How to achieve a perfect sewing machine thread tension
Do you have problems with the thread tension setting on your sewing machine? Today we’re going to find out how to solve this problem.
Uneven sewing machine thread tension reduces seam quality, causes wrinkling, or just gives sloppy stitches. Perfect machine stitches weave smoothly and look the same on both sides of the fabric.
If you see small loops on the front or back side of the sewing, the thread tension is out of adjustment.
In our description, to avoid confusion, we will sew with red thread at the top and black thread at the bottom. Is the tension even.
In addition to your sewing machine settings, a number of factors can affect the thread tension. Before you start turning the tensioner wheel right away, look at other possible causes.
if the needle is not bent? There is no burr on the needle tip?
Whether the needle is the right size for the fabric?
Is the machine correctly threaded?
Most machines have thread guides, tension rollers, tension regulators. The bobbin case spring affects the bobbin thread tension. So first make sure that the machine is correctly threaded. Remember that in most machines the tension rollers close when the presser foot is lowered, so be sure to thread the machine with the presser foot raised. Good habit. tuck the floss in and pull out 50 cm of floss. Holding the floss firmly with your hand, not tucking the floss so that the floss “snaps” into the tension rollers (like brushing your teeth with dental floss). This ensures that the thread is positioned correctly in the tensioner.
Whether the thread density in the upper bobbin and bobbin is the same? Good quality thread?
Does the upper thread not catch on the notch or rough surface on the edge of the spool of thread?
Have you dropped the metal spool on a hard floor? If so, almost imperceptible damage can prevent proper operation.
Are the idler rollers clean? Sometimes lint accumulates on the rollers. Charge the machine as usual. Remove the thread from the spool and cut next to the spool.
Tie two or three knots on the thread from the top and make sure they are tight.
Pull the knotted thread through the tension rollers down to the needle. Tiny knots often catch lint on tension rollers. Remember to close the machine between uses to keep dust from accumulating in it.
Diagnosing improper sewing machine tension
If you have ruled out all the possible causes listed above, but the tension still persists, try this diagnostic exercise.
Start by making test patterns. Take a light colored fabric. Thread the machine with different colors of thread from the top and bottom. Sew through 15 cm or so and look at the front and back of the fabric.
If the top side has buttonholes (red thread with black buttonholes), the tension of the upper thread is too high.
If loops are coming out on the underside (black thread with red loops), the lower thread tension is too strong.
In most cases, it is sufficient to adjust the upper thread tension.
Adjusting the upper thread tension
When you adjust the upper thread tension on the machine, remember that a higher number indicates stronger tension and a lower number. To a lower (looser) tension.
Try changing the tension one unit up or down. Sew one more stitch on the sample to see if the tension is balanced. Continue to change the tension setting until the stitches are even and there are no loops visible at the bottom or top. Run your fingers along the stitches on both sides of the fabric: they should appear smooth.
Adjusting the bobbin thread tension
If you have a front-loading bobbin, remove the bobbin and its bobbin case from the machine. Make sure the lower thread is running through the bobbin spring. Holding the thread with the bobbin in your hand, lower the bobbin case over a soft surface (bobbins and bobbins should not be dropped as a bump can affect their operation). If the bobbin case has dropped about 5 centimeters, the tension is correct. If the bobbin case drops 10 centimeters or more, the bobbin has too little tension. If the bobbin does not separate from the cap at all, the bobbin is too tight.
There is a small screw on the side of the bobbin. Your machine comes with a small screwdriver, use it to turn the screw a quarter turn to the right to tighten and to the left to loosen. This is a delicate calibration, so make only the most minimal changes.
If your machine is equipped with a top-loading bobbin and a non-removable bobbin case, you can’t adjust the bobbin thread tension. Instead, balance the tension by adjusting the upper thread. Although you have less options, you can usually successfully recover the correct tension by working only with the upper thread.
When to call a professional
If you’ve tried all these tips, and your machine still doesn’t produce good stitching, it’s time to take it to the master.
Sometimes a “bad” tension. it’s good
When basting a garment, change the tension so that the stitching is loose. After the stitches are finally sewn, the hint threads pull out easily and quickly. Just don’t forget to correct the tension before you sew the finishing stitches.
To the rescue! My sewing machine isn’t working! Top 5 sewing machine breakdowns and how to fix them
Proper sewing machine settings are very important because it ensures that the stitching is even and the seams are smooth on both sides. Today, we’re going to break down five common problems that are related to improper sewing machine settings and ways to fix them.
Today I’m going to tell the whole truth. Many of us love to sew. Basically. But by the law of meanness, when we start (or finish) sewing something, something is bound to go wrong.
Nine out of ten problems are easily solvable. It is unlikely that you will encounter a serious problem. And while most of the time these problems can be solved easily if you know how, they can really knock you out, cause a lot of trouble and slow you down indefinitely if you don’t have some basic know-how.
Here are the top 5 problems from my practice and how to solve them. Get to know them so you don’t waste your time on them!
Headaches Ah, how the thread tangles.
Like all sewing enthusiasts, I don’t like to waste money on thread. Even at wholesale However, it turned out to be low quality thread, and my savings turned out to cost me even more. Most problems with poor-quality thread show up as delamination, tears, skipped stitches, and tangling. As with all things textile, you get quality proportional to price. Now I buy quality threads.
Another common mistake. Mixing threads of different weights and compositions. Finally, don’t get thread that’s too thin or too thick for regular sewing. It always ends up with torn stitches and, out of spite, your hair (just kidding).
Headache (and my personal favorite): the Bird’s Nest
I’m sure you’re well aware of this problem. First, don’t panic, second, don’t pull out. First Solution. Stop and remove the fabric. I keep a razor blade or a box cutter for that purpose. Raise the presser foot and advance the edge between the fabric and the presser foot so that the thread can be cut without damaging the fabric. Clean up the mess on the underside of the fabric by notching the “nest” and carefully removing the tangled cobwebs you have woven. There may be clippings left inside the bobbin case. Make sure you remove them!
While you’re cleaning it all up, check for dust and abrasions as well. Did you know that a little debris in the bobbin case can ruin your sewing?!
Bird’s nests are usually caused by insufficient tension in the upper thread. A slight adjustment to the tension of the upper thread should solve this problem. On the other hand, it could be caused by thread left inside the bobbin case after a previous tear or entanglement, stitching over bobbin thread, or dust in the bobbin case that prevents the bobbin hook from picking up the upper thread so it can bind it to the lower thread. You can simply pull out the bobbin and upper thread and rethread.
I’ve also found that occasionally my thread gets jammed in the tension discs, which are responsible for thread tension. This prevents the upper thread from advancing. This usually results in thread breaks.
Headache : How skipping stitches can ruin my life
Skipping stitches means that the upper thread is not meshing with the lower thread. The method of deduction, Watson.
First question: does the fabric match the needle?? Common mistake. For example, if you are sewing jersey, you need to use a jersey needle.
You are trying to sew thick fabric? The solution may also be to use the right needle. There is usually a fabric and thread matching chart in the sewing machine instructions.
Missing stitches are usually related to the tension we just talked about. So, again, don’t panic, but just check on a piece of fabric how synchronized your upper and lower threads are.
Here are some quick fixes:
- Change the needle;
- Re-insert the machine;
- re-tuck the bobbin (the thread is probably tangled in it);
- Reduce or increase the stitch length of the sewing machine slightly;
- slightly increase or decrease the tension of the upper thread;
- let the comb move the fabric by itself, don’t pull on the edge of the fabric;
- Slow down sewing machine speed. Sewing. this is not a race, and fast sewing can make it difficult to hook the bobbin or cause the needles to bend or break.
This last point brings me to the next problem.
Headache : Bent or broken needles. Oooh
Let’s pound a cushion or smash something unnecessary to make it easier. Feel better? Repeat if necessary. That was your last needle? Oh, my goodness. I’ve been in your shoes. I know what it is.
Rule one: buy good needles and use ones that fit your fabric and thread. I will not advertise any company, but I will authoritatively state that cheap needles will let you down.
Rule number two: New sewing project = new needle. Needles are like car tires, they wear out. Experts recommend changing the needle after 16 hours of use.
Rule Three: Allegorically speaking, don’t make the boy do the man’s work. It’s like trying to poke a hole in your skin with a knitting needle because there’s nothing else at hand. Use the right tool for the job.
Rule Four: Rules, Rules. just like in school. If your needle breaks often, take your machine to a professional. Your machine may be out of balance. It’s like driving your car down a road with a lot of potholes.
Headache : Tension?
Tension. A significant cause of sewing headaches. So keep your STIHL. It’s not as hard as you think.
Simply put, tension. It’s a dance of upper and lower threads. Like dancers, they move in sync, creating beautiful stitches like little steps. But when one Partner doesn’t hit the beat, the result is unpleasant. As long as both partners are pacing to the beat of the music, the dance is beautiful. To keep the dance going, you need to know which partner is off. A trick you can use. is to put different colored threads on the top and bottom and use a lighter color fabric. Sew as usual. Using the figure below, determine your problem and make adjustments accordingly.
You don’t have to fix things all the time. Most machines sew well with the same settings. But sometimes they get out of sync. You may need to adjust the lower tension on your machine. Be careful with this one. The rare times I change it up. is when I work with heavy upholstery fabric and thick thread, and loosen the screw on the bobbin a little. In that case, I also loosen the upper thread. Just don’t forget to reset all the settings when you’re done!
Perhaps the problem is not tension, but that you are trying to sew too many layers at once. If you have a home sewing machine, you can’t sew more than four layers of heavy fabric.
And what is this thing called a “conveyor comb”?? These are the little feet that move the fabric under the presser foot while sewing. If the fabric doesn’t move or you pull too hard, it can ruin the stitches or cause the fabric to jam, so let the comb move freely. If the comb doesn’t move, check the screw inside.
A quick note: I actually had a situation where the screw that holds the comb in place came loose. This is not a common occurrence; however, if you have an older sewing machine like mine, it can happen.
Did you know that you can adjust the presser foot pressure? Yes, you can adjust the pressure depending on the density of the fabric you are sewing. Learn this setting and you will forget about problematic fabrics forever! The knob is usually on the left when you look at the machine.
There may be a picture of the presser foot next to it, or just a knob, screw or wheel.
On older machines (before 1960) this is the screw on the very top. Your machine may not have this option, so check the manual. I have a 1966 machine and it sews heavy fabrics very well. The control wheel is under the panel cover on the left side. The regulator is set to 4 and I have never changed it, even for heavy upholstery fabric.
Every situation is unique. You may need less pressure for heavier fabrics so that the fabric can move easily with the conveyor comb. Lighter, delicate or slippery fabrics will require more pressure. You need to experiment on unnecessary pieces of fabric to find the balance. You’ll be surprised how much this simple trick can improve your performance.
One last note: Take the time to get to know and love your machine! Just like your car, your sewing machine will only work well if you take good care of it. Clean it after every project. Clean the bobbin case with a brush designed for this purpose, or blow it out with a can of compressed air. Keep it lubricated, as the manufacturer recommends. Don’t overload your machine. Know its characteristics and limitations. When all else fails, call a certified professional. Unfortunately, they are getting harder and harder to find. If you can find one in your area, a good overhaul will be worth the money.
Determine which mechanism is out of order, and why the sewing machine does not sew correctly, most often you can by external signs. However, before you look for malfunctions in the sewing machine, you should make sure that it is operated correctly, and the seamstress knows how to work. For example, old-style sewing machines are practically not suited for sewing knitwear, and too much pulling up the material during operation leads to needle breakage.
Why does the needle not rise and the foot does not go down
The main reasons that the sewing machine jammed (do not move neither needle nor foot):
- violations in the coherence of the needle driver and shuttle device;
- prolonged absence of lubrication of units, parts, rust on their surface, due to which it is no longer smooth.
In machines with an electric drive with low tension belt can be heard humming the motor, but the sewing machine at the same time not sewing. the needle does not move. On modern Janom models, the needle lift button does not work if the bobbin winder is in the wrong position.
Common causes of a trivial needle breakage while the machine is in use:
- too much tension of the upper thread, especially if it is very strong (tentatively enough that with the foot lowered the thread can be pulled by hand with some effort);
- the needle is not fully inserted into the needle bar, so the needle hits the hook with each stitch;
- The thin needle is not suitable for thick fabrics;
- Poorly secured foot (the movement of the foot causes the needle to get caught in it);
- needle defects (usually bent);
- Displacement of the needlewheel due to looseness of its mounting;
- Improper technique. excessive pulling of fabric from under the needle, incorrect threading.
Note! The most common cause of needle breakage is incorrectly installed in the needle bar.
The shuttle is faulty, or the adjustment is out of order
Incorrect adjustment of the hook operation causes the distance between the hook and the needle in the lower position to be more or less than normal (2 mm). In this case, it does not have time to drop or pick up the thread. the machine starts skipping stitches or loops in the seam.
If the sewing machine rips the threads
There are many reasons for upper thread breakage. The main one is a strong clamping of thread between the washers of the tension regulator. Some of the additional causes are:
- needle touching the hole of the needle plate, foot sole or bobbin case latch (most common with old style Singer or Podolsk machines);
- Insufficient tension upper thread;
- The needle number does not match the thickness of the material (needle too thin);
- Needle defect;
- Tension control malfunction.
The lower thread can break because it is caught in the bobbin with a leaf spring cap, tangled in it, or simply because the bobbin has not been lubricated for a long time.
If the sewing machine does not move the fabric
Poor fabric progression is usually caused by:
- The sole of the presser foot is misaligned, so that it does not press the fabric with its whole surface;
- dullness of the feed dog teeth;
- Incorrect rail installation (e.g. in embroidery mode).
Notice! Attempting to force fabric under the needle can cause damage to the fabric and break the needle.
If the output is bad stitching
Oblique uneven stitches are usually the cause:
- Stitch tightens the fabric. this is often a problem with older machines when working with thin fabrics and can not be adjusted;
- Stitches are uneven in size. need to replace the main gear due to wear of its teeth.
Sewing machine skips stitches
The needle should be checked first. Replace an old, warped machine with a new one.
When sewing with silk thread, you can try turning the bobbin upside down first to change the direction of the twist. If these simple steps don’t help, the cause is a serious imbalance in the machine.
Loose drive belt
The foot or electric drive belt can slip due to low tension. The pulley is turning, but the sewing machine is not sewing. In general, the looser the belt is stretched (but enough so that the pulley does not slip), the easier the machine runs.
Poor quality stitching
If the upper thread loops, the stitching at the top remains flat, but at the bottom, the entire stitch is in loops. Causes of this:
- low thread tension of the upper thread (increase with the tension regulator);
- needle does not match the size of the thread;
- clogging of the upper thread tension regulator by dust, fibers;
- Excessive tension on the lower thread (adjustable in the bobbin);
- Broken or worn leaf spring in the bobbin case (need a new one).
- uneven thread winding in the bobbin (with manual winding);
- the lower thread is under tension or the upper thread is excessively tensioned;
- there are defects in the bobbin (it may be worth replacing it with a new one).
Why the upper thread does not catch the lower thread: what to do
In order for the hook spout to be able to hook the thread when moving down, it is necessary that the distance between them was equal to 0.3 mm. If it is more or less, it will cause skipped stitches. This defect in the stitching can also occur for other reasons. The upper and lower threads must be accurately tensioned.
The bobbin on the Brothers machine has a screw for this, which must be turned to the right side. Proper tension can be checked by holding the bobbin thread and shaking slightly. In doing so, it should drop down slightly. If the bobbin is too tight, it will not move, but if it is too tight, it will unravel quickly.
As the sewing machine runs, meters of thread pass through it, leaving behind an almost invisible mark. the frayed thread. It accumulates, causing damage to the sewing machine. The result of filling the plates with fleece is a looped stitch.
To correct the malfunction, remove the sap between the plates.
Warning! You need to have a special piece of cloth for the machine to remove the dust and combing.
Users are not always able to cope with breakdowns with their own hands. Especially it concerns the fine-tuning and repair of the mechanical part of machines Janome, Brother, Astralux, etc. To do this, you need to find the root of the problem, which an incompetent person can not do.
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Sewing Machine Tension Issues SOLVED
What to do to get a quality seam
The main culprit for a sewing machine not making a stitch is the needle. To correct the situation you should:
- First, check the correct threading. than once our craftsmen have found that experienced seamstresses have incorrectly threaded the upper thread. If you have a long experience, still check if the upper thread is threaded in the thread guide. Between the plates of the tensioner may have become entangled lint, which prevents them from closing.
- Choose a straight, sharp needle that fits the sewing pattern.
- When replacing the needle, make sure that the cut on the bulb and its diameter coincide with those recommended by the manufacturer. If you take a different fitting, it may not match in length or may not fit in place if the bulb cut is different. All this will interfere with the formation of the seam.
- To prevent the fabric from being pressed inside the needle plate, adjust the pressure of the presser foot on the fabric.
- The choice of threads should be guided by the characteristics of the product.
- Do not use poor quality, twisted threads.
- If the needle plate is deformed, replace it.
- If you are hemming a product with a thick edge, such as jeans, you can use a special presser foot. Some machines have mechanisms to ease the transition from thin to thick.
If all of these conditions are met, but the sewing machine does not sew, no stitches, it indicates that the gap between the tip and the spout of the hook device has increased, it is worth seeking help from professionals who can adjust it.
Other causes of skipped stitches
Of course, the gap is not the only reason why there are skips on the seam. This can also be added here:
- Type of fabric. You may have chosen a needle that does not match the thickness of the fabric or leather. Knit fabrics are usually no problem when sewing (although such fabrics require a needle with a rounded tip), but nylon threads and fabrics are more likely to cause unsightly skips.
- Degree of tension of upper and lower threads.
- Wrong needle for a certain type of thread. If you sew with thick thread, but you use a thin needle, you can not avoid skipping stitches.
- It’s also important to make sure the thread is even. If it is severely twisted, then the loop in the hook will not form correctly, or will not be made at all. The result is skipped stitches.
- Needle or needle plate deformation. In this case, the needle does not get to the loop formation point, respectively, the sewing machine misses stitches.
Sewing machine jams threads at the bottom
Many seamstresses don’t think it’s a problem if the sewing machine jams the bottom thread. If this happens once and is easily corrected by adjusting the tension, there really is no problem. But if it keeps getting jammed, it’s hard to keep sewing. The wrong side of the fabric pulls and tangles the buttonholes. They can even get stuck with a needle. Stitching is ugly and unstable.