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Sewing neophyte slowly learning

June 14, 2021 — BarryK

What has plagued my sewing so far, is thread getting caught up in the bobbin area, and a rats nest of threads on the underside of the fabric.

Today I watched a couple of videos that have resulted in significant improvement:

Singer 4411 Heavy Duty 12 Tension Test:

Singer 4411 Heavy Duty 13 Holding Threads When Starting to Sew:

Following the instructions, I found that the tension setting is the culprit. I had it set just above "4". Changing it to just below "4" did the trick.

Incidentally, I am now using Guterman Extra Strong thread from Spotlight:

No particular reason for changing from the lighter thread, except that it looks good.

And as before, a sharp/microtex 80/12 needle:

Another problem occurs when do a back-stitch at end of a line of sewing. The Singer 4411 has a lever, press that and then the foot lever, and sewing will go back. It is normal practice to do this at start and end of a line, however for me it results in messed up threads on the underneath of the fabric.

The hint I got from watching the videos, is, when get to end of a line, wind the wheel at right-side of sewing machine counter-clockwise, until the needle is up and the metal part comes up out of the top of the sewing machine, to it's highest level. That completes a sewing cycle. Then hold down the reverse-lever and sew backwards.

Not quite sure about that last paragraph, have to experiment some more.

EDIT 2021-06-15:
I have gone back to using standard Guterman thread from Spotlight, which is, I think, called "sew all" thread in some other stores.

Reason is, I cannot stop thread bunching underneath the fabric when sewing webbing onto the fabric. I messed around with tension setting, tried both walking foot and standard foot, to no avail.

Back on the "sew all" thread, with tension setting just on "4", it is working reasonably well. Still not perfect, sometimes get small loops at start of a line of sewing, and when reversing. But much better than the mess I was getting with the "extra strong" thread.

One of the things that annoys me about Spotlight, is they often give inadequate specifications. See the above link. I determined from reading elsewhere what kind of thread it actually is. 

EDIT 2021-06-16:
I mentioned above about finishing sewing with the lever sticking above the sewing machine. This video shows what I mean:

"Singer 4411 Heavy Duty 20 Take Up Lever in the Highest Position"

...she calls it the "takeup lever".

She advises to do it at the end of a line, before lifting the foot and removing the fabric.

But see in that video, she got to end of line, held down the backstitch lever momentarily and did a quick back-stitch. Didn't bother with getting that takeup-lever at max height.

So I still have the problem of some looping underneath the fabric when back-stitch. Forum member williwaw has suggested that I might need to adjust the bobbin tension. Will read up on that.

EDIT 2021-06-16:
Hey, she -- her name is Sara -- does have a video explicitly on back-stitching:

"Singer 4411 Heavy Duty 16 Reverse"

Interesting, she sews in reverse at the beginning. And does it real fast, like she doesn't even take her foot off the floor pedal.    

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