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felt problem

espalier | Posted in General Discussion on

we (wife and i) are making a felt toy for our 3 month old
adorable child.

our machine is not locking the bobbin thread,
we are sewing through 2 layers of felt.


  1. HeartFire2 | | #1

    the first thing to check is to make sure your machine is threaded correctly and that the bobbin is in the shuttle the right way.I hope I'm not being offensive if this is too simplistic, but you don't say how advanced or not you are in sewing. Beginners often will have the machine threaded wrong.The needle needs to be in in the correct position - and this will depend on the brand/style of the machine,And, I assume by your saying its not locking the bobbin thread that its not catching the bobbin at all so it's not making a stitch. If the problem is something else please explain better

    1. espalier | | #2

      the machine is set-up properly.
      the problem is the needle will intermittently fail to
      "pick-up" the bobbin thread.i can ask and answer questions about trees and wood much more concisely than
      any kind of needlecraft.

      1. Josefly | | #3

        Strangely, the needle size might also be a problem. Make sure you have a large enough needle to go through the thick two layers of felt, and use a larger stitch length. I've forgotten the logic behind the needle size, but it's something like this: it has to make a hole large enough in the fabric to give the thread room enough to maneuver and catch the bobbin thread below. Also, too thin a needle may bend a little as it moves against the heavy fabric, throwing off the exact placement of the needle under the throat plate where it catches the bobbin thread. You may need a size 80/12 or 90/14 needle. The stitch length must be longer to allow for the depth of the fabric layers. I hope this helps.Edited 3/9/2007 11:13 am ET by Josefly

        Edited 3/9/2007 11:30 am ET by Josefly

        1. espalier | | #4

          sounds like solid advice.
          many thanks.

          1. Ralphetta | | #5

            To add to the previous info, if your needle is bent, or damaged, you can have the same problems.  Often, the needle is damaged because, as the previous person stated, it wasn't the right size for the job.

  2. Ralphetta | | #6

    Are you sure you want to make the toy out of felt?  It won't be washable.  Did you consider polar fleece, which could be washed and might be easier to work with? 

    1. espalier | | #7

      #1 needle was the smallest we had
      #2 stitch was ajusted to be tight/short
      #3 we like the felt better than fleece for this project

      1. Teaf5 | | #8

        Felt is very thick; I'd use the biggest needle I have: a 14 or 16. I'd also use looser, medium length stitches, as tight short ones can cut the felt along the seam line. Woven fabrics have threads for short stitches to grip; felt doesn't. If the baby will touch the toy (rather than look at it on a mobile, for example) be sure to prewash it; not all felt is designed to be washed, and some can have a lot of irritating sizing on the surface.

        1. espalier | | #9

          wash the felt.
          hand or machine,
          hot or cold water?mostly we have acrylic felt but some are partially wool.
          does that make a difference?

      2. Josefly | | #10

        So, I'm curious. Did a larger needle and longer stitch correct the "missed stitch" problem? If not, are you using the same thread in bobbin and on spool? Is your sewing machine stitching correctly on lighter, thinner fabrics? And good luck with the toy. My first child held on to a homemade stuffed toy/pillow until he was almost six!

        1. espalier | | #11

          it seems we were trying to use the machine where
          really hand sewing was what we should be doing.we will return to using the machine for final assembly,
          my wife is as i type using needle and floss to applique.by the by, we are working from claire garland's book
          "toys to sew"we are making the stegosaurus and brontosaurusthanks to all for the help

          1. PASDENOM | | #12

            Since baby toys get mouthed and chewed I'd be interested in learning more about how the different fibers can affect the baby. Does the book address that at all? Also embroidery stitches should be short enough and anchored well enough that they can't be pulled out and swallowed. If you want real wool felt you can easily make it by washing wool fabric inside a pillowcase in hot water and detergent in the washer. You can also do it by hand in a pan of water.

          2. Ralphetta | | #13

            That was why I asked if you had considered another fabric.  I wasn't trying to be a know-it-all.  It just concerned me that you would be doing a lot of work on something special and THEN discovering the baby couldn't play with it.

          3. PASDENOM | | #16

            I think you are confusing me with the original questioner, to whom my comments were addressed.

          4. Ralphetta | | #15

            Yes, I understood that.  I wrote too quickly and my comments didn't come out right.  I was agreeing with what you said, and also explaining to the original questioner why I had asked some of the questions I had.

  3. Cherrypops | | #14

    I had exactly this same problem this morning.

    I removed bobbin, cleaned the bobbin casing, put bobbin back in. I changed to a jeans needle (100/16 in Australia), set my machine tension to 4 (mid range). Stitch lenght is 2.5. No more problems.

    I used my straight stitch foot.

    Regards CherryP


    Edited 3/10/2007 10:14 pm by Cherrypops

  4. ineedaserger329 | | #17

    I had two older Singers when I was growing up...Sometimes the thread will not catch as you had said.....if this is similar to your machine and problem, "sew" several stitches and remove the bobbin. if it is wrapped around the nub that holds the bobbin in place, then we have the same problem....In my case, it was something that had to be sent out to the manufacturer most times, sometimes a good cleaning of the bobbin area would do the trick for a while....bottom line I had to eventually send it out.

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