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Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

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    Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

    I've been struggling with my 1960's white Featherweight.
    I kept having issues, so I bit the bullet and had it fully serviced. He oiled, cleaned and replaced the belt. It was pricey, but I really want to have a solid steady workhorse to do my main piecing.
    I pulled it out the other night and BAM, right back where I started.... I'm begining to think my issues were from the USER not the machine.

    What I'm having issues with is that the threads don't 'flow' out when I pull a piece away after sewing to cut it loose.

    They catch, they won't come or they break. Then it gets jammed up and the needle won't come up either and breaks the thread.
    .
    Could I have it threaded wrong? Could I have the bobbin wrong? (I did pull it apart and re-did it all checking diagrams... the equivalent of re-booting the computer, using diagrams to make sure I did it right)

    Or do I need to find a specific needle up sweet spot that it doesn't catch? I've gotten spoiled with my modern Brother stopping with the needle up. I'm trying to learn to turn the needle to up before I flip up the foot. Is that my mistake?
    It's frustrating me and makes me not want to sew. Boooo....

    #2
    Re: Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

    Try sewing onto a scarp of fabric instead of cutting thread between each piece. The white ones are slightly different that the black and tans if I am not mistaken but I am still pretty sure they thread from right to left. Be absolutely sure you don't have a piece of thread caught behind the bobbin.
    There is a facebook page for featherweights with loads of info provided by April's 1930s you might enjoy.

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      #3
      Re: Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

      Never roll the handwheel the wrong way when lifting the needle.

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        #4
        Re: Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

        Ooooooo yes, what shirleyknot said.....shudder, been there and don't want to go back!!!!!

        If you don't have a manual for it you should be able to download one off the net or at least find a threading diagram to ensure you are threading the right way. And make sure your needle is inserted the right way. Check that your bobbin is seated correctly..a slightly skewed placement or a bit of thread or lint interfering with the bobbin placement can cause angst. Also, I know it sounds a bit weird but one of my vintage singers only likes her work pulled out in a certain direction...maybe that could be the problem.

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          #5
          Re: Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

          When I first got my featherweight, I also had problems. Turned out that I had put the thread I always us on my bobbins on its bobbins...Superior's Bottomline. It did not like the thinness of that thread. A friend who works on them told they were not made to use that type thread back in the day and once I changed to a thicker thread, she works like a charm!
          pat.

          No rain....no rainbows!


          sigpic

          If you can't be nice.....BE QUIET!

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            #6
            Re: Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

            Several machines I have had over the years have a "sweet spot" for pulling the thread out. When you find it, you'll know it. And make sure the pressure foot is up.
            Just out of curiosity, folks, what happens if you turn the wheel backwards? Is this referring to a full rotation backwards? Or even the slight turn for needle height adjustment?

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              #7
              Re: Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

              Originally posted by bubba View Post
              When I first got my featherweight, I also had problems. Turned out that I had put the thread I always us on my bobbins on its bobbins...Superior's Bottomline. It did not like the thinness of that thread. A friend who works on them told they were not made to use that type thread back in the day and once I changed to a thicker thread, she works like a charm!
              I use bottomline in mine but had to adjust the tension on the bobbin case to make it work right.

              Another thing that might help the OP would be to use a tread stand unless you are using a spool of thread straight wound the old way. A cross wound thread needs to come off the top of the spool rather than turning on the spindle.

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                #8
                Re: Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

                Originally posted by Snip Snip View Post
                Several machines I have had over the years have a "sweet spot" for pulling the thread out. When you find it, you'll know it. And make sure the pressure foot is up.
                Just out of curiosity, folks, what happens if you turn the wheel backwards? Is this referring to a full rotation backwards? Or even the slight turn for needle height adjustment?
                A very slight turn backwards you can probably get by with, but some of these grand old girls will tangle bobbin thread at approaching quarter to half turns. They HATE it when you do that.

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                  #9
                  Re: Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

                  Since you just had it serviced why don't you call the shop, explain the problem, see if they can help. My regular machine is in the shop and I borrowed a FW from a friend; I am sure loving it and teased her that I am not giving it back. She says she only used it twice in 15 years...but her DH won't let her just give it to me because he thinks it might be worth money. (She said if not for that she would just let me have it for free. Darn!!) Good luck!

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                    #10
                    Re: Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

                    Originally posted by shirleyknot View Post
                    A very slight turn backwards you can probably get by with, but some of these grand old girls will tangle bobbin thread at approaching quarter to half turns. They HATE it when you do that.
                    Been there, done that! Great advice, Shirley.
                    A day patched with quilting Seldom unravels Sharon

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                      #11
                      Re: Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

                      Wowzers. DebbyDE3 was right. You guys are awesome.

                      I'm feeling slightly better that it might be some finesse needed instead of me being a total idiot.
                      You guys gave great suggestions.

                      Ok, I'm a lefty so I might have threaded some things L to R on accident. I'll fix that. I'm pretty sure the machine is totally clean since I hadn't sew anything since I got it back from service. But I'll make sure that I didn't mess it up with my antics.

                      Turning the wheel... highly possible I accidentally turned it the wrong way. I'm gonna make myself a note and stick it on there to make sure I'm only going the correct direction in the future. I think turning it frontwards and backwards in the same fell swoop probably caused the bobbin tangling issues.

                      I am using Gutterman thread. Which is cross wound I believe. AND I did watch a video on the correct bobbin winding process and I missed the tension disc on the bottom, so I could have a goofy bobbin loaded. I'll re-do that.

                      All that other advice mixed with the 'Sweet spot' makes a lot of sense.

                      I'm actually looking forward to trying things out again soon.

                      THANK YOU.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

                        Originally posted by Snip Snip View Post
                        Several machines I have had over the years have a "sweet spot" for pulling the thread out. When you find it, you'll know it. And make sure the pressure foot is up.
                        Just out of curiosity, folks, what happens if you turn the wheel backwards? Is this referring to a full rotation backwards? Or even the slight turn for needle height adjustment?
                        My 301A is very picky. The take up lever had to be all the way to the top before you can pull the thread out to cut.
                        Patrice S

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                          #13
                          Re: Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

                          Originally posted by Snip Snip View Post
                          Several machines I have had over the years have a "sweet spot" for pulling the thread out. When you find it, you'll know it. And make sure the pressure foot is up.
                          Just out of curiosity, folks, what happens if you turn the wheel backwards? Is this referring to a full rotation backwards? Or even the slight turn for needle height adjustment?
                          Yes. When done sewing, grab threads with two fingers of left hand, while turning wheel slightly towards you. You will feel when the bobbin thread becomes 'free'. Stop rotating handwheel at that point, and pull out as much thread as you want.
                          These little gals have tight tolerances, and the bobbin carrier has to be in the right position to allow you to freely pull out the thread.

                          If you rotate a FW backwards, be prepared to raise bed, and remove bobbin and any resulting tangled threads.
                          Last edited by PrettyCurious; November 5, 2016, 07:27 AM.
                          Pieced By Me! :icon_wave:

                          Pre-cut Yardage Chart

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                            #14
                            Re: Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

                            HA HA......some people just need more Yankee strong arming to join the Forum. Welcome Mary! All the advice you've given me since I started...well.....now you get advice from some of the very best quilters across the world!!!
                            ~ Debby

                            It's my life, it's now or never. I ain't gonna live forever. I just wanna live while I'm alive. It's MY LIFE!"

                            Jon Bon Jovi
                            :icon_hi:

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                              #15
                              Re: Featherweight headache.... probably self-inflicted??

                              Hi there - you may want to have a look at www.featherweightshop.com. its a fantastic site for all things featherweight with lots of helpful videos and documents. It tends to cover black FW more than white but there is still a lot to see! Good luck!
                              Laura

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