the bottom...one of them always looks okay. Also the needle thread breaks more than it used to whilst stitching. Have tried:
- rethreading bobbin and needle
- cleaning around tension discs and bobbin casing (checking for loose threads, lint, bits of broken needle etc.)
- the needle is correct size, type, not bent and new
- thread is good quality and new, and the same thread for bobbin and needle.

What else should I be considering? I've been sewing for years and never had this.
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2014 01:01:27 PM »

You may have already tried these things:
use a different new needle--sometimes they're messed up when you get them.  and make sure it's put in straight, tight, and up as far as it can go.
use a different spool of thread
use a different  bobbin, filled from the new spool
use a plain, flat weave cotton like muslin to do the testing.
Clean and oil your machine, top and bottom.  Look online for oiling diagrams if you don't have them--there are weird places that need oil.  Use light machine oil; never use WD40, it gunks things up, which could cause a similar problem.

More diagnostics--did something happen shortly before this problem began? 

Food or beverage spilled on the machine?--sticky stuff like soda can gum up the works

Was there a broken or bent needle, somebody dropped or slammed the machine, you tried to sew something the machine didn't like? --These can all throw off the timing.  You can take it to a mechanic, or look online or in the library for directions to do it yourself.  I've done it both ways; doing it yourself isn't too hard, and a lot cheaper.

Finally, how old is your machine?  If made since the late 1980s, it may have plastic/nylon gears that corrode over time.  If a single tooth on a gear was damaged, it might make for intermittent problems.
Depending on the machine, it may be more expensive (or simply not possible) to replace the gear than it would be to buy a new machine.

One more thing--I think there's a forum here on Craftster that deals with sewing machine repair.  There might be something there that's helpful.

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