Question about Kenmore 15718

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Sewing Machine Thread Tension problems

Hi, I have a Kenmore 385.15616
I'm trying to sew upholstery fabric and the tension on both the top and the bobbin seem to be off. The bobbin thread bunches up underneath the garment and the thread on top pulls through too quickly, making it skip off the spool and reel around the spindle.

I've tried various tension settings and stitching. It works fine for non-upholstery weight fabrics. Ideas?

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  • gabeandnancy Dec 31, 2008

    A Universal one... I know, I know... do you think that will help?

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What size needle are you using?

Posted on Dec 31, 2008

  • David Robinson Dec 31, 2008

    Yes it can make a difference.You should be using a green needle, size 18(110), for upholstry fabrics. Also when sewing heavy material it's a good idea to lubricate the machine before you start. Let me know if this works for you. Please rate me so I know if I helped you. Thanks.

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Find your manual as it identifies specific parts related to adjusting tension. Here are some pictures of problematic stitches and suggestions on fixing sewing machine tension:

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Sometimes you adjust something other than the tension:

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Do the omega 420 handle upholstry thread


Most domestic machines would have difficulty using upholstery thread. Upholstery thread is generally very heavy so the tension settings would need to be adjusted on the machines. Evenso, the tension mechanisms adjustments still may not be enough to accommodate heavy upholstery thread.

Even if your machine can accommodate the thread, your machine's motor could be compromised trying to sew upholstery fabric.

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Your thread may be too large for the machine to use. Try using the highest setting on the tension.

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What are the correct top & bottom tensions for this machine?


Both tensions are preset at the factory. Normally, the bobbin tension is the last one to adjust. Most often tension adjustments are made to the top thread. The factory standard setting for the upper thread is the midway point between the high & low numbers, however, each machine is different and may need slight readjustment.

The tensions are correct when both, the upper and bobbin, threads meet in the middle of the fabric. Tension is not static. Differing fabric weights, thread, or needle sizes may necessitate a change to tension. Lighter weight fabrics like chiffon will require a different tension setting than heavy fabrics like denim. Always test first on scraps of the fabric you plan to sew. Get the tension set the way you want it before you begin sewing your project.


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Toyota quiltmaster


Remove the top thread from the machine.
ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot and rethread the top.
Be sure that your top thread follows the correct thread path.
Set the top tension to the midway point.
Re-test your machine.

Tension is a tug-of-war between the top and bobbin threads. Correct tension is when both threads meet in the middle of the fabric. If the bobbin thread is laying on the underside of the fabric, the top tension needs to be increased so it will pull the bobbin thread up into the fabric. If the top thread is pulling the bobbin thread up to the top of the fabric, then the top tension needs to be loosened.

TIPS:
FWIW, thread tension is not static. Tension will need to be adjusted probably every time you start a new project. Test it on a piece of scrap fabric from the project and adjust it BEFORE beginning the project. Remember to change the needle often--probably every time a new project is started or every 8 hours of sewing time. Be sure to use the correct type and size needle based on the fabric & thread you are sewing. Also, AVOID old or bargain bin thread!
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I have a Kenmore sewing machine - 12 stitch model which I bought in the 70's. I am having a tension problem and can't seem to fix it. What is the normal setting for the top, and bottom?


Hello

Load your Kenmore sewing machine with the right thread and bobbin thread for your project. If you use the wrong weight thread for your fabric or severely uneven weights of thread, this can cause the appearance of a tension problem when it is, in fact, a thread weight problem or a problem with your sewing speed. If you go too fast, you will break the thread. If you go too slow, you can cause loops. Uneven pressure can cause stitches to vary greatly.

Test your Kenmore sewing machine's tension by sewing on a piece of scrap fabric. If your tension is way off, then test on some basic cotton or a firm blend simply to get your tension right. Do not try to start adjusting your tension on silk or leather. Get a base adjustment on a more standard fabric first.

Look at the top threads and bottoms threads. If the tension is off on one side, it will usually affect the other side slightly. So select the side that looks more maladjusted to start adjusting the tension.

If the top thread is too loose or too tight, you will need to adjust the tension dial. This dial is usually located a few inches above the needle on the Kenmore machine body. Usually, your machine will have markings to indicate which direction tightens the tension. If these have worn off over the years, watch the dial as you turn it. If it appears to move toward the machine body, then it is tightening.

If the bottom thread is too loose or too tight, then you will need to open the door to the bobbin case. On some Kenmore models, there is a little screw near the bobbin case that can be adjusted slightly to adjust the tension. On other Kenmore models, there is a screw on the bobbin case itself--not on the bobbin, but on the bobbin's casing. This will also adjust the bottom thread tension. Adjust the bobbin thread tension to make slight changes.

If the thread is looping severely on one side, the thread weights might be off. For instance, look to see if you have a lightweight thread on the bobbin and a heavyweight one on the top. If the thread keeps breaking, the top tension or bottom tension could be too tight or the thread is too lightweight for the material you have selected. Check your combination of threads and material. Also make sure you are using the right weight needle and the right foot for the sewing step or project you are working on.

If your Kenmore sewing machine's tension is off severely or if you have not used your Kenmore in a long time, then you might need to take your machine in to be serviced. Sometimes, the inner parts need to be oiled or the entire machine might need to be cleaned and calibrated by a professional. If you sew a great deal or if your machine sits idle a lot, both situations will usually require some servicing to keep your Kenmore sewing machine and its tension in perfect working condition.

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