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What am I doing wrong?! Needle breaking on serger!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Please help sewing mamas! I am so frustrated I could cry. I got the guts to finally thread my serger - whew, that was an ordeal! - and have been trying to complete my first diaper on it. I did lots of practicing on scraps of my leftover stretch terry from diaper to try to get the tension just right. I thought the tension looked okay finally - but I am new to serging, so really, who knows - and so tried to serge my soaker pad - a 3 layer oval shaped pad with 2 layers of the stretch terry (cut up old baby bath towel) and 1 layer of microfiber towel. Everything was going okay for the first bit, but pretty soon into it the machine was sort of doing this siezing up thing, sounding like metal hitting metal and the needle would not want to go down (the left needle). I was able to sort of ease it manually down using the hand wheel. It would feel like it was barely squeezing through. I couldn't figure out what was wrong and was trying to finish serging the soaker so I could get it out and inspect underneath. Big mistake to try to finish - the needle broke. So after much hassle, I was able to find and insert a new needle...only to immediately break a SECOND needle! But luckily this time I was watching really closely and saw what is happening, although have no idea why or what to do differently. What appears to be happening is the upper looper is passing *between* the needles and breaking that left needle from behind (it should just pass in front of both needles, right? But it is passing in front of the right needle and behind the left needle).
I have to figure this out and get some diapers made - I have spent so much money on this serger and fabric, and now my poor baby is getting red marks on his thighs because his current diapers are too small! I just want to cry, I'm so frustrated - can someone please help me figure out what I'm doing wrong?
Thank you!
post #2 of 10
I have never used a serger, but hugs to you. Someone here will know what to do.
post #3 of 10
Sergers are tricky to thread. I would say you probably have it threaded wrong. Take it back to where you bought it and have them teach you again. I had to do that. Mine has this little diagram and it turned out I wasn't catching the thread in this one place where there was hardly a bend in the line on the diagram.

I totally feel your pain. I have been there more than once, including having the repair techs lecturing me for calling the machine a piece of s*** and using language like that in their shop. If they would have had any idea how much I had struggled with the thing much less what I really wanted to call it, they might have been a bit nicer on that account.

I'm sure it has something to do with how you've threaded it. You need to start over completely with all of the threads or you may never get it right.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Checked the threading...it is threaded correctly. It was serging one layer of fabric beautifully - my practice pieces. It was only when I started serging 3 layers that it had problems.
post #5 of 10
have you oiled it? Please, please, please, try oiling it. Mine seized because nobody bothered to tell me that it needs a TON more oil than a sewing machine...until they wanted me to pay $200 for the "repair" of THEM oiling it for me! GAH! Try it. That, being sure to use a universal needle, and making sure it's threaded properly should all be great helps!
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
How often do you need to oil a serger? Should I need to oil it so soon? This is my first project on it. For good maintenance, how often would you suggest? (Maybe in terms of projects vs. time )
Thanks for the suggestion - I wouldn't have thought to oil it yet. I will try that.
post #7 of 10
Switch to a Jean needle. you will find that helps a lot!!! you also might want to lengthen the thread stitch a little check your tension on a scrap that is that thick. ( note this advice is from someone who just got her serger and broke 3 needles making her first diaper yesterday)

The sew shop told me to switch to jeans needles and it worked GREAT!!!
post #8 of 10
It sounds to me like the tension on one of the spools was too much and pulled which would cause the tip of the needle to slightly bend. If the needle is bent even a little too much you will have a metal on metal sound. I have been making diapers out of all kinds of fabrics and had to make tension adjustments for thicker doublers made with terry and sometimes fleece too.
post #9 of 10
The guy who charged me an arm and a leg to oil my machine for me told me that it should be oiled a minimum of the equivalent of once per garment, and if it sits idle, to oil it a minimum of once a month. Soooo, yes, perhaps the tension is off on a spool (I have issues with that ALLLL the time, so I'm finally getting to that serger class that they give with the machine for free...after two years!), but in my overcharged opinion, throw some oil in there. Can't hurt!
post #10 of 10
I might have figured out your problem as I was having the same one. I rethreaded my machine and then read my manual...lol I am bad that way. It suggested that the fabric might be migrating into the looper. I put the cloth guide on and Voila no more problems. I did have to play with the tension a bit on test cloth but I am wondering if you might want to try either a different needle ( sharper or smaller read your manual) or try using the cloth guide. If you solve your problem please post.
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