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: etoile92
Date: 09-25-2006, 10:53 AM (1 of 11)
:bg: Hi, everyone.
I've never sewed a thing, but have come to be interested in learning, at the age of 39.
So... lucky me, my wonderful Mother in Law gives me this machine she's not using. It's a 20+ year old Singer Athena 2000 which is in really good shape but hasn't been used for a couple of years. She did get it oiled and cleaned within the last year and a half or so.
Last night she was showing me how to thread it and everything, but here is the problem:
ALL my attempts end in the thread on the front looking ok but the back is horrible. Loose and tangled, just a mess. Also sometimes the thread breaks.

My Mother in Law is an experienced sewer but also getting up there in years and has forgotten a lot I think. She has determined it's a tension problem but we're not sure how to fix it. I am going to a sewing/repair store today to get some tips but thought I'd ask you here.
I know this forum is going to be a valuable resource.

Thanks, sorry for the long and rambly post!:bolt:
User: etoile92
Member since: 09-25-2006
Total posts: 2
From: Magot
Date: 09-25-2006, 12:16 PM (2 of 11)
Hello and welcome to the gang! How nice to be given a machine as a pressie.

When you start to sew are you taking the threads to the back and holding on to them? If you do this for the first few stitches it may help. Check that you are lowering the presser foot as well.
love and kisses, Jan
Cells a Speciality
DNA to order.
User: Magot
Member since: 12-22-2002
Total posts: 3626
From: DorothyL
Date: 09-25-2006, 12:25 PM (3 of 11)
Your presser foot should be up when you thread. Make sure you are hitting all the guides.
If it is the tension -- and likely it is -- the repair shop should be able to help you in a couple minutes.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: lendube
Date: 09-25-2006, 01:10 PM (4 of 11)
Had a problem like that when I first got the machine I have now and it took everyone forever to figure out what was up. If you've done all the recommended things and are still having a problem check your tension dial where you set the amount of tension.

What I had been doing was turning the dial the wrong way! Instead of going back and forth between 1 and 6 (I have an embroidery machine so I need to change it every time, you don't) I was going past 6 to 1 and around. It messed things up big time.

Don't know if this is even possible on your machine but I felt I had to suggest it since it gave me and several folks at the dealer a great big headache.

Also, be sure you thread it according to the directions in the manual. Your mom-in-law might have forgotten something important there...:wink:

Good luck, have fun and welcome. Lennie :smile:
User: lendube
Member since: 08-06-2006
Total posts: 1548
From: paroper
Date: 09-25-2006, 03:51 PM (5 of 11)
Always make the first stitch with the hand wheel slightly onto the edge of the fabric. Often this takes care of simple tangles.

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: etoile92
Date: 09-25-2006, 04:32 PM (6 of 11)
Thanks everyone!
I do have the foot down and I do hold the 2 threads... I have a tension wheel and it goes between 1-9. I've tried a few different numbers (not knowing which numbers mean what)
I did go online and find instructions, I think I have it threaded

Here's a dumb question, What's a hand wheel? The thing you turn that moves the needle up or down?

I think the repair store is a good bet, they can actually see the machine. I'll let you know what the verdict is.

Thanks again!
User: etoile92
Member since: 09-25-2006
Total posts: 2
From: DorothyL
Date: 09-25-2006, 04:58 PM (7 of 11)
If you do have the foot down, that is the problem. That will prevent the thread from slipping in between the tension disks because the disks come together when the foot is down. I believe this is true of all machines. Once the thread is between the disks you can lower the foot to make threading the needle easier.
If there is no change in what the machine does when you change the tension setting it is a good indication that the thread isn't between the disks.
Also, is the needle in the right way? Most, but not all, have the flat side to the back.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: lendube
Date: 09-25-2006, 05:15 PM (8 of 11)
Yes, the hand wheel is what you turn to make the needle go up and down. :smile:

Do you have a manual for the machine? Proper tension on my last Singer was between 3 and 4. My Viking likes 6.They all have their standard setting.

And don't worry; once you've got the right tension for your machine you seldom (if ever) have to change it for normal everyday sewing.

Please let us know what the shop says and don't get frustrated. Even experienced sewers go through some form of frustration with each new machine. :mad:

User: lendube
Member since: 08-06-2006
Total posts: 1548
From: yellowrose
Date: 09-25-2006, 06:21 PM (9 of 11)
Might check to see that bobbin thead is insert correctly. Mine tangles on the underside if the bobbin is in wrong.
User: yellowrose
Member since: 07-09-2006
Total posts: 17
From: MotherInLaw
Date: 09-25-2006, 06:21 PM (10 of 11)
Dorothy this doesn't apply to her but my embroidery machine auto threader will not work with the foot up. I don't want to confuse her by saying that but it might confuse people who have an auto threader and the foot is up and it has to be down or it will damage the threader. All these new fangled things.:up:
I'm regressing back into my youth, I just have to figure out how I'm going to convience my body to come along with me.
User: MotherInLaw
Member since: 06-25-2005
Total posts: 1118
From: esrun3
Date: 09-25-2006, 06:59 PM (11 of 11)
Welcome to the boards! What a wonderful gift from your mother in law! You've received lots of good advise already, not sure I can add anything but wanted to welcome you and wish you luck with the machine! Let us know how it goes.
User: esrun3
Member since: 12-02-2004
Total posts: 2345
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