You are on page 1of 117

How To Overcome Common Seam

Quality Issues
➧ How to identify and overcome common
seam quality defects on woven & knit
garments.
Wovens Knits
• Restitched Seams • Needle Cuts along seam line
• Improper Stitch Balance • Excessive seam grinning
• Skipped Stitches • Open seams - stitch cracking
• Excessive Seam Puckering • Seam puckering - wavy seams
• Open Seams - seam failure • Improperly balanced overedge
• Seam Slippage • Stitch Run-Off
• Ragged Edges • Improper margin control
• Buttonsew failure
COMMON SEAM QUALITY DEFECTS - WOVENS
SEAM UNQUALITY PHOTO OR DRAWING DESCRI PTI ON RECOMMENDED SOLUTIONS
RESTI TCHED SEAMS / BROKEN STI TCHES - where there is a "splice" on MI NI MI ZI NG THREAD BREAKAGE - 1) Use a better quality sewing
the stitch line. I f this occurs on Topstitching, then the seam does not thread. This may include going to a higher performance thread
appear to be 1st quality merchandise. Caused by 1) thread breaks or designed to minimize sewing interruptions. (see A&E "Thread
thread run-out during sewing; or 2) cut or broken stitches during a Selection Guide" and/ or A&E's Technical Bulletin "Minimizing
subsequent treatment of the finished product (I .e., stone washing). Thread Breakage & Skipped Stitches"); 2) I nsure proper machine
maintenance and sewing machine adjustments; 3) Make sure
sewing machines are properly maintained and adjusted for the
fabric and sewing operation; (see A&E's Technical Bulletin -
"Machine Maintenance Checklist". 4) Observe sewing operators
for correct material handling techniques.

Excessive Restitched Seams


RESTI TCHED SEAMS / BROKEN STI TCHES
IMPROPER STI TCH BALANCE - 301 LOCKSTI TCH - where loops are seen SOLUTIONS - 1) Use a quality thread with consistent frictional
301 Stitch - either on the bottomside or topside of the seam. This is particularly characteristics; and 2) Properly balance the stitch so the needle
Loops on evident with different colored needle and bobbin threads. Also where the and bobbin threads meet in the middle of the seam. Always start
stitch is too loose. by checking the bobbin thread tension to make sure it is set
underside correctly, so minimum thread tension is required to get a
of seam balanced stitch.

Poor Stitch Balance - Too Loose Proper Stitch Balance


I MPROPER STI TCH BALANCE - 301 LOCKSTITCH
SKI PPED STITCHES - where the stitch length is inconsistent, possibly MI NI MI ZI NG SKIPPED STI TCHES - 1) Use a better quality sewing
appearing as double the normal stitch length; or where you can see that thread. This may include going to a higher performance thread
the threads in the stitch are not properly connected together. Caused by designed to minimize sewing interruptions. (see A&E "Thread
the stitch forming device in the sewing machine missing the thread loop Selection Guide" and/ or A&E's Technical Bulletin "Minimizing
during stitch formation causing a defective stitch. On looper type stitches, Thread Breakage & Skipped Stitches"); 2) I nsure proper machine
this will allow the stitch to unravel causing seam failure. maintenance and sewing machine adjustments; 3) Make sure
sewing machines are properly maintained and adjusted for the
fabric and sewing operation; (see A&E's Technical Bulletin -
301 Lockstitch Skipped Stitches "Machine Maintenance Checklist". 4) Observe sewing operators
401 Chainstitch 503 Overedge for correct material handling techniques.

SKIPPED STI TCHES Bottomside of 401 Skipped Stitch


IMPROPER STI TCH BALANCE - 401 CHAI NSTITCH - where the loops on SOLUTIONS TO IMPROPERLY BALANCED 401 CHAI NSTI TCH- 1)
the bottomside of the seam are inconsistent and do not appear uniform. Use a quality thread with consistent frictional characteristics; and
401 Stitch
2) Properly balance the stitch so that when the looper thread is
Too unraveled, the needle loop lays over half way to the next needle
Loose loop on the underside of the seam.

401 Stitch Too Tight


Proper Stitch Balance
IMPROPER STI TCH BALANCE - 401 CHAINSTI TCH
COMMON SEAM QUALITY DEFECTS - KNITS
NEEDLE CUTTING ON KNI TS - where needle holes appear along the MI NI MI ZI NG NEEDLE CUTTI NG ON KNITS - 1) Make sure the
stitchline that will eventually turn into a "run". Generally caused proper thread size and needle type and size are being used for
by the needle damaging the fabric as it is penetrating the seam. the fabric - see A&E Technical Bulletin on "Minimizing Needle
Cutting"; 2) Make sure the fabric has been properly stored to
prevent drying out and has been finished properly; 3) Check with
your fabric manufacturer.

NEEDLE CUTTI NG ON KNITS


OPEN SEAM - SEAM FAI LURE - STITCH - where the threads in the seam MI NI MI ZI NG SEAM FAI LURES - STI TCH - 1) Use a better quality
have ruptured leaving a hole in the stitchline. Caused by 1) I mproper sewing thread. This may include going to a higher performance
stitch for application; 2) I nadequate thread strength for seam; 3) Not thread designed to give greater seam performance. (see A&E
enough Stitches Per I nch. "Thread Selection Guide" ); 2) Use the proper size thread for the
application; 3) For knit fabrics, check for "Stitch Cracking". Stitch
Cracking can be caused by any of the following: not enough
stitches per inch; improper seam width or needle spacing for
application; improper stitch balance; and improper thread
selection.

Seam Failure on Stretch Knit Fabric


OPEN SEAM - SEAM FAI LURE - STI TCH
PUCKERED SEAMS - KNI TS & STRETCH WOVENS - where the seam does SOLUTIONS - 1) If sewing machines are equipped with
not lay flat after stitching. differential feed, set properly for the fabric; 2) Use minimum
presser foot pressure during sewing; and 3) Observe operator for
correct handling techniques. Too much stretching of the fabric by
the sewing operator will cause this problem. See A&E Technical
bulletin - "Sewing Stretch Knits".

PUCKERED SEAMS - KNITS & STRETCH


Stretch Denim - Wavy Seams
WOVENS
EXCESSIVE SEAM GRI N - is where the stitch balance is not properly EXCESSIVE SEAM GRI N - 1) To correct, readjust the sewing
adjusted (stitch too loose) and you can see the seam opening up. To machine thread tensions so the proper stitch balance is achieved.
check for Seam Grin, apply normal seam stress across the seam and then Too much tension will cause other problems including seam
remove the stress. If the seam remains opened, then the seam has too failures ("Stitch Cracking"), excessive thread breakage and
much "Grin through". skipped stitches.

Seam Grinning on Woven Fabric


EXCESSI VE SEAM GRIN
➧ Better understanding of common stitch types and
where they are typically used.
➧ How to better communicate with vendors so
mistakes are eliminated

Single Needle Three


Thread Overedge
Data:
• Binding Bra Edge
• Lycra Stretch

a m Fabric

Ex
• 301BSc-1 Seam

a l • 10 spi

F in Problem:
• Excessive Seam
Failure

What could you recommend to resolve this problem?


AMERICAN & EFIRD, INC

• Do we have a Trim Problem? (zipper,


thread, interlining, fastener?)
• Do we have a Seam Engineering
Problem? (spi, stitch & seam
construction?)
• Do we have a Sewing Problem?
Operator handling issue?, Sewing
machine issue?
LOCKSTITCH BARTACK
LOCKSTITCH

CHAINSTITCH COVERSTITCH

BLINDSTITCH
OVEREDGE
ISO Std. 4915
From Fed. Std. 751a
New ASTM Std. D-6193

A global numbering system designed


for improving communications
What Kind of Stitch
is This?

406 Stitch Type

406 is a two needle, three thread


bottom coverstitch
◆ Every Stitch is formed with at least One
Needle Thread and up to Four Needle
Threads
◆ All stitch types are formed with a Stitch
Forming Device
Is there more
than one type of
Stitch Forming
Device?
A Stitch forming A Stitch
A Stitch device that forming device
forming device interlocks the that interloops
that carries needle thread its thread with
someone else's with a bobbin another thread.
thread thread.

Spreader Hook Looper


Stitch Drawing ISO
751a
Top View As Sewn Bottom View As Sewn 4915
Number

Single Thread Chainstitch 101

101
Single Thread Chainstitch or Lockstitch * 304 Lockstitch is preferred when
or Single Thread Chainstitch
BS, BH or Bartack stitch security is a Must.
304 with spreader
Spreader

No stitch visible on the Bottom or


Single Thread Blindstitch Outside of Sewn Product
103

Lockstitch - Most Common of All Stitches Bobbin Thread on Bottom


301

Twin Needle Lockstitch 301 Lockstitch


with Hook & Bobbin

Zig Zag Lockstitch 304 Hook

Chainstitch Looper Thread on Bottom


401

Twin Needle Chainstitch 401


Multi-Thread Chainstitch Looper
with Looper
2 Ndl. Bottom Coverstitch 406

3 Ndl. Bottom Coverstitch 407


2 Thread Overedge Single "purl" on Edge
503

Single Needle Overedge


with 1 needle & Loopers
3 Thread Overedge Most Common Overedge Stitch
504
and/or spreader

3 Thread Overedge Double "purl" on Edge


505

Mock Safety Stitch 2 Ndl. Overedge


512 Twin Needle Overedge
with 2 needles & 2 Loopers

2 Ndl. 4 Thrd. Overedge 2 Ndl. Overedge


514
Safetystitch
(401 chainstitch & 504
Overedge stitch)
5 Thrd. Safety Stitch 516

2 Ndl. 4 Thrd. Coverstitch 602

Coverstitch
with 2, 3, or 4 needles &
3 Ndl. 5 Thrd. Coverstitch 605 looper & top spreader

4 Ndl. 6 Thrd. Coverstitch


Flatseamer / Flatlock
607
Stitch Drawing -
Top and bottom view as sewn on the
sewing machine.
ISO Stitch # - The ISO 4915
Stitch Type.
Common Applications -
Common applications where
this stitch is used.
406
406
Coverseaming
2 Needle
Hem

406
Attaching
Elastic

406
Making
Belt Loops
Requirements -
Requirements like needle spacing,
width bite, SPI, etc.
1/4”

1/4”

1/8”

1/4”
Stitch Drawing ISO Common
Top View As Sewn Bottom View As Sewn Number Application Requirements Stitch Description

Basting Stitch for


Stitch formed by a needle thread passing through the material and
Tailored Clothing; interlooping with itself on the underside of the seamwith the assistance of a
Single Thread Chainstitch 101 Bag Closing 1) Specify SPI spreader.

101 1) Buttonsew - specify


stitches per cycle, ex.16 ;
2) BH - specify length & Knit Shirts - Buttonhole length generally is 1/2 inch, is placed horizontally,
Single Thread Chainstitch or Lockstitch * 304 Lockstitch is preferred when
or Buttonsew,
Buttonhole or
width; 3) Bartack - with approximately 85-90 stitches. Note: Sometimes buttonhole machine set
specify length & width of for approximately 40- 45 stitches per buttonhole, and then run two cycles on
BS, BH or Bartack stitch security is a Must.
304 Bartack Tack the same buttonhole. This

1) Specify SPI - typically Stitch is formed with one needle thread that is interlooped with itself on the
3 - 5 spi; 2) Non-Skipped top surface of the material. The thread passes through the top ply and
No stitch visible on the Bottom or Blindstitch Hemming, Stitch or 2 to 1 Skipped horizontally through portions of the bottomply without completely
Single Thread Blindstitch Outside of Sewn Product
103 Felling, Belt Loops Stitch on sheer fabrics penetrating it the full depth.

Topstitching, Single
Stitch formed by a needle thread passing through the material and
Needle Stitching, interlocking with a bobbin thread with the threads meeting in the center of
Lockstitch - Most Common of All Stitches Bobbin Thread on Bottom
301 Straight Stitching 1) Specify SPI the seam. Stitch looks the same top & bottom.

1) Specify Needle
Spacing; and 2) Specify Same as 301 except two rows of stitch are formed. Typical Needle Spacing
Twin Needle Lockstitch 301 Twin Needle SPI is 1/4" but machines are available from3/16" up to 1"

Stitch Description - explanation of


how the stitch is formed.
Zig Zag Lockstitch

Single Ndl Chainstitch


- Mainseams on Stitch formed by 1 needle thread passing through the material and
Chainstitch Looper Thread on Bottom
401 Wovens 1) Specify SPI interlooped with 1 looper thread and pulled up to the underside of the seam.

Twin Needle
Chainstitch for Felled
1) Specify Needle Stitch formed by 2 needle threads passing through the material and
Seams on Jeans, Spacing; and 2) Specify interlooped with 2 looper threads forming 2 independent rows of stitch set
Twin Needle Chainstitch 401 Shirts, etc. SPI on the underside of the seam.

2 Ndl Hemming,
1) Specify Needle
Binding,
Spacing (1/4", 3/16", Stitch formed by 2 needle threads passing through the material and
Coverseaming,
interlooping with 1 looper thread with the stitch set on the underside of the
Elastic to Panties, 1/8"); and 2) Specify seam. Looper thread interlooped between needle threads providing seam
2 Ndl. Bottom Coverstitch 406 Belt Loops SPI coverage on the bottomside only.

Stitch formed by 3 needle threads passing through the material and


Attaching Elastic to
1) Specify Needle interlooping with 1 looper thread with the stitch set on the underside of the
Men's & Boys Knit Spacing (1/4"); and 2) seam. Looper thread is interlooped between needle threads providing seam
3 Ndl. Bottom Coverstitch 407 Underwear Specify SPI coverage on the bottomside only.
Top View Bottom View 505Single Needle 3
12. _____
Thread Overedge
101 Chainstitch or _____
10. _____ 304
Lockstitch Buttonsew*
Purl on Edge 504 Single Needle, Three
11. ______
Thread Overedge

With Double Purl


103 Single Thread
1. _____
Blindstitch

605 Three Needle Five


2. _____
Thread Coverstitch

602 Two Needle Four


3. _____
Thread Coverstitch

407 Three Needle - 4


4. _____
Thread Bottom Coverstitch

406 Two Needle, 3


5. _____
Thread Bottom Coverstitch

401 Chainstitch
6. _____

301 Lockstitch
7. _____

101 Single Thread


8. _____
Chainstitch

512 Two Needle Four


9. _____
Thread Overedge

*Stitch Numbers - ISO Std. 4915.

Provided by American & Efird, Market Development Dept., 24 American Street, Mt. Holly, NC 28120, (800) 438-5868, Fax #: 704-827-0974
• Identification
• Application
• Advantages & Disadvantages
• Proper Stitch Formation
Common Woven
Garments
• Shirts & Blouses
• Slacks / Trousers
• Dresses & Skirts
• Chinos & Jeans
• Suits / Blazers / Sport Coats
• Pajamas / Robes
• Rain Coats / Overcoats /Parkas
• Vests
• Uniforms
Cutting Room

In a Garment
Factory, what
happens in the
Cutting Room?

This is the cutting table where layers of fabric are spread out and garment
components are cut. Here we see pants panels being cut. Usually fabric for pants is
spread face-to-face so you end up with pairs of fronts, backs, pockets, etc.
The length direction of the fabric on the cutting
table is called the Warp direction; perpendicular
across the table is called the Weft or Fill
direction; and at an angle across the piece
goods is referred to as the bias. Most woven
fabrics have a selvedge edges.

Creel of Yarn feeding in to Weaving Machine

Weaving Machine
• Body Fabric - the shell fabric
used for the body of the garment.

• Facing - body fabric that is Facings


generally to the inside (examples:
pocket facings, fly facings, front
facings, sleeve facings, etc.)

• Lining - fabric that is used to finish


Body or Shell
off the inside of a garment or pocket.

• Interlining - the material that is


used to give dimensional stability
(examples: collars, cuffs, etc.) Many
interlinings today are fusible and are Lining & Interlining not shown
applied by running the components
through a fusing machine. Sometimes
referred to as Interfacing.
4 Ways of Finishing Edges on Wovens
1. SEWN-IN SEAMS
(Join Shoulders, Set Sleeve,
Close Sleeve & Side, etc.) 2. BINDING EDGES
(Sleeve Facings)

What are the


common
ways of finishing 3. SERGING
raw edges on (Serge Top of Pocket)
apparel?

4. HEMMING
(Bottom Hemming)
Most Common Stitches
Used & Why
Common Stitch Types 101 406
• 301 Lockstitch
• 401 Chainstitch
• 503 or 504 Overedge
• 515 or 516 Safetystitch
• 304 Bartacking
• 101 or 304 Buttonsew or BH 304
• 103 Blindstitch
516

What are
401
common Stitches
401
301 used to sew

504
Wovens?
American & Efird, Inc.

Common Stitches Used in Shirts


Runstitch & Topstitch Collar
301 Lockstitch
(Reversible & Turning Corners)
Set-on Center Plait
401 Chainstitch
( No Bobbin Changes &
Less Seam Puckering)

Buttonsew
101 Chainstitch B.S.
or 304 Lockstitch B.S.

Pocket Hem &


Set Pocket
Close Sleeve & Sideseams 301 Lockstitch
401 Chainstitch ( Turning Corners)
or Hem Bottom
516 Safety Stitch 301 Lockstitch
( No Bobbin Changes & ( Reversible)
Less Seam Puckering)
Common Stitches Used in Denim

Hanging Front Pkts.,


Waistbanding
“J” Stitch Fly, Crotch Seam
401 Chainstitch - 301 Lockstitch -
2 Rows Twin Ndl.
( No Bobbin Changes) ( Reversible)

Sideseam
516 Safetystitch Felling Riser, Seat
( No Bobbin Changes &
Cover Fabric Edge)
Seam & Inseam
401 Chainstitch -
2 or 3 Rows
( No Bobbin Changes &
Clean Finish Top & Bottom)

American & Efird, Inc.


American & Efird, Inc.

Uses a
Hook &
Bobbin
Top View Bottom View Application
301 Lockstitch
- Plainsewer
- Topstitching
301 Lockstitch looks the same - Seaming
on both the top and bottom.

A 301 Lockstitch
is the most
common type of
Stitch!
301 Lockstitch
Advantages
• Reversible
• Recommended when turning
corners
• Tightest Seam Construction
minimizing “Seam Grinning”
• Low Seam Profile/Better Hand
301 Lockstitch
• Will not unravel is Reversible
• Capable of Back Tacking
A 301 Lockstitch
has many advantages
and that is why it
is so common! Outside of garment

Clean-edge Hemming Folder


Backtacking is used
to prevent a
seam from
unraveling!
301 Lockstitch Advantages
• Capable of Multi-direction sewing

Automatic Pocket Setter


Bobbin Winder

Bartackers are
Cycle Machines
The most common
pattern for a sewing a predetermined
bartack includes 3 number of stitches
rows of line
stitches and then
numerous cross-
over or zig-zag
stitches - a total of
28 stitches per
tack.

Bartacks are generally used to reinforce seams to prevent the seam from degrading. Typical
locations for bartacks include: corners of pockets, at edge of seam to prevent the chain from
unraveling, etc.
Bartacks - are used to reinforce seams at stress points or
attach Belt Loops. Specify the length & width of the Tack.
Most bartacks have 28 stitches per cycle. Bartacks should
be the correct length and width.
301 Lockstitch
Disadvantages
• Constant Bobbin
Changes
• Not as Elastic as
Chainstitch or Overedge
Changing bobbins
all day must
take away a lot of
time from
production!
American & Efird, Inc.

Looper
A chainstitch will only unravel
from the underside of
the seam … and from
the last stitch formed.
Top View Bottom View Application

401 Stitch
- Main Seams
One of the Most
Common stitches
ONE NEEDLE THREAD ONE LOOPER THREAD

Chainstitch - generally
used for mainseams
on woven apparel!

Looper
Felled Seam

Flatbed Machine

Both of these machines


make 3 rows of 401
chainstitch
simultaneously!

Off Arm
Machine
Advantages
• No Bobbin Changes - fewer restitched
seams
• Greater Seam Strength - fewer opened
seams
• Greater Seam Elasticity - fewer opened
seams
• Higher Machine Speeds - higher
Both the needle and looper
threads come right off the
productivity
cone?

• Multi-Rows of Stitch - for special


Looper
applications
This machine has
four needles and
four loopers
producing four
rows of chainstitch
Close-Coupled
Puller

Metering Device

This Machine has four needles and four loopers making four independent rows
of 401 chainstitch. It is equipped with a metering device to stretch the elastic
and a folder for folding the fabric.
Disadvantages
• Can unravel easily from last stitch
formed
• Can unravel if a skipped stitch
occurs
• Can unravel if the stitch is broken
• Not recommended when turning
corners
Serging -
generally refers to
Serging - was one
of the ways to
the covering of the
prevent the edge of edge to prevent the
wovens from
unraveling
edge from
unraveling. All three
stitches can be used
for serging but a 503
stitch uses the least
amount of thread.
Top View Bottom View Application

503 Stitch
- Serging (single purl -
less thread
Two threads - needle & looper consumption)

504 Stitch
- Seaming and / or
Three threads - needle & 2 loopers Serging

505 Stitch
- Serging (double purl -
best coverage of
Three threads - needle & 2 loopers edge)

American & Efird, Inc.


Safetystitch - a
machine that produces
a chainstitch & overedge
simultaneously
516 Safety Stitch
(401 & 504 stitches
simultaneously)

How many threads


would this machine
take?
American & Efird, Inc.

Top View Bottom View Application

515 Stitch
- Safety stitch Seaming

Four threads - 401 & 503

516 Stitch
- Safety stitch Seaming

Five threads - 401 & 504

* Both 401 Chainstitch & Overedge stitches


are sewn simultaneously.
i t y
a l
Q u
o r
P o
KEYS TO PROPER TRIMMING
•Trimming Knives kept Sharp and set with the Proper Trim Angle.
•Trimming Width Set Correctly with Needle Plate to achieve Proper Seam Margin
Overedge Machines have a Knife that Trims the Material prior
to Forming the Stitch

Stitch Tongue or
Chaining Finger
Upper &
Lower Knives
where the yarns in the fabric pull
out of the seam from the edge.
This often occurs on fabrics
constructed of continuous
filament yarns that are very
smooth and have a slick surface.
Also caused by loosely
constructed fabrics.
Inside of Seam

Possible Solutions
➧ Increase the Seam Margin
➧ Optimize the Stitches Per Inch
➧ Change to a different Seam Construction
• Stitch & restitched seam Inside of Seam
• French Seam
Single Thread Button Sewer with Button Hopper that automatically loads
the button in the clamp. The sewing operator positions the garment piece
and pushes the foot treadle and the rest is automatic.
Here are the three
most common types of
buttons! Flat - 2 & 4
hole and a shank
button
Automatic Buttonsew Machine

UNRAVELING BUTTONS - generally where a tail of thread is visible


on the topside of the button and when pulled, the button falls off.
Generally a
button sewn
on with a
lockstitch
buttonsewer
will not
unravel giving
a more secure
button
attachment.

Bobbin Winder
BH
Purl Stitch - where the purl is
pulled to the top of the buttonhole
edge.
Whip Stitch - where the purl is
pulled to the center or bottom of
the buttonhole edge.

Dress/ Casual Shirts - Buttonhole length generally is 1/2 inch, is placed vertically, with
approximately 85-90 stitches, and is usually done with a lockstitch buttonhole machine.

Knit Shirts - Buttonhole length generally is 1/2 inch, is placed horizontally, with
approximately 85-90 stitches, and is usually done with a lockstitch buttonhole machine.
Note: Knit plants have a tendency to use a buttonhole machine set for approximately 40-
45 stitches per buttonhole, and then run two cycles on the same buttonhole. This gives
better coverage on the knit fabric so there are less fibers protruding from under the
thread.
Eyelet/
Key Hole BH

Use Buttonhole Gimp to


reinforce buttonholes

Purl Stitch - where the purl is pulled to the top of the buttonhole edge.
Whip Stitch - where the purl is pulled to the center or bottom of the
buttonhole edge.
Common Stitches Used in Slacks or Trousers
Set Front Pockets &
J Stitch Fly
301 Lockstitch
Serge Pants Panels ( Reversible & Low
503 - 2 Thd. Overedge Seam Profile)
( Cover Raw Edge & Less Thread
Consumption than 3 Thread Stitch)

Sideseam, Inseam, Seat Seam


401 Chainstitch
( No Bobbin Changes &
Higher Machine Speeds)

Make Back Darts Hem Bottoms


103 Blindstitch
301 Lockstitch
( Tightest stitch minimizing
Seam Grinning)

American & Efird, Inc.


American & Efird, Inc.

Top View Bottom View Application


103 Stitch
- Blindstitch
- Hemming
- Belt Loops
- Felling

Blindstitch machines have a


penetration adjustment that
determines the amount of thread or
“dimple” seen on the outside of the
garment. Generally it is desirable to
see no thread on the outside of the
garment.
Curved
Needle Spreader

Feed Platen Fabric

Ridge Former
Used to determine penetration

Improper Needle Penetration - The thread should not show


on the outside of the garment. Too much needle penetration.
Penetration
Adjustment

Skipped
Stitch Setting

What is meant by 1 to 1 non-


skip or 2 to 1 skip stitch?
• Restitched Seams
• Broken Stitches
• Improper Stitch Formation
• Seam Puckering
RESTITCHED SEAMS - where there is a
"splice" on the stitch line. Caused by
thread breakage during sewing or broken
stitches during laundry that have been
repaired.

If this occurs on Topstitching, then the


seam does not appear to be 1st quality
merchandise.
MINIMIZING THREAD BREAKAGE - 1) Use a
better quality sewing thread. This may include
going to a higher performance thread designed to
minimize sewing interruptions. (see A&E "Thread
Selection Guide" and/or A&E's Technical Bulletin
"Minimizing Thread Breakage & Skipped
Stitches"); 2) Insure proper machine maintenance
and sewing machine adjustments; 3) Make sure
sewing machines are properly maintained and
adjusted for the fabric and sewing operation; (see
A&E's Technical Bulletin - "Machine Maintenance
Checklist". 4) Observe sewing operators for
correct material handling techniques.
IMPROPER STITCH BALANCE -
301 LOCKSTITCH - where loops are
seen either on the bottomside or topside
of the seam. This is particularly evident
Loose Stitches with different colored needle and bobbin
threads. Also where the stitch is too
loose.

Malformed Stitches
Needle & Bobbin threads meet
in Center of Seam

Top Bottom
☛ Always Check Bobbin Case Thread Tension 1st!
☛ Use the “yo-yo” method to check the Bobbin Tension,
if possible.

Adjusting Bobbin Tension


Checking the Bobbin tension
on a flat surface will let you
know if the bobbin has
been damaged.
☛ Next, pull thread up through Needle
Plate needle hole & check Bobbin
Tension

Sometimes thread gets wrapped around the spindle in


the basket which will apply tension against the bobbin.
☛ Sewing with light
thread tension
will minimize:
☛ Skips
☛ Thread Breaks
☛ Seam Failures
☛ Seam Cracking
☛ Seam Puckering

Why is sewing with light


Needle Thread Tension
Important?
IMPROPER STITCH BALANCE - 401 CHAINSTITCH - where the
loops on the bottom-side of the seam are inconsistent and do not
appear uniform.
Needle
Thread

Looper
Thread

How do you check the ☛ Needle Thread lays


stitch balance on a
chainstitch? over half way to next
Needle penetration
on the underside of
the seam
Too much Needle
Thread

l i t y
Q ua
o or
P Needle Thread too
tight!

Unbalanced Stitches
Skips on Chainstitch

Skips on Lockstitch

Skips on Overedge

SKIPPED STITCHES - where the stitch length is inconsistent, possibly


appearing as double the normal stitch length; or where you can see that the
threads in the stitch are not properly connected together. Caused by the
stitch forming device in the sewing machine missing the thread loop during
stitch formation causing a defective stitch. On looper type stitches, this will
allow the stitch to unravel causing seam failure.
Crossing Seams
➨ Yarn Displacement (Structural Jamming)
➨ Tension Puckering (Excessive Thread
Tension)
➨ Machine Puckering (Uneven ply feeding)
What are the Major Causes
of Seam Puckering on
Wovens?
EXCESSIVE SEAM PUCKERING - WOVENS - where the seam does not lay flat
and smooth along the stitch line. Caused by one of the following:
1) Yarn Displacement or Structural Jamming - caused by sewing tightly constructed fabrics
with too large of thread that causes the yarns in the seam to be displaced, giving a puckered
appearance
2) Tension Puckering - where the thread has been stretched and sewn into the seam. The
thread then causes the seam to draw back and pucker
3) Feed Puckering - where the plies of fabric in the seam are not being aligned properly during
sewing
Filling

Warp

Bias

Where the thread is displacing the


yarns in the fabric causing the seam
to pucker. This occurs most
often in the Warp direction.
Carefully clip the thread
between adjacent needle
penetrations along the
seam and observe if the
puckering remains in the
fabric or goes away. If the
puckering is still in the
seam after the threads are
clipped, then yarn displace-
ment is the probable
A&E Size & Strength Comparison
☛ Use the smallest thread size
available that will maintain Tex Size Perma Core D-Core Perma Spun
adequate seam strength and Ex-Light Weight T-18 2.0 1.4

sewing performance. In T-21 1.6


Light Weight T-24 2.8 2.3
some cases it may be
T-27 2.1
necessary to go to a different T-30 3.8 3.2
thread type and take T-35
advantage of its higher Medium Weight T-40 4.5 4.1 3.3
tenacity (example: going T-45 3.6
from a T-30 spun polyester to T-50 6.7 4.7

a T-18 or T-24 Perma Core). Heavy Weight T-60 8.7 7.3 5.0
T-70 6.3
T-80 9.6 7.7
T-90 7.6
T-105 11.5 8.2 9.7
Ex-Heavy Weight T-120 14.6 11.4 10.6
* Strength in lbs. And is based on current averages.
Use smallest needle size possible that will not cause excessive sewing
problems. We recommend a needle with a longer needle point so that it will
have less resistance as it penetrates the seam.

The length from


the butt to the
top of the eye is
the same. Only
the point is
longer.

Regular Point Long Point


On left, seam placed parallel to the warp yarns.
On the right, seam placed at angle of 15°.
When possible, cut the garment pieces so they can be
sewn on the bias or in a direction that allows the
different yarns in the construction of the fabric to be
displaced.
Caused By Thread Tensions
being too Tight!

800

Tension (Grams)
re
700 Co
CW
or
600 PW ter
es
P oly
500 un
Sp
400

300 Higher Initial


200 Modulus
100
Low Initial
Modulus
4 8 12 16 20 24

Elongation %
Identification:
Carefully clip the
thread between
adjacent needle
penetrations along
the seam and
observe if the
puckering is reduced
in the fabric. If it is,
then excessive
thread tension is the
probable cause of the
➨ Use very light machine
thread tensions. Begin by
setting the bottom thread
tension (bobbin or looper)
as light as possible but still
maintain the proper thread
control. Next adjust the
needle thread tension to a
minimum level necessary to
maintain a closed seam and
a balanced stitch. This not
only reduces the elongation
of the thread in the seam,
but also improves loop
formation and sewability.
➨ Reduce the thread size
➨ Use a needle with a ball eye needle
➨ Use a larger needle size
• On 401 Chainstitch machines, adjust the stitch balance so the
needle loops on the bottom side of the seam lay over at least
half way to the next needle penetration when the looper
thread is unraveled out of the seam. The looper thread must
also be as loose as possible.
Feed puckering occurs
when one of the fabric
plies is fed into the
seam at a different rate
than the other ply or
plies.

Puckering
on one side
of seam
Puckering
on one side
of seam

Feed Pucker is identified


when the puckering is
primarily on one side
of the seam!
• Use the minimum presser foot pressure

Too much Pressure will cause excessive Feed Puckering. It is desirable to


have just enough pressure to feed without stalling.
IDENTIFICATION:
Make two perpendicular cuts across a sewn seam
where the puckered condition is the greatest - see
Figure 4. Remove the thread in the seam and see if
the two plies are of equal length.
• The feed dog should have the optimum teeth
per inch and number of rows of teeth for the
operation and fabric being sewn.
•Light weight wrinkle resistant fabrics 20 -
24 teeth per inch.
•Medium weight fabrics 14 - 18 teeth per
inch.
•Heavy weight fabrics 8 - 12 teeth per inch.
• Use a low friction presser foot: Teflon coated, roller bearing,
“feeding foot”, etc. Use an “anti-puckering” needle plate with
a retaining spring that holds back on the bottom ply to match
the top ply.

• Use machines equipped with a needle feed or compound feed


mechanism where the needle moves with the feed as the
fabric is being sewn. This “pinning” of the plies as they are
being fed helps reduce feed puckering.

Feeding Foot - A special


presser foot designed to help
feed the top ply in with the
bottom feed.
Roller Foot - A special
presser foot designed to help
feed the top ply of leather or
vinyl with the bottom ply.

Needle Feed or Compound


Feed - A feed system that
feeds when the needle is in the
seam. The needle moves with
the feed helping to match the
plies.
Walking Foot - A feed system that includes a top and bottom
feed system. The top feed also has a four motion upper feed to
assist in matching plies.
Puller Feed - A feed system that includes a close-coupled Puller
to help pull the top ply in at the same rate as the bottom ply.
Used only for straight seams.
• Dress Shirt or blouse ????
– Light Weight tightly woven fabric
– Fabric susceptible to seam puckering
– You have determined that the cause of the
puckering is Structural Jamming

• Which of the following would help


minimize Structural Jamming
Puckering?
A) Using more stitches per inch and making sure the
stitch is balance properly.
B) Minimizing the pressure on the Foot and check for
back-feeding.
C) Use the smallest needle and thread possible.
Decrease the number of spi, if possible.
D) None of the above.
• Microfiber Jacket ????
– Medium Weight tightly woven fabric
– Fabric susceptible to seam puckering
– You have determined that the cause of the
puckering is Tension Puckering

• Which of the following would help


minimize Tension Puckering?
A) Use fewer stitches per inch and making sure the
stitch is pulled up tight to minimize seam grinning.
B) Minimizing the pressure on the Foot and check for
back-feeding.
C) Use the smallest needle and thread possible.
Decrease the number of spi, if possible.
D) Adjust the bottom tension as loose as possible first
and then adjust the needle thread tension.
• Casual Pants or Shorts ????
– Medium weight woven fabric
– You have determined that the cause of the
puckering is Feed Puckering
• Which of the following would help
minimize Feed Puckering?
A) Use the smallest needle and thread possible.
Decrease the number of spi, if possible.
B) Minimizing the pressure on the Foot and check for
proper Operator handling.
C) Adjust the bottom tension as loose as possible first
and then adjust the needle thread tension.
D) None of the above.
• Stretch Denim Jean ????
– You are experiencing excessive
puckering on the seams
– You have determined that the
cause of the puckering is Feed Puckering

• Which of the following would help


minimize Feed Puckering?
A) Use fewer stitches per inch and making sure the
stitch is pulled up tight to minimize seam grinning.
B) Use minimum pressure on the Foot and check for
back-feeding. Observe operator for correct handling.
C) Use the smallest needle and thread possible.
Decrease the number of spi, if possible.
D) Adjust the bottom tension as loose as possible first
and then adjust the needle thread tension.
• Woven Dress - Hem Sleeve ????
– Light weight tightly woven fabric
– Seam OK immediately after sewing
but then puckers after sitting for 20 minutes
– You have determined that the cause of the
puckering is Tension Puckering

• Which of the following would help minimize


Tension Puckering?
A) Minimizing the pressure on the Foot and check for back-
feeding.
B) Adjust the bottom tension as loose as possible first and
then adjust the needle thread tension.
C) Use a fine size corespun thread (T-18 or M180) that resists
stretching during sewing
D) Use the smallest needle possible. Make sure the needle
hole in the needle plate is as small as possible minimizing
flagging.