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Thread: Vintage sewing machine not stitching - very generic tutorial

  1. #1
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Vintage sewing machine not stitching - very generic tutorial

    Does it need a new needle? That is usually the quickest easiest cheapest fix. Change the needle... some times we hit pins or sometimes people pull the material through the machine and the needle bends. Sometimes needles get dull? When was the last time it was changed?
    Make sure the needle is in all the way

    Try this first. Take apart the throat plate then try putting it all back together as seen in your owner's manual sometimes that helps a 301 - maybe your 319, 221, 401, what ever has to go a certain way - so make it go the way the manual shows
    Make sure the hole lines up with the needle - nothing crooked...
    (While you are in there clean out the lint and oil the machine - some times that can be the cause of your skipped stitches)
    here is one I found and it is well said http://sewing-machine-troubleshootin...-Stitches.html

    Look at your upper thread. Is it catching on the little notch on the spool? Turn it over and see if that helps...

    completely unthread and rethread the machine
    Is the thread in the tension in correct position between the disks?
    check to see if the bobbin thread is correctly threaded through the bobbin holder
    is the bobbin worn out? warped? the correct bobbin for the machine?

    Is the needle is the wrong length? size matters - a few of the vintage machines take a different from normal length needle and the machine won't work.
    Check the owner's manual and double check your needle size
    Check to see if you have the correct needle diameter for the fabric you are using. Smaller needle number for light weight fabric
    Larger needle number for heavy weight fabric.
    Does the needle size match your thread size?
    If the needle is put in backwards it won't work - the owner's manual should show how it goes
    Make sure the needle is threaded in the correct direction. - it usually goes through the groove side first
    The curve side of the needle goes toward the bobbin so the shuttle can pass and grab the thread
    Is the tension is too tight? too loose? (See your manual for that)

    If that doesn't work open up the throat plate and take off the feed dogs. It is easier to watch the thread and needle closely.
    Does the needle, thread and shuttle engage? If so it is not timing. If it engages but does not complete the cycle it may be a burr. Burrs happen. You can smooth up the burr with some emery cloth.
    You can feel a burr with your fingers. You can see a burr. You can take a piece of thread and 'floss' through there until it hangs up on the burr

    I had a machine buggered up and the thread kept breaking - the tension was full of lint and dried oil

    Do you have "help" When you aren't looking do kids/GKs mess with the machine?

    If the hook misses the needle's eye it could be timing.
    I had a machine that the needle hit the foot and broke every time. It plagued me for months trying to figure it out. Finally I swapped the needle bar for one from a donor machine. SO it was a bent needle shaft.
    Sewing on really heavy material can bend your needle shaft. Just because the people selling a vintage machine say it can, doesn't mean your machine was intended to sew on that heavy stuff all the time.

    This video can help you know if it is timing. I think the part where he tested it is where I would start to test to see if it is messed up timing.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHhlHbUYwV8

  2. #2
    Super Member greenini's Avatar
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    Miriam, thanks so much for the down and dirty places to start! Even if we know, sometimes we forget to check the simple stuff.

  3. #3
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenini
    Miriam, thanks so much for the down and dirty places to start! Even if we know, sometimes we forget to check the simple stuff.
    Yes and some times it is as plain as the nose on your face and I mean some of us who have sewed for 50 years... :oops: I wanted it easy to find on here too... so much gets buried...

  4. #4
    Super Member kiffie2413's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info!... DH and I are fixing to go to work on the Singer 66 I inherited from my great-grandma, have had it 20+ years, but never thought I should sew with it (duh...lol)...just admire it...well, saw on here where lots of people sew with them, and make lovely items...so, here we go....Thanks again,
    K

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    Thanks for the video link on the hook timing. I may need that some day.

  6. #6
    Senior Member foxxigrani's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for the trouble shooting tute. Sometimes it hard to know where to go for any info or how to's on your older machines. Thank you.

    Rita

  7. #7
    Super Member deplaylady's Avatar
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    Super - I made sure to stick this in my pages so next time I get stuck I can get unstuck quick! In fact, I think I'll print it out to keep with me when hitting the garage sales - I had to try a few of those last weekend to get my 201 to sew before I bought it - it would have been much faster to have had a list of things to check than fumbling around. I did hit on it - backwards needle & bobbin - but you never know for next time (if I have a next time!)

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the info, Miriam. I copied it and will put it where it's handy for my vintage sewing machines. I also like the idea of having a copy in the car for garage saleing, so I'd better run off another.
    Also, If you see a Singer 99 (Singer 99-13) and it has the bentwood case and a little hole in the bottom right of the base of the cabinet, it should have a knee bar that fits in there to run the machine. Some are missing on some of the machines I've seen on Craigslist, and I don't know if they can be found for sale anywhere. Just a thought..... Those machines CAN be made into a crank machine too.
    Another tip. To know how your needle needs to go into your machine, look at the last loop the thread needs to go through on the needle shaft. That will tell you which way the needle needs to be threaded and that side is where the grove of the needle goes. I hope this makes sense.... Sometimes people get rid of their machines because the machine won't sew, and all that's wrong is that they have the needle in wrong!

  9. #9
    Junior Member AliceQ's Avatar
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    I copied it too and will put it in my machine's manual. Thanks!!

  10. #10
    Super Member gramquilter2's Avatar
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    Great tutorial to get the vintage machines up and running.

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