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MJTX

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Had an interesting problem with the recently acquired 15-91. It wasn’t picking up stitches.

Here’s the story…I had taken the motor off and wanted to convert it temporarily to a treadle until I get the motor rewired. I had tested the machine’s sewing capabilities with a hand crank last week and it sewed just fine. I put on the new aftermarket bobbin winder, put it in the treadle, plopped a spool of thread on there, threaded it up and….uh oh…it would sew a couple stitches and then just no stitches were locking. Re-threaded, checked needle/thread orientation, checked bobbin, checked tension, etc. Still no go. Changed the needle, changed the bobbin, repeat trouble shooting. Nope. Got serious and took the bobbin assembly apart to check for goo or thread bits. Nothing.

At this point I’m thinking….does the machine just not want to be a treadle? Is it offended by the Alphasew bobbin winder?? What the heck is up? Visually checked the timing…looked good. Consulted internet and the hive mind said it’s really unlikely to have timing issues with a Singer 15 without a catastrophic event. All I did was to add a bobbin winder and put it in a treadle, not very traumatic.

Puzzled a while, checked everything again… and that’s when I noticed I had threaded it with a spool of Sulky fine bobbin thread instead of the standard Coats and Clark All purpose. (the spools look very much alike). So I switched the top thread to the slightly heavier regular thread and voila! Everything was fine. Doh.   

Later in the day, I tried it again with the finer Sulky thread on tip and same result: skipped stitches.

What’s weird to me is this …should it have mattered that the top thread was finer? The sulky bobbin thread I had on the top was 60wt and Singer thread needle chart in the manual lists thread as fine as 100 and 150 silk or cotton. The thread in the bobbin was standard 40 or 50 wt. Coats and Clark. I was using a no.12 needle, so it wasn’t huge. And I had re-threaded the upper thread several times before I noticed I had finer Sulky thread on the top, so I don’t think it was a threading error.  This just seems odd. Anyone else have trouble with fine thread on a Singer 15? Am I missing something?

MJ in TX



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White Rotary Treadle, Singer 15-88, 15-91, 127, 99K, 223, 306K, 403, 404, Dressmaker 2400, White 445 & 967, Nelco SZ-207, Kenmore 158.840, Monarch 15 clone, Foley's 910.
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Mickey

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Reply with quote  #2 
I have had similar cases with very soft thread, the type used for overlock stitches (reasonably priced, and has a bit of fuzz compared to the very smooth clean Gütermann sew all thread). Sulky bobbin thread is a speciality thread, it can be the explanation.

I haven't had problems with embroidery threads though. There might be some things that can improve on the situation; clean behind the needle clamp, go through every groove, corner, nook and cranny with a tooth pick just to make sure, use a finer needle size. If the thread is very soft, it can misbehave when forming the loop when the two threads are interlocking. It's the upper thread that forms the loop and it has to be just so for the hook to pick it up and take it a turn around down there (or half turn on the 15).

The old straight stitchers are usually very adjustable when it comes to threads, and model 15 is use for free motion embroidery, so I guess there's hope.
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MJTX

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you Mickey, good to know it's not just me! Like you said, the classic straight stitch machines are normally so forgiving, the problem surprised me. Sulky bobbin thread is pretty soft, and yup I've had trouble with fuzzier threads on some machines, or the springy metallics or rayon threads. I felt kinda silly when I discovered I had used non-standard thread, but it was a good reminder to use regular reliable types of thread when test sewing. 
I've started making notes in my manuals if a particular machine likes or doesn't like a certain non standard thread with the hopes it will prevent confusion down the line!
Hmmm, just out of curiosity, I think I'll go thread up my other 15 with the sulky thread and see if does the same thing

All the best,
MJ

Edited to add: yup, the problem was the softer Sulky bobbin thread, I just threaded up the other Singer 15 and it did the same thing. However, the 99K with its 66 drop in bobbins didn't care, it made stitches okay with the Sulky thread on top. 

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White Rotary Treadle, Singer 15-88, 15-91, 127, 99K, 223, 306K, 403, 404, Dressmaker 2400, White 445 & 967, Nelco SZ-207, Kenmore 158.840, Monarch 15 clone, Foley's 910.
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Mickey

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Reply with quote  #4 
I think it was my 201 that acted up with the soft overlock thread. I can't remember the brand of the thread, but I remember the shop where I bought it. I just took a spool of thread near the cash register just to stock up on black and I still have it. I know it is the softness of the thread, because I have used even thinner Coats sewing thread on my 201, and there was never a problem. The fuzzy black thread is the only thread my 201 ever has misbehaved with, and I have used all kinds of low priced bargains as well as the more expensive stuff. I've used rayon threads for effct, top stitch, cotton, polyester, Coats, Mettler, Gütermann, Aurifil, generic stuff in lots, large cones, regular spools,...
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Cari-in-Oly

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Reply with quote  #5 
At my sewing group we were discussing this a while back. Some machines just don't like some threads.

Cari

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