Instructables

sewing machine...help, please?

I'm trying to sew 2 layers of spandex over 1/8 inch of foam rubber.

I have ball point needles that the sewing store recommended. I have the 90/14 needle in the machine.

There is thread above, and in the bobbin. The machine goes through the motions well enough, but wont produce stitches. I also tried running it on a t-shirt, in case the fabric was an issue. Still not working.

So, what might I be doing wrong?
dk

homesoul1 year ago
An oldie but a goodie - for smoother sewing or pinning, run the needle through your hair to oil the metal a bit.
mirror2face2 years ago
With my problem, I contacted the machine manufacturer and got very helpful information.
Toga_Dan (author) 2 years ago
Just to make sure of whether it was lubing the machine that helped, or the new stretch needles, I put the ball point needle back in. It still doesn't work. Neither does the universal needle.

So the stretch needle is the thing. I think it has a deeper groove for the thread.
Toga_Dan (author) 2 years ago
Just to make sure of whether it was lubing the machine that helped, or the new stretch needles, I put the ball point needle back in. It still doesn't work. Neither does the universal needle.

So the stretch needle is the thing. I think it has a deeper groove for the thread.
Toga_Dan (author) 2 years ago
Success! I'm not sure whether the key variable was the new "stretch" needles by Schmetz, or lubing all moving parts (other than the thread)

THX for the advice everyone.
It's probably both. I'm glad it finally worked for ya. :-)
bonnalea2 years ago
Sometimes just re-threading the machine works. If just one section is not in the right channel, stitches will not connect. I have a few different machines, they all thread slightly differently. One miss and my rhythm is thrown off. I sew on many different fabrics and have very little trouble. Shifting seems to be my biggest problem and I know a walking foot is the answer. It is the next thing on my list. Good luck and keep sewing.
Toga_Dan (author) 2 years ago
Success! I'm not sure whether it was the new "stretch" needles by schmetz, or lubing all moving parts (other than the thread)

THX for the advice everyone.
canucksgirl2 years ago
That can be a difficult combination of fabrics to sew. The needle size you have should be fine (as long as it doesn't break easily), but a Stretch needle will work much better than a ballpoint needle. Ballpoint needles simply have a rounded tip (versus a sharp point to prevent damaging the fabric) and are good for knits and some stretch fabrics. A Stretch needle however, has a rounded tip with a different (eye and scarf) design and is less likely to skip stitches (which is more or less what's happening for you). It's also the recommended needle for Lycra (spandex).

Getting teflon coated needles (usually green in color) will help (but they're expensive), so I would suggest buying a silicone based lubricant to coat the needle periodically. Doing so will help it slide through the layers and not get hung up by the rubbery foam (its recommended for sewing neoprene). Its also a good idea to work with some scrap fabrics from your project (in the same layered thickness) to ensure that you have the correct stitch length and tension before you start making a lot of holes in your project. You don't want the threads to be so taught that they break when the fabric stretches, so test this out with your scrap pieces. A slight zig zag stitch uses a little more thread and is therefore more flexible than a straight stitch. Polyester thread is also less likely to break than cotton is. Just remember not to pull on the fabric while sewing (let the feed dogs do their job), otherwise you'll end up with curling and the seam won't lie flat.
Goodhart2 years ago
I have an old machine that does this on occasion. Sadly, the bobbin is not self threading on this machine (I don't know about yours) AND on mine, it can be dropped in upside down i.e. thread facing the wrong direction
caitlinsdad2 years ago
It might be the gripper feed teeth on the bottom are not grabbing the foam rubber underneath to push the layers forward for the next stitch. You can try to sandwich a piece of tissue paper or other thin backing fabric as the stabilizer. Many machines are pretty sensitive to the thread tension so when it snags or drags through the foam rubber it throws the whole stitch timing off. Use a less dense or sticky foam layer? Maybe pull the fabric through as you sew to assist the sewing machine. Good luck.
Toga_Dan (author)  caitlinsdad2 years ago
The foam is in the middle of 2 pieces spandex. Fabric feeds ok. I think it might be thread tension problem. I've now reversed the needle, and it now sews t-shirt material ok, but not the project.
Hmm, you can try to change to a different thread or even put back in the old pointy regular needle. Thread tension adjustment is sometimes tricky on an older non computer controlled machine where you may need to fiddle with the set screws.
Make sure that the presser foot is all the way down, and that the feed dogs are up. If the feed dogs are lowered, the fabric won't move along.

Oh, and check to make sure the needle is in properly - depending on the machine the flat side might need to face a different direction.

If those are both fine we'll have to think of something else. :)
Toga_Dan (author)  jessyratfink2 years ago
Thanks. reversing the needle seems to help. It now sews t-shirt material, but not the spandex/foam/spandex project.
I do hope he has a license to drive a sewing machine. Is it plugged in? Is the thread in the needle? ...

Toga_Dan (author) 2 years ago
fabric moves along OK. needle puts holes in it, it just doesn't stitch. The thread from the bobbin has come up from below, but isn't locking into the top thread.

I'll try that thing about reversing the needle. Thanks Jessy.

Caitlinsdad: I didn't know I needed a liscence. I'm only driving on my own farm!
Toga_Dan (author) 2 years ago
The sewing machine is a "Dressmaker"