Need sewing/machine help

My parents got me a sewing machine for Chanukah last year and I'm FINALLY just now trying to figure out how to use it. I'm trying to convert a pair of jeans into maternity jeans, loosely following these two tutorials (one and two). My mom was going to help me but she's sick right now, and I couldn't live another day without jeans that fit so I started working on it myself yesterday. I read the manual for my machine cover to cover, got it all set up, and got the belly panel for the jeans finished. I tried today to do the jeans part - I marked where I'll want to sew/cut and where the panel will be sewn on, but when I tried to stitch on my line, the needle just got stuck in the jeans (it was a few layers thick, near the fly) and now I can't get the needle up or get the jeans out of the machine. I didn't want to break anything so I just turned off the machine and left the room, but I'm SO FRUSTRATED. How can I bring the needle up and start over again, and how can I prevent it from happening again? I'm using a jeans needle (size 100) and jeans thread. Thanks in advance for any replies.
Faith, 3Aish redhead
Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy
Everyone has this problem. Can you just turn the wheel by hand to slow it down?

I have trouble with the bobbin getting tangled up with thicker fabrics like denim- could it be that? can you open the bobbin area with the jeans still on there?
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It could be a huge knot of thread under the feed dogs, near the bobbin case. I would just gently and slowly but firmly pull the frabric up/out, maybe turning the wheel backward and forward. Jeans suck to sew!

Posts: n/a
Yes, try turning the wheel by hand backwards and forwards just a little, which usually frees a jam.

Sounds as if your tension might need adjusting for the thick fabric, do you know about that? you want the stitches to look the same on the top and the bottom. If the tension is wrong, you'll get a lot of jammed threads underneath.

ETA: here are some pictures of what mis-adjusted tension looks like, and how to fix -- scroll down a bit.

Last edited by SuZenGuide; 09-28-2009 at 12:50 PM.
I'll try turning the wheel - I didn't even know I could do that

I can't look underneath where the bobbin is because the needle is stuck all the way down, holding the jeans in place.

Suzen, I did read about thread tension in my manual so I'll check about that too.

Thanks all!
Faith, 3Aish redhead
Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy
Denim is a total PITA. You picked a difficult first project.

You''ve just got to work the wheel back and forth, back and forth, trying to get the needle up and see if you can get a tiny pair of scissors under the fabric to snip the big tangle/knot that is probably causing your problem.
I sometimes undo the screws that hold the needle in place, which allows enough "give" to pull the fabric out. Sounds like you have some thread tension issues, maybe?
Minneapolis, MN
Posts: n/a
Pixie, when you come to a thick area, like going over a seam, turning the wheel by hand is often the easiest way to do it -- just for a few stitches.
Also, you can get a needle that is meant for thicker fabrics. I got a pack at Target in the sewing isle, it is cheap (around 5 bucks or so) and they are color coordinated!
I did it I did it I did it!!!!

I was able to free the needle by turning the handwheel as recommended, and then I finished the job! Not without frustration though. I had a package of 5 jeans needles and I broke/bent 3 of them. But the jeans came out pretty good, especially for my first project!

The only thing I'm not crazy about - which i was worried about - is that I made the belly panel as a rectangular tube, the same height in the back and in the front. Well, the jeans were cut much lower in the front to make room for my belly, so if I pull the panel all the way up it's way too high in back. But it's okay I'll just have to fold it, which I often do anyway with maternity panels. They're really comfy and I'm quite proud of myself especially because I did it with NO (real-life) help.
Faith, 3Aish redhead
Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy

And back:

I'll probably wear them tomorrow so I'll try to get a picture of them on, which might give a better idea of how they came out.
Faith, 3Aish redhead
Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy

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