Beginner ques: My backstitch doesn't seem to lock the stitches

bayareafrancyFebruary 15, 2009

Hi all,

My 7 year old son and I are learning to sew together (he just loves it--I see a future tailor in the family).

We are using my mom's old 1965 Singer Touch and Sew 603. It was seldom used by her, and was given to us with all the original parts. It spent a little time in the shop b/c the bobbin wasn't working properly. But it works pretty well now for straight stitching (the zig zag isn't working right, but oh well).

So here's the problem: backstitching doesn't seem to lock the stitches at all. When I come to the end, if I only backstitch once and then cut the thread, pulling on the end to trim it will pull the stitches out of the fabric.

So I have been backstitching repeatedly. I come to the end. Reverse about 5-6 stitches. Forward again. Reverse again. Forward again. Reverse again. Cut. If I pull on the thread, it will still start to come loose, but I figure that with all that overlapping stitching, it would take a while for it to all come loose.

Any ideas about what is going wrong here?

Thank you!



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First off, congratulations on beginning this great adventure of sewing and in such great company. Many of the posters here have taught or are teaching younger ones the "how-to's" of sewing. Your machine is a favorite of many of us here who own the great "T&S" machines. If the machines gears are metal, it is a keeper compared to some of the plastic wonders on the market today. As to your question, I am wondering if your tensions are with the bobbin and thread tensions and see if that helps a bit. I always reverse the same number of stitches and it works fine for me. When I suggest playing with the tensions, make note of what seems to tighten the stitches snug without making puckers in the fabric. How many layers of fabric and the kind you are using will have to be considered as well. You have your machine and parts - and hopefully the book......check the book - mine came with a troubleshooter chart at the end and see if anything there will help. You could always take it back to the shop and just ask for a quick look and suggestion on how to improve your problem. If you begin your conversation "I just had a chance to work with the machine since getting it back from you and I find "whatever problem" is happening......anything you can thnk of to help?" One of my favorite solutions and it has worked for me countless change the needle. So let us know how you get on.......have fun with your son and do enjoy yourself. A friend of mine found a pattern for frogs and starfish - l piece pattern you cut two of - and her son was sewing up felt "critters" as his first items. They used felt and cut with pinking shears using two colors - back and front and decided to use two threads so her son would see which was the bobbin thread and which was the spool thread. The results were very good and he learned how to turn the fabric and follow the seam guide. Have fun. Budster

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 7:25PM
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If I read you right you only backstitch one stitch? The backstitch option is only that. There is NOT a locking mechanism there. Try backstitching at least 5 stitches then sew forward over backstitched threads to edge. That should self-lock your threads. (Practice on scraps....hint!)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 9:04AM
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You know how one can have nagging back pain for months, finally make a doctor's appt, and then the day you go find that your back isn't hurting the day of the appt? Or the day you go in for a new hairstyle, your hair looks really nice?


After posting, I gave the backstitching another try. And it seems ok. There is still a little loop of thread sticking out (from the bobbin), but it doesn't go anywhere when I pull on it. It just makes a loop stick out on the other side. Pull on that side, and the bobbing tightens again. Back and forth.

But, either way, the fabric is staying together. I'm really scratching my head here. I did reinsert the needle, and adjusted the tension (though I can't adjust the bobbon tension. I don't think I can anyway.).

Thank your for the encouragement and advice!



    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 4:14PM
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One other thing that will affect how well the backstitching holds is stitch length. Most people sew with a stitch length that's really too long. Shorten it up until it's about 12-15 stitches per inch for normal sewing.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 1:35PM
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