Question about Janome Sewing Machines

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Janome My Excel 23x threading, stitching, tension problems. Sometimes I get the machine going for a while (with great messing about) then it all goes awry again.

Janome My Excel 23x - 22 years of frustration! Constant threading problems and now the slide for changing stitch sizing is stuck as well. I end up doing most of my repair and alteration work by hand stitching (I'm very good at that) because the machine has been too frustrating to use. Repair it, or replace it? What model for this here self-taught seamstress without talent for using a sewing machine?

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  • Janome Master
  • 53,745 Answers

When anything gets frustrating to use and is costing money , the idea is to junk it and get a new one
Buying brand name is not wise as what was good long time ago can now be rubbish
I would suggest that you spend time going to dress making meetings and get an idea from the rest as to what would be a good machine to look at
Price is not a criteria for quality, neither is weight
The major criterias should be how often it has to be repaired , parts accessibility , ease of personal maintenance and lastly the availability of a workshop manual to carry out minor adjustments

Posted on Oct 06, 2018

Testimonial: "Thank you for your thoughtful and philosophical (?) observations and suggestions. For too many years I have wanted to attend sewing classes at a local community college (or similar) and somehow never managed to get around to it. I will check out what classes are available in accessible distance and 'just do it" at last. I will also get a quote for repair of my machine instead of tossing it. In any case, a granddaughter may be grateful to receive the repaired machine. Cheers to you from Sydney, Australia."

  • Bill Boyd Oct 07, 2018

    when I suggested attending dress maker meetings ,I was thinking that many material shops and sewing machine shops have women who all like to get together for a natter and pass on experience sort of like a sewing circle. Could be less expensive and more informal than a class

  • Helise Langer
    Helise Langer Oct 07, 2018

    Hi Bill, as it so happens, I'm not the kind of woman who enjoys get-togethers with women in any kind of circle. A formal class is my preferred learning environment, or else, one to one personal tuition. This moorning I checked out both private tuition classes as well as TAFE and/or NSW Community College classes in reasonable distance to home. As an Age Pensioner I've looked for the most economical option and I've identified classes some 18 km away at a local community college. $160 for some 14 hours of evening classes is a really attractive option. Looking forward to getting started. Ciao!

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6 Suggested Answers

6ya6ya
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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dupina
  • 110 Answers

SOURCE: tension

Check your tension disks, with your presser foot up, and the tension dial on zero. Sometimes a piece of cotton breaks off between the tension disks and then prevents the disks to work properly. Also make sure when you thread the machine, the thread does go through the disks and over the take up lever. After you threaded the machine, before putting the thread through the eye of the needle, lower the presser foot and while pulling on the thread with your left hand, increase the tension with your right hand. Do it slowly and you should feel in difference in tension. If this is the case, your machine should work fine.

Posted on Nov 30, 2007

bargainbox
  • 1388 Answers

SOURCE: My Janome my excel 23x

Ensure that all is clean and free of lint jams....now for tension troubleshooting .......

This solution is for tension problems...if you cannot form any sort of stitch, the issue is quite different, so please let me know if you need a different problem solved.....

It is quite long, but just work through each section in order.
The "knotting up" can reveal a lot. If you have loose threads on one side or the other, the tension on the opposite side will be the culprit.

QUICK SUMMARY FIRST:
Ensure sharp new needle,
Thread guides and Bobbin are Clean & Clear of lint
Set Top Tension to 4 ....then....
Balance Bobbin to suit.

TOP THREAD TENSION:
If the looping threads are on the underside as you sew, it is the top tension. Top tension ought to be between 4 & 6 (this variation to allow for the different weights of fabric in your
projects).

IS YOUR NEEDLE SHARP ?
If you are using a needle that has seen quite a deal of work, or you suspect it may be blunt, change it for a new one !

TOP TENSION & GUIDES:
Make sure that when you thread the machine the presser foot is up so the thread goes between the discs and not to one side, top tension between 4 and 6, and that you have threaded through all the guides, including the last one, usually on the needle arm, just above the needle clamp.

It may be there is lint trapped between the discs, this will keep them slightly apart and reduce the actual tension, sometimes dramatically.

If tensions appear correct, and the thread is definitely in the channel between the discs, but still too loose and looping, try raising presser foot and remove your thread.

Now, with a 2" (50mm) wide strip piece of fabric 8 - 10" (20 - 25cm) moistened with methylated or denatured spirit, gently insert the fabric strip and clean between the discs with
a see saw / to and fro action.

In the worst cases, gentle use of a needle to pick & remove the jam may be necessary, but be very gentle and make sure the tension is set at Zero and the presser foot is raised, (to
disengage tension plates).... do not gouge or score the plates, they need a polished surface to work correctly.

BOBBIN TENSION:
Far less common, but if the loose threads are on the top, it is bobbin tension that is loose, it too may have lint in the spring and be giving a "false" tension.

I would not recommend fiddling with bobbin tension without good reason, it may end up with missing small screws and spring pieces, however, you can take the needle plate off to clean
the hook race area (where bobbin case sits)

...this is just good housekeeping, my wife does this every time she replaces the bobbin....

just take it out and clean the bobbin case and the fixed metal hook race with a small brush to remove lint. If there is a significant amount of lint, use a vacuum and small brush to get the worst.

Then wipe all this area with a cloth or cotton bud (Q tip) moistened (not soaked) with methylated spirit, especially if there appears to be fine dirty deposits....oil and lint combine to conspire against you.

If it seems likely that you ......really ....do .....actually .....need .....to adjust the bobbin case, first check there is no lint trapped in the metal spring where the thread is tensioned.

TOP LOADER:
Drop-in Bobbin case will look similar to this image with the tension screw in the middle of the metalwork....

4c76dc1.jpg ...the other screw at one end is holding it all together, so beware....it is not a tragedy to undo the whole lot and clean it, but very gingerly and lay the bits out in sequence and orientation, or you risk tearing your hair out !

FRONT LOADER:
....this is a bobbin case from a front loading machine and works in a very similar fashion to the top loader with drop in bobbin, again, if you dismantle it, take care so you can put it all
back properly.
165ca5c.jpg FINISHING UP
GETTING THE BALANCE RIGHT:
When you are certain there's no trapped lint in top tension or bobbin, set the top tension to 4 and the bobbin tension to a point where you just begin to feel resistance.

Try using good quality thread of contrasting colours so you can more easily spot the changes.

Set your zigzag to one width less than maximum (eg. 5 of 6 ...or... 4 of 5 etc) and sew a sample for a few inches and check the result.... adjust the bobbin tension screw very little at
a time, perhaps 1/16 of a turn.

You may find you are playing with this balance for some little while and if you are putting the needleplate on and off each time begin to think it cannot be correct to do this.....BUT....it is,
and eventually, you do get a "feel" for the correct tension and then it happens quite quickly.....as a user you won't be doing it very often unless there is lint built up (or are there small hands at work around the house !?!?!)

OTHER ISSUES:
If you live near the ocean as we do, salt air can play havoc with metalwork inside and out, so to help minimise this, keep a few small packets of dessicant (silica gel) in your machine
case....no case ? then make some sort of cover !

Same applies in any damp or humid environment, keep your machine dry and dust free.

Budget for a proper full service every couple of years (more often if heavily used) and if you don't use your machine for a few years, be aware that old oil will dry out and combining with
dust and form a "clag" like glue (another reason for some sort of cover, even a teatowel !)

FINALLY, A WORD ON THREAD:
If it is worth spending the time, energy and money on making something that you would like to give lasting enjoyment......use quality thread, .......it may seem to cost a little more at the
time, but the results, ease of use and added longevity will be worth the extra, and as a bonus, your tension troubles may be fewer and further between, because there is a more consistent diameter with good thread, and less compensating to be done by your tension plates and less thread breaks !

If you want any more help with this, just post back here, or, drop a line through the "Contact Us" page at www.bargainbox.com.au

Posted on Apr 25, 2008

bargainbox
  • 1388 Answers

SOURCE: bobbin tension

If the looping is happening on the underside, it is your top tension that is to blame, conversely looping on top is bobbin tension.........take a look HERE for detail on cleaning lint buildup.

Top tension should be set around the middle of the range, usually 4 - 6.

I would not advise playing with bobbin tensions, however, you can take the needle plate off to clean the hook race area (where bobbin case sits) ...this is good housekeeping, my wife does this every time she replaces the bobbin....just take it out and clean the bobbin case and the fixed metal hook race with a small brush to remove lint, if there appears to be fine dirty deposits, a cloth or cotton bud (Q tip) moistened (not soaked) with methylated spirit will do the trick.

Bargainbox

Posted on Jan 27, 2008

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: singer simple sewing machine will not sew

need needle threading instructions singer 3116 simple. pictures would help. thank you

Posted on Mar 15, 2009

bargainbox
  • 1388 Answers

SOURCE: Kenmore Ultra Stitch 12 model 1595280. Tension

Please TRY the solution BEFORE giving your considered rating.
Specific detail on bobbin case adjustment (with picture) near halfway down reply, the remainder will help you achieve a balance of top and bottom tensions.

Ensure that all is clean and free of lint and jams, this is the most likely cause....now for tension troubleshooting .......

This solution is for tension problems...if you cannot form any sort of stitch, the issue is quite different, so please let me know if you need a different problem solved.....

It is quite long, but just work through each section in order.

The "knotting up" can reveal a lot. If you have loose threads on one side or the other, the tension on the opposite side will be the culprit.

QUICK SUMMARY FIRST:
Ensure sharp new needle,
Thread guides and Bobbin are Clean & Clear of lint
Set Top Tesion to 4 ....then....
Balance Bobbin to suit.

TOP THREAD TENSION:
If the looping threads are on the underside as you sew, it is the top tension. Top tension ought to be between 4 & 6 (this variation to allow for the different weights of fabric in your projects).

IS YOUR NEEDLE SHARP ?
If you are using a needle that has seen quite a deal of work, or you suspect it may be blunt, change it for a new one !

TOP TENSION & GUIDES:
Make sure that when you thread the machine the presser foot is up so the thread goes between the discs and not to one side, top tension between 4 and 6, and that you have threaded through all the guides, including the last one, usually on the needle arm, just above the needle clamp.

It may be there is lint trapped between the discs, this will keep them slightly apart and reduce the actual tension, sometimes dramatically.

If tensions appear correct, and the thread is definitely in the channel between the discs, but still too loose and looping, try raising presser foot and remove your thread.

Now, with a 2" (50mm) wide strip piece of fabric 8 - 10" (20 - 25cm) moistened with methylated or denatured spirit, gently insert the fabric strip and clean between the discs with a see saw / to and fro action.

In the worst cases, gentle use of a needle to pick & remove the jam may be necessary, but be very gentle and make sure the tension is set at Zero and the presser foot is raised, (to disengage tension plates).... do not gouge or score the plates, they need a polished surface to work correctly.

BOBBIN TENSION:
Far less common, but if the loose threads are on the top, it is bobbin tension that is loose, it too may have lint in the spring and be giving a "false" tension.

I would not recommend fiddling with bobbin tension without good reason, it may end up with missing small screws and spring pieces, however, you can take the needle plate off to clean
the hook race area (where bobbin case sits)

...this is just good housekeeping, my wife does this every time she replaces the bobbin....

just take it out and clean the bobbin case and the fixed metal hook race with a small brush to remove lint. If there is a significant amount of lint, use a vacuum and small brush to get the worst.

Then wipe all this area with a cloth or cotton bud (Q tip) moistened (not soaked) with methylated spirit, especially if there appears to be fine dirty deposits....oil and lint combine to conspire against you.

If it seems likely that you ......really ....do .....actually .....need .....to adjust the bobbin case, first check there is no lint trapped in the metal spring where the thread is tensioned.

TOP LOADER:
Drop-in Bobbin case will look similar to this image with the tension screw in the middle of the metalwork....

4c76dc1.jpg ...the other screw at one end is holding it all together, so beware....it is not a tragedy to undo the whole lot and clean it, but very gingerly and lay the bits out in sequence and orientation, or you risk tearing your hair out !

FRONT LOADER:
....this is a bobbin case from a front loading machine and works in a very similar fashion to the top loader with drop in bobbin, again, if you dismantle it, take care so you can put it all
back properly.
165ca5c.jpg FINISHING UP
GETTING THE BALANCE RIGHT:
When you are certain there's no trapped lint in top tension or bobbin, set the top tension to 4 and the bobbin tension to a point where you just begin to feel resistance.

Try using good quality thread of contrasting colours so you can more easily spot the changes.

Set your zigzag to one width less than maximum (eg. 5 of 6 ...or... 4 of 5 etc) and sew a sample for a few inches and check the result.... adjust the bobbin tension screw very little at
a time, perhaps 1/16 of a turn.

You may find you are playing with this balance for some little while and if you are putting the needleplate on and off each time begin to think it cannot be correct to do this.....BUT....it is,
and eventually, you do get a "feel" for the correct tension and then it happens quite quickly.....as a user you won't be doing it very often unless there is lint built up (or are there small hands at work around the house !?!?!)

OTHER ISSUES:
If you live near the ocean as we do, salt air can play havoc with metalwork inside and out, so to help minimise this, keep a few small packets of dessicant (silica gel) in your machine
case....no case ? then make some sort of cover !

Same applies in any damp or humid environment, keep your machine dry and dust free.

Budget for a proper full service every couple of years (more often if heavily used) and if you don't use your machine for a few years, be aware that old oil will dry out and combining with
dust and form a "clag" like glue (another reason for some sort of cover, even a teatowel !)

FINALLY, A WORD ON THREAD:
If it is worth spending the time, energy and money on making something that you would like to give lasting enjoyment......use quality thread, .......it may seem to cost a little more at the
time, but the results, ease of use and added longevity will be worth the extra, and as a bonus, your tension troubles may be fewer and further between, because there is a more consistent diameter with good thread, and less compensating to be done by your tension plates and less thread breaks

Bargain Box

Posted on Sep 06, 2009

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Check your tension disks, with your presser foot up, and the tension dial on zero. Sometimes a piece of cotton breaks off between the tension disks and then prevents the disks to work properly. Also make sure when you thread the machine, the thread does go through the disks and over the take up lever. After you threaded the machine, before putting the thread through the eye of the needle, lower the presser foot and while pulling on the thread with your left hand, increase the tension with your right hand. Do it slowly and you should feel in difference in tension. If this is the case, your machine should work fine.

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