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Sewing machine not stitching

Sewing machine not stitching

Old 06-27-2017, 09:31 AM
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Did the original poster say she was FMQ? Or just quilting it on the machine, i.e. with a walking foot?
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Old 06-27-2017, 11:32 AM
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Welcome to our addiction. Lol. I am glad you have joined us. My only guess as an owner of a low end and high end Bother machines, would be to suggest you check what needle you are using. A ball point ( read knit) needle or a universal needle can be your problem, especially if you hear a mild "thok" sound as the needle goes into the fabric. You need a standard sharp needle for quilting to get through all the layers. If you notice that your thread is being "shaved" through the needle before it breaks, you have too small a needle in your machine. Also, sometimes you just get a crappy needle even in a pack of schmetz needles. Even with their great quality control, "baddies" can slip through. Before taking your machine into a shop, check these things first. If you are using cheaper needles this can continue to happen. Schmetz needles cost just a litttle more, but they are worth it to avoid the frustration. Also take a piece of slightly heavier thread, (I use quilters thread for this) cut a 9-11" piece off the spool, turn it around so the new cut end is at the bottom hand, and use it like dental floss between your tension discs or plates. If you have done a bit of sewing with cotton thread, you can collect lint between the discs, (even with polyester thread) and your thread will start to catch between them and cause what you are seeing. Hope this helps. I have been a satisfied Brother user for 40+ years. (Last thought, how old is the spool of thread you are trying to use? If it is an old spool of cotton, it may just be too old to use. If it has a wood or styrofoam spool under the thread, that may also be part of your problem).

Last edited by madamekelly; 06-27-2017 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 06-27-2017, 03:38 PM
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The poster did not say exactly what they were trying to do and with what. To some degree, everyone is shooting in the dark. So, lets ask.

So, Sandee, are sewing together pieces of fabric to make a quilt top or are you putting together your top, your batting and your backing and sewing it together?

Assuming you are putting the three layers together and attempting to quilt them, how do you want it to happen? Are you trying to sew a random pattern? If so, what kind of foot are you using? Have you dropped the feed dogs? If you are trying to sew straight lines, are you using a quilting foot, or are you attempting to do it with a regular sewing foot?

All of these questions make a difference in the answer.

Can you help us a little more with the details of the problem and we might be able to give a better answer.

By the way, yesterday was one of those electronic nightmare days for me. My printer died, but not gracefully. It kept acting like it would work. All the diagnostics said there was nothing wrong. It just didn't work. Then my ethernet wouldn't work. It seems like electronically, when it rains it pours. We all have those days. Maybe you've had more than your share lately. Hopefully, it will improve. My grandmother was a woman full of "sayings". (She was born abt. 1890.) She had one for everything. One of my favorites was, "God never gives you more than you can handle". I always realize she was right, but sometimes, it's the next day.

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Old 06-27-2017, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Sandee S. View Post
when I am trying to quilt, my machine will either just "flap" on top and not stitch anything or it will lay thread across the top of my fabric and stitch once or twice.

Originally Posted by bkay View Post
The poster did not say exactly what they were trying to do. So are [you] sewing together pieces of fabric to make a quilt top or are you putting together your top, your batting and your backing and sewing it together?
She did say she's trying to quilt it, not piece it.
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Old 06-27-2017, 06:08 PM
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Yes, Pekish, I understand. Your're right. Lots of details are missing, however. Given what's she's told us, we really don't have a good answer. We're all over the map. We need more information.

Let's wait for her to respond.

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Old 06-28-2017, 05:04 AM
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The "flapping around" leads me to believe she is not lowering her presser foot. She may also have the needle in backward.
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Old 06-28-2017, 07:05 AM
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Could it be that you're using a walking foot that hasn't been properly inserted? There's a slotted piece that needs to slide on a rod to the right of the needle.
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Old 06-28-2017, 07:59 AM
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If you are quilting, not piecing, as your post sounds like, here are two more ideas. I had a quilting instructor once tell me to always use a "TOPSTITCH" ( I prefer a size14) needle when quilting. I can guarantee if there is nothing mechanically wrong with your machine that will make a difference. Also be sure your whole quilt is supported even with your machine. If your quilt is hanging over the edge of your sewing area the drag from pulling the quilt will effect your stitches. Good luck and welcome to the board. Great bunch of people and always helpful.
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Old 06-28-2017, 12:42 PM
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I googled "top thread not catching bobbin thread" and am amazed at what I got. Pictures, youtubes etc. the post is correct in that there is not enough information for informed answer.
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Old 06-28-2017, 04:54 PM
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Hello Sandee. May I suggest that you look for youtube videos on this machine. Also, watch a few videos showing free motion quilting etc. and you will see the best techniques to try. But it really sounds to me like a trip to the repair shop may be necessary to figure out what is happening. Unless you know a quilter friend who might come over and watch you work a bit. Good luck....this can be so frustrating!
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