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The tension on the bottom cotton on my sewing machine is not tight what should I do?

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  • Sewing Machines Master
  • 9,304 Answers

Sounds like a possible issue with the bobbin. Check to make sure the bobbin is threaded and installed correctly. The bobbin tension may also be off.

Something to try: Remove the top thread from the machine. ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot. Rethread from the beginning.

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Posted on May 08, 2017

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Inconsistent tension


Remove all the thread from the machine. Check the owner's manual to make sure you are threading it properly (both upper thread and bobbin thread) and that you are not missing any steps. BEFORE threading the upper thread, be sure to RAISE the presser foot so the thread will seat properly in the tension disk.

There may be gunk/lint stuck in the tension disk and/or the bobbin case. Dampen a length of pearl cotton in rubbing alcohol, open the upper tension disk all the way, raise the presser foot, and gently pull the pearl cotton down between the tension disks.

Check the tension in the bobbin case by gently pulling the thread. If it pulls with a slight tension, it is probably okay.

To test for ideal tension, the upper thread and the bobbin thread should meet in the middle of the fabric.

Otherwise, the upper tension disks may be worn or a new bobbincase may be in order.

...

Nov 28, 2015 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

What would a typical tension number be for a cotton fabric? mine is loopy or tight right now


you didn't mention the name and model number of the sewing machine or serger... is the loopy thread on top or bottom? when is the thread tight? what type of cotton fabric,, solid cotton--polyster cotton? normally mine stays on 4 or 5 --depends on fabric I'm sewing..

Dec 15, 2014 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Ho can i get bobbin tension right?


Bobbin tension depends on the thickness of the fabric that you're sewing on. A cotton fabric should have medium tension...but a heavy wool would need a looser tension. Best way to get the tension right is to take a few stitches, then look at the bottom side of the fabric. If the threads are loose, then tighten the tension one notch or number. Sew a few stitches, then test again. If the fabric is pulling up tight, then loosen the tension and check again. Top stitches and bottom stitches should both be the same.

Jul 04, 2014 | Husqvarna Freesia 415

1 Answer

The top tension is very tight


check that there are no pieces of cotton or other matters stuck. Turn the tension to its most loose position and by hand move a string of cotton through the tension slot. If it feels tight, remove any foreign matters and then slowly tighten it again to suit your needs..

Jan 12, 2014 | PfaFF Creative 7570

2 Answers

Grinding noise and needles breaking


Needle breaks
1.the needle is damaged
2.the needle is not correctly inserted
3.wrong size needle for the fabric
4.the wrong foot is attached
5.the needle clamp screw is loose
6. Top tension is too tight
7. Machine could be out of time
since there is a grinding noise it would be a good idea to have the
machine checked

Sep 25, 2012 | White Sewing 1740 Mechanical Sewing...

1 Answer

IF THE COTTON GATHERS AT THE BOBBIN SIDE OF FABRIC WHEN SEWING WHAT ARE THE POSSIABLE REASONS


This a tension problem, the upper thread is too tight, lower the number on the tension gauge until the stitches look the same top and bottom.

May 23, 2012 | Bernina Virtuosa 160

1 Answer

My bottom thread is making large loops, is the tension to tight or slack


it's to slack, try a 3 or 4 setting on the tension
& if you use your machine alot,, clean under the needle plate & bobbin area for loose threads & lint
using a can of air is helpful

Aug 07, 2011 | Simplicity Quilter's Classic SW240...

1 Answer

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.

Jul 11, 2011 | Kenmore 15358

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

Sears Kenmore Sewing machine model 15358 Just got this machine brand new yesterday. I've gone through the manual very carefully to make sure the machine is threaded properly. It's very similiar to my old...


The tensions must match ie. top tension =bottom tension. If the material is not sewn together tightly, that means the tensions are mismatched. Sewing machines will sew whenever the top and bottom tensions are equal (be it very tight or very loose).

We usually advise the customer to not touch the bobbin case tension. When that is not changed, all tension adjustments can be made from the top tension above the needle.

It appears that one of the two tensions (top or bottom) is much tighter then the other. I would reset the tensions to how they came, if you are unfamiliar with sewing machines this may take a little bit of experimenting until you get it back to a standard quality stitch.

The other option would be bring it to a sewing tech. A good mechanic should be able to adjust the machine and your tensions to your fabric (and recommend needle size for your thread/materials) in about an hour.

Apr 15, 2009 | Kenmore 15358

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