My Controlfreaks swaps are OUT THE DOOR baby!
I'm so happy...I had major swapitis, I'm tellin' ya!
And I almost ran out of ribbon....I was trying to sew a few shorter pieces together so I could use them and messed up my Janome Sew Mini!!! It jammed and the gears ended up slipping out of alignment. So the top thread would no longer pick up the bobbin thread.
I wondered how God could be so cruel...I just had started using this thing again and now it was useless! USELESS!! I put it in a corner and glared at it. Bleh. I fixed the ribbon by splicing it with Sticky Strip, but I was still upset about this machine. But it was not God's fault, it was my own dumb fault for trying to force the machine to go past its abilities. But after I had gotten over my initial fit of pique, I decided that I could fix it if I really tried. And I did.
Chances are there are a few of you out there with a similar problem. You can't take it to be fixed because the bench fee would be almost as much or more than the cost of the machine. If yours is like this and is now gathering dust in the corner, I can tell you how to fix it. But it takes GUTS and a very short screwdriver.
I DO NOT GUARANTEE that this will fix your machine. But chances are it will. And if you don't want to chuck this thing in the dumpster, it's worth a try, right?
First, you need to rule out other possible problems before attempting this.
- Make sure you are turning the wheel the right way. If you are like me, you've misplaced the instruction booklet for your machine and don't use it often enough to remember stupid details like this. For some weird reason, the wheel on this machine turns backward when the machine runs...so turn the wheel backwards with the machine fully threaded and see if the top thread gets carried around the bobbin properly.
- Check to make sure that the bobbin is in correctly. It should be place so that the thread is coming off counterclockwise. Make sure that you pull the bobbin thread into the notch where the arrow indicates and to the left. For some great videos on threading and using this machine, look here.
- Check to make sure your needle is in the right way. The screw that holds the needle in is on the right side of the needle. The flat side of the needle shank goes towards the back of the machine. If yours is turned around, put it in the right way.
- Also make sure your needle is not bent. If it is, replace it.
However, if none of these fixes works, try the following:
First, UNPLUG THE MACHINE. Really. Nothing like having your hand in the machine and stepping on the pedal by mistake and finding out what a world of pain really is.
And grab a flashlight. Because if you are like me, you end up dropping the screws, the bobbin, the camera card you are using when you are taking pictures, in short EVERYTHING, ON THE FLOOR. Sigh...just call me Butterfingers.
Then, you have to take the face plate that goes over the feed dogs and the bobbin race. There are two screws, one on each side. Because there is no room to unscrew these with a standard screwdriver, you may have to get creative. Somewhere, I have a stubby screwdriver that would be perfect. But like all tools I buy for MYSELF, somehow, they end up being appropriated by some OTHER PERSON who shall remain nameless and they get absorbed into THIS PERSON'S toolbox. Or in a drawer somewhere.
I ended up using a funny little tool one of my kids bought my husband at the Santa Shop that has different screw heads that you pop into it. I used one of the heads and a Robogrip to turn it to get it to loosen, the just turned it with my fingers to unscrew it Worked a treat!
Make sure that the needle is up all the way. You will have to life up the presser foot to give the plate enough room to lift over the feed dogs.
Then you lift out the bobbin carriage, making careful note of how it goes back in.
Take a picture with your phone if you have to, so you can remember. Don't ask me why I advise this...I understand that OTHER people have problems with their memories and I'm just trying to help!!!
Now...what was I talking about again?
What's left inside of the machine there is the part of the bobbin race that catches the top thread and pulls it around the bobbin and catches the bobbin thread. There is an opening with a hook in the side of this thing. If you turn the wheel backward it will rotate, and that opening with the hook should be right behind the needle when it is fully down into the base of the machine. If not, the gears have probably slipped past each other during a jam in the machine. The gears are made of plastic (what did you expect for less than $100?), so they do slip past each other under duress. Luckily, you can use this to your advantage when fixing it.
So, the fix: Now reach in with your left hand and grab that thing that rotates and hold onto it like grim death. Now turn the wheel FORWARD hard until you hear a click. This is the horrible sound of the gears popping past each other. You may have heard this sound when you were sewing and chills will race up and down your spine at the horribleness of it. Take heart. You haven't broken it.
Now, turn the wheel BACKWARD and watch to see if your top thread gets carried around the bobbin race. If it doesn't, you need to repeat the above process until it does.
Once it does, you need to put the machine back together, but only put in one screw. You need to have that faceplate on while you try out your fix because it keeps the bobbin carriage in the right place. While you have basically aligned the gears, they need to be precisely aligned for it to work properly.
Plug the machine in. Try sewing on a piece of cardstock. If it jams, STOP and don't try to go further. Free the cardstock from the machine and look at the back. If it's a loopy mess, you need to UNPLUG THE MACHINE, take the machine apart again, and repeat the grab, turn, and click process one more time. Do this until the machine is stitching perfectly.
Now your gears are in alignment and you should be feeling much better about life, the universe, and the fact that the $60 machine you thought was toast has been restored to life and health. And then you can send me chocolate to thank me.