causing confusion and delay

ok I’m stumped. I’ve been searching all over the internet for answers and am coming up empty handed. Maybe someone can help me? I have an old Bernina (801) and it was working ok until last night when the thread started breaking all over, shredding actually. So I found the manual, took the machine apart to oil it.


Yeah, I didn’t even realize the top came off! So this is the first time it’s been properly cleaned since I’ve had it… about 3 years. So I put in a new needle, brushed it all out, oiled it up and now it just isn’t working. It’s not making stitches. It’s running, the bobbin thread is up the needle is threaded properly but it’s just poking holes in the fabric – no stitches. I’m going crazy! If anyone had any ideas or could point me to somewhere online that’d be so great. thanks!

update: ok, it won’t catch the bobbin thread at all now. everything looks fine, I checked the manual and it’s threaded right, nothing is clanking against each other…

20 thoughts on “causing confusion and delay

  1. jennifer beck says:

    sounds like there might be a problem with the bobbin… have you snooped around down there? Also, double check the tension – just to make sure you’re not too tight there and last, make sure your threaded through all loops and catches on the way to the needle – that’s one that sometimes eludes me and the last I check!
    Hope this helps.
    PS: I get so much enjoyment in reading your posts and looking at your projects.

  2. Laura says:

    My only thought was that you might not have the top thread looped around properly. But if you’ve had the machine for three years surely that wouldn’t be it. I would have to say “take it in for a check-up.” It’s most likely some kind of little thingy that is worn out or broken and not something you could fix yourself. Sorry. 🙁

  3. wendy says:

    i have a totally different machine, but if i don’t have the bobbin threaded through properly it does the same thing. i would try taking the bobbin out and putting it back in. i’m sure you’ve done it a million times in the last three years, but maybe your attention slipped and you missed something.

  4. JoAnn Moulds says:

    Hillary I’m sorry you are having so much trouble with your machine. Like the posts ahead of me, it sounds like it is the bobbin, like your needle is not picking up the bobbin thread. You don’t need further frustration in this heat. I’d take it in for a checkup.(Are you sure the feeddog is in the proper position?) Good luck.
    (You can borrow my old (about 35yrs old) Kenmore if yours has to be out of commission for a while. It still works, but nothing fancy.)

  5. lori wahl says:

    Hi Hillary-
    I have the same model of Bernina. One last thing to check- is your needle in backwards? A backwards needle may prevent the bobbin thread from looping. A similar problem started happening to my machine. It turned out to be the timing. I took it in for a tune up and now it works like a dream! Good luck.

  6. friendbunny says:

    maybe not the bobbin, but the bobbin case. sometimes they wear out, the screws loosen (or fall out). i would recommend having it tuned up. so expensive and annoying though. sorry for your troubles!

  7. Alison says:

    This wont help you at all, but I read the subject line to your post, and all I can think of to add is ” luckily no one was hurt”. I trust you’ll understand what that means!!
    If my machine broke I’d either a) return it to my MIL and ask for another as she has about 5, or b) take it in and get someone to look at it, clean it etc.

  8. Shanna says:

    That’s so crazy! I had a problem with my thread breaking and fraying and shreading last week. I changed the thread, and bobbin thread, and tried some different fabric, that seemed to do the trick. I hope you get it up and running soon, I was without a machine for a month and nearly went stir crazy!

  9. amyr says:

    Something similar happened to me with my Viking machine. The needle had become a little loose, and when I took it out and replaced it, it was turned slightly and caused the thread to keep breaking. Check your needle, but you probably already have:) Good luck!

  10. Rebecca says:

    Sorry about your machine issues! Are you on a deadline? Most machines can tell… I for one think most repair places are ripoffs, since if you’re coming in they know you’re desperate. I’d keep trying and tweaking for a while. Any time I’ve had the type of problem you’re describing, it was because the needle was messed up– not snugged in all the way, not facing the right direction, or the wrong needle for the fabric (ball-points, etc.) Good luck!

  11. Rebecca says:

    By the way, I forgot to mention how much I’ve been enjoying your blog. I’m a costumer, and until recently I’ve usually come home from work without any desire to sew for myself, but your beautiful projects have been inspiring me. Thanks!

  12. Lucy says:

    Did you accidently lower the feeder teeth when you cleaned it? Maybe you need to check they are up and gripping the fabric. I helped a friend with a machine recently and that was the problem. The only thing I can think of other than that is what everyone has already mentioned – either the threading or the bobbon might be in wrong. 🙁 Good luck! xx

  13. Jungs says:

    Just yesterday I had to take my machine in for a tune up. Originally my problem was the tension; I couldn’t figure out what I was overlooking. Then the lady at the store, while looking over it, noted that the bobbin case screw was super loose. Tightening it up helped out a bunch. I still left the machine for a tune-up though. It’s ‘recommended’ to do it once a year. I hadn’t done since I got it-over 3 years ago!

  14. Melissa says:

    I see we’re still a fan of Thomas at the WeeWonderfuls household…! 🙂
    I wish I had some advice, but alas…I hope your machine feels better soon…

  15. lori says:

    that happened to me and it was as simple as tightening the screw on my bobbin case
    after you clean out all the crud everything fits a little different and may need to be adjusted
    it’s worth a try
    although a tune up is FABULOUS…it will be like a new machine. well worth the cost:)

  16. Leah Scheible says:

    The round post the needle is attached to
    that goes into the bobbin came loose. I have the right Hex key to tighten it but, the timing is off when it goes into the bobbin case. Do you know of any tricks to set it right?

  17. Cherelle says:

    I too have been going crazy for a few hours – in the
    middle of quilting and no stitches coming through –
    am a pretty exerienced sewer but couldn’t fix the
    problem – however!! after reading your site tried a
    few things – tightened the needle post and the
    screw in the bobbin case and hey presto we are in
    action again!! Thanks

  18. Carol says:

    I too have a Bernina 801 and can’t remember how to open the top to oil it. I’m sure there is a wee catch inside once you open the left hand side panel, which needs to be flicked up or something,but I can’t seem to find it.
    My machine has been in storage for two years and I decided to get it out, clean and oil it and start using it again.
    Any help would be much appreciated.
    Carol from New Zealand

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