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Loose thread tension

What should the settings be for straight stetch on medium cotton material

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You should be able to sew with the tension on 4 for most applications. The only time I've had to change it is for elastic.  I usually sew elastic on 7.   In my experience, when the tension doesn't seem right, I've got the wrong needle for the fabric.  Needles are color coded.  The top of the shank will be yellow or red, for knit or woven fabric.  There will be a band below that of orange, blue or purple for light, medium or heavy fabric.  You want to make sure you have the right needle for your fabric or it isn't going to sew well.  The only things I haven't been able to sew on this machine have been lightweight jersey knit and a really high twist twill.  It would do five layers of twill, but since I'd used twill for the pockets too, it wouldn't do six layers where the seam met the pockets.  I had to get a friend to do that on a commercial machine.  Jersey knit it likes to stuff down into the bobbin case.  I've heard it would do it with a straight stitch foot.  Regardless, you have to pay attention to needle selection.

Posted on May 25, 2009

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Having problems with the tention of both threading

Tension is a common problem for new and even intermediate sewists. Testing is about the best way to figure out what works for your machine.

Be sure you are using a brand new needle and that it is installed correctly (flat side facing the proper direction).

ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot when threading the upper thread. This releases the tension disk so the thread will seat completely. Check the thread path and verify that it is correct. Missing one thread guide will create havoc!

Check that the bobbin thread is wound smoothly and that there are no thread ends sticking out of the bobbin anywhere. The bobbin must turn in a specific direction when in the bobbin case and the bobbin tension needs to be threaded correctly. (For this, you need to consult your owner's manual.)

Set the upper tension to the mid-way point. This is the default setting although it will most likely require some tweaking because all machines are just a bit different. Tweaking is a very common necessity as different threads and fabrics will affect the tension.

Set the straight stitch length to somewhere around 10 stitches per inch.

Use two pieces of medium weight fabric, like 100% cotton. Bring the bobbin thread to the top of the fabric before beginning to stitch.

Understanding Thread Tension Threads

Test your stitch. The ideal tension is when both the top thread and bobbin thread meet in the middle of the fabric.

If the top thread is looping or showing under the fabric and the bobbin thread appears to be running in a straight line, the top tension is too loose.

If the bobbin thread is showing on the top of the fabric or the upper thread is running in a straight line, the upper tension is too tight.

Keep adjusting until it looks like the pictures in the web links above. Remember, when you change thread or fabric weights/types, etc., you will probably need to re-test the tension and adjust.

One more suggestion: use good quality thread. AVOID old or bargain bin threads. They may save you money but will cost a lot in frustration.


Nov 07, 2016 | Sewing Machines

2 Answers

The bottom thread is real loopy. I have adjusted the top tension and it helps a bit but still to loose

Remove all the thread from your machine. Install a brand new needle. Raise the presser foot and re-thread the upper thread, making sure you are following the correct threading sequence. Confirm that the bobbin thread is threaded through the bobbincase properly. Now, perform another test stitch. Is the bobbin thread still looping?

If you have already tightened the upper thread tension and the bobbin tension is still too loose, then you may need to tighten the bobbin tension. First, mark with a permanent marker where the slash of the screw head meets the bobbin case. This will mark where the screw was originally set before you begin making adjustments and allows you to return the screw to that position should you need to.

Set the upper tension to the halfway point between the high & low number. This is what would normally be the standard.

Then gently turn the bobbin tension screw to the right 1/8th of a turn at a time. Then test. Keep adjusting until the bobbin thread tension is correct. The tensions are correct when the upper thread and the bobbin thread meet in the middle of the fabric.


Nov 15, 2015 | Sewing Machines

2 Answers

How do I get the stitch length to be consistent? It changes with speed

consistent stitch length depends primarily on tension settings. there are 2 different tension settings on all machines. 1. upper thread tension. 2. bobbin thread tension. since these work together to create the correct stitch length+width, having either of these adjusted inappropriately can significantly impair stitch quality. "knowing' your machine has a lot to do with knowing how tight or loose the tension should be for BOTH settings. the settings will be different for each type of stitch, for each type of needle used, and for each type of thread used, meaning tensions will need to be re-adjusted after each change. in other words, the setting for a medium-width zig-zag with a size 10 needle using mercerized cotton thread to sew light-weight canvas will be completely different than the settings for a regular straight stitch using a size 8 ball tip needle using polyester thread to sew silky lingerie material.

Jun 14, 2014 | Brother PC-420

1 Answer

I am sewing a cotton piece of fabric for a dress and i do not know how to set the tension for cotton

The tension for cotton is set the same way tension is set for any fabric:

1. The thread should pull freely with a small resistance before/after it goes through the needle, on many machines that's half way on the tension adjustment.

2. The bobbin thread when dangled by the thread with the bobbin inside the case should drop down a bit when slightly flicking your wrist like you do with a yo-yo. If it reels out to the floor the tension is too loose. If it doesn't drop at all it is too tight.

3. Now make sure you use the right type of needle. For cotton you want a "sharp" and for reg. weight cotton about a size 10 maybe 12.

Now take a piece of strap cotton material like you're going to sew a seem and sew with a wide zig zag. Example the top side and then the bottom. They should appear identical, flat with needle holes at each side where the thread disappears to the other side. You should see no loop where the threads over lap each other and the material should not be puckering in the middle.

If that is not what you see then think this way:

The TOP side of the stitch is effected by the BOTTOM thread. the bobbin tension.
The BOTTOM side of the stitch is effected by the TOP /needle tension.

Adjust the responding tensions until the stitch looks the same on both sides. Now you are ready to sew your cotton! :)

Apr 26, 2011 | White Sewing Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Bottom thread Ravel when sewing

take thread completely out. rethread, pull your foot lift up before threading. make sure thread is in the tension disk of you dial and notice if thread is a little tougher to pull when u put foot down...

May 27, 2010 | SINGER 7470 Sewing Machine

1 Answer

Loose tension on bobbin thread

Using a scrap piece of material; try tightening the upper tension a bit at a time until the bobbin thread is smooth. Test stitch after each setting until you get the desired effect...happy stitching Gal.

Apr 11, 2010 | Elna Heirloom Edition 6005

1 Answer

Tension settings for husquvana daisy

Your machine tension should be set between 3-5. If your stitch is too loose on the bottom, you can try to up the tension a little at a time. You can also check to make sure that your machine is threaded properly and also check the tension and make sure there are no threads wrapped up inside the tension between the tension discs.

Mar 01, 2009 | Husqvarna Viking 1

1 Answer

L-344 loose stiching

You need to do a tension assembly test. Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} Tension assembly test. To do this test. Pull the thread through the tension assembly and test it to make sure the tension is working correctly.
(To do this test, adjust your tension setting to normal or medium or 5 or something in the middle. Raise the presser foot and pull the thread through the tension. It should pull easily!! Lower the presser foot and pull the thread. It should pull noticeably harder.)
If it doesn’t work this way then you probably have a piece of thread or lint stuck inside the tension discs. To remove it, turn the tension to 0 zero and raise the presser foot.Using a small screwdriver, open the space between the discs and spray with canned or compressed air. The stuff should come out. Do the tension test again to make sure you got everything and then try sewing again.

Dec 22, 2008 | Janome L-344 Mechanical Sewing Machine

1 Answer

Tension problems on light weight cotton material

Your upper tension should be set on 4, and make sure it is threaded properly, the thread is between the didc'c uf upper tension.

Dec 18, 2008 | Sewing Machines

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