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Computerized Sewing Machines

gogojojo | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I have a Singer 9910 computerized machine (about 5 years old) with 60-something stitch patterns and an alphabet. Sometimes I can sew a word and it turns out fine. I can then sew the same word a second time and it looks totally different (i.e. letters spaced out differently, not completing curved letters), even though I’m using the same fabric, stabilizer, etc. My question is: how can there be variables in a computerized machine? Shouldn’t the stitches be 100% consistent? It’s driving me crazy! Is it just my machine? It is my first computerized, and I’m beginning to wonder if I spend more $$ will I necessarily get better results?


  1. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #1

    Even with proper stabilizers, the fabric still shifts and pulls and buckles slightly as it is stitched. Each time you do it, it does this slightly differently, giving the stitchout a slightly different look. I have run hundreds of golf shirts through a commercial machine, and this happens, even with the most up to date programs and machines.
    If your stitching really counts, make sure that you are hooping the fabric correctly, and the same way. Even a slight difference in the tension in the hoop on the fabric will change the stitchout. Make sure that you are not distorting the fabric when you hoop it. Also make sure that the threads are running freely, and you have a good needle in your machine. Differences in stitching out can show that a needle is knicked, bent or worn out. If the fabric is heavy, they wear sooner. A needle should be changed after every 12 hours of sewing time. If the stitching is really inconsistent, even after double checking all of this, then the problem is with the machine. Sometimes with some lettering, esp. the finer ones, you have to sew them out at a slower speed to get clearer lettering. Hope some of this info you find useful. Cathy

    1. gogojojo | | #2

      Thanks for the tips. My machine isn't an embroidery machine, so I haven't even been using a hoop. Just kind of barely guiding the fabric with my hands. I will try the hoop thing and see how it goes. Thanks! And thanks for talking me out of spending more money on a new machine! Jo


      1. gailete | | #3

        I suspect Cathy is talking about using a hoop with embroidering names in the embroidery mode and you are using the decorative stitching alpha-bet that came with your sewing machine. Two different animals. I doubt that the hoop would help although no harm in trying. I have only had Janome machines that I have used the decorative stitching alpha-bets and I get consistently the same or near same look with each stitch out.

        Be sure your fabric is stabilized. I do know in my manual there are suggestions if your stitches are coming out incorrectly and what to do. Have you checked your manual for this type of information. If you have and have done what it suggests, then a talk with your Singer dealer might be in order if you have one. If your manual doesn't mention what to do with uneven stitch outs, let me know and I will get out my manual and tell you what janome suggests (not necessarily will it work or will there be the same things to adjust).

        I hate it when stitches don't work out right as you don't like messing up your project.


      2. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #4

        OOOOHHHH no, I didn't mean to talk you out of a new machine! tee hee hee. Gail is right, the stitches that are programmed into a machine, and are sewn out like fancy stitches are another animal altogether.
        Again, the problem here could be the movement of the fabric as it goes through the machine. As you are guiding the fabric, the least little sway or jiggle can distort the line of stitching, giving you an uneven stitchout. There can be movement between the stabilizer and fabric layers as well. Sometimes as the fabric is guided through the feeddogs, your hands may be on top of the fabric, adding drag or pull to the material as well.
        As you are stitching out in an area, the fabric sandwich compresses as you stitch. If you are stitching out something rather long, or multiples, the fabric pulls in slightly, rippling. If you then sew over an area that has these gentle ripples, it can cause the stitches to be uneven. It is more apparent if you are stitching in an area that is held down, in say a circle or banner. Even with all the advances in automatic thread tension on our machines, sometimes you still have to adjust the tension a little looser on top. Make sure that the top thread is showing by 2/3 on the underside when you do a stitch out sample. Some people like that no bobbin thread shows on the bottom. I find that this causes my machine to bunch the fabric too much, even if the thread tension is considered loose. You need a good balance to get a good stitch. Cathy

      3. MaryinColorado | | #19

        It may also help to starch your fabric and press it well. 

        I hope you are using polyester or rayon 40 wt. machine embroidery thread rather than sewing thread.  The sewing thread is likely too heavy and possibly too knappy for lettering. 

    2. Betakin | | #5

      gogo..hopefully you will find the reason for this problem and correct it BUT..a few years ago I treated myself to my first computerized machine..a 9910..and guess what..I had the same problem. I did not notice it with the alphabet but it happened over and over again with deco stitches. They would suddenly vary in size, including width and also density. This happened in less than a month of ownership and on a regular basis and had me baffled. The pressor foot lever also had a lot of play as if it were broken and the computer also developed a problem so I decided to return the machine to the dealer.

      I did try to take the machine back within 2 mos. to the dealer where I purchased it and he said he no longer carried the 9910. I asked if I could trade up to another model..and he said he no longer carried any of these models. This dealer has been in business for a long time locally and still is. I also purchased an embroidery machine from him the same time that I purchased my Singer plus I also purchased an Elna coverlock from this dealer.

      I did go to another dealer and traded in the 9910 for another brand and took a loss and got half of what I paid for the 9910. I have now owned several computerized machines for several years and one mechanical and have never ever had the problem that I had with the Singer 9910. I wish you better luck with your 9910 and hope to learn that you fixed the problem.


      1. gogojojo | | #6

        Wow...thank you for that! I thought maybe I was doing something wrong. I've always suspected it was the quality of the machine. On paper it seems like such a great machine; so many features for such a low price. But I guess you get what you pay for, right? Can you recommend a machine with similar capabilities?  Maybe there is something I can get used for about $500.

        1. Betakin | | #7

          Maybe this problem that both you and I have experienced with the 9910 is only an adjustment that needs to be made on this particular model and might be an easy fix by a tech. I hope so.  I really loved that machine till it started having problems plus I had given away my other machine that I had for years to one of my married daughters when I purchased my 9910 and the 9910 was my only machine. I was so disappointed when the problems started.  I did not find out what caused the problems back then with my machine because the machine did develope multiple problems that needed fixing and the machine had only been lightly used because I was still working and purchased it as a retirement gift to myself.  When sewing the screen would suddenly say to put the foot down..and it was down. The arm on the lifter always did appear to be loose and I think that was causing some of the trouble. I have since checked the lifter arm on new Singer models at some stores and their lifters also seem to be loose, so it might be the way the machines are made.

          If you do get a new machine, I think it is alway best to try out different machines in person to see which is the best one for you and your sewing needs but I think that the Janome made Sears Kenmore machines offer some of the best features for the price and cost less than the similar machine with the Janome name on them.  Janome also makes machines for other brands including Elna machines.  Brother makes Babylock and both have similar machines that are nice with the Babylock machines being a bit more expensive than the Brother. The Swedish made Vikings are sturdy with lovely features and new but discontinued models can now be purchased on line for a lesser price. Some of the newer model Vikings are no longer Swedish made but I believe the top models are still made in HV Sweden.

          The machines I now have never have disappointed me. I have a mechanical Pfaff and 3 computerized machines of different brands  (Viking, Kenmore, and Brother Innovis Quilt Club) and each has it's own special features that I use for different projects and tasks. I suggest to check out the different brands websites plus the on line machine reviews and discussions at PatternReview and hope you get to try out different models and brands of machines in person. I still hope your 9910 can be fixed though.


          Edited 6/17/2009 1:55 pm ET by Betakin

          1. Cindy_Lynn | | #8

            Hi! I'm recently new and have just been lurking, but this thread caught my attention. I had a similar problem while doing a shirt for my husband a few months ago. This wasn't a alpha stitch-out, but was computerized (duplicate images on the same shirt). I talked to one of the ladies at my local Bernina store and she suggested I use 2 layers of stabilizer, rotating the layers a 1/4 turn from each other. When I tried this, it worked like a charm. This might be a way of identifying if the problem is with the machine or the stability of the project in your case as well.
            Cindy Lynn

          2. Betakin | | #9

            That is a good suggestion but in the case of my machine it was the machines problem. Adjusting foot pressure, using the right needle for the fabric also helps. I usually do the same type of sewing work and have never had that problem ever in a machine or since..and I used to sell machines. I don't know the mechanics of computerized models but know a bit about mechanical models and i did know know that my machine had more than one problem.  It was a wonder..just suddenly changing width and density while deco stitching after running well with no problems for several minutes on the same fabric.

            Something that still makes me wonder..I did purchase this machine from a local dealer..then months later saw it offered at Hancock's but the machine looked about 1/2 -3/4 the size of the one that I had. I did a double take..and yes it was a 9910 and it seemed of a cheaper grade plastic exterior, plus I paid more than double the price for mine. This 9910 that appeared "MUCH" smaller seemed to have pointy sharp corners and my machine was so smooth and rounded. I was wondering if the machine I was looking at was a "knock off" but maybe it did not have problems LOL. I don't know if it really was a smaller version because my 9910 was quite large and larger than a couple of machines I now have. When ever I have seen these Quantum models now offered on line, I wonder if they are big or small like some of the newer Brother models..some are quite small and I own a large Brother. I did think my 9910 was so nice till it went bad. I was really disappointed but with it going bonkers..led me to getting the machines I know own and with them I have not one complaint in the years that I have owned and used them..and they sure get used a lot.

    3. rekha | | #10

      Even with proper stabilizers, the fabric still shifts and pulls and buckles slightly as it is stitched. Each time you do it, it does this slightly differently, giving the stitchout a slightly different look

      Are you describing a teenager?

      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #11

        HA HA HA hee hee hee. Yes, it does sound like a typical teenager, doesn't it? Glad to see you back lately. How have the hands been? Been able to do any sewing lately? Cathy

        1. rekha | | #12

          My hand surgeon was a very handsome, tall, dark man. More to the point his surgery resulted in total lack of pain and no sticky, itchy stitches, but very substantial reduction in functionality. What good is a pretty looking hand with hieroglyphics?

          On the sewing front, I have finished reconstructing the lining for my daughter's coat. It was a Topshop coat with a back vent. The lining gave substantial clues with placement notches, but the vent was a b**ch. Went to boutiques to look at the construction of back vent for clues, but would you believe it they don't sell such coats any more because they cost lots to make.

          I had a lot of help though from reading the tailoring book by Allyne Bane (1917), and by Liberty (1927). You don't get such illustrated details in modern books at all.

          The fabric of the lining is cotton with a grand name of Tivoli purple curlique (Makower) which matches her wool aubergine coloured coat. I know the fabric is not as slippy as satin which the coat originally had but she liked the photos I sent her.

          1. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #15

            I love the fabric! It is really striking.
            Too bad the hand surgery was not as successful as hoped. I see it hasn't slowed you down too much. I hope that with some physiotherapy, your hands will improve more. Hand surgery is such a delicate thing...Cathy

          2. MaryinColorado | | #20

            That fabric is lovely.  I hope your hand function will improve, are you getting physical therapy now?  Glad to hear the pain is relieved!  You sound determined to overcome all obstacles and strive to be the best you can be.  You have a great positive attitude too.  Good luck on that coat vent too!  Mary

          3. rekha | | #24

            My hand is not too good in  terms of pivoting around the 'base' of the finger. When an xray was taken it was found that a bone growth towards the index finger is stopping extende movement. Will go for surgery again and I bloody hope that they get it right - our sewing projects don't come out like that, do they?

          4. MaryinColorado | | #26

            I'm sorry to hear that you need surgery!  My prayers to you for a successful surgery and quick and thorough recovery!  I can understand your frustration.  Mary

          5. rekha | | #27

            Thank you Mary. I know you are also riddled with osteoarthritis; for me it's crunch time.

          6. Ceeayche | | #28


            I wish you continued healing with your hand.  And, I hope you enjoy your second go round with your yummy surgeon!

          7. rekha | | #30

            definitely ;)

    4. gogojojo | | #13

      Update: I got a new machine! It's a Brother Project Runway PC-420, with tons of stitches. All the review I've read were stellar, so I'm pretty confident this one won't be a lemon. I will repost after I've had a chance to test all the stitches. Thanks for your input, everyone!

      1. gogojojo | | #14

        By the way, does anyone wanna buy a wonky-stitching Singer 9910? Heh!

        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #16

          He he he, if the regular stitching is still ok, at least you have a backup machine????? Have fun with your new machine! :) Cathy

      2. MaryinColorado | | #21

        wahoo!!!  Congratulations on your new machine!  What fun! 

        (for those specialty stitches, sometimes an embroidery needle and machine embroidery thread will give you better results too.)

      3. Ceeayche | | #29

        I LOVE YOUR STYLE.  It ain't working right so out it goes!  Treat yourself to a new one.  Bet that attitude keeps your honey in line!

    5. MaryinColorado | | #18

      You always give such excellent thorough advice Cathy! 

  2. MaryinColorado | | #17

    Is your sewing speed consistent?  If your machine has "cruise control" this may remedy the problem. 

  3. Teaf5 | | #22

    While I agree with the other posters about stabilizing the fabric with stabilizer or a hoop, I have a different model computerized machine, and the computer resets itself every time it shuts off.  Thus, I have to punch in the specifications each time I pick up the project again.  Could that be happening on your machine?

    1. gogojojo | | #23

      Update: I've had a chance to test my new machine (Brother PC-420PRW) on several projects. I love, love, love this machine! If I could marry it, I would! Ok, now I'm just being silly; of course I would only marry a Pfaff.

      It does absolutely everything you can imagine, and it does it well! The stitches are very consistent. There's a knee lift, automatic thread cutter, needle threader (that works every time!), hundreds of built-in stitches, and you can program your own stitches too! I was also amazed at how well it hemmed blue jeans, and went right over the seam effortlessly.

      I don't know how I put up with my old machine for as long as I did. Thanks for your advice, everyone!

      1. Betakin | | #25

        Congratulations on your new Brother. One of my machines is also a Brother (different model)  and I tell ya, I do love the auto cutter, and the knee lift and threading at just the pressing of a button. I have 4 machines of different brands and find I use this machine the most because I enjoy  the ease of sewing and the many feet that came with it. It has also handled everything that I have asked of it. I hope you continue to enjoy your machine for a long time to come.


      2. jemima1 | | #31

        I have been looking to buy a machine for my daughter and myself to share. She basically would like to sew and I would like to sew and do some embroidery. I know she will also after sewing. I looked at a brother LB6770 PRW project runway and also one that had Disney characters. I liked the idea of how it connected directly to a computer. This is all new to me and I do not want to make a mistake when I purchase - I have approx. $500. to spend. Also looked at Baby Lock but they were more expensive and they did not show me a machine that compard to the Brother above. I will check out the Janome but they sound like they would cost more yet. Any suggestions? I also mend and sew jeans so I need a machine that can handle all weights of fabrics. Thnaks

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