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Thread: Stitches bunching at beginning of chain piecing

  1. #1
    Super Member MarionsQuilts's Avatar
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    Stitches bunching at beginning of chain piecing

    I need some help! I'm TRYING to do chain piecing and am getting very frustrated (because I have to over 300 of these LOL)

    I have a brand new needle, the machine is running in tip top condition, it's clean, the threads are threaded properly, tension is perfect, AND I'm even holding the first threads at the beginning of the "chain".

    BUT I keep getting this every third or fourth square and it's driving me nuts. The only way I can not get it is to "drag" the previous square as I start the new one, but then I get a huge gap of thread, and when I learned how to do this, there's no a huge gap.

    I am sewing on my beloved Designer Topaz 30 ... any hints?

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Pudge's Avatar
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    Are you using the zig zag or the single needle plate? I'd use the single needle plate. That's all I can offer for help.

  3. #3
    Super Member MarionsQuilts's Avatar
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    PUdge - I don't know what that means LOL

  4. #4
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Marions ... there are two types of needle plates (the removable plate that sits under the presser foot and over the bobbin area). One type has a single hole in the middle, the other has a rectangle or U shape hole. The single hole place is ONLY for straight stitching as the needle would "crash" into the plate if you tried to zig-zag. The other plate with a longer U or rectangle shape allows the needle to perform in multiple positions along the horizontal (i.e. zig zag).

    Note: If you are like me and you adjust your needle position for 1/4" seams, even though you are doing a straight stitch, you CANNOT use the single stitch plate.

    If this is happening when you are chain stitching I suspect the problem is elsewhere though. There might be a burr on your needle, or a burr on your bobbin or bobbin case that is catching the thread every now and then and tugging the fabric under. You might also have a small piece of thread stuck *somewhere* in the bobbin area. I suspect the problem is most likely in the bobbin area ... something is catching and holding that thread for a split second. Possibly even a burr on the underside of your needle plate.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  5. #5
    Super Member MarionsQuilts's Avatar
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    DogHouseMom - I suspect you are right! Thank you, and after supper (and before I throw the machine out the window!) I will take it apart and clean it AGAIN!!

    Thanks very much!

  6. #6
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    put your pieces closer together when sewing the different blocks together.
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  7. #7
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I usually bump my pieces closer together. Why do these problems always happen at the wrong time when we are working hard to get stuff finished!!
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  8. #8
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    That thread looks thick. What thread are you using? What weight? Try another size thread and see if that helps. Just an idea. Also make sure your needle is in correctly.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Pudge's Avatar
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    Hope everything got straightened out, Marions.

  10. #10
    Senior Member laynak's Avatar
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    This has happened to me when my fabric is a bit thin (i.e.: pre-washed batiks) and needs sizing or starch. And/or your thread looks like it may be thick for the fabric you're working with.

  11. #11
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    Check out Bonnie Hunters Leaders and Enders! You start sewing on something else, thus protecting your primary project..and you dont' have to raise the pressure foot. Just keep stitching just keep stitching (I am channeling my inner Dory!)

    http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/...-and-hows.html

  12. #12
    Senior Member ClairVoyantQuilter's Avatar
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    Keep a box of scraps nearby for Starters and Enders. When you're ending your last chain piece row, sew off on a scrap. Then, when starting the next, the ender becomes the starter.
    Blessings,
    -Robin

    https://quiltedorchid.com

  13. #13
    Super Member scrappy happy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManiacQuilter2 View Post
    I usually bump my pieces closer together. Why do these problems always happen at the wrong time when we are working hard to get stuff finished!!
    I agree bump your pieces closer together

  14. #14
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    I had the same problem last night. Once I cleaned the bobbin case, it really already looked clean, reinserted bobbin and rethreaded the spool, it worked just fine. Sometimes I rethreaded a few times but it all works out in the end. Good luck!

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    It looks like your seam is getting too narrow at the end. Vi

  16. #16
    Super Member vickig626's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarionsQuilts View Post
    DogHouseMom - I suspect you are right! Thank you, and after supper (and before I throw the machine out the window!) I will take it apart and clean it AGAIN!!

    Thanks very much!
    another thought is try another "new" needle if this problem only recently started. I've had bad needles a few times. DogHouse Mom has some great tips.
    Life's More Fun with a Doxie !!
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  17. #17
    Senior Member johnette's Avatar
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    I had that problem with my Sapphire 870Q when chain piecing half square triangles. I finally figured out when the machine was set for needle down, it happened. When I changed it to needle up, no more chewing up corners. It only happened on the triangle pieces. Go figure. And yes, I was using leaders and enders, it just happened randomly. Very frustrating, but an easy fix.

  18. #18
    Super Member fivepaws's Avatar
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    Use a small piece of fabric to start with then go straight into your piecing. I think it is called a starter. Some people use enders as well.
    All my grand-children have paws.

  19. #19
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    This can also happen when the wrong kind and/or size needle is used. When machine piecing I prefer to use Microtex Sharp or Quilting needles. Unless the fabric is thick I prefer a size 10 or 11 needle. Schmetz web site has great information on needle kinds and sizes. Basically, a fine sharp tip (not ball point) needle will slip through fabric without pushing it into the hole of the sole plate, but some fabrics (denim or chiffon) require specific needles. Learning about needles is a great investment of time that can and will save money. JMHO
    Shirley in Arizona

  20. #20
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    I save all my USED fabric softener sheets...fold them in half, then quarters, then eighths and use them for leaders and enders. The small amount of softener left of the sheet tends to lubricate the needle. You can press them with a cool iron and stack a bunch by your machine for quick use. Using them saves a lot of thread compared to individual start and stop and cut threads on machine cutter.
    Donna
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  21. #21
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    I have read that using the single hole plate instead of the zig zag plate, it helps eliminate fabric getting "eaten" by the sewing machine. I have found that using a small scrap of fabric when I begin with chain piecing helps, also if you put the pieces right next to each other that helps. Hope this helps.

  22. #22
    Super Member mike'sgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blueheavenfla View Post
    I save all my USED fabric softener sheets...fold them in half, then quarters, then eighths and use them for leaders and enders. The small amount of softener left of the sheet tends to lubricate the needle. You can press them with a cool iron and stack a bunch by your machine for quick use. Using them saves a lot of thread compared to individual start and stop and cut threads on machine cutter.
    What a great idea!

  23. #23
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    What stitch length do you all use, when you are chain piecing?

  24. #24
    Super Member quiltedsunshine's Avatar
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    One thing that hasn't been mentioned, is adjusting the presser foot tension -- how tight the presser foot squeezes the fabric.

    I set my stitch length at 2 when piecing, and use a universal 80/12 needle.
    Annette in Utah

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