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Mojo Thwarted

2014 March 20
by elizabeth_admin

I am dying to sew up another t-shirt but I didn’t want to risk it with my serger eating up fabric left and right.  I took it in on Tuesday for new blades to a nearby sew/vac store in Encinitas.  It had good reviews on Yelp.  When I picked it up on Wednesday, I brought my offending fabric in to test the serger out on.  The chewing problem was still there.  :/

To be fair to the repair shop, when I brought my machine in, all I said to him was that I needed new blades and he said he would replace those and clean the machine.  I didn’t mention the specific problem I was having as I was fairly confident that new blades and new needles would fix it.

But they didn’t fix the problem.

I took a short video of what happens when serging, in case anyone can point me in the right direction.

The problem seems to happen after the fabric passes and is cut by the blades and before it reaches the needles.  The fabric juts out to the right and causes skipped stitches.  It doesn’t break the thread, only skips stitches.  And just for reference or proof, I checked the seams on Jack’s baseball shirt I made a couple of weeks ago using this same fabric, and there was no problem at all  with the stitching.  It’s even, no chewed fabric and no skipped stitches.  I’m really at a loss as to why this is suddenly happening and mostly only on this fabric.  I tried serging some black stable knit fabric and it wasn’t perfect, but almost.  No problems at all on woven fabric.  Granted the green knit fabric is fairly unstable, very stretchy with little to no recovery, so I assume it is a trickier fabric to sew/serge.  But my machine could serge it fine two weeks ago and now it can’t.

I took it my machine back to the repair shop and he is going to look into it further.  I hope he can fix it.

*fingers crossed*


13 Responses leave one →
  1. Annie permalink
    March 20, 2014

    I am sure you have checked this since it is so obvious. When my serger starts cutting up (did not intend to pun), the first thing I check is the threading. It amazes me how a correctly threaded serger can come up mis-threaded. And how often. I actually hate mine and it was expensive and is in excellent condition. Probably because I rarely use it!

  2. March 20, 2014

    I’m fairly new to serging, but if you don’t have any problems with wovens, isn’t it pointing towards the differential feed?

  3. March 20, 2014

    I own a serger and other than a few practice runs I am scared to death of it. I always end up at my conventional machine with a stretch stitch. Threading it seems so complicated and those little knives cutting away at fabric that I might need later if I have to make an adjustment to the seam.

  4. March 20, 2014

    I would remove all the thread cones, run some floss through the tension disks (not waxed!) and re-thread the machine. I’m pretty sure this has to do with tension, not the blades.

  5. Miriam in KS permalink
    March 20, 2014

    Also check that the needles are in correctly and not inserted too high or too low in their seatings. Or one or both of them could be bent or dull or…..

    Good luck!

  6. March 21, 2014

    Not an expert but it looks like there is a problem in the tension. I’d check for a stuck thread in the tension disks.

  7. March 21, 2014

    One more vote for Peter’s recommendation. Not sure what type of serger you have, but your problem looks similar to one I had on my Babylock Evolution last year. Turns out that I had a small bit of thread lodged in the thread path. Good luck.

  8. Jacqui (DementedKiwiDiaries) permalink
    March 21, 2014

    Hi my overlocker did this and I did all the above to no avail – changed to a stretch overlocker needles and all was well. Now I keep note of the hours each needle does and change frequently.

  9. Claire Ramsey permalink
    March 22, 2014

    If you need another repair/visit to the repair service, try La Mesa Sew and Vac – a bit of a drive from Encintas but they know what they are doing! (Although if memory serves, the guys who work on machines @ La Mesa S&V also work on machines somewhere in North County).

    Good luck!


  10. Sue K permalink
    March 22, 2014

    New needles should do the trick. I would also rethread. If you add a strip of seam tape or even tissue paper to give it a little more substance to grab that can also help.

  11. Julie permalink
    March 22, 2014

    I just happened to get an email today advertising this Craftsy class on serging. I thought of your issue and maybe you could find out something in the class.

  12. Beth permalink
    March 23, 2014

    I agree with Peter. When my serger does this, it is almost always the threading and or thread tension. I pull everything out and start over, change thread cones, and re-thread, starting with the one the direction books advised to start with first. On my new Serger it is the upper looper . Good luck.

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