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Author Topic: Problems with thread loops and bunching when sewing  (Read 680 times)
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macdawg
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« on: July 05, 2015, 02:13 PM »

I'm sewing my kite pieces that I taped together with 1/4" stuff I found suggested somewhere on this forum.

It goes well for a few inches, but then the machine jolts a little at which point it starts to create unwanted loops and bunching on the underside of the material.

I tried lowering the upper thread tension (from 4 to 3) but it didn't seem to make a difference.

I also tried with pieces of sail that weren't taped together, and I had no issues. So for kicks I tried 3 layers of sail, also not taped together, and still no issues. So, my best guess is it's the tape causing the issue. The needle doesn't seem very gummy, so I'm not sure what to try next.

Here's a picture of what happens.



Any suggestions?

Thanks!
« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 08:57 PM by macdawg » Logged
thief
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2015, 05:21 PM »

The tension in the bobbin could be off. Has the machine seen a mechanic lately? Might be worth bringing it in and also bringing in some ripstop and asking for the machine to be tensioned for the samples.
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DD
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2015, 05:25 PM »

New needle? What kind of needle?  What kind of thread?  From there I would look at bobbin tension as well
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KaoS
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2015, 06:00 PM »

Quick lesson on sewing machine needles and thread...

The needle has a groove down the front and the size of this groove must match the thickness of the thread being used.  When the needle is pushed through the fabric, the thread is supposed to sit down in the groove.  This allows the needle to pull the thread smoothly through the fabric without anything snagging the thread. 

Two things will prevent this from happening.

1. The needle is too small for the thread.  The thread doesn't sit all the way down at the bottom of the groove, so part of the thread sits higher than the top of the groove and will rub against the hole created in the fabric by the needle and potentially snag.  If a snag happens, the sewing machine continues but something in the thread has to "give".  Typically, the portion of thread that forms the stitches already sewn gets pulled tight (bunching the fabric already sewn).

2. A component of the thread, fabric (or combination of both) will encourage snagging.  This might simply be you have a particularly "furry" thread.  Nearly all high quality threads are almost completely smooth (sort of like monofilament fishing line), and many are coated with silicon to increase the slipperiness of the thread.  In contrast, many threads purchased from a haberdashery store are fairly fluffy.  These fluffy bits will snag very easily on the gum around the hole created by the sewing needle, again leading to pulled threads, bunching, etc.

It is UNLIKELY your machine has a tension problem - it sews fine when you don't use tape.

Will you be able to use tape in future?  Maybe yes... if you optimize other factors.

1. Use a new, sharp needle
2. Try the next size up needle
3. Use a good quality, smooth thread.  You can enhance the smoothness of the thread a number of ways.  Some people use a thread oiler - a device that has silicon oil soaked felt pads that the sewing thread passes through before heading into your sewing machine.  Other people have success spraying or soaking the cone of thread in a silicon based automotive spray - the sort used to shine the plastic/vinyl parts of your car interior.
4. Use a low tack tape.  There are many different strengths of adhesive used on double sided tapes.  Tape manufacturer websites usually list the different grades.

I hope this helps

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Kevin Sanders

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macdawg
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2015, 08:31 PM »

The machine has not been to a mechanic lately, that said, we got it new a few years ago and it probably has no more than 10 hours of use on it.

The needle is a 90/14, and brand new.

The thread is black Gutermann, 50 weight, 100% cotton. Looks like the suggested needle size is 60-80, so maybe we're on to something.

Thanks guys, great suggestions.

I also just realized that when I was last working on this kite, I didn't have these issues. I think the only think different is the needle. Possibly the thread too, but not sure. I can't remember the needle size or thread, but I do remember the machine settings. For whatever that's worth.


« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 09:22 PM by macdawg » Logged
Chooks
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2015, 08:45 PM »

Great advice there guy's. Smiley

I have a note book that lives with my machines, as I always forget what setup is what.
Sometimes is quite a while between similar repair jobs on harnesses, canvas, vinyl, leather or my kites.
I'm an airhead and this makes it easy to recall my original settings that worked well, without all the frustration.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 08:48 PM by Chooks » Logged
KaoS
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2015, 09:43 PM »


The thread is black Gutermann, 100% cotton.


Cotton is not the ideal sewing thread for kites.  I'm not saying it can't be used, just that there are a few reasons that synthetics are more suitable.

Cotton, like wool, is made from many short fibres that rely on their tendency to "hook onto" each other when being spun into long threads.  Synthetic fibres (nylon, polyester, etc.) are v-e-r-y smooth fibres that are banded together in parallel before being spun into thread.

Cotton does not stretch, (which is good for sewing non-stretch materials), but it does shrink!  It also absorbs moisture and will break down over time.  When high quality cotton sewing thread is manufactured, it is heat singed (to incinerate stray fibres) and dipped in caustic soda (mercerizing) to strengthen it and give it a lustrous finish.  Not all cotton threads are made like this, but the Gutermann threads are.

Polyester has some stretch to it (which is good for nylon materials that shrink and stretch depending on ambient temperature and humidity).  Polyester is naturally moisture and UV resistant, so it doesn't break down easily.

You are definitely on the right path.  Gutermann make very good quality threads, and they produce as many colours in 100% polyester as they do in cotton.

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Kevin Sanders

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macdawg
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2015, 09:47 PM »

Geez, it is very likely that my wife switched the thread since I last was working on this (it's been a while). I remember going out to get a different kind of thread than what she already had. I'll switch threads, and make sure to use an appropriate size needle, and report back. Glad it's looking like a simple solution so far!

Thanks again.
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Krijn
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2015, 12:27 AM »

kevin, thanks for you explanations

(my settings on my machine, needle and thread are just fine, but very nice to read)



Krijn
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bojocatkite
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2015, 07:38 PM »

Wait a second: do you use double sided tape like that to join your two pieces of fabric:

http://www.sailrite.com/Seamstick-1-4-Basting-Tape-60-Yds#

If yes it might also be the reason why you have those problems because the thread become sticky.

One solution is to use lubricant like that:

http://www.sailrite.com/Sewers-Aid-Lubricant

If you have this problem when sewing other kind of fabric (without tape) it can be a problem of timing adjustment of your machine and it will need servicing.

And like it's been said, do not use cotton.
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