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How to make a quilt - advice please

 
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Good Morning..

I'm hoping that a mod can place this in the correct forum - a long search on Permies yielded confusion on where best to place it.

I'm a Dad of 3 toddlers who is picking up sewing half way through his life. I am acquiring an older sewing machine in the next few days, and just got a nice useable cabinet too.

So what is the advice needed? Context first:

a) I have a duvet filled with wool thats appropriate for most spring/summer nights. Its comfy but I think I may have washed it one too many times as the wool seems to have clumped and has lost some of its warmth keeping skills.

b) I have a duvet cover that is soft through 12 years of useage and is still in good condition. Its too big for the duvet and I am growing tired of the loose and empty ends of the cover (and the duvet getting bunched up inside)

c) I love the idea of a quilt that is masculine in pattern enough for me, but my experiences with a LLBean style quilt was that it was quite stiff in comparison to the duvet and would slide easily off my body whilst sleeping. The form fitting/ draping nature of the duvet is excellent in this regard


Advice please:

May I get some advice from the women (and I guess perhaps some men) how to go ahead and make my quilt (slowly) with materials that will keep me warm, not be wackadoodle toxic but somewhat readily available please?

Can I use a sewing machine for it or does it have to be by hand?


I know I can Youtube all this, but I prefer the earth respecting people at Permies for this project.


Thank you.
 
pollinator
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Great questions and project, Lito!  

Making quilts is one of my favorite things to do and I mostly use a sewing machine - I only decorate and "tack" my quilts by hand.  I pretty much have a quilt project every winter.  (Quilt making is hot work in my experience and not super appealing when it's warm but very cozy / nice in the winter).  

So you can make it as simple or complex as you'd like.  If you have big pieces of fabric (like your duvet) and that's what you want to use, you can basically just cut that cover open, take out the insides, put new insides in, take it and sew it shut again.  There are some good organic/cotton but thick/warm fillers (aka batting) that you can use that will be warm and comfy, wrapping nicely around you.  Basically, with quilts, you're making a "sandwich" with the batting being the filling and the material on the outside being the bread.  I always buy a new filler and make it the highest quality I can get / afford but you can re-use this too if you're on a tight budget.  If you want it super warm, you can even double up on this (although the ticker you make it the more difficult it is to tack it later).

To avoid the bunching up issue you mentioned, you want to "tack" the sandwich together in spots all over the quilt.  Basically, you spread the bottom sheet out on the floor as smoothly and wrinkle free as possible, spread out the batting as smoothly and wrinkle free as possible, then add the top layer and repeat.  You then pin it together (quilting safety pins work well) all over so that the sandwich is stuck together and the layers are basically wrinkle-free.  Then you're going to sew the layers together so that the inside doesn't shift when you wash it or use it for years.  You can then "tie" it with yarn or you can use thick thread or you can sew it (it takes a special bobbin if you have thick layers).  How closely you need to sew it together in little spots all over, depends on the batting instructions on the package (it will say somewhere from 4-10 inches, usually).  

We made really simple blankets when I was young with a full sheet of material for the top and bottom (or a couple pieces sewn together to make a sheet) and then tied with cheap yarn.  We often did this as a group while talking or watching a movie and it was great fun.  The downside of the yarn tacking is that it's not super comfortable to lay on - you feel all those little balls especially if it's spread out on the ground and the yard is thick.  The upside is that when you're bored, you can spend time tightening any of the yarn knots that have loosened.  ;)

So it would be easy to create a blanket from the duvet.  And you can also use any sheets of fabric (including old sheets - my most recent quilt had a queen flat sheet for the bottom).

If you want to get more complicated, you can sew squares or smaller pieces together to create either the top and/or bottom piece of the sandwich.  The biggest thing to remember with this is that you want the fabric thickness/stiffness to be similar (example, don't use t-shirt fabric and jeans fabric in the same quilt).  If they aren't similar, they will wear out at the areas they connect and your quilt will develop holes more quickly.  You can cut these squares from any fabric you have or buy fabric from a store like Joann's or Michael's.  I usually wait for a sale or coupon and then buy a bunch of "fat quarters" to get the variety of colors I want for the squares.

I don't do the tiny little piece quilting but I enjoy making blankets with medium-sized squares and decorating them with embroidered words and/or pictures.  I have made a lot of blankets over the years as gifts and enjoy personalizing them with words and pictures that capture that person to me.  My mom and I made a chakra quilt for my older sister, for example, where the colors were all super bright chakra/energy colors and the words that were embroidered were all about our love and appreciation for her. It is always on her bed and she never travels without it.

One of my recent quilts was a Christmas quilt.  I couldn't decide whether to do the "fun" side of Christmas or the "silent night" side so I decided to do a two-sided quilt.  I'm attaching pics so you can get the idea of the two sides and the embroidering I refer to.  

Good luck and feel free to ask more questions if anything I said doesn't make sense!  I'm sure there are a lot fancier quilters on here (and more experienced) who can also give great / better advice.  I'm mostly self-taught and not a "real" quilter.
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Lito George
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Sonja, this is a terrific response. My brain is swimming with processing all the information you posted and I'll get back to you in a day or so. I am excited by your response - so much good information in there - thank you!
 
Lito George
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Good Morning,

Well, its early for me, and I have this project on my mind. Still processing what Sonja wrote and yet I have more questions.

Perhaps it would be useful to set the stage for an absolute newcomer to this skill/ art/ handcraft:


Setup with Machinery/ Needles/ Thread:

a) I am receiving either an old Janome 678, or an old Singer (model unknown) - but both are older than 15 years for sure. Would either of those machines cut the mustard in doing projects like this?
b) I have been very intrigued by some Youtube videos showing a hand crank model that can sew through multiple layers of leather including car tires. Do you have knowledge of this machine? Youtube Link
c) Needles: I understand one will need access to readily available needles and that I'll likely break a few. Is there a good source for sourcing needles for old machines like the ones I am getting? (I am up in West Coast Canada)
d) Can the Chinese leather machine up above be used to sew clothes/ quilts etc?
e) What sort of thread would I need to sew the quilt?
f) I wanted to sew custom pillow cases, what thread and needle would I need there?


Quilt/ Blanket Specific questions:

a) Growing up, my old man had a few blankets made out of rabbit skins I believe it was, called a Kaross (South Africa/ Rhodesia/Zimbabwe).
   - It was rough as heck on the underneath stitching joining the multiple pieces up though the skin was soft enough.
   - As a result, I hated using it as a blanket but the top was luxuriously soft.
   - I want to make one now, though I'd like to make sure either I hunt those rabbits down or source them ethically.
   - I see rabbit fur is readily available on Ebay from China, but my own intel shows an exceptional amount of animal abuse there that I simply cannot support through my financial purchases.
   - Any tips on how to make the Kaross?
   - Any tips on where to source the rabbit fur?
   - Any better sort of hide to use?

b) The thought of cutting up my professionally made duvet inner mortifies me.
   - As a rank beginner at all times, isn't it possible to just add to the inner somehow mechanically with more stitching to bring up the warmth factor?
   - If so, what kind of material would I use and could you suggest a good place to source it?


General Sewing Project questions:

a) I'd like to make my own shopping bags eventually - what materials/needles/thread do you suggest?
b) I'm considering alternatives to using plastic bags in the freezer. Though they are convenient, they are hell on the Environment. As such, I was thinking of sewing cotton (?) bags that I can cinch up to hold the food.
   - Is this foolish?
   - Freezer burn?
   - If not foolish, what sort of material might be good for this project?
   - What sort of thread to use?
   - What sort of "tying up" method would be good to use?
c) If I want to make my children backpacks and such (in South Africa we called them rucksacks), where would I source materials for that?
   - I prefer using more affordable materials that aren't found by going to the big box sewing store that is convenient and overpriced
   - I imagine heavy canvas as a start would be good for that project?
   - Could I go to the local Salvation Army/ Thrift Store and find useful material for this?
   - What sort of machine should be used for this?
   - How does one provide structure (ie: stiffness) to the bag walls so that it stands up by itself like the plastic readily available school backpacks one sees commonly at Walmart and such?
d) I have a wide brimmed hat I quite like made out of cotton
   - How would I stiffen the brim so that its not so floppy?
   - Machine to be used/ thread?


I think thats enough for now. This is how my brain works (for better or worse): find out answers to all the questions thats been bubbling around for some time and once I can get those, I can start with the nitty gritty of acquiring the skills to do this sort of thing and eventually become proficient at it. I sure love to experiment whilst I do it and will likely "break the rules" which I find helps me to learn the boundaries of whats possible (and no)t as I go along.

I appreciate any and all points and advice and thoughts - and your time in answering them!
 
Sonja Draven
pollinator
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Hi Lito,

More great questions.  :)  Again, please note that I am not the expert on anything so this is based on my experience and knowledge:

Re. sewing machine: I started my first sewing project (a pieced together blanket from old items I had around) using an older machine that had been given to me.  It was super frustrating to use but it worked.  I successfully made the quilt and learned a ton in the process so either of those would likely work fine.  If you end up enjoying it and decide to keep on, it might be worth upgrading.  I have a newer Janome now and it's a real pleasure to work with (even when I break the thread or it jams randomly, it is still so much better than what I used initially).  It also has some fancy/fun stitches that I use on the binding at the end which isn't necessary but I like the added touch (just realized I forgot to talk about that in my first post so if/when you get to the end of my instructions, come back ;)).  Anyway, from a cheap / reuse / newbie standpoint, I think there's a sweet spot between a tool that sucks so badly that you hate using it and therefore don't keep on, and one that is good enough to get the job done and doesn't cost a ton (rather than purchase something expensive to find out you're just not a fan of sewing, period).

A side note: It might be worth taking it to a sewing machine shop if there are issues and having someone look at it if you're not super handy yourself (I'm not).  Might save you some headaches that could easily be avoided.  

That hand crank machine looks pretty cool.  I have not used one but basically if it can sew through tires or animal skins, it can do a quilt.  You're mostly sacrificing power for speed.

Needles: I've only broken one needle in the nearly 20 years I've been sewing so I've either gotten lucky, I haven't pushed my machine too much or it's not super common.  My understanding is that this is more likely if you're trying to sew something beyond your machine's capacity (the rabbit skin blanket is an example) or you're pulling on the fabric to make it go faster than it wants to and putting pressure on the needle.  So yes, you'll want some extra needles in case it happens (for me at least when I'm ready to sew, I'm ready NOW and anything that completely stalls me out is to be avoided).  I don't know a good source for older machines but my guess is that once you know what machine you actually have, you can find anything on ebay (I assume you can order to Canada?)

Thread: You want to buy better thread rather than the cheapest.  I learned that from my mom.  We were super poor when I was a kid and she always had cheap thread as a result.  It breaks VERY easily and you will be frustrated (see above with machine) on a regular basis.  She had finished projects that unraveled too because the thread broke.  I use Mettler (German made, 100% polyester) thread and order it in bulk online so it's a bit better pricing.  I started with one color and then just used it until i could afford another.  It's nice to have the perfect thread color for what you're working on but definitely not necessary (especially since a lot of the stitches don't even show) and sometimes you make do.

Pillow cases: You can use everything the same as mentioned above.  They are essentially empty sandwiches.

Re. rabbit / other blanket: I would suggest starting a new thread with this whole set of questions so you're getting attention from people who do that sort of craft.  I have seen movies and read books that walk through the process but I haven't actually done it.  I have heard they are incredibly warm and yes, rabbit fur is amazingly soft.

Duvet: Sort of?  If the inside is thick and full and just all shifted to one side, you could spread it all out and then do the tacking I referred to in order to hold it in place.  If it's wadded up and separated or in balls or not very thick/warm, you're not going to get more warmth by adding stitches.  Many duvets really aren't made for warmth as much as fluff and appearance so unless you open it and add something that's made for warm, or I suppose sew another blanket along one flat side of it (doubling it) you're not going to get more warmth.  Maybe leave the duvet alone for now and consider it for a future project when you have more confidence?

Re. general sewing questions:

Shopping bags: I haven't made my own but my niece made me one where she used thick fabric like jeans material.  It works great and has held up well (although it took me some time to start using it - it's so cute, I didn't want to get it dirty or worn out).  Only negative is that it's heavy enough that sometimes the cashier has to come over to self checkout and verify I'm not sneaking unpaid merchandise in there because it's heavier than the machine thinks bags should be.  Same needles and thread as above.

Freezer bags: I don't think fabric would work well for the freezer because of the drying aspect but someone else might know more on that one.  I would post that question in the Zero Waste forum.

Backpacks: The thicker fabric might be a challenge for a standard machine.  I haven't done this either.  I would post this question in either the Zero Waste forum or the Kids forum (a moderator might move it if they think it will work better somewhere else).

Oh, on that note: You might already be paranoid and cautious with 3 little kids, but sewing machines are fascinating to kids and the needle can do damage.  My sister sewed her own finger with the needle when she was a teenager so it's pretty easy to do and you want to make sure to keep your kids away from where you're working.  I would suggest keeping all your sewing stuff high away from them too.  Not everything is dangerous to them but it sure is fun to unravel a spool of thread all over the house.  ;)

Also, forgot to mention before - if your machine has a zigzag option, and you're using cotton fabric that unravels (like quilt fabric) you'll want to use that because otherwise the fabric will slowly unravel with use / washing.  This isn't a problem if you're using old jeans material, t-shirts, etc.  If it doesn't have zigzag, there are other ways to combat this.

Good luck!
 
pollinator
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I agree with Sonja, but have additional comments.

1) Older sewing machines can often be better than newer ones. I once sewed a canvas tent with my all-metal straight stitch Singer Featherweight. As long as that older Janome is well-adjusted, it should be just fine. In fact, a very good move on your part would be to take the machine to a sewing repair place and have it checked out. A good place will also offer classes for beginning seamsters. The very best teacher is someone you personally know who knows how, the second best teacher is a pro level teacher. It's certainly possible to teach yourself from scratch, especially with youtube and DVDs, but a good teacher can save you a lot of time and frustration.

I'd be leary of the chinese machine. I once saw a modern chinese version of my genuine Singer Featherweight. It was advertised s being made from the original plans used by Singer, and it sure looked like mine. Maybe it was, but the fact was that a pro sewing machine repair person could never get it to work correctly, and he really tried. Metal quality, machining to exact specs? Dunno, just that the buyer had wasted her money on a cute doorstop. Also, factory machines are more powerful than home machines, are designed to run at higher speeds and need to be bolted into the floor supports, otherwise they "walk" all over. Maybe not the best thing for a beginner. Sailing nuts who make their own sails and take their sewing machines with them on the boat favor older machines with outside pulleys and crank wheels, as they can be converted to hand crank machines or treadles. I know that one of their favored machines is a particular Pfaff, but can't remember which one. (When I made the aforesaid tent, I used the crank wheel every time I came to a seam crossing. My machine forgave me.) I believe there is at least one internet forum on sail making, you might want to spend a little time browsing. I've been intrigued by converting a machine myself, but never done it. My childhood best friend's mother was a very fine seamster, and she never used anything but a treadle. Also, I believe there is at least one company (Amish) out there that takes a modern machine and coverts it to treadle. I think it is easier to find a consistent rhythm with a treadle than with a hand crank, and I like to have both hands free to manipulate fabric as I sew.

2) I am highly dubious about fabric freezer bags. Fabric by nature is permeable, You'd need to use some high-tech sports fabric and seal all seams. You can now buy silicon food bags that can go in the freezer. Or you can use what my mother used - aluminum foil. It's reusable several times. When my mom got her freezer in the 50s, they sold waxed cardboard freezer boxes, similar to chinese take-out boxes. Dunno if anyone still uses those for freezing, but I'm sure you can find the boxes at a restaurant supply. Personally, I use canning jars whenever possible.

3) If you like your duvet cover, then keep your duvet cover. Just find a new duvet for the cover to cover. In my neck of the woods, you can find used down comforters for reasonable prices - $30 to $50, depending on size. Used polyester ones are even cheaper. The problem with wool as a filling is, as you've discovered, that it will shrink and clump. So will cotton filling. You can buy wool or cotton batting in quilt-sized pieces and use several layers, but even then, you'll have to both seam and tack it sufficiently to hold the layers in place. Down will also clump, but the answer to that is to wash your down comforter in your washing machine, then throw it in the dryer with a couple of tennis balls, and not on the highest heat setting. Maybe you could try that with your lumpy wool comforter before you give up on it?

Another idea would be to find several wool blankets and seam and tack them together to replace your lumpy wool duvet.

4) Backpacks - yes, you can. Here's a good source - https://www.thegreenpepper.com
 
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I am a quilter, however I treat quilting as a hobby, not for utilitarian purposes.  Therefore I do not hand tie my quilts, I machine quilt.

As far as needles, domestic sewing machines all seem to use the same sewing machine needle types.  Here is some info regarding sizing and type of needles. You have several choices of size and type depending on what you are sewing, and what thread you are using. I typically use an 80/10 Microtex for most of my patchwork and quilting.   It is also recommended to change the needle every other time you replace bobbin thread.

https://www.schmetzneedles.com/learning/pdf/schmetz-needle-chart.pdf

I use a cotton thread for patching pieces together.  I iron the seams on the back side so that the top patchwork lies flat as you go.  Once I piece together a "top" (patchwork) I layer batting and backing to make a quilt "sandwich".  The backing may just be one piece of fabric, or it may be pieced, which is a good way to use up scrap fabric.  It's best to have the backing larger than the batting, and the batting larger than the quilt top.  There are several ways to make the "sandwich" stay together and not shift which is called basting.  People would use safety pins, little plastic tacks pins with Pinmoors, baste with thread (temporary large stitches) or use a basting spray. Then I machine quilt, usually using polyester thread, but you can use cotton thread.  Aurifil 50 wt. is excellent for both patchwork and quilting the layers together.  I just like polyester for quilting the layers because it doesn't shrink to leave a crumply appearance as much as cotton, and it's stronger.  If you have a "walking foot" come with your sewing machine, it will help the layers not shift while you quilt.  You can "stitch in the ditch" meaning stitch in the seams from the top to secure all the layers together.  Or you can do what modern quilters like to do, stitch in straight lines across the whole piece.  Once the piece is quilted, you need to cut the layers so that you have a nice straight edge on four sides to make it a perfect square or rectangle.  Then you apply binding, which is strips of fabric sewed end to end, usually 2-1/2" wide folded in half.  You match the raw edge to the edge of the quilt, sew it with a 1/4" seam, then fold it over to the other side of the quilt and sew the fold edge to the back.  Yeah, you probably could watch a few YouTubes on all this to really get what I'm saying!  As far as zig zag as someone else mentions, quilting is generally done with 1/4" seams with straight stitch and the "seam allowance" is ironed flat and placed against batting and secured by quilting.  Then after it's bound there should be no cut edges left exposed to fray.  Quilters don't generally use zig zag unless they are doing something artistic like applique or thread painting.

I sew on a mechanical Janome Mystyle 100 and a Janome Horizon Memorycraft 8200 QCP which has all sorts of fancy bells and whistles on it.  I like to do my patchwork on the little Mystyle and do my quilting on the fancier machine.  Old mechanical Singers are good dependable machines.  The newer ones electronic ones are cheaply made and aren't as good quality.  Janome is a good mid- to expensive range of sewing machines.  Bernina is crazy expensive.  I like to do patchwork with my littler Janome Mystyle, and quilt with the other because it has a "dual feed" foot that is like a walking foot.  I also can change out the foot and do what we call "free motion quilting" and go rogue with my stitching.

As far as your oversize Duvet, you could just turn it inside out and stitch a new seam to make it smaller to match the comforter and turn it back out again.  If I understand the definition of a Duvet, it's the cover for a stuffed comforter.  As to the lumpy comforter itself, I personally would just get rid of it if throwing it into a dryer with dryer balls (or when I was a kid... tennis shoes) doesn't fluff it up properly

 
Lito George
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A ton of very useful input here folks. I wanted to let you all know I'm processing this good stuff, and will revert properly in due course. Thank you for making my brain work
 
Lito George
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Lito George wrote:A ton of very useful input here folks. I wanted to let you all know I'm processing this good stuff, and will revert properly in due course. Thank you for making my brain work



OK - its been a boot camp of learning trying to make this Singer Stylist 513 work. Its around 46 years old, and whilst I learned how to route the thread correctly, and get the needle threaded correctly (quite a series of twists and turns), I also found out how to get the bobbin thread out. Got the manual from Singer too.

First issue was that the machine was abused. Bits broken off, and even the bobbin holder (plastic ABS) had been cut open and scraped, preventing the lower bobbin thread from coming out. I managed to fix that.

Oiled and cleaned out everything - which improved things beautifully. Removed a lot of working parts to get this far. Replaced them all.

Then, the material wouldnt feed properly (at all). I removed the bottom cover to find out the plastic worm gears had stripped each other out. I managed to shift the worm gears to still engage and I was chuffed with my bit of McGyvery.

I oiled everything down there which was very welcomed by the machine and then did a gentle test run. The balance of the plastic worm gears stripped each other out in short order.

So frustrating.

So, I learned a lot of lessons and I guess that was a couple hours well spent. I feel way more confident around machines now and why this one wasnt working. There were MANY occassions i wished I had a helping hand though. Glad I perservered (self taps on shoulder).

OK onto serious stuff: where does one recycle machines? (Parts are very very difficult to come by). Thanks folks.
 
Lito George
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Lito George wrote:

Lito George wrote:OK onto serious stuff: where does one recycle machines? (Parts are very very difficult to come by). Thanks folks.



Update: the internet is singledhandedly the most useful medium in use today for information dissemination. Thats my dissertation. Amen.

No need to recycle. The Janome lady couldn't organise ice in the Antarctic (or else she was having me on from the beginning), so I am stuck (gratefully) with the Singer.

I found through a variety of sources (Ebay/Amazon), USA based shops and local shops that if I bought the parts from brick and mortar shops, the price would be....4x higher than if I bought from Amazon.

I also found the self same parts on Ebay at half the Amazon cost. Cheap as chips, I have bought two full sets of replacement gears and this makes me feel good to be reusing the machine as best as possible and if I have to pass it on one day, then I'll give the next owner the best chance of keeping it running well into the century.


Maintenance tomorrow (perhaps) and I'll start to provide feedback once the machine is up and running. New skillset: becoming a sewing machine tech. lolz....

 
Lito George
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Good Morning All,

It's a funny thing capitalism on the internet: I've seen well meaning people offers solutions in a way that causes fear in order to sell a product.

In researching how to fix or replace four gears worth on a sewing machine made about 40 years ago (no iFixit's back then), I came across a video from a fellow linking to an apparently non associated website encouraging purchase of a jig and a DIY manual with photos of how to repair because, "even with the jig and manual by my side, I took the better part of over two hours to get it all right. Buy this manual with an unforgettable 10% discount code and you'll have the only ever chance of fixing this in the world".

Enough to strike cold fear into any living beings heart.

So I took on the task last night. Luckily for me, tools are all so important for living well, and I had what I needed (or close to it). Replaced all the gears (I now have the feeder feet working - yay!), set screws and such in under 40 minutes and it runs like a top. I think.


Here's where the cookie crumbles: the thing sews awfully. Snapped thread every 30-45 seconds. Confirmed the thread is routed correctly.

The actual sewing looks like my 3 year is trying to do it and there are huge gaps, with no thread through the upper cloth, though I see that needle penetrating the cloth furiously.

Maybe I should join a sewing group for ladies, enjoy a cup of tea and get more knowledge passed my way than I could otherwise handle in a year.

I'll post a pic or two in due course.
 
pollinator
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Your problem is the bobbin thread not catching. Lots of reasons for that, but leave the material out of the machine, open the bobbin cover and do a few very slow stitches without fabric. Watch the process. The needle could be a 50th of an inch off and missing the thread. Simple enough to adjust if that is the case. Or it could be deeper in the workings of the machine (mine was a singer touch-and-sew with stripped gears). If the bobbin case stops spinning, or hesitates and starts again, it's deeper and probably gear related. If the bobbin case spins normally you'll see the process of the thread coming around, the needle coming down, and likely missing the loop of the bobbin thread. In any case this will give you a better idea of where to look.

Also check the upper thread tension. It can be threaded perfectly, and if the tension is too tight or loose it will also cause gaps and missed threads.

That you've gotten it to this point is fantastic. You've learned how to fix your own sewing machine, which very few people bother to do.
 
Lito George
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Thank you Lauren,

Your Sherlock Holmes hat was fitting perfectly well with that post of yours. The bobbin thread is indeed not catching. So very frustrating at the same time - I'm itching just to have a few stitches go my way ya know?

I'm going to watch some discovered in depth tutorials on thread tension and then find someone who can educate me why the bobbin thread isn't doing its thing. Makes sense now why the original bobbin has been cut with a knife (apparently) and why I had to use a ginger technique in smoothing it all down so that nothing could catch.

I am guessing this machine was neglected or simply never worked well, sat in the basement for a few decades, then was rediscovered after the GrandMa deceased.


I appreciate your feedback and interest and encouragement - its very helpful
 
jacque greenleaf
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Lito George wrote:Thank you Lauren,

Your Sherlock Holmes hat was fitting perfectly well with that post of yours. The bobbin thread is indeed not catching. So very frustrating at the same time - I'm itching just to have a few stitches go my way ya know?

I'm going to watch some discovered in depth tutorials on thread tension and then find someone who can educate me why the bobbin thread isn't doing its thing. Makes sense now why the original bobbin has been cut with a knife (apparently) and why I had to use a ginger technique in smoothing it all down so that nothing could catch.

I am guessing this machine was neglected or simply never worked well, sat in the basement for a few decades, then was rediscovered after the GrandMa deceased.


I appreciate your feedback and interest and encouragement - its very helpful



The machine probably worked fine when it was sold. It's not difficult to knock the timing out of whack, a hard blow - such as dropping the machine - could do it. I've never tried to fix a timing issue myself, but I know it can be done, and I'd bet there are YouTubes about how to do it. Don't write it off yet, these all-metal machines are usually very fixable. And you are obviously comfortable with mechanical things.

Grandma probably stored it in the basement because a) she someday intended to see whether it could be fixed and/or b) she couldn't bear to throw something away that she thought could be fixed.

My mother, a depression kid, died with 4 vacuums - one that functioned fine, and three out in the garage in various stages of "not working quite right".
 
Lauren Ritz
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I found a lot of information about fixing bobbin timing and thread tension when I was trying to figure out why the thread was jamming (which turned out to be stripped gears). The information is out there, and the procedure for fixing the problem should be the same for most of the older machines. Mine was manufactured in the 60's and most of the information I found was still applicable.

Don't give up on it. It's been sitting in Grandma's basement waiting for someone who can make it shine again. :)
 
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