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Inconsistent stitch length: help please

Inconsistent stitch length: help please

Old 09-02-2018, 08:43 AM
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Default Inconsistent stitch length: help please

Hello Everyone,

I'm trying to do some straight line quilting on a king size quilt using my Pfaff QE4.2 machine. But my stitches are coming out inconsistent.

Here's my set up:

  • Fabrics are quilter's grade cotton bought a LQS
  • Thread is from Superior (50 wt in bobbin) and from Coats and Clarks Quilters from JoAnn's, cross-wound
  • Thread spool is horizontal
  • New topstitch needle 80/12
  • Stitch length to 3.5
  • Straight line quilting
  • IDT engaged
  • Open-toe applique presser foot

This is what I get:
inconsistentstitchlength_org_cropped75_75.jpg

FWIW, I am meticulous about cleaning my bobbin area with each new bobbin. I am sewing slowly but every once in a while I accidentally sew faster than intended. I don't know where to begin in fixing this issue. I spent three hours yesterday ripping out those tiny stitches and 15 minutes sewing before I realized it was all happening again. What am I missing or doing wrong, please?

TIA
Attached Thumbnails inconsistentstitchlength.jpg  
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:08 AM
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Is this a regular sewing machine or LA? If sewing, do you have a walking foot for this machine?

Next, is the quilt hanging off the edge of machine or is flat on an extension table?

You might try to go up a size with the needle to a 90/14 one.

Good luck!
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:30 AM
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Thank you, Rhonda. I had not thought of changing needle sizes. I will try that next.

Just for thoroughness --
It is not a long arm machine. Pfaff's answer to a walking foot is the IDT. So yes, I am using what is supposed to be a walking foot on my machine.
I have pushed three tables up next to my sewing table so the quilt is supported on all sides.
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:30 AM
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My guess is that the fabric is not flowing evenly, possibly because the weight of the quilt is creating drag. Be sure the quilt is supported all around. Some people use an extra card table to their left to help support the quilt. Some people throw the quilt over their shoulder. Some use a pulley system.
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:32 AM
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Another thought is that you may need to adjust the presser foot for the thickness of the quilt sandwich.
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by PumpkinHead View Post
I have pushed three tables up next to my sewing table so the quilt is supported on all sides.
Is your machine recessed down into your sewing table so the machine bed is even with all of the table surfaces? This really looks to me like drag created when the edges of the quilt hang over the sewing machine bed before it is reaching the needle (in cases where the machine is not recessed down into a sewing table)

If it is recessed, I still think it is a drag issue. Maybe the weight of the quilt dragging off the edge of the table directly in front of you?

If it isn't a recessed set up you could try piling up some phone books or something to have a larger surface area for the quilt to rest on as you are feeding it into the machine. A long time ago, someone posted a picture of their setup. They got some of the really thick foam insulation and built a surface all around their machine bed so everything was level with it. Another option is the one Dunster described building a system hanging from the ceiling to support the quilt's weight.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:04 AM
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It is probably quilt drag. Using a walking foot could help.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:11 AM
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I have found that I have the same problem with my Pfaff. Now, I set the speed way down. That seems to help a bit. Even following all of these good suggestions, it is still aggravating to have inconsistent stitch length.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:47 AM
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Looks like you need to pool the fabric around your needle and keep it pooled. When the stitches start getting smaller there is pulling going on somewhere. Loosen it up and see what happens. I also wondered if your presser foot pressure needs to be adjusted.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:58 AM
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I read an article awhile back that explained the difference between IDT and a walking foot. Although the end result when sewing two pieces of fabric together is similar, the mechanism by which it is done is completely different. If I can find the article again, I will link it. What I came away with from that article is that a walking foot is better for quilting than IDT. Does Pfaff sell a walking foot for their IDT machines? I don't know.
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