Question about Kenmore Drop-In Bobbin 16231 Mechanical Sewing Machine

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Bobbin tension have tried all settings for tension for bobbin. thread is too loose in the bobbin. the stitch is fine on top of fabric but too loose underneath the fabric.

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Re: bobbin tension

Lame that I have to keep clicking through your links to other solutions to get anything!!!!!!!

Posted on Oct 24, 2008

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Re: bobbin tension

This is an issue of your upper thread tension, so take a look at this generic tension solution

If you are in a pickle with your bobbin case, check top tension and bobbin case are free of lint, reset the top tension to 4, and adjust the bobbin tension to suit......some more detail on how to do that, is here

Bargain Box

Posted on Jan 30, 2008

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Top thread covers bobbin thread makes. Stitches very thick

Remove all the thread from the machine.

Install a brand new needle.

ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot during the threading process and rethread the machine from the beginning. (Check that the upper and bobbin threads are threaded correctly in your machine.)

Set the tension dial to the midway point. This is a factory standard setting but each machine may vary.

Test your machine. The ideal tension is when the upper and bobbin threads meet in the middle of the fabric. If the upper thread is showing on the bobbin side of the fabric, the upper tension is too loose. However, if the bobbin thread is showing on the top of the fabric, the upper tension is too tight.

Tension is not static--whenever you change projects, ie fabric, thread, needle, you may need to test the tension on some scrap project fabric first. Get the tension adjusted before stitching the project.

Make sure you clean and lubricate your machine regularly to keep it operating--consult your owner's manual and use only good quality sewing machine oil (NO 3-in-1, cooking oil, WD-40, or old brown stinky sewing machine oil).

If you are still having issues, take it for service.


May 27, 2016 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Needle stitch fine. Bobbin stitch loops.

First, try a brand new needle.

Second, consider using a better quality thread. By all means, AVOID old or bargain bin threads. Coats & Clark used to be a standard, but thread quality has improved over the past few years, so you may want to check out other brands like Aurafil, Superior, Isacord, etc. Also, cotton wrapped polyester thread releases thread lint that contributes to build-up of gunk in the machine. Some sewists have noted that they experience more sewing issues when using C&C threads. However, some machines will do better with certain thread brands than others, so some experimentation may be beneficial.

Third, check the stitch on your sample again. Generally, when thread loops appear on the underside of the fabric, it is the upper thread that is the problem. If loopy threads appear on the top of the fabric, it is the bobbin thread that is the issue. You can even use a different color in the top to help distinguish which thread is the problem.

Fourth, when threading the upper thread, Always Raise the Presser Foot during the threading process so the tension disk is released and the thread can seat properly. "Bird nesting" occurs when the thread is not seated in the tension disk.
Sewing Machine Thread Bunching Up Here Why

Birds nest under the fabric big loops of thread top side looks good...

Fifth, when the upper thread appears on the underside of the fabric, the upper thread tension is too loose. If the bobbin thread appears on the top of the fabric, the tension thread is too tight (or the bobbin thread is loose). Start out with the upper tension set at the midway point and tweak it from that point. The tension is ideal when both upper and bobbin threads meet in the middle of the fabric.

Also, remember that tension is not static--a tension setting for chiffon will most likely not work on cotton or denim. Get comfortable adjusting the tension to suit the project you are sewing.


May 24, 2016 | Sewing Machines

3 Answers

Hi. I just bought this machine and I am having trouble with my bottom stiches. I have tried every remedie but the stiches is too loose

Read this hope it helps

May 19, 2016 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

How to adjust the bobbin tension.

According to the manual, you should not need to adjust the bobbin tension (and I located other sites which stated the bobbin tension cannot be adjusted on this machine). Apparently, all the tension adjustment is accomplished through the upper thread::
"EN Thread Tension Upper thread tension Basic thread tension setting: "4". (1) To increase the tension, turn the dial to the next number up. To reduce the tension, turn the dial to the next number down. A. Normal thread tension for straight stitch sewing. B. Thread tension too loose for straight stitch sewing. Turn dial to higher number. C. Thread tension too tight for straight stitch sewing. Turn dial to lower number. D. Normal thread tension for zig zag and decorative sewing. Correct thread tension is when a small amount of the upper thread appears on the bottom side of fabric. Lower thread tension The bobbin tension has been set correctly at the factory, so you do not need to adjust it. Please note: - Proper tension setting is important for strong seams. - There is no single tension setting appropriate for all stitch functions, thread or fabric. - A balanced tension (identical stitches both top and bottom) is usually only desirable for straight stitch construction sewing. - 90% of all sewing will be between "3" and "5". - For zig zag and decorative sewing stitch functions, thread tension should generally be less than for straight stitch sewing. - For all decorative sewing you will always obtain a nicer stitch and less fabric puckering when the upper thread appears on the bottom side of your fabric. 1 A B C 22 D"

Doing further research, I found this statement on a machine review site:
"After reading reviews online from where I've bought my drop-in bobbin machines, I think many of the negative reviews are due to the bobbin thread coming up without laying across the bobbin. It can cause the stitches to look very sloppy and no amount of tension adjusting can fix the stitches."

There are several machine review sites wherein 4423 owners stated their disappointment in the 4423's performance. Some said the machine failed almost immediately and others said the machines developed problems when sewing heavy fabric.

Apr 26, 2015 | Singer 4423 Sewing Machine

1 Answer

Cant get bobbin tension right

Tension of the bobbin depends on the type of fabric you are sewing on. Thin fabrics usually require mid to higher settings. Heavy weight fabrics require lower or looser tension. To check the tension, set to medium number, take a few stitches, then check the underside of the fabric. If the threads are too loose, be sure needle is raised, and change the tension to a higher setting. Take a few stitches and check again. If the fabric pulls too tight, then loosen the tension. Top threads and bottom threads should be the same when you have the correct tension. Your manual may have suggested settings for fabrics also.

Jul 04, 2014 | Husqvarna Freesia 415

1 Answer

I need to find out how to set up my machine for polyester/spandex material.

For spandex you will probably want to use a size 70 needle for stretch fabric. You should be able to leave your tension settings on standard tension but may need to go for a slightly shorter stitch length.
try stitch length of 2.5 or 3
tension of 3.5
check your bobbin tension, to do this thread the bobbin and suspend it in the air holding the thread. If the bobbin falls to the floor the tension is too loose. If the bobbin hangs in the air and you give a gentle tug on the string the bobbin should slide along the thread an inch or so. If it doesn't budge it's too tight.

When you say the thread is not the same on top as the bottom do you mean you are using different threads or that the stitches are coming out different on the top to the bottom of the fabric?

Mar 28, 2013 | Bernina Activa 140

1 Answer

My bobbin stitch is loose. I have tried adjusting tension and have changed the needle.

A. To correct loose stitches, try the following: (1) Balance the thread tension. If the stitches are loose on top of the fabric, decrease the tension to the next lower number. If they are loose on the underside set the tension to the next higher number. (2) Make sure the needle/upper thread follows the threading path. (3) Check to see that the bobbin case is threaded properly. (4) Use a different size needle. For fine fabrics, use a smaller needle (size 9, 11); medium-weight fabrics require a size 14 or 16. And use a size 18 or "Denim" needle for heavy corduroy or denim.

Sep 20, 2010 | Singer Curvy 8770 Electronic Sewing...

1 Answer

Pfaff varimatic 6091 sew a rag quilt with jean and flannel,I can't get my tension right it seems to be funny on the bottom stitch,where shoulf the top tension be set at 4 1/2 ,when do I adjust the bobbin...

Hi! The bobbin tension rarely needs to be adjusted. First, make sure you're using the appropriate size needle and thread for your fabric (I'd probably use either a 'denim' needle or a universal size 14) and also that the upper thread and bobbin are threaded absolutely correctly. These can throw off the tension! Also, take the time to clean out the bobbin area. That can throw your stitch off also.

If the stitch on the bottom is loose, so that you see the top threads, then the top tension is too loose. If the top stitch is too loose and you see the bobbin threads on top, then the top tension is too tight.

It helps to thread the machine with different color thread on top and in the bobbin, and then stitch an inch or so on the same type of fabric as you're using in your quilt. Check the stitch. If you need to adjust the top tension, make sure the pressure foot is down! Adjust a little, stitch a few inches, and check again. Repeat until you don't see any (or very little) bobbin thread on the top or top thread on the bottom.

If you go through all these steps, and the bobbin thread is still loose (and you've tightened up the top tension), then there is a tiny little screw on the side of the bobbin case that you can use to adjust the bobbin tension. Turn the screw just a little bit (less than a quarter turn), stitch, check, etc. Once the bobbin tension is set, you shouldn't ever have to change it.

Let me know if this helps, ok?

Happy sewing!

Feb 10, 2010 | PfaFF Sewing Machines

1 Answer

The top thread is really loopy on the underside of the fabric, sometimes it misses a stitch, sometimes, the upper thread breaks, and it often gets so tangled underneath that the machine won't feed.

Your tension is way too loose on top or too tight on the bobbin. Try adjusting the top tension one number at a time until you get it right. (Only adjust the bobbin tension as a last resort). Also you could have different thickness of thread in the bobbin than on the top or are sewing a very heavy fabric. Try adjusting the tension with same thread in both bobbin and top and use a normal weight fabric until you find the right tension to get you back to a normal stitch before going to a heavier fabric or thread.

Nov 19, 2009 | Craft Master 4300 Mechanical Sewing...

3 Answers


If the top stitch is loose, then you need to tighten the bobbin tension: if the bottom stitch is loose, tighten the top tension. Hope this helps. It could also be the size needle and thread you are using for a particular fabric. Different fabrics require different notions.

Mar 13, 2008 | Sewing Machines

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