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Thread: Singer 301 frustration

  1. #1
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    Angry Singer 301 frustration

    Aaaaggghhh! I spent an hour and a half tonight trying to get the tension correct on my Singer 301. I have only had the machine a couple of months. Once I got it, I cleaned, and oiled the machine. At that time I partially disassembled the tension mechanism because the tension seemed to be much too tight - even with the tension dialed all the way down to zero. However, last week I pieced a border for one of my quilts on itl using a cotton 50 weight thread.

    Tonight I put on a rayon 40 weight thread (top and bobbin). I adjusted the top and bottom tension using a quilting cotton test cloth. I then proceeded to sew on my project. I am attempting to put a zipper in a lightweight corduroy pillow cover.

    In order to do this I need to use regular stitch length and basting stitch length. In addition I would use the reverse. It seemed that every time I changed the stitch length the tension would go wonky. Sometimes I would have loops on the back. Then loops on the front. Next (after more adjustments) the bobbin thread would lay flat. Even when the stitch 'looked' ok, if I tugged on the bobbin thread it would pull out of the cloth.

    I am so disappointed. I really wanted to use this machine for this project. Anyone have any suggestions?

    Early on in this process, I also had trouble winding the bobbin. I finally had to place the spool of thread on an standalone thread stand - to prevent the thread from wrapping around the spool pin. (The spool is cross wound).

    I may take it to a sewing machine repair person tomorrow. Of course that means I will be without it for a week or two.

  2. #2
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    If you disassembled the tensioner you may have put it back together incorrectly. The manual shows you how to do this. Also, make sure you have the bobbin in the bobbin case the correct way. The manual shows this as well.

  3. #3
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    Well I sewed for a week after putting the tensioner back together with no problems. I followed the manual instructions for re-installing it. I have removed and replaced the bobbin several times also. It is just so frustrating to have this problem.

  4. #4
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    Your machine is fine. It is the thread. The old Singers were designed to sew with 50 weight cotton. They will sew with other threads but you may have to do a bit of fiddling with them. Change the thread to cotton and do a test. Hope this helps.
    The 301 is a wonderful machine. Really.

  5. #5
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    lakekids,

    Let me tell you about a recent tension problem I had with my newly acquired Commodore 15 clone. When I got it there were two parts broken. The spring holding the slide plate on, and the thread check spring on the top tension.
    I got a replacement slide plate and spring from Sew-Classic and put them in. The check spring required a bit of reforming due to it being more for Singer 15s than the clones, but nothing I couldn't do. After it was installed and all the tension parts set as per the instructions on TSFR. It wouldn't sew worth a hoot. Top tension problems. Too much tension. The bottom tension was fine, but top just wouldn't loosen up. I had the adjuster run out till it was about to fall off the stem but it was still too tight.

    Prior to this I had cleaned the bobbin case, the hook and the rest of the lower assembly and had been sewing with the machine using a face plate from my Edison while waiting for the parts to come in. With the faceplate which also has the top tension on it from the other machine it was sewing beautifully. So I knew the problem was not with the bobbin.

    I took the top tension apart several times. It was together correctly. It was clean. And it wasn't working right.
    I took it apart one last time and laid all the pieces out in order. And looked at them closer. There was an amber looking coating in the center of the tension disks. Old oil that had varnished. So I tried cleaning that in oil and the oil wouldn't touch it. Then I got the Hoppe's #9 Solvent out and cleaned off the old oil I could not see. Scrubbed all the parts and reassembled the tension again. I set it back were it was, set the bobbin tension where it had been and started to sew.
    So far I've used several different types of thread and it's working very good. It was the old varnished oil that I couldn't see that was putting a heavy drag on the thread.

    I have had to do this to several machines. Oil gets on the tension parts and over the years turns hard and varnishes then grabs the thread when you try to use the machine. I've tried several cleaners including sewing machine oil, Tri-Flow, and others. Some work but the Hoppe's #9 works the best because that is exactly what it is made to do.

    My suggestion is to take the tension unit out of the machine, disassemble it, and clean it in Hoppe's #9 with a toothbrush. Then wipe it off, do not oil it (Hoppe's #9 is mostly kerosene), put it back together and try it.

    Joe

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the information. I did start taking apart the tension assembly again this morning before work. I had never taken it completely apart - didn't remove the post. When I took off the tension disks I did notice a faint brown area on the disks. I also realized that the screw that holds on the post will not turn. So I will work on it again this weekend and hope I get it resolved.

  7. #7
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    lakekids,

    There should be one small grub screw inside the face plate that holds the entire tension assembly in. You'll need a small blade screwdriver with a long shank to get to it. And a small flashlight to see what your doing in there.

    Joe

  8. #8
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I've seen that same brown stuff on tension parts - yes you do have to get it ALL off. Get good instructions how to put it back together. Don't try to put it back like it came off - someone might have already attempted and failed. Parts off other tensions might not work. I had two 15 clones with tensions that didn't work - I swapped the plates and both machines were happy. Go figure. I just wish the colors matched. The black machine looks funny with the blue tension. I can't get them to work on the right machine.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

  9. #9
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Miriam,

    You just reminded me of something. Check the pin that works with the presser foot lever to release the tension. Then check the part with the little bridge across the hole that the pin pushes on. The other thing I did with the Commodore was to flatten the little cross over part back down where it should be. Along with the mangled spring the cross over part had been bent so when the lever was lifted it couldn't release the tension on the thread. I used a 1/4" flat face punch and a hammer to tap it back into place. That made a world of difference.

    Joe

  10. #10
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Miriam,

    You just reminded me of something. Check the pin that works with the presser foot lever to release the tension. Then check the part with the little bridge across the hole that the pin pushes on. The other thing I did with the Commodore was to flatten the little cross over part back down where it should be. Along with the mangled spring the cross over part had been bent so when the lever was lifted it couldn't release the tension on the thread. I used a 1/4" flat face punch and a hammer to tap it back into place. That made a world of difference.

    Joe
    pictures Joe?
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

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