Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: What is the number one maintenance item on a machine?
Answer: Properly oiling the machine.
Question: Why does my machine skip stitches?
Answer: Timing may be off; the foot may not be holding the work down; allowing it to flag; the hook (or shuttle) may be worn or out of time.
Question: Why does my thread keep breaking?
Answer: The thread has a path it must follow. The path must be clean and free of burrs. Check to see if the needle may also have a burr on it. The hook (or shuttle) is part of the thread path and it may also have a burr or be out of time.
Question: What size needle does my machine take?
Answer: There are thousands of different machines available, therefore thousands of different types and sizes of needles. First look in your book for needle type and style. If there is no book available, look for the old package and find the numbers. Some needles have a needle style stamped on the shank. Size is determined by the application. Always write down the size in a safe place or in the book. Most industrial needles are sold in packages of 100.
Question: Are books available for all machines?
Answer: Many industrial machines only have parts manuals available, older model books may be difficult to get. For home machines it is difficult to get books for non-current models.
Question: What is the difference between a home, commercial and industrial machine?
Answer: Home machines are designed for occasional use. They usually have a motor built into the head, and it contains mostly plastic parts. Commercial machines are designed for the hobbyist or artisan trade. They carry a lot of similarities of the industrial machines, but may have some plastic parts and gears. They are not recommended for a steady 8 hour work day. Industrial machines are designed to withstand constant use, including 3 shifts, with periodic maintenance. They are mostly all steel construction, bearings and bushings. Almost all require an external drive motor usually located below the bench. Some are more sophisticated and include computer control. Many industrial machines have such features as:
1.) Automatic thread trimming top and bottom,
2.) Automatic needle positioning up or down, automatic foot lift, air or electric, automatic backtack, forward tack and automatic oil lubrication with oil reservoir and pump.
Question: What is a chain stitch?
Answer: A chain stitch is the use of 1 or more continuous threads (no bobbin) to create a stitch. The chain stitch can be easily pulled out by pulling the right thread (like a potato bag). Unlike a lockstitch which if broken, will only release 2 or 3 stitches but requires a bobbin.
Question: What is a drop feed machine?
Answer: The feeder (feet) moves the work forward and drops down, returns back in dropped position, and then rises to move forward again. The foot is stationary and only holds the work down. On many machines, a presser roller can be used in place of the foot but it must line-up with the feed.
Question: What is a needle feed machine?
Answer: It is the same as the above, except the needle bar moves back and forth with the feed to give a more positive feeding action (good for multiple layers.) The feed will usually have a hole in it instead of the throat plate.
Question: What is a walking foot machine?
Answer: Also known as a compound feed with alternating presser feet. The machine has the characteristics of a needle feed except it has two feet, an outside foot and an inside foot. The inside foot moves with the feed and needle forward to insure all layers of the material above move with them. When it returns, the inside foot lifts and the outside foot lowers to prevent the work from coming back, when it is ready to go forward again, the inside foot lowers and the outside foot lifts. This action allows it to walk over seams, piping and do more difficult tasks.
Question: How do I Time a Lock Stitch Sewing Machine?
Answer: Most lock stitch machines are timed basically the same.
Step 1. Bring the needle bar down all the way by rotating hand wheel in the forward direction.
Step 2. Using the same rotation, bring the needle bar up 3/32".
Step 3. Adjust hook or shuttle point to center of needle, tighten up hook.
Step 4. Adjust the height of the needle bar so that the hole in the needle is 3/32" below the point of the hook.
Step 5. Adjust the distance of the hook to the needle to .5mm.
Step 6. Make sure that the screws to tighten the hook are really tight.

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