The Sewing Place

help needed


help needed
« on: September 02, 2021, 16:45:12 PM »
hello all, I'm not sure where I should be posting this but hope it can be moved if its not appropriate here.

basically I have been making (or trying to) a dress from a vogue pattern, the pattern isn't the issue though, I got cotton poplin material as advised on the pattern but the fabric is really thin and I'm having a hard time getting it through my machine properly. doing a single layer of fabric for staystitching I have to use a piece of tissue paper to get it to actually move along the feed dogs, when doing a double layer it will actually move it along. but even when its running it through the stitching is pretty messy, and puckers the fabric then when I stretch it out at the end it breaks the back stitching I've done on the end and part of the seam then comes undone! the top stitches are messy and sometimes humped as though there is extra thread but the bottom stitches also pop through to the top workings.
i have tried turning down the tension and reducing the length of the stitches which didn't help, i have tried doing it on normal tension and stitch length but nothing seems to work, I hope I've explained this well enough for someone to be able to help me
what am I doing wrong and can anyone advise on what I should be doing, I really enjoy sewing and making things but this dress has me avoiding the machine and I don't want that, so I would be very grateful if someone could help me.


Re: help needed
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2021, 16:53:21 PM »
What machine are you using @purgatory  it might give a clue if someone else has had the same problem in the past.
Stash extension 2021 -21.7 meters
Left at the end of 2020 - 47.5 meters


Re: help needed
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2021, 17:27:58 PM »
oh its a uten computerised machine 2685 series
no idea if anyone will have even heard of the brand, i should mention i have had no trouble with any other project on it


Re: help needed
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2021, 17:43:11 PM »
 Welcome @purgatory  :sew: This definitely sounds like a tension problem.  Have you tried a new needle and un-threading and re-threading the needle?  Check for lint build-up on the feed dogs and around the bobbin area.
Willing but not always able :)


Re: help needed
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2021, 18:04:31 PM »
yes I switched the needle and threaded it a couple of times, have turned down the tension one at a time until I was at 0!
its still doing the same thing  :'(
oh and I have had a dust out around the feed dogs and bobbin


Re: help needed
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2021, 18:11:11 PM »
My first thought was a new needle.  For a fine fabric use a fine needle 75/11,and  no bigger than 80/12 and a sharps or a micro tex.

Second though is it really cotton poplin or is it cotton lawn?  Whatever it is if it's not sewing nicely with one layer then use a layer of fine tissue paper on top and then tear it away.
Brenda.  My machines are: Corona, a 1953 Singer 201K-3, Caroline, a 1940 Singer 201K-3, Thirza, 1949 Singer 221K, Azilia, 1957 Singer 201K-MK2 and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.


Re: help needed
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2021, 18:13:56 PM »
I would try using a smaller needle, especially if the fabric is quite flimsy.

Then, on a scrap piece, use some spray starch to help stabilise the fabric.  Sometimes the fabric needs a little help, and spray starch can be of help. 


Jessie, who is very happy to be here!!  :),  but who has far too many sewing machines to be healthy, and a fabric stash which is becoming embarrassing.

Silver Rose

Re: help needed
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2021, 18:27:15 PM »
I had a similar problem a while ago and changed to a Microtex needle.
Still learning


Re: help needed
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2021, 18:28:07 PM »
I vouch for microtex needles, I buy them by the box  :thumbsup:
Willing but not always able :)


Re: help needed
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2021, 18:43:40 PM »
Definitely microtex needles to sort out problems fabric. 
One thought, have you washed the fabric?   Some fabrics have a finish on them which can be a problem and washing will get rid of it. 
Always worth sewing on a piece of calico to check the machine is ok as well. 


Re: help needed
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2021, 03:39:00 AM »
If two thicknesses of a given fabric sew just fine, but one thickness alone has the problems described by the OP, I have ALWAYS made this simple adjustment with the needle bar pressure onto the feed dogs. Fortunately every machine I've owned has had a way to adjust for a thinner fabric - and at times the fact that a cotton lawn caused trouble was a bit surprising to me.

My current machine has a knob on the inside door that allows for adjustment of needle bar pressure. Can't remember how my T&S Singer did it.  Mom's early 60's Western Auto machine had a way of pushing on the needle bar at its top, a common solution on machines of that era.

I have no idea how this would work on a computerised machine. But the problem is needle bar pressure, so that should be addressed in the manual.

There is a possibility that on newer machines, some engineer somewhere thought this adjustment wasn't necessary- if so - one of the solutions offered above may help.

If you can increase the needle bar pressure just enough to allow one layer to sew properly, you should be able to sew the entire garment on the lower setting. But if your next project is denim , you'll need to adjust it back.


Re: help needed
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2021, 13:36:45 PM »
It sounds as though @Esme866 might have the solution. Try increasing the presser foot pressure gradually, it should be on your machine somewhere.


Re: help needed
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2021, 14:23:46 PM »
thank you all for the advise, I ordered microtex needles and they arrived today so I'm hoping to have a go with them a little later along with the spray starch, so fingers crossed