Troubleshooting/Frequently Asked Questions
Basic Sewing Tips for All
Always turn the handwheel TOWARDS you (counter clockwise) as turning it in the opposite direction (away from you, clockwise) may knock the timing out requiring repair from a service center.
Always be sure your presser foot is in the DOWN position before sewing. Sewing with the presser foot in the up position will cause your thread to tangle and your bobbin to jam.
Change needles regularly (after 16 hours of use) as dull/weak needles can cause damage to your machine and fabric. Only use SINGER needles on your SINGER sewing machine.
Always be sure you are using the correct bobbin for your machine. Class 66, Class 15 and Class 15J bobbins look very similar. However, using the incorrect bobbin class in your machine can cause damage.
Q. Why is my electronic machine beeping? Why won't my machine sew? Why will my machine start to sew then stop?
A. You may have accidentally lowered the buttonhole lever located just to the left of the needle bar. To make sure it is in the correct position for sewing, place your finger under the lever and push up.
Also make sure the needle is set at the highest position and the bobbin winding spindle has been pushed back to the left.
NOTE: To set the needle at the highest position, turn the hand wheel TOWARDS you, until the needle moves to the highest position.
Finally, push the reverse button a couple of times, this will reset the machine.
If none of the troubleshooting techniques above solved the issue, please contact a SINGER Service Center to have your machine serviced.
Q. How do I sew denim and heavy fabrics?
A. To sew denim, we recommend that you use a SINGER denim style 2026 needle. Using another brand of needle can cause tension issues. You will need to set the machine for a straight stitch with the length regulated between 4 and 5 to allow the thread to wrap around the extra thickness of fabric. You will also get better results if you use the metal all-purpose foot that was originally attached to the shank when you took the machine out of the box.If you want to use top stitching thread, use it in the upper tension only; use regular all-purpose thread in the bobbin.
To sew other heavy fabrics, we recommend that you use a size 16 or 18 SINGER brand needle. You will need to set the machine for a straight stitch with length regulated between 3 and 4. You will also get better results if you use the metal all-purpose foot that was originally to the shank when you too the machine out of the box.
Sew at controlled moderate speed when sewing over multiple layers of seams.
Q. Why is my bobbin not winding evenly?
A. If your bobbin is winding unevenly, it’s possible you have not placed the thread correctly around the bobbin winding tension spring. If you believe the thread is placed correctly, please try wrapping the thread around the tension spring a second time – a common practice among avid sewers.
Next make sure your needle is inserted correctly, pushed as far up in the shank as it will go with the flat side facing toward the back. Also make sure your bobbin is in correctly and pulled into the bobbin case tension (Check manual if necessary). When threading the upper machine be sure to have presser foot raised so the upper tension discs are opened to accept thread into tension.
Now it is time to draw up your bobbin thread.
Turn the handwheel (Toward You Only, never away from you) and hold the needle thread lightly. Tug the thread lightly as the needle goes down and then comes up again. You should see a small loop of thread come up through the needle plate (this is your bobbin thread). Use the tip of a narrow object, like your ripper or straight pin, pull the loop of bobbin thread up, and then pull both threads (top and bobbin) under the foot toward the back of the machine. Place fabric under foot, lower presser foot lever while holding both threads behind the foot, and begin stitching.
If the above troubleshooting tips do no solve the issues, you may need to have the machine repaired for timing. If timing is out, the needle thread is not meeting with the bobbin thread to form a stitch.
Q. Why won’t my machine pick up the bobbin thread?
A. We get this question a lot. Don’t worry…easy fixes below!
First, make sure the bobbin-winding spindle (located on top of your machine) has been pushed back to the left for sewing. If it is not in the correct position, the needle will not go down and pick-up your bobbin thread.
Next, make sure your needle is inserted correctly, as far as it will go, with the flat side facing back. Also, make sure your bobbin is in correctly (not backwards) and that the upper tension disks of your machine are threaded correctly. Make sure the presser foot is up when seating the thread through the upper tension.
Now, it’s time to draw up your bobbin thread.
Turn the handwheel (TOWARDS YOU ONLY, never turn the handwheel away from you) and hold the needle thread lightly. Tug on it as the needle goes down and then comes up again. You should see a small loop come up through the needle plate (this is your bobbin thread), using the tip of a narrow object like a pencil or scissors, pull the loop up and then pull both threads (top and bobbin) under the foot and toward the back of the machine.
If the above troubleshooting tips did not solve your issues, you may need to have your machine repaired for timing. If the timing is out, the needle thread is not meeting the bobbin thread in time to form a stitch.
Q. Why is my machine skipping stitches?
A. Skipped stitches can mean one of two things: needle issues or disrupted timing.
First, your needle may be dull or damaged and needs to be replaced. You should also check that you are using the correct needle for the type of fabric you are sewing. For example, knit and synthetic fabric requires a ballpoint SINGER needle (style 2045). Next, check the needle is inserted correctly. The needle needs to be pushed as far up the needle shaft as possible. (It’s easy to insert the needle half way, clamp it down and think it is inserted correctly.) Also, the flat part of the needle should be positioned towards the back. If the needle is not inserted correctly, it will not be able to pull up the bobbin thread and will cause skipped stitches.
If the trouble shooting tips above did not correct the problem, please take your machine into a SINGER service center. It is possible the timing on the machine has been disrupted and needs to be reset.
Click here for the SINGER Needle information.
Click here for the SINGER Service Center near you.
Q. Why is the thread looping/bunching under my fabric?
A. Are you using a SINGER brand needle? Are you using the bobbins that came with your machine?
Thread looping under your fabric is usually caused by not threading the upper tension correctly.
With the presser foot lever in the UP position and tension set at 4, follow the threading guides/graphics on the top of the machine.
Place the thread spool on the spool pin and secure with a thread spool cap.
While holding the thread with your right hand, use your left hand to take the thread down into the tension channel around the bottom and up the other side. As the thread comes up the opposite channel, and reaches the top, you will need to slip the thread from back to front into the take up lever. Continue to thread the machine, but do not thread the needle.
PRO TIP: Before threading the needle, perform this easy test to make sure the upper thread is threaded correctly. Making sure the presser foot is raised, pull the thread. It should pull easily. Now lower the presser foot, the thread should now resist when you pull it. There should be a significant increase in the tension of the thread. If there is no increased tension, the machine is not threaded correctly.
Watch this VIDEO on threading a sewing machine.
Q. Why is the thread looping/bunching on top of my fabric?
A. Thread looping on top of your fabric signifies that your bobbin is not inserted or threaded correctly.
For Front Load Bobbins:
For full instructions on how to properly insert your front load bobbin please:
Check out this illustrated guide.
Watch this VIDEO on inserting a bobbin.
PRO TIP: The bobbin tension is pre-set at the factory and usually never needs adjusting. However, if the bobbin is threaded properly and the problem still persists, remove the bobbin case and adjust the screw on the side of the bobbin in small increments. Adjust as needed until loops disappear.
For Top Drop-in Bobbins:
For Full instructions on how to properly insert your top loading bobbin please:
Check out this illustrated guide.
Watch this VIDEO on threading a sewing machine.
Q. Why doesn’t my stitch pattern match what is on my machine?
A. Different stitch patterns require different stitch lengths in order to sew correctly.On a mechanical model, a decorative stitch such as a crescent of bead stitch will require the Stitch Length dial to be set at a smaller number (between 0.5 and 1.5). Continue to decrease the Stitch Length until you obtain the desired effect. If your machine has Stretch Stitches, you may need to set the Stitch Length dial to the "S" setting to obtain the stitch you want.
On a mechanical model you will also want to make adjustments to the stitch width (most mechanical models allow for adjustment). You may achieve the best results if you set the Stitch Width dial to the highest number.
Q. How often should I oil my machine?
A. Good question! If your machine manual does not include instructions on oiling, your machine has been pre-lubricated at the factory and will not need additional lubricating. However, on a drop in bobbin model, you can put 2 to 3 small drops in the center of the hook area. Some models have a 'wick' that will absorb and distribute this oil down into the machine. You can add 1-2 drops of oil on the needle bare area. For any electronic model, make sure not to drip any oil on electronic components.
If your manual does call for you to oil the machine, and you use your machine every day, we suggest that you oil once a week. If you use your machine once a week, lubricate once a month. If you only use your sewing machine once a month, lubricate once every three months.
We also recommend that you have your machine tuned-up by a qualified SINGER technician every 2 to 3 years to keep it in good running order.
PRO TIP: If the machine has not been used for several years, we recommend a tune-up, just like you would do if you had not used your car for a long period of time. Lack of activity or movement will cause the lubricant to dry out and using the machine at that time can cause parts to break.
Q. What types of thread should I use?
A. Household sewing machines are designed to be used with regular all-purpose sewing thread. This thread can be purchased from your local sewing or fabric store. Most all-purpose thread is 100% polyester. If you are quilting, you can use cotton thread.
You can occasionally use a heavy duty thread or buttonhole twist. However, using this type of thread constantly will eventually damage your machine’s tension. If you do use heavy thread, be sure to use a appropriately sized needle (size 16 or 18) and increase the stitch length.
Occasional use of mono-filament or invisible thread is sometimes desired depending on the project. However, using this product constantly may eventually wear a groove in the thread path.
Q. I can't see the take-up lever?
A. The take-up lever on newer machines may not be visible above the top of the machine. When threading your machine, first turn the handwheel toward you until the needle is in the highest position. This places the take up lever at its highest position so it is ready to receive the needle thread. thread the machine going down the thread path on the right side, then around and back up to the take-up lever. Make sure to go all the way up, then make a U-turn so that the thread pulls into the opening on the back of the take-up lever. Then, thread down the left thread path toward the needle thread guide. The lever is basically self threading and no longer requires you to place the thread through the eye. At this point you can do a small tug to ensure that the thread has been pulled into the take-up lever, and then thread the rest of the machine.
Please visit www.Futura-Support.com for embroidery troubleshooting tips.