Sew, What's Up

Sew What’s Up Presents

The Sew What’s New Archive

This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: Misskitten
Date: 03-28-2006, 10:21 PM (1 of 9)

I have had my Janome 204D for about 3 years now and I have never had a problem with it, until now. I am having trouble keeping the lower looper threaded, I have tried re-threading just that part and the entire machine several times now to no avail. I am not sure if I have a tension problem or if I have a thread problem, unfortunately I no longer have the manual (my cat saw to that) and I can't seem to find anything on the web. I make and alter my own clothes and I just started a new project with several others lined up, so taking to be repaired would seriously set me back. Can anybody help with this?

Thanks in advance.
User: Misskitten
Member since: 03-28-2006
Total posts: 3
From: paroper
Date: 03-28-2006, 11:26 PM (2 of 9)
When one thread breaks you almost have to rethread the serger from scratch. Raise your presser foot and thread first Upper, then lower looper, then right needle, then left needle. Don't ask me why, I don't make the rules (I wouldn't have made this one, believe me), but basically you start at the upper looper and thread always from the middle outward.

The serger is just like the sewing machine in that you need to raise the foot to get the thread into the tension disks. Be sure that you have pull on your thread as you run it through the machine.

While you have your machine unthreaded, it is a great time to give it a good cleaning and oiling. It sure can't hurt your cause and it might even help.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: westozmum
Date: 03-28-2006, 11:28 PM (3 of 9)

I have a Janome serger as well (here we call them overlockers!!)

It sounds like it might be a tension problem.....have you checked the thread is threading through the tension disc properly? Maybe the little disc is broken or come loose. Not knowing your model sometimes you can pull the knob off the lower looper tension adjuster and re calibrate the tension.......

Another useful tip that i have discovered over the years is that, even though the books tell you the order in which to thread the machine , I have always found that if you thread upper then lower and then needle(s) last.

It seems to prevent a lot of unnecessary jams

I hope this might help

Kind regards
Westozmum aka Laura from the Land Down Under
User: westozmum
Member since: 02-16-2006
Total posts: 41
From: Kylnne2
Date: 03-29-2006, 03:07 AM (4 of 9)
I think good advice has already been posted. The threading order is important but if you have had your serger awhile I'm sure you know this. Just be sure that the lower looper thread goes over the upper looper arm near the upper looper eye and be sure your needle threads are up free and to the other words thread needles was already suggested and posted. Rethread the needle after you thread the looper or the threads will be trapped under the lower looper. If the needle is not threaded after the lower looper the needle thread pulls up on the looper and breaks the thread. You can also use tweezers to pull the needle threads above the throat plate and put the threads to the back of the foot rather than rethread. Sergers that have needle tension release buttons are nice to have for this purpose.
User: Kylnne2
Member since: 07-10-2004
Total posts: 629
From: toastydeath
Date: 03-29-2006, 03:24 AM (5 of 9)
My serger does the same thing - throws the lower looper after a couple of stitches. I did find it to be, as stated, a threading problem.

Where my experience differs is the complete rethreading issue - i just cut the chain off, and use tweezers to pull all the threads off and out of the various looping devices until i have all the threads coming off the loopers themselves and the needles. With the foot out of the way, i turn the handwheel over a couple of times to get a thick chain just started, swing the foot back in place and give it a little blip to get the chain really going.

It may seem like you have all the threads in your hand, but if they're still around something inside the machine in the middle of attempted looping, it will kick the chain again. Make sure you can see the thread go from your hand to the last part of the threading chain.

Edit -

My serger also does not care what order I thread it in. If your is very sensitive about such issues, rethreading completely will be the only way to go.
User: toastydeath
Member since: 03-11-2006
Total posts: 13
From: plrlegal
Date: 03-29-2006, 11:01 AM (6 of 9)
I had a similar problem night before last with my Juki 4 thread. I was really beginning to get irritated since this is the first problem that I've had with this machine since dh purchased it for me in December. As has been stated in previous posts, it was a threading issue. In rethreading, I had missed a small inconspicuous thread guide and it was allowing the thread to jump out of the lower looper tension guide after a few stitches. So, I would completely unthread and starting with the upper looper thread, make sure you are threading through every thread guide for each path (lower looper, upper looper, then needle(s)). Once all the threads were in all the proper thread guides, my machine worked beautifully.

User: plrlegal
Member since: 05-19-2001
Total posts: 318
From: Misskitten
Date: 03-29-2006, 03:59 PM (7 of 9)
Thank you guys so much! I'm off to buy some new thread now (need to change colors) so I will try your suggestions to see if it works!
User: Misskitten
Member since: 03-28-2006
Total posts: 3
From: Tom Land
Date: 03-29-2006, 07:16 PM (8 of 9)
Anytime you rethread the lower looper you must rethread the needles. Otherwise after sewing about 1 inch your looper thread will break again. This is true on all but a couple of sergers. The reason for this is very simple but long to explain. There is a way to get around this but a little too difficult for me explain here. Your local dealer should be able to show you the trick.
Have fun or don't do it, Tom
User: Tom Land
Member since: 09-21-2005
Total posts: 514
From: Misskitten
Date: 03-29-2006, 07:40 PM (9 of 9)
I just wanted to thank you all again for your suggestions, it worked like a charm! :up: I just finished 2 of my projects and I am now going to work on my third. I am not sure what I was doing wrong in the threading process, but I know what to do now!
User: Misskitten
Member since: 03-28-2006
Total posts: 3
Sew, What's Up
Search the “Sew What’s New” Archive:
Visit Sew What’s Up for the latest sewing and quilting tips and discussions.
This page was originally located on Sew What’s New ( at