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It seems the problem is the excess pressure of the foot when down.. it must somehow be related to thread tension.. can I change foot pressure?

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  • Sewing Machines Master
  • 11,500 Answers

Depends on the make/model of your machine. Most machines do have a pressure adjustment for the presser foot. Sometimes it is explained in the owner's manual.

Newer machines have a dial somewhere. Older machines will have a screw at the very top of the presser foot bar (sometimes under the top cover). Turning the screw right will increase the pressure, left will release it. Other machines have a plunger type projection on the top left of the machine. Pushing the plunger down will increase the presser foot pressure. To release the plunger, press down on the ring that encircles the plunger.

Sewing Machine Pressure Settings for Machine Quilting


Posted on Dec 29, 2016

  • jan connor
    jan connor Jan 02, 2017

    thank you - will try to adjust and see if that is the problem.. was advised by repairer to oil near feeders on every use until I saw How much oil had accumulated beneath the works!!

  • R.A. Ellis
    R.A. Ellis Jan 02, 2017

    Depends on your particular machine. Mechanical machines require frequent lubing every place where metal rubs against metal (AVOID belts, nylon gears, CAMS). I use liquid Tri-flow Synthetic Lube--1 to 2 drops every place. Also, look for oil ports in the machine, but if you miss the oil port, lubing where metal parts rub will accomplish the effort. Feed dogs do seize, as does the handwheel, the take-up mechanism, needlebar, so that could also be the issue. Hot air from a handheld hairdryer will also help.

    If your machine is computerized, AVOID lubing except where instructed (usually limited to where the hook and shuttle rub).



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1 Answer

Thread gets tight as threading machine through #'s 4 & 5, Janome MC4900.

Not sure what #4/#5 is. Could possibly be lint, thread pieces, gunk build-up or a burr is snagging the thread. Be sure to ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot when threading the upper thread. This allows the thread to seat in the tension disk. Raising the presser foot also releases the tension so the thread will pull through the machine. Once the presser foot is dropped, the tension is activated and it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to pull the thread.

If the tension disk has build-up: moisten a piece of cotton thread with rubbing alcohol (squeeze out excess). Raise the presser foot, open the tension disk fully, then gently pull the moistened cotton DOWN through the tension disks two or three times. (Do NOT pull up or floss!)

Feb 22, 2017 | Janome Sewing Machines


How to fix looping on the bottom of fabric.

This is usually caused by lack of top tension or threading the machine with the pressure foot down.

-Set the top tension dial to 5
-Raise the pressure before threading the machine
-"floss" the thread by holding the thread as it comes off the spool with your right hand and holding the thread right before the needle with your left hand. Make sure to do that with the pressure foot up. What happens is sometimes the thread doesn't go into the tension discs all the way due to lint or something else.

With the pressure foot up, you should be able to pull the thread easily right before the eye of the needle and when you put the foot down you should then feel a fair bit of tension on the top thread.

on Jun 06, 2010 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

William Gilbert asked me if I was trying to wind a bobbin and I couldn't figure out how to answer him. So, William,I am not trying to wind the bobbin; I'm just trying to sew.

1. Make sure there is no globs of thread under the bobbin or in the bobbin case.
2. Remove the top thread.
3. Now, turn the hand crank. It should move.
4. Place one drop of oil on the race (little area the bobbin case sets on-looks like a race track)
5. Replace the bobbin case and bobbin. Pull on bobbin thread for tension. It should be there but not excessive.
6. With pressure foot up thread the top. As you do this give little tugs to check for snags. There shouldn't be any resistance. Make sure the thread goes through the middle of the tension disc. When you get to the needle don't thread yet.
7. Put the pressure foot down. Set the tension to four. Now, give a little tug on the thread. It should have some resistance but not extreme. Check where the cut part of the spool is. It can cause problems.

Mar 02, 2015 | Sewing Machines

2 Answers

I have a new singer 7469 confidense quilter - regardless of thread, needle, and material (all being appropriate for one another) the upper tension always pulls the bottom thread to the top. I have tried...

1. Adjust the bobbin tension tighter. The tension you are trying for is to be equal to the top tension.
2. The top tension should start at about four. When you are threading the top do it with the pressure foot up.
3. As you are threading the top give little tugs to check for snags.
4. When you thread the tension control make sure it goes through the tension disc.
5. After you have threaded (except needle) lower the pressure foot.
6. Give a tug to see if the thread will move without excessive resistance.
7. Thread the needle and try sewing.

Feb 28, 2015 | Singer Confidence 7463 Computerized Sewing...

1 Answer

Why does the bottom thread on my 185k Singer sewing machine keep tangling.

Your bottom thread looks like the top tension is too loose or not being fed through the tension disc.
1. While you thread do it with the pressure foot up. Make small pulls while threading to make sure there are no snags.
2. When you finish threading put the foot down. Check for resistance on the thread. There should be some; not excessive though.
3. Always start at four on tension and adjust as you need to.

Feb 26, 2015 | Singer Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Why does my thread keep breaking?

Thread your machine with the pressure foot up. As you're threading be very aware of snags; especially the tension control(Don't thread the needle yet) Now, if this doesn't seem to be a problem put your pressure foot down. Pull on the thread with your hand. If it is real hard to pull you need to lower the tension. You may also take a QTIP with the tension at zero and the pressure foot up.Try to clean the tension control between the washers. Also, make sure your thread is good. Many poor quality threads will make a ball in the needle and tension control that becomes a problem like broken needles.

Feb 19, 2015 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Pfaff Select 4.0 has looping on bottom of fabric, free motion qui

Make sure your are lowering the pressure foot first before you start sewing. With the free motion foot, you still have to lower the pressure foot, this allows tension to be put on the top thread and allows the foot to work properly (when the needle goes down so should the foot and when the needle comes up it should lift the foot up.)

Also make sure your tensions are in a middle setting and that you are threading the machine with the pressure foot up.

The way to insure you will not get your problem is with the foot up, you should be able to pull the thread easily right before the eye of the needle and when you put the foot down you should then feel a fair bit of tension on the top thread.

hope that helps :)

Jun 06, 2010 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Tension dial on my sewing machine is not working

Hi, Liz. When you adjust your tension, be sure the pressure foot is down. The pressure foot needs to be up when you thread the machine so the thread will slip easily between the tension disks, but when you adjust the tension the disks have to be tight (pressure foot down).

There are other possibilities, but this is the best place to start running the problem down. Please let me know if this does the trick, ok, and if not, we can try something ele.

Happy Sewing


Apr 01, 2010 | Janome Harmony 2039 Mechanical Sewing...

2 Answers

Needle thread looping underneath, threads not interlocking at all

If the machine is now threaded, lift the presser foot.

Now, pull about 10" of thread through the needle.

The next time you thread the machine, lift the presser foot first.

When the presser foot is up, the tension control opens and allows the thread to "seat" into the control, then when the foot is down the control closes to the indicated setting.

When threading the machine with the foot is down, thread does not enter the tension control and when you start to sew, there is no tension on the thread.

No tension = loosey, goosey, loopy stitches underneath.

Because the lack of tension on the top thread, the bobbin thread cannot lock a proper stitch.

Mar 10, 2010 | PfaFF Quilt & Craft Pro 7530

1 Answer

The top spool of thread jams tight when I pull the

It sounds like the tension setting is too tight. The tension mechanism consists of two metal disks; the thread runs between these disks. When the pressure foot is down, the disks come together, trapping the thread between them. When the pressure foot is up, the disks separate and the thread can flow freely. (BTW, this is why you adjust the tension with the pressure foot down.)

Take a look at your tension setting and try loosening it. That should resolve the problem.

Let me know if this helps, ok?


Jan 27, 2010 | Janome Sewing Machines

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