The Sewing Place

getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?

HappyCampers

getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« on: May 03, 2022, 15:39:42 PM »
my daughter has been playing with her new Janome 360DC and one thing we have noticed is that the zigzag stitch isn't very flat across its width (if that makes sense), it tends to pull the fabric together in a ruckle

Changing to 3 stitches per zig or zag reduces this a lot - not sure if this is inevitable or can be tuned out by something on the machine, my guess is simple tension adjustment wont help?


Ouryve

Re: getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2022, 16:05:09 PM »
Is she using the zigzag for finishing seams?
Janome M50QDC - "Jane" - Small, cute and hard working.
Bernina L450 - "Bernie" - Very hungry.

Helen M

Re: getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2022, 16:20:12 PM »
Try loosening the tension. The numbers given usually work but that doesn't mean for every fabric! Also try reducing the foot pressure. I nearly always use '2' for everything rather than '3' which is I think the default setting.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2022, 16:23:23 PM by Helen M »
Stash Busting 2022
Goal: 35 metres
So far: 1.5 metres

So Chic

Re: getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2022, 18:49:23 PM »
Is your daughter using the right foot with a zigzag stitch to finish seam edges? 
So Chic
Bernina Artista 630, Bernina 800DL, Janome Cover Pro 1000CP and an elderly Singer Touch & Sew 720G as a back up

Ouryve

Re: getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2022, 19:13:25 PM »
Jane does struggle with this with fine fabrics, no matter what I do with the tension and even using finer thread. One of the reasons I caved into the overlocker want! Before Bernie arrived on the scene I used more Jane friendly seam finishes, where necessary.
Janome M50QDC - "Jane" - Small, cute and hard working.
Bernina L450 - "Bernie" - Very hungry.

b15erk

Re: getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2022, 09:08:01 AM »
I think most machines would have trouble with a single layer of fabric - unless it's quite sturdy.  We usually sew two pieces of fabric together to make a seam, so using fine fabric in a single layer, may need some form of stabiliser to achieve a 'flat' look.

Jessie
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.

Ohsewsimple

Re: getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2022, 09:14:36 AM »
I always suggest the triple zig zag stitch as it does lay flatter. 
You could always use some sort of tear away embroidery stabiliser or wash away which would help.  But could be a bit pricy just for this.  Alternative is to try different types of seams

StitchinTime

Re: getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2022, 10:17:06 AM »
@HappyCampers  Have you tried using the overedge foot (C) instead of the standard foot (A)?

There's an online manual for your machine and this is recommended on page 25 of the manual (page 28 of the PDF).
https://www.thesewingstudio.co.uk/machine-data/downloads/janome/janome-360dc-instruction-manual.pdf

Bill

Re: getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2022, 11:44:40 AM »
my daughter has been playing with her new Janome 360DC and one thing we have noticed is that the zigzag stitch isn't very flat across its width (if that makes sense), it tends to pull the fabric together in a ruckle

Changing to 3 stitches per zig or zag reduces this a lot - not sure if this is inevitable or can be tuned out by something on the machine, my guess is simple tension adjustment wont help?

You'd be surprised what a difference it can make. My machines default stitch tension is 3.8. Switching to a zig zag stitch automatically adjusts the tension to 3. That's the top stitch in my pic. Dropping tension to 0 leaves a finish as the 2nd stitch shows.
This fabric is thin as anything polyester lining.

  [ You are not allowed to view attachments ]  
Janome Atelier 7
The best advice I can give you, is don't take advice from me

Missie

Re: getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2022, 11:50:29 AM »
My Janome does this (its called tunnelling) and I've never been able to sort it.  You could try a tear-away stabiliser underneath or, if you are using this to finish the edges, do a different finish. 
A measly 2.5m of stash used so far!

KayK

Re: getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2022, 14:39:34 PM »
The wider the zig zag stitch is, the more likely it is to tunnel.  As mentioned before, use some type of stabiliser if necessary.  A looser tension helps, but it is all a matter of practice and trial runs before you make the final article!
I just love sewing!

Ploshkin

Re: getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2022, 22:10:22 PM »
When I had my old Husqvarna & before I knew overlockers existed my go to seam finish was to zig zag and trim each side and press open.  My machine did a lovely, neat zig zag on a single layer of any fabric.  When I got my first Pfaff I found the zig zag to be pretty poor and it would invariably tunnel on a single layer of most fabrics regardless of stitch width.  It is what prompted me to buy an overlocker.  I just never used the zig zag stitch because it wasn't satisfactory.  I have found my current Pfaff to do a much better stitch.
Life's too short for ironing.

HappyCampers

Re: getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2022, 08:44:22 AM »
thanks folks, it all makes sense now

it looks like I am expecting too much from a zigzag stitch . . . still learning :)

keepitsimple

Re: getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2022, 00:13:28 AM »
A single zig zag is a bit problematic on single fabric thicknesses unless they are pretty stiff.

As you found, on its own, triple zig zag works better simply becuase the gap between successive stitches is much smaller, so there is less to "pull"..

A proper overcasting foot makes a big difference as it holds the thread over the edge of the fabric while the stitch is formed.

If you are brave enough to do it, dropping the bobbin tension as well as the top tension is likely to help a lot.

If you have a machine with a separate shuttle that holds the bobbin (Berninas for example) some folk have a second shuttle that they adjust according to what they need to do and use that if needed, leaving the original one untouched.

For some reason, bobbin tension adjustment is now feared and often recommended against by those who don't understand it, but there is no magic about it. If you understand what you're doing it can solve several problems.

The older machines told you in the instructions how to adjust it, recognizing that there is no one size fits all for it.

Unfortunately, if you have a modern horizontal hook machine, it is not really practical to keep changing bobbin tension and then returning it to "normal" every time.

So Chic

Re: getting a flat zigzag stitch in thin fabric?
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2022, 13:18:26 PM »
I found with my Bernina that using the overlock foot with a vari-overlock stitch gives a flat edge which is much better than a three-step zigzag.  I only found this out by reading the manual more closely.
So Chic
Bernina Artista 630, Bernina 800DL, Janome Cover Pro 1000CP and an elderly Singer Touch & Sew 720G as a back up