Friday, August 31, 2012

Sewing Machine Repair And Serger Threading

Threading a serger can be a challenge. 

While some people have difficulty threading regular serging machines, the serger expands threading issues if for no other reason than it adds multiple threads instead of just one.  Without thread there can be no serging.   Thread is an essential.  The serging machine uses thread to attach fabrics together. 

Some say it looks weird. It certainly does not look like sewing machines.  Since the introduction of the home serger, users have complained about just how hard it is to thread.  With multiple threads, needles, and strange looking gismos, it not only looks complicated, it is.  It not only feels like you have to twist and turn just to thread it, it does.

The other threads are drawn up through the thread rack, down through thread guides, through the tension assemblies, and then through either the lower looper or upper looper.  Caution: avoid tangling threads.  Often the user thinks the machines requires professional help like sewing machine repair.

The ordinary  sewing machine makes locked stitches by drawing the upper thread down while the hook wraps it around the bobbin thread.  In a serger, however, the hook and bobbin are replaced with a lower and upper looper.  The needles pull the threads from above through the fabric.  The lower looper picks up the needle threads and draws  the to the right.  Then the upper looper picks up the needle and lower looper threads and moves them back to the left around the stitch finger.  This produces a wrap around or over locking stitch.

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Improper threading creates calamity.  Slight variations in threading occur from one serger to another, but the basics are essentially the same.  Always read and follow the user manuals instructions precisely. 

Elna, Brother, Viking, Bernette, Necchi, and many other brands of sergers are available today.  There are many configurations and models, but generally there is strong similarity in their threading.

So, how do you thread a serger?  Begin by lifting the presser foot.  This releases the pressure on the tension assemblies and make it much easier to thread them.  Find the thread that will be used by the upper looper. Bring it up through and over the thread rack.  Bring it down and through the thread guides on the machine.  Some machines have the thread woven through a couple of guides. 

Make sure the thread slips between the tension discs.  Some sergers will have surface mounted tensions that are easy to tell when they are properly threaded.  Others encase the tension in the front cover.  Just make sure the thread is properly seated in between the tension discs.  Of course, this cannot happen unless the presser foot is up.

Serger tension is a common source of problems.  Not only is it essential to properly seat the thread between the two round tension discs, the tension must balance with multiple threads.

Lifting the presser foot  before you start thread, releases the pressure on the tension assemblies making it easy to thread them.  Make sure each thread is drawn through the tension discs and held firmly in position.  If the presser foot is down, the thread (can|may|will ride along the edgeof the tension discs instead of flowing through them properly.  The solution is: lift the presser foot lever when you begin threading, and keep it up until  you thread the needle.

Proceed with threading the remaining thread guides and thread the upper looper.  This can be a bit of challenge requiring tweezers and the ability to stand on your head in some cases.  Then thread the lower looper followed by the needles.

When you reach the needles, draw  the thread through the serging machine take up lever, and back down through any remaining tension guides to the eye of the needle. 

Double check the tension  with the presser foot still up by slightly tugging on the end of the thread.  You should feel very little friction.  Now release the presser foot and try again.  You should find significant friction now.  You can double check each thread the same way just to make sure that the thread is properly seated in their appropriate tension assembly.

If a needle breaks, unthread the entire machine, and rethread in proper order.  If you need to change colors or thread spools, cut the thread just above the thread cone.  After setting the cone in place, tie the new thread to the original thread using a very small knot.  Gently advance the set of threads by slowly serging or by rotating the hand wheel until the tie off has passed beyond the thread finger.  Take special care when the knot reaches it guide hole.  This technique may be used for all or any one of the threads including needles and loopers. 

Rethreading is the first course of action when serger stitches mess up.  There are many possible reasons that threads break and stitches jam up. Examine the thread line for anything that might cause the problems, but essentially your first step is to rethread.

There is an exception to this threading system in the advanced jet air threading system of the Baby Lock sewing machine.  Baby Lock originated the home serger in 1964 and has led the market with advances and features unparalleled by any other brand.  The Baby Lock Imagine and Evolve sergers use an advanced devices that thread the serger by a simple press of a lever.  They use an advance thread management system that makes traditional tensions obsolete.  They may also be threaded in any order.  If a thread breaks, it is unnecessary to rethread the machine.

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