Brand new sewing machine....top thread jamming underneath.help please!?

I bought a bernina activa online so can't go instore for help. I've played around with tension, checked both threads a million times and the manual doesn't offer any help. I put black thread in the top and white in the bottom to see what the problem was, and every time I sew it jams after a few stitches but also any stiches it sews on any setting look ok on top but underneath, it is all a big tangle of huge amounts of the top thread. The bobbin thread is just lying in a straight line with all these loops of black top thread around it. This is my first sewing machine and I don't know what else to check. The manual is pretty useless as far as troubleshooting, it's about as much use as windows help. I know the machine settings should be ok because when the machine arrived it had the bobbin thread inside and there was a scrap of fabric with perfect stitching on it under the foot so it had been tested and works. I've tried turning the spool and bobbin to go in opposite direction but nothing has helped at all. If anyone can tell me what to do please I would really appreciate it! Oh and... no need to tell me to ask someone or get lessons. I just want a bit of help with this particular problem as I have just got my new sewing machine and can't even try it out yet.

Thanks

Update:

If it is tension: I've tried changing the top thread tension. I think the bobbin feels like like it is dragging more than the top thread and there doesnt seem to be any tension at all in the top thread even putting it on a higher tension. the manual isn't hugely informative but im 99% sure i have it threaded properly. I have tried investigating to see if i missed anything in the threading but i dont know how else i could thread it!

Update 2:

And it's the same thread top and bottom just different colours and i have tried 2 bobbins, one that came with the machine already wound and one i did myself on the machine and there doesnt seem to be a problem with them. i've turned the bobbin around and tried threading it the other way around, basically fiddled around with it and nothing has made a slight bit of difference.

4 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Betcha you're threading with the presser foot down. It needs to be up so the top thread actually enters the upper tension (you can put the foot down to thread the needle!). That causes loops of the upper thread along the underside of the fabric.

    Compounding this, I bet you're not starting the seam correctly, hanging on to the tails of the upper and bobbin thread. That produces wads'o'thread on the underside, typically at the start of the seam.

    So, let's start from scratch -- unthread the machine, top and bottom, and dig out your manual.

    Thread the top, using the manual to go very step by step. **Make sure the presser foot is in the "up" position** and "floss" the upper thread into the tension disks. Thread the needle and leave about a 3" tail.

    If you've messed with the upper tension, set it back to "4" -- that's the normal tension setting for most fabrics, most seam types.

    Load the bobbin into the bobbin case, and pull the thread into the bobbin tension. Leave a couple inches of "tail".

    Fetch up the bobbin thread by holding the tail of the top thread and using the handwheel to lower the needle into the bobbin case, and then back up again. You should see the bobbin thread pop up when you pull on the top thread's tail. (Be sure you're turning the handwheel the correct way -- the correct way is the one that would cause fabric to feed from front to back (watch the feed dogs!). )

    Each and every time you start to sew a seam, do it this way:

    1) Place the fabric under the needle, presser foot up.

    2) Using the handwheel (remember to turn it the right way!), lower the needle into the start of the seam.

    3) Drop the presser foot.

    4) Use the handwheel (right way, please!) to make a couple of stitches while you hold the ends of the bobbin and top thread firmly behind the presser foot.

    5) Drop the thread ends and sew.

    For your first seams, practice starting them about an inch in from the edge of the fabric. Until you learn to control the fabric well, sometimes the fabric tends to get sucked down into the bobbin case are when you start to sew on the edge.

    If this doesn't help, you probably need a hands-on teacher. If you know anyone who sews, they can probably spot the problem immediately. Otherwise, start calling around to sewing machine dealers, and asking about taking a "guide class" with a machine you bought elsewhere. Normally dealers provide a "how to do the basics" class for free with machine purchase from them. Many will also let you take a guide class for a small fee, or you can book a half hour or hour's worth of time with a private teacher.

    Source(s): 50 years of sewing
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  • 1 decade ago

    Bernina is a top quality brand and as it's new it will be under guarantee. Why not look on the website or on your guarantee certificate for details of who to contact when things go wrong, so you can get help with the problem? Sewing machines are lovely to use when they are working properly, and I'm sorry your new one is causing you such frustration. When I got my new machine last year, I had what turned out to be a very basic problem just because I wasn't used to it, and the local agent for my brand sorted it out straight away.

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  • Sal*UK
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Its the bobbin tension.

    Do you have the same weight thread top and bottom?

    Is the bobbin wound correctly and in the sleeve the right way round?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Commiserations on your obvious frustration. Hopefully this thread (no pun intended) may help:

    http://www.sewingmachinetech.com/tension.htm

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