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Thread: treadle tension

  1. #1
    Senior Member ruby2shoes's Avatar
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    treadle tension

    Any tips for an absolute novice about to throw her newly acquired treadle out the window if I don't get this tension right? I have had to take the top tension unit apart to replace the take up spring and clean a gazillion years of gunk off everything, and likewise the shuttle tension screw and spring. Now, I'm pretty sure I've got everyone back home where they belong but man.....I just cannot get the tension right! Here's a picture of my top stitching...it doesn't matter how much I loosen the top tension, I still get the funny little corners happening. Am heading for the red wine as we speak!Name:  IMG_4664 (Small).JPG
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  2. #2
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Your top stitching looks to be a bit tight.

    You didn't say what model machine this is so I'm going to use the SWAG method.

    First, go here to TFSR and read about adjusting tensions:
    { http://www.tfsr.org/publications/tec...machine_manual }
    They have very detailed instruction on how to R&R, clean and fix tensions.

    Second, check under the spring on the bobbin case or shuttle. It can get dirty under there, then the bobbin tension won't be right and the top will be too tight. Once the bobbin case is totally clean run the tension screw in until it stops then back it out a turn. Put a full bobbin in it and thread it. Then hold it by the string and let the bobbin case with bobbin hang. If it just falls away it's too loose. If you give the string a little jerk the bobbin should fall away a bit.
    When pulling the thread you should feel just a bit of resistance, but not much.

    When I have a machine that's being obstinate I usually find that when I get the bobbin right the top will fall into compliance pretty quickly.


    Oh, and be careful if you do toss it out the window, you might sprain your back.

    Joe

  3. #3
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    That TFSR site is wonderful.
    Muv also has a lot of info on her videos and her website.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...v-t167789.html
    check all of her videos her website is on her signature:
    Muv
    http://www.lizzielenard-sewingdesigns.co.uk
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Muvandfarve?feature=mhee
    http://www.lizzielenard-vintagesewing.blogspot.co.uk
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  4. #4
    Senior Member ruby2shoes's Avatar
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    Thanks Miriam and Miller...had already found these sites. Am getting nowhere...if I loosen the top tension to eliminate the little grabs on the corners I then get the appearance on the underside stitching that the needle thread tension needs tightening. Am really frustrated as I think it must just be my ineptitude but unfortunately I don't have any friends who sew that can help and the sewing machine technician I use is not familiar with treadles. Anyway, the old girl is far to heavy to whack in the car and take to anyone. I may have to just be happy that I have cleaned her up and she looks nice and not worry about using her to sew. Back to the Janome...with my tail between my legs!

  5. #5
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    ruby,

    If you are not too frustrated, perhaps we can do the next best thing to having a "sewing friend" nearby... if you can take a few key pictures, Tensioner, bobbin, shuttle, race area etc. It could be as simple as the bobbin is in the wrong way and the thread is coming out backwards... or something like that.

    Either way, it will get more eyes on the issue and perhaps a solution will present itself.

  6. #6
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    When you are working on tensions it takes patience. Generally I take it apart, clean it and re-assemble it. I sit there with the page from the book - I enlarged it. Carefully follow the instructions. Then do the same with the bobbin shuttle. Adjust it like Muv says. It may need some clean up, too. After all that, it may or may not be the tension. Some times a bit of dried up oil in the tension or a thread race can make things not run smooth. Some times a burr somewhere - hook or the needle hole. A bad needle or the wrong needle or the needle in wrong for the machine can mess things up. A bobbin wound wrong or a bobbin out of round. So many things. You may need to pm with Joe some time as you work on it.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  7. #7
    Muv
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    Senior Member Muv's Avatar
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    Hello Ruby,

    Yes, it can be frustrating.

    Looking at the stitching, either your bobbin tension is too loose, or your top tension is too tight, or it's a touch of both.

    Double check to make sure that you have reassembled the tension discs properly after cleaning. There are photos on my blog which you might find helpful.

    Next, do the shuttle dangle test, which is explained on my video about adjusting the tension. If you need to tighten the screw on the shuttle, only do a fraction of a turn at a time.

    If you post some pictures of your machine, in particular a close up of the tension discs, I might be able to see if there is anything that doesn't look right.

    Good luck - don't give up! The red wine will probably help.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ruby2shoes's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone...have been unable to get any good pics of the "innards" of this blessed machine but as luck would have it , today I drove down a road I don't normally use and found a sewing shop. I went in and the lovely lady gave me the phone number of someone who, in turn gave me the phone number of someone who works on treadles.....he lives 10 minutes down the road from me and I'm taking the machine to him tomorrow morning. He is happy to look at it for me and teach me how to do the tension properly. yay! Over the phone he suspects it may be a problem with my shuttle....can't wait for tomorrow to come......in the meantime...where's the rest of that bottle of red! Thanks everyone for all the encouragement and links and I'll report back about the outcome....once I stop blushing about my "novice-ness"!

  9. #9
    Senior Member ruby2shoes's Avatar
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    p.s......finally got the bolt thingys loose so I could separate the head from the cabinet and iron work. Phew.....that makes things a lot, lot lighter!! Fits in the boot of the car now!

  10. #10
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    I fought with setting the tensions on a machine for a long time once, and the top thread was still too tight even when backed off to "0". I finally noticed that the thread was wrapped around the spool pin under the spool.

    CD in Oklahoma
    "I sew, I sew, so it's off to work I go!!!"
    ThayerRags Fabric Center
    http://thayerrags.com/

  11. #11
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThayerRags View Post
    I finally noticed that the thread was wrapped around the spool pin under the spool.
    x2 Been there done that!

  12. #12
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThayerRags View Post
    I fought with setting the tensions on a machine for a long time once, and the top thread was still too tight even when backed off to "0". I finally noticed that the thread was wrapped around the spool pin under the spool.

    CD in Oklahoma
    I've done that, too. So frustrating.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  13. #13
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Me three. I've actually gone to the effort of making widgets to prevent that from happening with certain types of thread spools.

    Joe

  14. #14
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Me three. I've actually gone to the effort of making widgets to prevent that from happening with certain types of thread spools.

    Joe
    I wants ta see the widgets...
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  15. #15
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Hey Joe show a pic of the widgets. I want to see them to
    Skip
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  16. #16
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    OK, here be da widgets.

    The short one for short spools:


    The tall one for taller spools:


    They keep the thread from wrapping under the spool by keeping the thread heading up.
    The tall one has a hollow bushing made from dowel rod inside the spool to keep it centered.

    The only thread these don't work with is the C&C, Gutermann, and Sulky slick slippery embroidery thread in the those funky little tapered spools. That thread is so slick it just falls under no mater what.

    Joe

  17. #17
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Joe, one looks like a spray can cap - what is the other one?
    I betcha that is why I was having trouble sewing the other day - the stupid spool was not working on any machine. You can move those widgets from one machine to another!!!
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  18. #18
    Senior Member ruby2shoes's Avatar
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    Rightio...first things first....I do like the idea of them there widgets...gonna make me some of them thingys.

    So I took poor treadle to this really nice bloke who it turns out, is a 3rd generation sewing machine man. It took him just on an hour to get the tension sorted so as sure as God made gooseberries, there is no way I would've ever got it right. Problems included: 1. Grit and gunk stuck along the groove the needle slides down once it is under the plates. This was deflecting the needle causing scratches and grooves along the shuttle which in turn was fouling the thread on its' little journey. The shuttle, as suggested to me in a previous post, needed to be smoothed and polished to allow clear travel. 2. Upper tension spring was stretched out of "round" and was impeding the screw being able to travel effectively along the split pin to alter tension.
    Once these 2 issues were addressed my wonderful, wonderful, newest best friend was able to get the tension right...man he worked so fast and so confidently, tweaking here, a quick tweak there, back and forth, back and forth until at last the clouds parted and the sun shone! I watched him like I was trying to learn brain surgery..reckon I'll stick to the Janomes' tension....mmmmm comfortable territory there, but I certainly found the whole process fascinating. And now my dear treadle is holding court in my loungeroom looking just beautiful and content!!
    Last edited by ruby2shoes; 03-07-2013 at 02:35 AM.

  19. #19
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    It is wonderful that you were able to have it fixed by such a knowledgeable person!!!
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  20. #20
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Miriam,

    The widgets are made from the measuring caps on detergent jugs. Just the right diameter. I cut the short one so it would work better with the shorter spools. I think I have 3 or 4 of them right now.

    Joe

  21. #21
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    ruby2shoes,

    So now that you have your treadle up and running what are you going to make with it?

    Joe

  22. #22
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Great idea Joe I am going to make me some now

    Skip
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  23. #23
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    I've got a modification idea for it, but I won't say anything about it until I know it works.

    Joe

  24. #24
    Senior Member ruby2shoes's Avatar
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    Hi Joe,
    Next step is to get the footwork perfected so lots of practice without a needle in, then moving onto needle with no thread and "sewing" and then the real thing. Want to be really confidant at using the treadle properly before actually doing any sewing. The grand plan is to sew some keepsakes for my grandchildren so they have something made on their great great grandmothers' sewing machine.......thought some nice girlie or blokey cushion covers would be a simple starter project for me and something the children could happily toss on their beds. Would like to progress to more involved items as she has come with a heap of attachments I would like to become proficient with.

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    What a great idea!!!

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