Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Needle On My Sewing Machine Breaks

This is the installment for "The Needle Breaks", another common problem.  Not all steps apply to all machines (if a bobbin case latch is mentioned and you have a top-loader, skip that step).  If you have a newer, electronic machine, I can't help you if these steps don't fix the problem.

  The steps do not need to be followed in sequence and not in order of the most likely to least likely.

  Pick the easiest and cheapest solutions first and work your way to the more complicated and expensive ones.

  If you notice errors or can suggest additional causes and solutions, please let me know so I can edit this post and keep it complete and accurate.

1. Cause: The operator pulls the fabric during sewing. The Needle strikes the presser foot or throat plate and bends or breaks.
Solution: The fabric must not be pulled during sewing. The machine alone must feed the fabric.

2. Cause: Some portions of the fabric are too hard or too thick. The Needle bends or breaks.
Solution: Sew SLOWLY over such hard or thick portions of the fabric. If necessary, use a heavier Needle.

3. Cause: There is no material between Presser Foot and Throat Plate during sewing. The thread gets en-tangled below the Throat Plate and the Needle breaks.
Solution: Make certain that there is always material between Presser Foot and Throat Plate during sewing.

4. Cause: The Needle is held loosely in the Needle Bar.
Solution: Insert a new needle and make certain to tighten the needle clamping screw firmly.

5. Cause: The Needle is bent and strikes the Presser Foot or the feed dog.
Solution: Replace the defective Needle with a new straight Needle.

6. Cause: The Needle is too long and hits the Bobbin Case.
Solution: Replace the wrong Needle with one of correct length. (This applies mainly to users of the Singer 206, 306, 319, and 320 models that require the 206x13 needle)

7. Cause: The Needle is set too low.
Solution: Insert a new Needle and push it entirely up into the Needle Bar. If the Needle Bar is set too low, adjust it correctly.

8. Cause: The stitch hole in the Feed Dog is too small for the Needle in use.
Solution: Select a Feed Dog with a sufficiently large stitch hole. The Needle must go through the center of the stitch hole.

9. Cause: The Throat Plate is not held firmly in place. Its screws are not tightened securely. The Throat Plate shifts around and is being hit by the Needle.
Solution: Locate the Throat Plate correctly and tighten firmly the throat plate screws.

10. Cause: The Presser Foot is not attached firmly to the Presser Bar and shifts sideways. The Needle hits the Presser Foot.
Solution: Tighten firmly the Presser Foot Screw.

11. Cause: The Presser Foot is not lined up correctly in the machine and is being struck by the Needle.
Solution: Line up the Presser Foot as follows: Loosen the screw that holds the Presser Bar in position. This screw is located behind the Face Plate of the machine. Now turn the Presser Bar until the Needle goes through the center of the slot (or of the stitch hole) in the Presser Foot. Tighten firmly the above screw after this adjustment.

12. Cause: The Hinge Type Presser Foot, when installed, is worn excessively. The lower portion (plate) of the Presser Foot has too much looseness and shifts sideways, causing the Needle to strike it.
Solution: Replace the worn Presser Foot with a new one.

13. Cause: The upper thread is too heavy for the Needle in use. The Needle bends, strikes the Throat Plate or Feed Dog and breaks.
Solution: Replace the wrong Needle with a correct one, or change the size of the upper thread. Consult the Needle and Thread" chart.

14. Cause: The upper thread has knots that cannot pass through the eye of the Needle.
Solution: Replace the inferior thread with one of good quality.

15. Cause: There is not sufficient pressure on the Presser Foot while sewing heavy fabrics.
Solution: When sewing heavy fabrics, increase the pressure on the Presser Foot.

16. Cause: The user of the machine removes the fabric from underneath the Presser Foot without releasing the upper thread tension.
Solution: Every time the fabric is withdrawn from the machine, the Presser Bar must be raised to its highest position by means of the Presser Bar or knee Lifter. This will release the tension of the upper thread. The fabric must always be withdrawn AWAY from the operator.

17. Cause: The Needle is still in the fabric while the operator tries to remove the material from the machine.
Solution: The Needle must always have risen ABOVE the fabric before the material is removed from the machine.

18. Cause: Dirt in the Needle Clamp prevents the Needle from stitching straight into the fabric.
Solution: Remove all dirt from the Needle Clamp, insert a new straight Needle and tighten firmly the screw that holds the Needle.

19. Cause: The lower end of the Needle Bar is bent. The Needle, therefore, does not stitch straight into the fabric.
Solution: Remove the bent Needle Bar and replace it with a new one.

20. Cause: The Needle Bar or the Bearings of the Needle Bar are worn excessively. The Needle Bar sways sideways; the Needle strikes the Presser Foot, the Feed Dog or the Throat Plate and breaks.
Solution: Replace the worn Needle Bar or the worn Needle Bar Frame with new parts.

21. Cause: The Thread Take-up Spring (Check Spring) is not adjusted correctly. It exerts too much pull on the upper thread at the moment the Needle enters the fabric. The Needle bends, strikes the feed dog, etc. and breaks.
Solution: Adjust the Thread Take-up Spring. The loop of this spring must have finished its upward motion at the moment the Needle enters the fabric.

22. Cause: The point of the Hook is too close to the Needle.
Solution: Adjust the clearance between the Needle and the Hook by moving the Hook somewhat away from the Needle. The point of the Hook should be set as close as possible to the Needle without touching it.


Happy Hunting!  Ed
Ed's Vintage Sewing Machine Shop

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pfaff 1222



I haven't attended the local Friday night auction for some time and I haven't bought a sewing machine in a while.  This week, the auction posted a photo of a Pfaff but, as usual, no description - not even model number which is prominently displayed on the front of the machine.  The auction site's photo was so small and fuzzy, I couldn't read the model number in the photo.

I went to the sale with the thought that, if it was a model with Dual Feed, I would bid on it.  I checked Ebay for comparables and arrived with a maximum bid in mind.  When I got there, I found an immaculate Pfaff 1222 free arm with Dual Feed.


 It had the instruction manual,


extension table,


 several feet,


 and three drawers full of notions.



Several potential bidders were closely examining the machine and I expected to be in for a fight if I wanted it.  As it turned out, all those other bidders wanted to steal it for pennies and I ended up with it for $85 - about 1/3 what they are selling for on Ebay and I didn't have to pay shipping!

Another surprise that accompanied the machine was an insert for a table to make the free arm more like a flatbed.


Unfortunately, neither of my tables with wells have the correct size opening.



  I may customize one of my other tables to take advantage of this accessory.

My purchase is just sitting in the garage right now and I am anxious to play with it.  Tomorrow is supposed to be nice weather and I will plan to take it to my basement shop to clean and oil and see how it performs.

Ed's Vintage Sewing Machine Shop

Friday, January 16, 2015

Upper (Needle) Thread Breaks

  I found a very comprehensive troubleshooting chart in a service manual for industrial machines and edited it for home machines and home sewers.  I will publish it here in installments because it is just too long to do all at once.  Each installment will address a specific problem so you don't have to read through the whole document to find a solution to yours.  Not all steps apply to all machines (if a bobbin case latch is mentioned and you have a top-loader, skip that step).  If you have a newer, electronic machine, I can't help you if these steps don't fix the problem.

  The steps do not need to be followed in sequence and not in order of the most likely to least likely.

  Pick the easiest and cheapest solutions first and work your way to the more complicated and expensive ones.

  If you notice errors or can suggest additional causes and solutions, please let me know so I can edit this post and keep it complete and accurate.

This is the installment for "Upper (Needle) Thread Breaks", one of the most common problems.


1. Cause: The tension of the upper thread is too tight.
Solution: Loosen the tension of the upper thread by turning the Tension Nut counter-clockwise.

2. Cause: The machine is not threaded correctly.
Solution: Check whether the upper thread runs correctly from the spool of thread to the Needle.

3. Cause: The upper thread is of poor quality.  The thread may be too weak or it may be rotten due to improper storage and does not withstand the tension imposed on it.  The thread may also be too hard and not possess the necessary elasticity.
Solution: Loosen the tension of the upper thread by turning the Tension Nut counter-clockwise.  If possible, replace the inferior thread with one of good quality

4. Cause: The upper thread is of irregular thickness and has small knots which cannot pass through the eye of the needle.
Solution: Replace the inferior thread with one of good quality.

5. Cause: The upper thread has wrapped itself around the spool pin on top of the machine.
Solution: Unwind the thread from the spool pin.  Eventually, place a felt washer underneath the spool of thread.  If necessary, remove some of the thread from the full spool.

6. Cause: The upper thread is held back somewhere on its way from the spool of thread to the needle.
Solution: Examine the string of thread from the spool to the needle and eliminate any interference with the free motion of the thread.

7. Cause: The upper thread curls around itself before entering the tension disks.
Solution: Place a felt washer underneath the spool of thread.  If necessary, remove some of the thread from the full spool.

8. Cause: The eye of the needle is rough or sharp, or the grooves in the needle are too shallow.
Solution: Insert a new needle.

9. Cause: The needle is not straight.
Solution: Insert a new needle.

10. Cause:The needle is too fine for the upper thread and for the fabric being sewn.
Solution: Consult the Needle and Thread chart in the manual and insert a needle of the correct size.

11. Cause: The upper thread is too coarse for the size of needle that is being used.
Solution: Consult the Needle and Thread chart in the manual and select a thread of the correct thickness.

12. Cause: The needle is not inserted correctly in the machine. The needle grooves do not line up correctly.
Solution: Insert the needle so that the short groove faces the point of the hook.

13. Cause: The needle is threaded incorrectly.
Solution: Thread the needle so that the thread passes through the eye of the needle from the long groove to the short groove of the needle.

14. Cause: The wrong type of needle is inserted.
Solution: Consult the Instruction Manual and replace needle with the one recommended for the material being sewn.

15. Cause: The needle is bent and rubs against the stitch hole in the needle plate.
Solution: Check whether the needle is bent and replace it, if necessary with a new needle.

16. Cause: The operator pulls the fabric in the direction of sewing.  The Feed Dog cuts the upper thread.
Solution: The fabric must not be pulled during sewing.  The machine alone must feed the fabric.

17. Cause: The machine is started at full speed.
Solution: Start the machine at low speed and increase speed gradually.

18. Cause: The machine is started with the thread take-up not in its highest position.
Solution: Start the machine with the thread take-up lever in its highest position.

19. Cause: The bobbin is bent and cannot revolve freely in the bobbin case.
Solution: Replace the defective bobbin with a new one.

20. Cause: Bobbin is wound too full.
Solution: Remove some of the thread from the bobbin.

21. Cause: Thread is wound unevenly around the bobbin.
Solution: Replace the bobbin with one wound correctly.

22. Cause: The lower end of the needle bar is bent.  The needle strikes the presser foot, the throat plate, the feed dog, or the hook.
Solution: Replace the needle bar with one that is straight.

23. Cause: The throat plate is not held firmly in place and shifts around.  The needle strikes the side of the stitch hole in the throat plate.
Solution: Tighten firmly the screws holding the throat plate to the machine.

24. Cause: The feed dog is not held firmly in place and shifts around.  The needle strikes the side of the stitch hole in the feed dog.
Solution: Tighten firmly the screws holding the feed dog to the machine.

25. Cause: The needle is not pushed up entirely in the needle bar or in the needle clamp.
Solution: Push the needle up entirely in the needle bar.  Tighten firmly the screw that holds the needle.

26. Cause: The needle is not held securely in the needle bar.  The needle shifts slightly up and down.
Solution: Make sure the needle is pushed up entirely in the needle bar.  Tighten firmly the screw that holds the needle.

27. Cause: The bobbin case latch does not close entirely due to accumulation of dirt and lint underneath.  The upper thread is prevented from sliding freely around the bobbin case and breaks.
Solution: Remove dirt and lint under the latch.  Clean the entire bobbin case thoroughly with a small brush dipped in kerosene.

28. Cause: Lint or dirt has accumulated in the circular groove on top of the center post of the bobbin case holder (shuttle).  The center post is the part upon which the bobbin case is placed.  Due to the accumulation of dirt or lint, the bobbin case latch does not close entirely; the upper thread is prevented from sliding freely around the bobbin case and breaks.
Solution: Remove the dirt or lint from the circular groove of the center post.  Clean bobbin case holder thoroughly with a small brush dipped in kerosene.

29. Cause: The feed dog is timed too early.  Excessive tension of the upper thread is required to eliminate the small loops of thread which appear on the fabric.  The excessive tension causes the upper thread to break.
Solution: See whether loops of thread appear on the underside of the fabric.  If increased tension of the upper thread does not eliminate these loops, adjust timing of the feed dog.
30. Cause: The thread take-up spring is not adjusted correctly and does not take up the slack of the upper thread.  The needle pierces and tears the upper thread.
Solution: Adjust the take-up spring.  There must be no thread under the point of the needle when the needle is about to enter the fabric.

31. Cause: The thread take-up spring is bent out of shape or broken.
Solution: Bend the deformed spring back to its proper shape, if possible.  Replace a badly defective or broken spring with a new one.

32. Cause: The loop of the upper thread twists around itself below the throat plate, forming two small loops.  The point of the hook enters both loops, causing the upper thread to break.
Solution: The point of the hook is too close to the needle.  Adjust the clearance between the needle and the point of the hook so that the point of the hook is as close as possible to the needle without touching it.

33. Cause: The hook has burrs, rough spots, or sharp edges that cut the upper thread.  The point of the hook may be blunt or damaged.
Solution: All portions of the hook that come in contact with the upper thread must be perfectly smooth.  Smooth the defective portions of the hook with an oilstone or fine emery cloth, then polish with crocus cloth or on a buffing wheel.  If the point of the hook is damaged to a minor degree, sharpen it with a fine emery stone and polish with crocus cloth or on a buffing wheel.  The material must not be taken off the side of the hook point that faces the needle.  If the hook point is defective beyond repair, replace the old hook with a new one.

34. Cause: The head of the screw used for adjusting the tension of the bobbin case protrudes too far beyond the tension spring.  This causes the upper thread to catch and break.
Solution: Adjust the screw so that the upper thread can slide smoothly over it.  If necessary, remove some material from the head of the screw by grinding or filing.  Polish the head of the screw after this correction.  If a new screw can be obtained, replace the faulty screw with a new one.

35. Cause: The top surface of the bobbin case is damaged, or has burrs or rough spots preventing the upper thread from sliding smoothly around the bobbin case.
Solution: All portions of the bobbin case that come in contact with the upper thread must be perfectly smooth.  Smooth the defective portions of the bobbin case with an oilstone or fine emery cloth, then polish with crocus cloth or on a buffing wheel.

36. Cause: The small coil spring inside the bobbin case which presses against the bobbin case latch is either broken or has become weak, compressed, or clogged with dirt and lint.  The bobbin case latch no longer closes entirely and catches the thread.
Solution: Remove the latch and latch lever from the bobbin case, then remove the spring with a needle.  Clean the spring and stretch it somewhat, then replace in the bobbin case.  If the spring is broken, badly deformed, or too weak, replace it with a new spring.

37. Cause: The bobbin case holder (shuttle) may have rough spots or sharp edges that cut the thread.
Solution: Smoothen the defective parts with an oilstone or fine emery cloth, and then polish with crocus cloth or on a buffing wheel.

38. Cause: The hook or bobbin case may be misshapen and not permit the thread to slide freely around these parts.
Solution: Remove the slide plate from the machine, turn the balance wheel by hand , and observe how the upper thread slides around the hook or bobbin case.  Take those parts out of the machine and with fine emery cloth, remove any excess material from those portions where the upper thread gets caught.  Polish these portions with crocus cloth or on a buffing wheel.  If not successful, replace the defective part.

39. Cause: The hook is not adjusted (timed) correctly in relation to the needle.
Solution: Adjust the machine so that the point of the hook enters the loop of the upper thread at the correct time.  For timing, follow this general rule: The needle must have risen about 3/32 of an inch from its lowest position at the moment the point of the hook is just at the center of the rising needle.  At this moment, the point of the hook must be about 1/16 of an inch above the eye of the needle.(Do not attempt without instructions for hook timing.  Use this solution to determine if hook is out of time and then either adjust in accordance with instructions in a service manual or take to an experienced technician.)

40. Cause: Some of the parts along which the upper thread passes (thread guides, tension discs, thread take-up spring, take-up lever, etc.) have become rough or sharp and possess deep, sharp grooves.
Solution: With fine emery cloth or emery cord remove all rough or sharp portions and grooves.  If these parts are too badly worn, replace them with new parts.

41. Cause: The top edge and inside of the stitch hole in the feed dog have become rough, sharp, or chipped.  This may be due to wear or broken needles.
Solution: Smooth the stitch hole with fine emery cord.  If the damage is excessive, replace the feed dog with a new one.

42. Cause: The needle is too close to the edge of the slot (or stitch hole) in the presser foot and rubs against the presser foot.
Solution: Check the straightness of the needle and replace it if necessary.  If the presser foot is not correctly aligned, loosen the screw that holds the presser bar in position; turn the presser bar until the needle goes through the center of the slot (or hole in the presser foot; tighten the screw firmly.

43. Cause: The needle is too close to the hook and rubs against the point of the hook.
Solution: Check the straightness of the needle and replace it if necessary.  If the new needle still touches the point of the hook, adjust the clearance between needle and hook by moving the hook somewhat from the needle.  The point of the hook should be as close as possible to the needle without touching it.

44. Cause: The portions of the presser foot close to which the needle passes are rough, sharp, or chipped.
Solution: Remove the presser foot and smooth the defective portions with fine emery cloth.  Polish them afterward with crocus cloth.

45. Cause: The balance wheel revolves in the wrong direction.
Solution: The feed dog must move the fabric away from the operator.  Observe the feed dog and change direction of rotation so that the above requirement is met.(Mostly applies to treadle machines that can spin either direction)

46. Cause: Sometimes the fabric being sewn causes breakage of the upper thread.
Solution: Experiment with various grades of thread and with different thread tensions.

47. Cause: A needle thread of the wrong twist is used, causing the thread to unravel or break
Solution: Use needle thread with twist recommended for the machine in use.  Left twist thread is required for single needle machines.(Probably only applies to industrial machines)

Happy Hunting!  Ed
Ed's Vintage Sewing Machine Shop

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Singer Genie 354 Revisited

Remember this sad relic I picked up over a year ago?


After suffering buyer's remorse for 14 months, I got tired of looking at it on the floor of the shop and decided I had to do something - either fix it up or part it out.  Besides being dirty and scuffed up, it had two things wrong - both cosmetic.  The trim piece beside the take-up lever was missing, as was the plastic disc covering the clutch release.  Miraculously, the 6620C I parted out about the same time as I acquired the Genie


 had a very similar clutch release setup and I was able to utilize the 6620 part to replace the missing Genie part.  It's a slightly different color, but close enough and certainly better than none at all!


That was the easy part.  I had no machine to borrow the trim piece from and had to get creative.


Fortunately, the trim piece has all straight sides and I was able to fashion a substitute from 1/8" clear lucite.  The clear part was not much better than none at all, so I rifled through Kathie's fabric stash looking for a small piece of fabric having some or all of the colors of the neighboring trim to place behind the clear part.  To my dismay, Kathie does not like to use orange or yellow fabrics in her quilts, so nothing in her stash even came close.  I also had the problem of how to attach the new piece and decided on transparent, double-sided duct tape. I would place the tape on the clear glass, then a piece of cream fabric to match the body of the Genie, then another piece of tape to fasten the trim piece to the machine.  When I installed the first piece of tape, I found that the color of the duct tape matched close enough that I didn't need to sandwich in a piece of cream fabric.


It's all together and sewing now, I no longer have to look at it sitting on the shop floor in pieces.


Ed's Vintage Sewing Machine Store

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Low Shank Snap-On Feet

I had such good luck with the set of high shank accessories, I thought I should try out the low shank set.


  Since most of the feet are designed for a zig zag machine, I selected a Pfaff 130 as a test bed.  The snap-on ankle fit fine.


I snapped on the general purpose zig zag foot for the first test


The foot fit perfectly and the Pfaff's needle came down in the center of the needle hole.  Stitch quality is just as good as with the Pfaff foot although I am not getting a full width zig zag - apparently, my 130 needs a drink of oil.


Bouy'ed by the zig zag test, I swapped the zig zag foot out for the straight stitch foot to make sure the needle would line up with the hole in the foot.  It matched perfectly and the straight stitch was as good as ever.



But one test is not conclusive, so I moved the ankle and strraight stitch foot over to a Singer Featherweight.  As expected, the needle came down right in the center of the hole in the foot


and stitch quality was identical to the factory foot.


My only disappointment was that when the edge of the fabric is lined up with the edge of the straight stitch foot, the seam is a millimeter wider than 1/4".  I had hoped that I could provide a snap-on foot that easily sewed a perfect 1/4" seam for the quilters.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Singer 401

I don't have anything Earth-shattering to write about today, I just wanted to remind my loyal followers that I am still around.

On the way home from a week-long out-of-town meeting, I stopped in at a thrift shop about an hour's drive from home.  There on the shelf was a Singer 401 priced at $25.


All the functions seemed to work, the stitch selectors were not stuck, the balance wheel turned freely and there were no noticeable scuffs or paint chips.  It had the carrying case but was missing the foot control/power cord, instruction manual, and accessories.  I can replace all those missing items and was standing in the checkout line with the machine under my arm when I realized I already have three 401s and two 403s, I'm crazy to be picking up yet another 401.  I turned around, put the machine back on the shelf, and left.  No remorse yet, I need the storage space more than I need another 401.

On another subject, slightly off topic, I picked up this scratch remover to pretty up sewing machine beds that often have scratches.


  It does improve the looks but does not bring them back anywhere near new.  I tried some on some scratches on my wife's car and it completely covers light scratches but not those that are down below the clearcoat.

I have been losing weight and last weekend, rummaged through my dresser for a wristwatch with a tighter band.  I found a Pulsar that I picked up in an auction jewelry box purchase but it had lots of fine scratches on the crystal.  Since I had a scratched crystal and a bottle of scratch remover, I figured it couldn't hurt to try the scratch remover on the watch crystal.  It worked beautifully!  That old Pulsar looks almost like new!  Now, I'm looking for other scratched-up items around the house to try it on.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Unknown Accessory

I was cruising the Goodwill auction site today and ran across "8 Pounds of Sewing Machine Accessories".  No one had yet bid and the starting price was $5.00 so I clicked on it to see what was there.


I recognize most of the items but two have me stumped.  Can anyone tell me what this is?



Or this?


The description says that they are mostly Singer and Kenmore accessories and I don't recognize these two items as Singer, so they are possibly Kenmore.  The white plastic composition tells me they are not really old, maybe from the 70's +/-.

It's just to satisfy my curiosity because while the $5.00 price was good, the $20+ shipping drove them out of my price range.  Maybe someone on the West Coast can use them.

Ed
Ed's Vintage Sewing Machine Shop

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Willcox & Gibbs

We went to the weekly auction last night.  I was drawn in by the photo of an electric Willcox & Gibbs machine that appeared to be in good condition.  I keep saying I have too many straight stitchers and I am trying to downsize but, here I go, chasing one more sewing machine.  When we got there, the machine was in as good condition as the auction website indicated.


Decals were almost 100% and the lot included the foot control, manual, and box of accessories.  I had a maximum bid in mind but that lowered when I looked into the vent holes in the end of the motor.  There was lots of carbon or dirt and I could see some bare widings that should have been covered with electrical tape.  I was afraid the motor was toast and there was no way to plug it in to test it.  My mental bid limit didn't factor into the decision because bidding ended at $100 and that was way over my maximum.

There were two more sewing machines, a Singer Spartan (not the 3/4 size black one - the newer green one). It sold for $5 with no accessories or manual or any other go-withs, just the machine.  This is not a photo of the actual machine, just a file photo to remind you what it looked like.


Then there was a Singer 66 in a treadle cabinet. The cabinet was worn and the sewing head had rust and decades of dirt on it but it still brought $55.  Maybe the buyer wants to use the treadle base to make an end table.  I wish I had taken a picture of that one because the decals were some I had never seen before and I can't find any like it on the internet. They weren't Redeye or Lotus, the two I am familiar with.  I thought maybe they were 127 decals that had been applied at a rebuild but that's not what they were, either.  The auction website has changed so I can't download photos of items up for bid and now that machine is gone so I can't research further.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Singer 401/403/404 Tension Adjustment

Today I dug out a Singer 403 that I haven't used in a long time (maybe never).


I'm not sure I ever serviced this machine when I got it because there's some tape residue on the vertical pillar that I would've cleaned off if I had ever cleaned and oiled The machine.

As I was sewing on my project, I noticed suddenly I was getting loops on the underside of the fabric. It had me stumped for a minute until I saw that my upper tension dial was at zero. The tension knob was so loose that just the slightest bump moved it from its desired setting.

As I was getting ready to correct that situation, it occurred to me that maybe some others would like to know how that's done so I got the camera out and took some pictures of the process.

  There are many styles of tension assemblies, this is the one used on the Singer 400 series. Once you get the external knob off, you find that all upper tension assemblies are very similar inside.

Here is a clip from the service manual telling how to disassemble the 401/403 tension assembly.  To merely tighten the knob, you only need to perform these two steps.


After the thumb nut L5 is removed and the split stud is exposed, insert the blade of a flat screwdriver in between the two halves of the split stud Q2 and spread the two halves slightly apart. That will tighten up the thumb nut L5 when you screw it back on.


If you get the stud halves spread too far apart and the thumb nut L5 will not go back on, squeeze the stud halves back together a bit with pliers and try again until you get it where you want it.

 I had previously noticed that the +|- indicator was skewed off to one side so while I had the tension assembly open, I thought I would fix that also.


There is a set screw inside the nose door that holds the entire upper tension assembly in the machine. Loosen that set screw and you can turn the assembly to any position you desire. When you have it where you want it, tighten that setscrew and you're ready to reassemble.


Assembly is the reverse of disassembly.

After the tension assembly is reassembled, you want to adjust the tension so that you have a good balanced stitch with no regard to the numbered dial.

Once you have a good stitch, push in the numbered disc D5 and rotate so that the number 4 appears at the top of the dial at the +|- indicator. Release the numbered disc and make sure the pin C5 is seated in one of the holes in D5 and you're done.


Ed

Thursday, September 04, 2014

High Shank Snap-On Feet Test

I got a chance to test drive the high shank snap-on feet this afternoon.  I was pleasantly surprised, Everything fit and worked well.  I used a Necchi Lelia 513 as my test bed because it was the easiest high shank machine to reach.  The installation was simple, I just removed the current foot and screwed on the High Shank Adapter.


Then I attached the general purpose zig zag foot.  The slot in the foot matched the slot in the Necchi needle plate


and the fork on the foot matched the teeth of the feed dog.  So far, so good.



Next, I attached the straight stitch foot.  Same result - the hole in the foot matched the hole in the needle plate and the foot covered the feed dog perfectly.  But, does the needle come down in the center of the hole in the foot?  Yes, it does - perfect.


Then, I attached the zipper foot.  I prefer the old, adjustable zipper feet because I can adjust the position of the foot in relation to the needle but this is the style of zipper foot that comes with new machines, now, so I guess I'll have to adapt.


The item I sewed with the zipper foot was welt to go on a small chair I am recovering.  The shape of the zipper foot did not allow me to sew close enough to the cord to make a smooth welt but moving the needle to the left position did.


Hopefully, it would perform better on a zipper.

I didn't try the remaining feet because I figure I would never use them, anyway but I expect they would perform just a well as the feet I did try.


I will place a few of these sets on my next parts order to see if other folks like them as much as I do.  It sure makes changing presser feet much more pleasurable.

Ed