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Thread: Stitch length issues

  1. #1
    Member wondermom's Avatar
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    Stitch length issues

    I'm putting on my first quilt binding ever and its been a doozy. I'm going slowly and carefully, using a walking foot, not tugging or pulling, and my stitches go the correct stitch length for a while and then randomly doing a teeny-tiny stitch length. Any ideas what is going on? Should I rip this out and start again?
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  2. #2
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    Don't know how to solve the problem but can share some thoughts. Do a trial sandwich after trouble shooting, and if you can get uniform stitches, Then think about tearing it out. It is stitched down, very well in fact, so it isn't going to fall apart! Will be a hard rip out it you can't stitch it correctly to suit you. You could hand stitch it down. For me, if it isn't a gift or show quilt, I would leave it. But do trouble shoot. In my experience I had drag and it wasn't feeding freely.
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 05-29-2018 at 11:14 AM. Reason: remove shouting/all caps

  3. #3
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    I would not take it out. It looks like your stitch length was too small. Next time, try lengthening it (I use 2.5 or even 3mm). It may also be too much pressure on the foot. See if you can loosen the tension on the foot (some machines have that feature).

  4. #4
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Are you sure that there's no tugging or pulling? Often, when the stitch length gets small, it's because the quilt is caught up somewhere. Even with a walking foot, your machine can't pull the entire quilt thru all by itself. You need to make sure that the section just stitched, and the next section to be stitched is loose. Stitch a section, maybe 6 inches or so. Stop adjust the bulk, then do the next section. As far as what to do about the finished portion, I think it's just fine as it is!
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  5. #5
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    Tiny stitches can be caused by quilt drag or not having the walking foot arm over the needle bar. I will be hard to remove the tiny stitches so if you can live with them, I would just do better on your next quilt binding.

  6. #6
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    I have a generic walking foot. My walking foot bar (arm) would stick in the "up" position, thus not allowing the fabric to advance, making tiny stitches. Didn't happen all the time, so was not predictable. My "fix" was to use a tiny rubber washer to wrap around the end of the bar and the screw it lies against. So that when the post moved up and down, so did the walking foot. Problem solved.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ArlaJo's Avatar
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    Looks like mine do when the quilt gets caught on the table and it pulls. I never take them out just try to be more careful.
    So much fabric, so little time.

  8. #8
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    Watch the quilt as it comes out the behind the WF. Make sure the area is clear behind your machine. If the quilted area bunches up behind the WF it will shorten the stitch.

    What stitch length did you set on your machine? I also use 2.5 and sometimes a bump to 3.0 if needed.

  9. #9
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Check to see if threaded correctly. Take out needle, if no burs on needle, rethread, see what happens
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  10. #10
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    I recently had the same problem. Cleaning the feed dogs and lowering the upper tension solved it for me. Good luck!
    http://s1248.photobucket.com/albums/hh485/KitsieH/
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  11. #11
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    It helps to lift up the quilt sandwich so you are feeding it to the foot from above. Also make sure there is no drag from the side.

  12. #12
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    I have to admit that I don't know the answer as all but one of my quilts have hand binding. The one that I tried machine binding on I found it difficult to do the corners. Could it possibly be the speed you are going that makes for the different size stitches?

  13. #13
    Senior Member carol45's Avatar
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    Sometimes this happens when I get to a thicker part of the binding, like at a seam where the binding strips were joined, or a seam in the piecing. I find that I can just kind of help push the piece through at a steady rate to avoid it slowing down and giving me smaller stitches.

  14. #14
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    I do all my bindings by machine. this happens if I have drag on the quilt. So I pull up about 6" of the quilt and have it loose in front of me, then sew that 6" until the slack is gone, then pull up another 6" so it's slack and repeat. At no time do I sew so that the quilt is being pulled up from hanging down off the table.

    I also have to watch that I'm not accidently pinching the fabric with my body parts. With the quilt partially in my lap, when I lean forward sometimes it gets tucked under by "girls" and then won't feed freely under the machine. As soon as I feel any drag at all, I stop and reposition so there is no drag. I also have a sewing stool next to me to help support the weight.
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  15. #15
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    I do a lot of my sewing very late at night and often on a deadline. Both of these issues can be troublesome. I found that often when I need to do a lot of straight stitching (binding or hemming or attaching bias trim), I use a decorative stitch and often with a variegated thread. It looks like I was adding a 'design element' when I was actually trying to cover any possible wobbles! Makes everyone happy.

  16. #16
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    To me, it looked like the tiny stitches happened when there was more bulk under the foot. If this was a pieced quilt perhaps they were just bulkier intersections [on the other side of the quilt].
    Last edited by Lee in Richmond; 05-30-2018 at 07:15 AM. Reason: typo

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsie View Post
    I recently had the same problem. Cleaning the feed dogs and lowering the upper tension solved it for me. Good luck!
    I was surprised to see how much lint packs in the valley of those feed dogs. Check them out.

  18. #18
    Super Member 1screech's Avatar
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    My machine does this when the fabric hangs up on the edge of the table or something else.

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