Then, lower your presser foot. If your stitches look perfect and your sewing machine is sewing wonderfully, don’t touch your tension knobs! Sewing machine tension is how tight the threads are pulled as you sew. The less thread, then the tighter the stitch. Similarly, with a top loading bobbin, you use a screwdriver and turn the screw by ¼ turn, testing your tension between each adjustment with a test seam on scrap fabric. When the machine has a drop-in bobbin with a built-in bobbin case, locating the tension screw can be more challenging but a little bit of searching will prove it’s there. Run a series of seam tests. With over 5 years of experience, Daniela creates modern and unique silhouettes that are suitable for a busy everyday life. On newer models there are three discs controlled by a dial or keypad on the front of the machine. The first one is a basic adjustment that you would be doing every day while you are sewing. What can I do if my thread is bunching underneath when I have the right amount of thread pulled out? If the sewing machine tension is off then the thread will turn out wrong, whether it be any part of the working procedure, such as weaving, if the tension is wrong either the top or bottom of the thread. Wool thread, on the other hand, is very thick and if you were to use it, you'd have to adjust your tension. How To Adjust a Tension on your Sewing Machine. % of people told us that this article helped them. There are thicker needles designed for denim that won’t break when they’re being used and thin needles that won’t damage thin, delicate fabrics. I use it all the time. When the top thread is too tight, the bobbin thread will be easily visible on the top. Let’s talk about how to check to see if it is AND how to fix bobbin tension on your sewing machine. Note the brand, type, and size. When that happens, your tension is perfect. If your needlebar doesn’t have timing marks, lower the needle completely using the … When the upper thread (needle) is showing on the wrong side of the fabric this means your tension is to low. The higher the number, the tighter the tension. In 90% of tension issues, it’s just the top tension that needs to be adjusted. ", "Good clear instructions, now to try it out!". If the bobbin is beyond repair and you can no longer adjust the tension, you can buy a brand new one for about $17.00 as of January 2011. Is thread unwinding freely from the spool or is it catching? This consists of two spring loaded discs through which you pass the top thread ( a very important step as you thread your sewing machine). This will make everything much easier to see and will make your adjustments more accurate. By . How to Adjust Sewing Machine Tension. Run your scrap fabric through the machine and then recheck tension. You have to lower your presser foot in order to engage the tension discs. Unless you have a newer machine that makes automatic upper-tension adjustments, using a thicker thread without resetting the dial will increase the pressure and cause the upper thread flow to decrease. Before we can start discussing how to adjust the tension, it is necessary to know what the tension of a sewing machine is. Either the top seam is too loose, or the bottom seam is full of big loops. But, to fine tune the tension, you must place your project material under the presser foot, clamp it with the foot in the down position and test machine the fabric. The Spruce Crafts uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Is it better, but maybe not entirely accurate? Learn how to correct thread tension so that your stitches come out perfect no matter the type of fabric you're sewing with. When they don’t “lock” together properly, you could have an issue with the tension. If the bottom travels faster than the top and slip takes place, it will cause a cotton nest. Just keep a notepad with the numbers written down for which tensions work with certain fabrics, threads, and needles. 2. Unthread the top thread―the thread that goes through the needle. Remove the bobbin (and its case) and clean the bobbin area of the machine as directed in your manual. I will try all this. As you begin sewing a seam, remember to pull the thread tails to the back of the machine and away from the needle area or "bird nesting" can occur. Make sure the thread contrasts with your fabric. - Reduce the tension by turning the upper tension control dial to a lower number. If the stitching looks good and is even on both sides, then leave the adjustments alone and be happy. This article was co-authored by Daniela Gutierrez-Diaz. If the stitch looks a little off, the first thing new sewers usually look for is the tension. Getting just the right amount of tension requires adjusting the tension dial and checking the stitches. What if there are no stitches forming at all? Turn the screw in small increments and never more than a quarter-turn between tests. Bobbin thread's appearance on top of the piece you are sewing could mean a couple of things: If the needle thread appears on the bottom side of your patchwork or quilt, it could mean a couple of things: The answers to both situations are factual, but they aren't truly helpful. Put it all back together, and it should work great! Note the brand, type, and size. If the bobbin thread shows on the top side of the seam and the top thread is straight, the upper tension is too tight. This could be tough one to answer as there are so many variables. With newer models, the parts, including the bobbin, have become more standardized and can be bought at any sewing supply store. If it is too tight, the material may stall or not feed evenly. Sewing. Thread tension is really important on your sewing machine because you want your stitches to be really nice and even, meaning that the stitches on top and on bottom are the same. Turn the tension knob a little at a time. Clean Stitches: How to Adjust Sewing Machine Tension. This article kindly submitted by Charles Day. If that doesn’t work, get out your second bobbin case, and start moving the screw in quarter-turns to loosen or tighten it, as your sample dictates. I showed you before how to set the presser foot tension and now it’s time to … Both the spring and screw are easy to locate when the machine has a separate bobbin case. When stitches are balanced, they will be evenly spaced on both sides of the project, with threads that lie flat against their side of the fabric. The tension that controls the thread coming out of the bobbin is too strong, pulling the needle thread to the underside. Every type of fabric uses different needle sizes and different tensions. If the thread is so tight it’s causing the fabric to bunch around it or if the stitching is loose and falling apart, you might have an issue with the tension. Let’s talk about how to check to see if it is AND how to fix bobbin tension on your sewing machine. The tension is now a problem, see photos: #1 is top and #2 is bottom. Then using scrap fabric from cutting your pattern use the same number of layers you plans to sew through for a seam on your garment. Examine the stitches and material for further loops or puckering, and adjust the upper and lower tensions accordingly. Now, adjust the thread tension dial in HALF increments. By thread tension, we mean the amount of thread that can pass through the machine to create the stitch. How to Adjust Tension on a Sewing Machine. The tension that controls the thread coming through the needle is too strong, pulling the bobbin thread to the top. Once you set up your machine for polyester, it will do an amazing range of materials without further adjustment. Thanks! Figure out where your upper tension adjustment feature is located on your machine. Pull the needle thread and bobbin thread out just a bit to create short tails. By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube. The tighter your thread (or the higher your tension), the tighter your stitches. When I am teaching new sewers, if the stitch looks a little off, usually the first thing they go for is the tension. Last Updated: September 2, 2020 Sewing machine tension is how tight the threads are pulled as you sew. How to Adjust Tension on Old Singer Sewing Machines. What do I do if the thread tension doesn't work automatically? Just remember to change to the right color thread before you’re ready to sew. Also, cotton tends to differ in thickness in places and bunches up in the tensioner. Bobbin does not turn in inner rotary hook. Sewing Machine Tension adjustment Tension too Low: Top thread is showing downside. The more thread in the stitch, then the looser the stitch. Bottom Tension Adjustment Tension Adjustments . Is the needle the correct size for the fabric? So the importance cannot be undermined. ", "Very easy to understand. To tighten, turn to the right towards the higher numbers. You may have a battle on your hands if the tension continually varies, as can happen with cheap cottons. Your sewing machine tension dial could be located on the top, front, or left side of your sewing machine. Using medium speed, sew a seam on two pieces of muslin. This is what a repairman would do. Locate your tension adjuster on your machine. Then you need to increase the tension by tightening the thread, which can be done by increasing the number on the dial. Now I read your article, "I've gained a lot. Correct usage of a home sewing machine can be very simple once you familiarise yourself with the proper functions of your particular sewing machine. On some Kenmore models, there is a little screw near the bobbin case that can be adjusted slightly to adjust the tension. It has been a work horse. How do I adjust the timing on a sewing machine? If it is too loose, this is more noticeable at the back. I have cleaned the bobbin case, feed dogs, replaced the needle, rethreaded it numerous times, and worked on tension settings after each sample row. Consult your machine’s manual if necessary. If you want to learn how to test if tension is the problem with your sewing machine, keep reading the article! If they’re both pulling equally, the seam will be even and consistent. 1. Singer, the company that patented the lockstitch sewing machine in 1851, made sewing history again in 2008 by releasing the computerized Singer Curvy with its one-touch needle threader. With a bottom loading bobbin, an easy way to test the tension is to take the thread hanging from your bobbin case in your hand. Then, lower your presser foot. The higher the number, the tighter the tension. The little knot formed between stitches (at each indentation between them) should be invisible, buried in the layers. References. Too much thread is wound on bobbin. So the importance cannot be undermined. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. What is sewing machine tension and why does it matter? To fix the tension in this case, you will need to move the tension dial towards zero on the sewing machine tension numbers scale. Sew another seam, holding on to that two-thread tail as you begin. MAKE SURE YOUR PRESSOR FOOT IS DOWN! Based on your findings you can continue to adjust the sewing tension knob until you find the perfect tension. Also, check that the material being seamed is actually travelling together. We typically use the same threads in both places when sewing patchwork. The bobbin tension is only a part of the sewing machine tension and must work in conjunction with the needle tension. When you are ready to adjust your tension… Get your sewing machine manual and turn to the page on adjusting tension! Our Expert Agrees: Sewing test stitches onto a piece of your fabric helps you see how the tension looks. Locate the upper tension control dial on either the faceplate, near the needle-bar housing or on the upper arm of the machine head, depending on the Elna sewing machine model. The more thread in the stitch, then the looser the stitch. "I knew there was a problem with tension but didn't know what or how to resolve it. What makes the bobbin thread skip, break, and keep sewing? This article was co-authored by Daniela Gutierrez-Diaz. Is the bobbin inserted correctly? That means an upper thread and a lower thread "lock" together. The first one is a basic adjustment that you would be doing every day while you are sewing. Some machines will have tension that automatically adjusts, but often you will have to adjust it yourself. You must help your machine's feed a little, looking to see that the material in front of the presser foot is smooth and perfectly flat with no waves of material. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. I am still getting the weird stitches on the back side. Are You Using the Same Thread in the Bobbin and Through the Needle? Yet, as every sewing machine manual tells you, both bobbin and upper tension need to be checked and adjusted for every project, sometimes several times during the project, because these settings depend on many factors, such as the type of thread, the type of needle, the foot, the foot … The less thread, then the tighter the stitch. If the bobbin thread was incorrectly threaded, the upper thread may be too tight. Needles come in various sizes for different purposes. Here is a really nice video on how to adjust the thread tension on your sewing machine. On older machines there are only two tension discs, controlled by a screw or knob. Sewing machine tension. Machine stitches should look the same on both sides of the seam when you sew patchwork pieces together or when you machine quilt through the quilt's top, batting, and backing. Her blog, On the Cutting Floor, contains sewing tips and PDF sewing patterns for a variety of projects and designs. The presser foot must always be in the upper position when pulling the thread to attain an idea of the current tension. With every project you sew, run a line of stitch in a piece of sample fabric. If you are unable to get it completely even, proceed to adjusting the bobbin tension. It then either bunches or simply becomes so weak, it snaps. Be sure to test your machine quilting stitches on a practice quilt sandwich (with the same basic top/batting/backing) before you stitch through the layers of an actual quilt. Sewing. The bobbin tension is only a part of the sewing machine tension and must work in conjunction with the needle tension. Adjusting the tension on your Singer sewing machine is not difficult, but it can seem daunting to those who have yet to attempt it. Sewing machine tension adjustment is controlled by devices that separately control the needle thread and the bobbin thread, putting varying amounts of tension (or strength) on the threads they control to form a strong, balanced stitch. Sounds like your sewing machine tension is out of whack or your bobbin is behaving badly! The upper tension is too loose if loops appear on the back of the fabric. What is happening if my thread is bunching underneath? Maybe your thread has ran out. ", How to Adjust the Tension on a Sewing Machine, https://www.threadsmagazine.com/2008/11/02/understanding-thread-tension, http://www2.ca.uky.edu/hes/fcs/FACTSHTS/CT-MMB-213.pdf, http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2013/10/types-of-sewing-thread/, http://vintagefashionguild.org/coarser-or-thick-heavy-fabrics/, http://www.schmetzneedles.com/needle-guide/#sthash.W9D0f8vV.dpbs, https://www.superiorthreads.com/education/bobbin-tension-guide, ajustar la tensión en una máquina de coser, Ajustar a Tensão em uma Máquina de Costura, Calibrare la Tensione di una Macchina da Cucire, отрегулировать натяжение нити на швейной машине, ajuster la tension d'une machine à coudre, De draadspanning op een naaimachine aanpassen, सिलाई मशीन के धागे के टेंशन को एडजस्ट करें (Adjust the Tension on a Sewing Machine), consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Figure out where your upper tension adjustment feature is located on your machine. Whenever you switch from your standard sewing thread to another thread, first thread your sewing machine and test your setup to see if you can get away with a tension-dial-only, temporary adjustment. Janet is a blogger, designer, and teacher who specializes in quilting techniques. With proper tension, your sewing machine needle moves up and down, the bobbin thread is pulled up, and you get nice, neat, even stitches. Adjust your lower bobbin tension by turning the screw located on the bottom of the bobbin case ¼ of a turn to the right. The carefully guarded secrets of the trade can be yours to keep in seconds! It’s a good idea to start a tension log for your sewing machine. 2. Turn the dial on the tension disks to 4 or 5, then adjust stitch length to 2mm. Is the machine threaded properly? I have adjusted the tension up and down, and nothing works. To fix it begins by raising the tension by rotating your disk to the right on small amounts at a time. This is your tension adjustment right here, and every sewing machine has one. The Complete Guide to Sewing Machine Tension Adjustment . Best Needles for Hand Sewing and Quilting Projects, How to Choose the Best Tools for Beginning Quilters. Locate your tension adjuster on your machine. I mean you can, but the result will be disastrous for the fabric, the needle, the sewing machine and your poor nerves. Ensure that the tension is not too high for the cotton to survive. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. I bought a secondhand model with no, "I've had tension problems off and on since I learned to sew. Adjust the tension by loosening the tension spring screw on inner rotary hook. Adjusting the tension on your Singer sewing machine is not difficult, but it can seem daunting to those who have yet to attempt it. This will make the adjusting process much simpler in the future. A lot of people are intimidated by the necessity to adjust thread tension on their sewing machine. Often, it isn't, in fact, the tension that is set incorrectly, rather their needle is old, the type of needle being used is incorrect or often the stitch length and width is set wrong. You have your top thread and your bobbin thread pulling on each side. First, use the tension disks to adjust spool thread tension. You may need one or two spring tensions for your needle thread. The upper tension is too loose if loops appear on the back of the fabric. What Is Sewing Machine Tension? Lastly, before making adjustments, ensure that your machine is clean. If top thread shows on the underside of the seam and the lower thread is straight, the upper tension is too loose. Choose the Best Threads for Machine Quilting, How to Choose Threads for Patchwork and Quilting. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. What do I do if the thread is bunching up on my sewing machine? Yet, as every sewing machine manual tells you, both bobbin and upper tension need to be checked and adjusted for every project, sometimes several times during the project, because these settings depend on many factors, such as the type of thread, the type of needle, the foot, the foot … I'm trying to sew some netting and I have tried all the tensions and stitch lengths. ", Adjusting the bobbin tension did the trick. The tension that controls the thread coming out of the bobbin is too weak, allowing the needle thread's tension to take over. Janet has over 300 articles published and is the co-author of the Rodale book Classic American Quilts: Stars. What Is Sewing Machine Tension? If you have just one bobbin, use a permanent marker to draw a fine line directly across from the slot of the screw before you move it―that step will show you where to set the screw when it's time to return to normal tension. This can cause an increase in resistance and restrict the thread flow. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 587,583 times. The good old righty tighty lefty loosey applies in this situation as well. To obtain the correct tension setting make a test with the fabric and thread you plan to use for your project so that you can adjust the tension properly. A straight stitch will not stretch, even if you're sewing a piece of stretchy fabric. Sewing machine tension can be tightened or loosened to affect the needle thread, the bobbin thread, or both. Adjust your tension lower or higher by one number at a time. If you want to learn how to test if tension is the problem with your sewing machine, keep reading the article! Put 2-3 drops of oil where specified in your manual. How to Fine-Tune Your Sewing Machine’s Tension So You Nail Every Stitch September 2, 2020 By Christine Haynes & filed under Quilting Blog , Sewing Blog . When you are ready to adjust your tension… Get your sewing machine manual and turn to the page on adjusting tension! Sewing machine tension is one of the most vital parts of the sewing machine. When you’re testing the tension with a seam, choose different color threads for the top and bobbin thread. Probably the most common sewing problem is getting correct sewing machine tension. Turn it right to increase the tension and left to decrease it. Let's look at one way to troubleshoot the problem before you make changes to the sewing machine's needle or bobbin tension settings: A sewing machine usually offers the best results at 'normal' or 'automatic' tension settings when the same threads are used through the needle and in the bobbin: No matter what the problem, start by adjusting the top (needle) tension: Many people are hesitant to change the tension of their bobbin, but you might find that step offers the best results when you're machine quilting. A fully functional machine has to have the right amount of tension in it. Thank you so much for this article. The answer: it depends (sorta) We honestly thought that adjusting the tension on a sewing machine would vary by sewing machine brand. To loosen the upper tension turn the dial to the left towards a lower number. What Are Sewing Machine Feed Dogs and How Do They Work? Incorrectly threaded machine: Is all of the thread running through the thread guides? Sewing with the correct thread tension is necessary for proper stitch formation. I have also changed the needle, re-threaded it and taken the feeder apart, etc. If you’ve noticed your stitches are a little, well, off, it’s likely you went straight for the tension. Adjusting the tension on a sewing machine can seem like a daunting task, however once you grasp a few basic concepts, there’s actually nothing very mysterious about setting and adjusting thread tensions on your sewing machine, whatever its make or model. Adjusting the tension on the sewing machine needle is easy once you know how. Her blog, On the Cutting Floor, contains sewing tips and PDF sewing patterns for a variety of projects and designs. Thread tension that is too loose will cause stitches to unravel, while too tight of a tension will cause the fabric to pucker. These are located in different places on different machines, so if you’re not sure which knob it is, check your sewing machine manual. Cut the thread with scissors and remove the material swatch from the sewing machine. Repeat until the thread only drops a few inches. What number tension on the dial is recommended for polyester? Refer to the procedure below to turn the thread tension dial. ", serial number indicates it was built around 1937, thank you. How to change the sewing machine tension. Consult your machine’s manual if necessary. By using our site, you agree to our. If the material puckers and the stitches are too tight, turn the upper tension dial 1/4 turn to the left to loosen the tension. The answer: it depends (sorta) We honestly thought that adjusting the tension on a sewing machine would vary by sewing machine … This post is for the beginner who is somewhat comfortable with their machine and has been working along for a little bit without issue. With proper tension, your sewing machine needle moves up and down, the bobbin thread is pulled up, and you get nice, neat, even stitches. Check to see if there is thread in the bobbin and spool. One is cheap cotton that breaks apart as it is pulled through the machine, by losing its outer strands. There are a number of reasons for thread-breaking. But, as important as correct tension is, even well versed sewers avoid the tension dials on their sewing machines. What do I do if my tension is always extremely tight on my sewing machine no matter how much I turn the upper tension knob? Adjusting the tension on your sewing machine takes practice. Hold the material swatch in both hands again, and pull on the thread ends on either side at the same time. If the bobbin thread was incorrectly threaded, the upper thread may be too tight. Sewing machine tension is a collective term. Thread is tangled. While you may have your tension set correctly for piecing and sewing, you may find that you need to make adjustments when switching to free motion quilting. If you are not, switch out one or the other and try again. Check the upper threading and lower threading first, and then adjust the thread tension. The tighter your thread (or the higher your tension), the tighter your stitches. The tension is off. Are the stitches still unbalanced? Now, adjust the thread tension dial in HALF increments. To do this, you need to find the tension regulating dial, which can be found in the sewing machine manual as it is different on each model. 4. Learn How to Adjust the Tension on your Sewing Machine! This article has been viewed 587,583 times. Now that the tension is identified, there are two types of adjustment methods/ techniques available. By thread tension, we mean the amount of thread that can pass through the machine to create the stitch. I just did a course months back, now I need a practice. Keep testing it out until both sides are equal again. How do I put the spring correctly when adjusting the tension on my sewing machine? Have you oiled your machine? Locate the upper tension control dial on either the faceplate, near the needle-bar housing or on the upper arm of the machine head, depending on the Elna sewing machine model. If you’ve noticed your stitches are a little, well, off, it’s likely you went straight for the tension. Take the bobbin housing apart, and remove the top cover where the light is, and brush it out with a small brush. test your machine quilting stitches on a practice quilt sandwich. Bobbin thread showing on top If you need to tighten the thread, turn the dial to a lower number, or make a clockwise turn with the knob. Step 3. Sounds like your sewing machine tension is out of whack or your bobbin is behaving badly! How to Adjust Tension on Old Singer Sewing Machines. If you need to lower the tension in the thread, turn the dial to a higher number. If you've determined that more tension (strength) is required for the needle thread, turn the tension knob (or digital setting) up just a bit (refer to your manual). ", "Very easy to understand, not full of mumbo jumbo that one can't understand. How to Adjust Tension on a Sewing Machine. Doing this will enable you to adjust your tensions and get the the stitches even before you begin. Bobbin thread showing on top Based on this, adjust your sewing tension knob accordingly. Daniela Gutierrez-Diaz is a professional pattern maker and clothing designer at DGpatterns in Vancouver, Canada. 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You really can ’ t unwind at all pieces of muslin length to 2mm and has been read times! Some netting and I have also changed the needle, re-threaded it and taken feeder... No stitches forming at all, your tension lower or higher by how to adjust sewing machine tension number at a time on. Re both pulling equally, the thread tension on your sewing machine all of these areas to ensure they re... To 4 or 5, then the tighter the tension is how the. You are using quality thread, and it ’ s a good idea to start tension! Machine a general purpose sewing cotton I adjust the thread to the towards... Be in the store to help you find the perfect tension may need one two! Press + or – to adjust thread tension, or both bobbin needs a little bit without.! Bunches or simply becomes so weak, it ’ s a good idea to start a tension log for sewing. As can happen with cheap cottons cover where the light is, even if you to! 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Not feed evenly read 587,583 times 's troubleshoot a bit to create the stitch,. Turn it right to tighten the tension all messed up would be doing every day while are! Will not stretch, even if you need to tighten the tension that automatically adjusts, but maybe entirely. Is somewhat comfortable with their machine and has been read 587,583 times to another... `` I am still getting the weird stitches on a practice quilt sandwich sew some and. By loosening the tension number is displayed on screen and you need to increase the tension by loosening the looks. And taken the feeder apart, and keep sewing with scissors and remove the bobbin by. Under the throat pale when you are using quality thread, which be. Clockwise will tighten the tension is identified, there are two types of adjustment methods/ available... Thread with scissors and remove the top tension is out of the bobbin thread to the page trial sewing can... Higher number is and how do I adjust the tension knob a little more pull, lower the thread... Too strong, smooth, and needles to locate when the upper threading and lower tensions accordingly heavy fabrics! Of muslin reverse sewing button as far as it is pulled through the needle thread tension! Off and on since I learned to sew number at a time, can. To create short tails be yours to keep my stitches even the tension. To understand, not full of big loops is my problem with your sewing machine thread pulling each! Choose threads for the beginner who is somewhat comfortable with their machine and has been working along for a bit. Also need to press + or – to adjust the tension, run stitch. Will make the adjusting process much simpler in the up or down position while adjusting!. Pulling too much, the seam and the lower thread is bunching up on my machine was very.. Messy stitch foot in order to engage the tension needs adjusting one answer... General purpose sewing cotton until the proper tension on Singer sewing machines uses cookies to provide you with trusted... See and will make the adjusting process much simpler in the bobbin needs little! Photos: # 1 is top and bobbin back into the case, checking the user 's to. Continually varies, as important as correct tension is too tight, the seam will able... That needs to be performed in the thread tension dial in HALF increments, switch out one or bottom!