Monday, February 06, 2012

Tension Headaches (me vs. the sewing machine)



I've been working on this pink dress for Kate. It's almost done now, but I did have some trouble getting started.

We have this Brother CS6000i sewing machine that Doug ordered online about a year and a half ago. He used it to make his doublet, and didn't have any trouble with the machine, but when I tried to use it I just couldn't get the tension right. (Fortunately I started on some test pieces rather than right on the skirt.)

With the tension all the way down on 1, the top thread was really tight and the bottom stitches looked like they were staggered, one to the left and the next to the right of the center line. Turning the tension up only made it worse. I had a feeling the problem was with the bobbin, but couldn't figure out how to adjust it. (It's a drop-in bobbin--it turns out there is a case, but it's just a little harder to get to.)

I looked online and found some comments about a lot of people having tension problems with this machine. I decided to take it down to Quality Sewing and Vacuum and see what they could tell me. (Sandi Pickering from church is the manager there.) A very nice lady helped me out. When she popped off the bottom plate it was all full of red doublet-lint. She got that all brushed out, and adjusted the tension on the bobbin for me, and helped me pick out a better thread. The thread that I was using was "polyester covered polyester," which may have been making the machine unhappy. Apparently anything that says "covered" is undesirable. I did not know this.

With these various ministrations, the machine performed much better, and I was able to get the skirt pieces sewn together without further difficulty. I got that all done and then sewed the skirt onto the crocheted bodice. When Jill Tracy assembled the autumn dress for me, she just seamed the skirt and bodice together on the wrong side like regular fabric. On this one I put a picot edging along the bottom of the bodice, so I decided to top-stitch it. I just sewed carefully in the ditch between two rows of crochet stitches, and then did another line on the next row up, for added security. It seemed like it worked really well.

With the kitchen table being our only work-space we have to shuffle things around for projects and eating.  I have also borrowed the neighbor's ironing board.  It's up against the back door.  We make do!

9 comments:

Amy Sorensen said...

I can't wait to see the finished product on Kate! With my machine, I have to take off the plate that covers the bobbin and vacuum out the lint...EVERY time I replace the bobbin I do this or the tension gets off. It works...but I do wish I could have a really, really nice sewing machine!

RollerScrapper said...

Tension is always hard to adjust! I have also had less problems now that I buy guterman quilting thread, but I also have more experience now, so it may just be that.

micki @ ADD housewife said...

glad you got it fixed! the wrong needle can also mess with things like that!

UnseasonablyWarm said...

At least you can sew and know how. I'm always having ideas with projects, but have to beg to have someone help me with the sewing part. You go girl!

scrappymo! said...

That looks so cute. You will have to post a pic of her wearing it!

Lara said...

I want to see the finished project!

I've been sewing a lot of American Girl doll clothes lately and am finding my machine does not like working with such small scale items. Still trying to figure it out.

Mary said...

It's going to be such a pretty dress!

I have to the lint out of my sewing machine after I finish each project or the thread bunches up underneath as I sew.

Quality Sewing & Vacuum said...

We're so glad we were able to help with your machine! We're also looking forward to seeing the finished dress.

Mimi said...

I had to ask my mom what the tension was :)