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How do I know which tension to adjust?

I'm quilting with my Bernina Activa 140. The stitches look beautiful on top, but when I flip it over you see long stitches and dots between the stitches, so I know the tension isn't correct. I don't know which tension to adjust. There are no loops, it just appears that the top thread is going too far to the back and the bobbin thread stays flat on the back of the fabric without being pulled into the fabric at all. Do I adjust top tension or bobbin tension? I've tried doing both and neither seems to work. you wrote about discs. ''It may be there is lint trapped between the discs, this will keep themslightly apart and reduce the actual tension, sometimes dramatically.''

what is a disc?

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Top tension is the culprit raise pressure foot before you thread machine so thread passes between discs give this a try .
mary h

Posted on Jan 06, 2009

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1 Answer

12 wt thread


12 wt thread generally will not work well in the bobbin...


"Aurifil 12wt Thread
Aurifil 12 wt thread is ideal for hand quilting, big stitch hand quilting and machine quilting. 12 weight thread creates a more defined and often primitive look. It's great for designs that use a longer stitch length if using a machine. When machine quilting with 12 wt thread, use 40 wt in the bobbin, increase your stitch length, lower your tension, use Topstitch size 90 needles and stitch slowly."

May 08, 2017 | Bernina Activa 140

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I would like to know how to set the machine up for polyester/spandex material


You need a ball point size 70 or a jersey 70 if you can get it. Stitch length 2.3 to 2.5. Re tension, just normal tension setting. If the machine is sewing an evenly balanced zigzag on regular cotton fabric, then tension is fine. If you find the straight stitch on your fabric pops under stretch, then try using a very small zigzag to put some flexability into the seam.

Mar 28, 2013 | Bernina Activa 140

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Why won't my Bernina zig zag bobbin thread catch underneath; the top looks great.


have you tried changing the needle?
have you tried adjusting the top tension?

May 13, 2012 | Bernina Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Why won't my Bernina Activa 140 sew the blind hem stitch?


Are you absolutley sure you're not getting a problem with stitch formation on, for example, wide zig-zag. Check again, using a different colour top and bottom and make sure that the stitch is being formed properly with only the top colour on top and bottom colour on the bottom. It sounds as though the bottom loop is not being picked-up by the hook properly. Make sure you've thoroughly cleaned-out any fluff under the stitch-plate and remove the hook/shuttle and give the hook race a good clean and give it a single drop of oil, even if you've got the lightweight part-plastic hook/shuttle fitted.

Nov 19, 2011 | Bernina Activa 140

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My bernina patchwork 140 will not sew in reverse when I press the reverse button has the button gone bad the button hole won't sew ithe back stitch either?


Some machines will not do any of their automatic forwards and backwards movement type stitches in reverse, are you trying to reverse in straight stitch or a more complex stitch.

The Activa is a late model quality machine, do you have a Bernina dealer locally you could ring up and ask or take it to?


Mar 10, 2011 | Bernina Activa 140

1 Answer

I am trying to free-motion quilt using my Bernina 1530. Everything is fine until I quilt a curve or a circle. Then the thread on the back is too loose. I have tried adjusting the top tension, as well as...


I don't have the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) and presume you don't either. I have found that I tend to move the fabric to quickly when sewing curves and circles. I did as you did and changed tension, stitch length...everything, but nothing worked. I finally found that the best solution was to SLOW DOWN on the curves. No problem ever since. I hope this helps you. If it does, please let Fixya know by rating my solution!

Nov 20, 2010 | Bernina Sewing Machines

1 Answer

The bottom thread on my Bernina 140 jams


Try pulling more thread out before you begin the seam - about 6". If you can hold the threads while you take the first few stitches that helps too.

Apr 02, 2010 | Bernina Activa 140

1 Answer

Bernina Activa 240


There is also a tension adjustment on teh bobbin. It's just a little screw. Turn it about 1/4 to 1/2 turn and try again. Adjust as needed a little at a time.

Oct 19, 2008 | Bernina Activa 140

1 Answer

Bernina Activa 135


either the bobbin thread is not in the lower tension or the lower tension is too loose or the top(upper) tension is too tight.
sewman7

May 20, 2008 | Bernina Activa 130

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