Question about Bernina Sewing Machines

Open Question

How do you clean tension discs?


Posted by Anonymous on


Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add



Related Questions:

1 Answer

Singer facilita 9858-1 top thread is winding around the bobbin case. It seems to get caught under the bobbin case retaining plate, around the left side of the case,& under the rim of the posi

try cleaning cleaning the tension disks, remember you tension setting,, take some unwaxed dental floss and go between the disc's to clean in them, and then reset the tension disc's by to normal

Dec 10, 2014 | Singer Sewing Machines

1 Answer

The tension dials on my Bernina 2000DCE overlocker is not working, no matter where I turn the dials, the tension remains the same, a mess! Any suggestions?

Possible problems are lint between the tension discs. You can clean this with a business card. If the tension discs are not meeting together you must take the machine apart to adjust the spring tension. If all the tension discs not closing. If that is the case your presser foot tension release lever may be stuck.

Oct 13, 2013 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

I have looping underneath. Top stitch looks great.

top tension is too loose,check threading up and tension dial. should be on 4-6. read manual and if possible clean tension device. if it is accessible you turn dial to zero and "floss" between tension discs using selvage edge of clean piece of cotton fabric. you can moisten it with denatured alcohol if very dirty. thread sheds dye particles, especially black or cheaper threads. needs to be removed regularly to keep tension discs clean. turn back dial to 5 after and thread up again. often this will resolve the problem

Aug 27, 2011 | Janome Memory Craft 9000 Computerized...

1 Answer

Since my needle tip broke, the stiching is loose on the underside. I have replaced the needle, rethreaded it several times, put a new bobbin in and it still has loose threading on the underside. I have...

Loose stitches on underside is a sign that the top thread is not under enough tension. So you need to check that the tension dial is set to correct setting (usually 4 or 5) and that the top thread is actually in the tension discs. Always thread up with the pressure foot raised to ensure the tension discs are wide open so the thread seats in fully.

So unthread top and rethread checking thread goes into the tension device fully. Lower pressure foot and pull on the thread after the tension device - it should feel firm.

Also check thread is lying in the take up lever correctly.

If you can't get it threaded up and feel tension on the top thread, then something is up with the top tension device.

You could try to clean the tension device, how you do this varies with different models but if you can access the discs, then turn tension to zero and 'floss" between the metal discs with a selvage edge of a clean piece of waste cotton fabric, if gunk comes out, keep cleaning. Refer to your manual if you've never cleaned the tension device out before. Remember to reset tension back to normal setting afterwards, rethread and try again.

If after trying these things, you can not feel any tension on the top thread, then the tension device may have broken and you'll need to take it for a service.

Jul 19, 2011 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Sewing two pieces of cotton fabric with batting between. using NEW clark brand thread, NEW size 14 needle, during sewing the thread on the underside of the piece knots up jams the machine after sewing...

Threads underneath is the top thread coming down and not being tensioned enough by the top tension dial. So turn the top tension back to 5 and test sew. Does this produce an even stitch tension top and bottom.

If this then is still giving the looping underneath, recheck that the top thread has seated into the tension discs fully, always raise the pressure foot before threading the top of the machine so the tension discs are open fully.

Also cleaning top tension discs sometimes helps, to do this, turn tension dial right down to zero, raise pressure foot, remove all top thread and "floss" between the tension discs with the selvage edge of a clean piece of cotton fabric, if you get lots of gunk on the fabric edge from the tension discs, then keep cleaning with a fresh bit of fabric. Thread, especially, black or cheap brands, will shed dye particles and this will build up in the tension device with time. You can also clean with some denatured alcohol, just wet the fabric edge and floss again. Just don't get onto any plastic bits.

Now thread up again, set tension to 5 and check that the top thread is in tension by threading down to just before the needle, lowering the pressure foot, and pulling on the thread. It should be firm. If you can't get this to happen at all, then the tension device may have broken and will need to be serviced by a technician.

Also if you don't have a manual for your singer you can download at, just type in your model number and click search.

Jul 03, 2011 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

I have a singer 288. I think this may be a tension adjustment problem. The top or visible stitch is fine, however the bottom, when I flip the single piece of fabric over, is large loops. No matter how I...

no tension on the top thread causes this. either thread is not into top tension discs or tension device is broken, dirty or faulty. always thread with pressure foot up as when lowered it engages the tension and closes up the discs. you could try cleaning the tension by flossing between open discs using selvage edge of clean piece of cotton waste fabric scrap. turn tension to zero first and raise pressure foot. then rethread up and set tension back to 5 and test sew again. if still no joy then I would suggest a service by tech as tension may be broken.

Jun 23, 2011 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

I have threaded the machine according to the manual and everytime I go to sew something the thread from the top gets all tangled up underneath where the lower bobbin is stored and causes it to jam up.

Sounds like the top thread is not under tension, check the tension dial is working. Usually thread issues on the bottom originate from top tension problems.

Lower the pressure foot and pull the top thread in the thread path after the tension discs - should be firm and resist pulling.

If not, check threading again and pull the thread in between the tension discs to get into tension - sometimes turning down to zero, threading, then turning up to 5 (or your usual tension setting) will do the trick.

But if not, the tension discs might need a clean/service or could be faulting. You can try cleaning yourself (might be in your manual) by turning to zero, then running the selvage edge of a clean piece of waste thin cotton fabric between the discs (like flossing) and see what comes out. However, some machines the discs are not so easy to access and clean, check your manual and see if instructions are given to clean them.

Other possibility is that something in the bobbin hook area is catching the top thread and causing the thread jam up, again, clean this area, and check the needle plate for any sharp edges underneath around the hole where the needle goes in, see if something has been damaged down here.

Lastly, check that the bobbin is in the bobbin case the right way and rotating in the right direction.

Your manual may also give you some trouble shooting advice but I find 80% of the time, its tension, bobbin winding/threading, top threading, or dodgy needles causing the problems.

May 05, 2011 | Brother XL-5130 Mechanical Sewing Machine

1 Answer

Got computerised Husquana sewing machine lily 530,Tension tread is loose from down,cannot fix,please let me know what to do.

I would say that you have not threaded the machine right, you have to hold the thread taunt with both hands to get it to seat in the tension disc

Jul 16, 2010 | Husqvarna Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Husqvarna Lily 530- dont know how to correct tension

Ask your local Husky dealer about availability of manuals.....if no joy, google "Husqvarna Lily 530 manual"

Please TRY the solution BEFORE giving your considered rating.

Specific detail on bobbin case adjustment (with picture) near halfway down reply, the remainder will help you achieve a balance of top and bottom tensions.

Ensure that all is clean and free of lint and jams, this is the most likely for tension troubleshooting .......

This solution is for tension problems...if you cannot form any sort of stitch, the issue is quite different, so please let me know if you need a different problem solved.....

It is quite long, but just work through each section in order.

The "knotting up" can reveal a lot. If you have loose threads on one side or the other, the tension on the opposite side will be the culprit.

Ensure sharp new needle,
Thread guides and Bobbin are Clean & Clear of lint
Set Top Tesion to 4 ....then....
Balance Bobbin to suit.

If the looping threads are on the underside as you sew, it is the top tension. Top tension ought to be between 4 & 6 (this variation to allow for the different weights of fabric in your projects).

If you are using a needle that has seen quite a deal of work, or you suspect it may be blunt, change it for a new one !

Make sure that when you thread the machine the presser foot is up so the thread goes between the discs and not to one side, top tension between 4 and 6, and that you have threaded through all the guides, including the last one, usually on the needle arm, just above the needle clamp.

It may be there is lint trapped between the discs, this will keep them slightly apart and reduce the actual tension, sometimes dramatically.

If tensions appear correct, and the thread is definitely in the channel between the discs, but still too loose and looping, try raising presser foot and remove your thread.

Now, with a 2" (50mm) wide strip piece of fabric 8 - 10" (20 - 25cm) moistened with methylated or denatured spirit, gently insert the fabric strip and clean between the discs with a see saw / to and fro action.

In the worst cases, gentle use of a needle to pick & remove the jam may be necessary, but be very gentle and make sure the tension is set at Zero and the presser foot is raised, (to disengage tension plates).... do not gouge or score the plates, they need a polished surface to work correctly.

Far less common, but if the loose threads are on the top, it is bobbin tension that is loose, it too may have lint in the spring and be giving a "false" tension.

I would not recommend fiddling with bobbin tension without good reason, it may end up with missing small screws and spring pieces, however, you can take the needle plate off to clean
the hook race area (where bobbin case sits)

...this is just good housekeeping, my wife does this every time she replaces the bobbin....

just take it out and clean the bobbin case and the fixed metal hook race with a small brush to remove lint. If there is a significant amount of lint, use a vacuum and small brush to get the worst.

Then wipe all this area with a cloth or cotton bud (Q tip) moistened (not soaked) with methylated spirit, especially if there appears to be fine dirty deposits....oil and lint combine to conspire against you.

If it seems likely that you ......really .....actually .....need adjust the bobbin case, first check there is no lint trapped in the metal spring where the thread is tensioned.

Drop-in Bobbin case will look similar to this image with the tension screw in the middle of the metalwork....

4c76dc1.jpg ...the other screw at one end is holding it all together, so is not a tragedy to undo the whole lot and clean it, but very gingerly and lay the bits out in sequence and orientation, or you risk tearing your hair out !

....this is a bobbin case from a front loading machine and works in a very similar fashion to the top loader with drop in bobbin, again, if you dismantle it, take care so you can put it all
back properly.
165ca5c.jpg FINISHING UP
When you are certain there's no trapped lint in top tension or bobbin, set the top tension to 4 and the bobbin tension to a point where you just begin to feel resistance.

Try using good quality thread of contrasting colours so you can more easily spot the changes.

Set your zigzag to one width less than maximum (eg. 5 of 6 ...or... 4 of 5 etc) and sew a sample for a few inches and check the result.... adjust the bobbin tension screw very little at
a time, perhaps 1/16 of a turn.

You may find you are playing with this balance for some little while and if you are putting the needleplate on and off each time begin to think it cannot be correct to do is,
and eventually, you do get a "feel" for the correct tension and then it happens quite a user you won't be doing it very often unless there is lint built up (or are there small hands at work around the house !?!?!)

If you live near the ocean as we do, salt air can play havoc with metalwork inside and out, so to help minimise this, keep a few small packets of dessicant (silica gel) in your machine case ? then make some sort of cover !

Same applies in any damp or humid environment, keep your machine dry and dust free.

Budget for a proper full service every couple of years (more often if heavily used) and if you don't use your machine for a few years, be aware that old oil will dry out and combining with
dust and form a "clag" like glue (another reason for some sort of cover, even a teatowel !)

If it is worth spending the time, energy and money on making something that you would like to give lasting enjoyment......use quality thread, may seem to cost a little more at the
time, but the results, ease of use and added longevity will be worth the extra, and as a bonus, your tension troubles may be fewer and further between, because there is a more consistent diameter with good thread, and less compensating to be done by your tension plates and less thread breaks

Aug 23, 2009 | Husqvarna Lily 540 and 550

Not finding what you are looking for?
Sewing Machines Logo

Related Topics:

15 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Bernina Sewing Machines Experts

Tally Girl
Tally Girl

Level 3 Expert

1129 Answers


Level 1 Expert

26 Answers

Derek Massey

Level 2 Expert

92 Answers

Are you a Bernina Sewing Machine Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides