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Top threads appear too loose while stitching on bottom looks ok.

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You need to adjust the tension knob.

Posted on May 12, 2017


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Top stitch is fine bottom is loose. Have tried adjusting tension but not working. If I get tension too tight breaks thread so I gradually change tension to no avail. Please help

Check your stitch sample. The loose stitches under the fabric--are they actually top thread???? Usually,stitch problems under the fabric is a result of a top thread problem. In this case, it could be bird nesting.

Remove the top thread from the machine.
Install a brand new needle.
ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot.
Rethread from the beginning.

Sewing Machine Thread Bunching Up Here Why

Birds nest under the fabric big loops of thread top side looks good...

Dec 21, 2017 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

The tension on my machine is off.I don't know which thread to adjust.bobbin or top thread. on fabric top stitch seems ok,bottom stitch bunches up and is loose.How do I readjust the tensions?

If the thread problem appears under the fabric, it is a top thread issue.

If the thread problem appears on the top of the fabric, the bobbin thread is the issue.

Perhaps the upper thread is not seated completely in the tension disk. Remove the upper thread from the machine, ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot, then rethread from the beginning. Make sure the thread path is correct. Test your stitch.

If the thread is still looping under the fabric, the upper tension is too loose. Set the upper tension to the midway point. Test and adjust the tension until it is where you want it. Preferred tension is when both threads meet in the middle of the fabric.

sewing machine tension Google Search


Oct 29, 2016 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

The bottom stitch is very loose. I've tried tightening and loosening the screw and the problem remains...HELP!

The bottom stitch is affected by the TOP thread tension :) First go back and make sure your bobbin tension is correct since you adjusted it. It should drop slightly when held suspended by danging it by the thread. If it reels out to the floor it is too loose. If it doesn't drop at all it is too tight.

Now that you have that adjusted look at your top tension. If it is loopy on the bottom side of the stitch the TOP tension is too loose. Increase the top tension.

Now take some scrap material and set machine to a wide zig zag, medium length stitch and sew a bit. Compare the top and the bottom sides of the stitch. They should look identical. Remember the TOP side effects the bottom and the BOTTOM tension effects the top side. Adjust accordingly until they look identical with no loose threads or loops and no puckering (puckering means it's too tight).

May 03, 2011 | Brother LX3125 Sewing Machine

1 Answer

I have a 1970's? singer and the top stitch is ok but the bottom stitch is very loose then binds up I have tried putting another bobbin in but nothing seems to work. Thank you

Check the threading and tension on the top thread. It is the one that affects the stitch on the bottom. It may be hung up somewhere if it's not threaded correctly or the tension might be too tight. Also double check the size of your needle and make sure it is correct for the type of fabric. Most likely it is the tension. Double check the tension by sewing a wide zig zag stitch and examining the top and under side to see if they look identical and not puckered or too loose.

Mar 28, 2011 | Singer Sewing Machines

1 Answer

The thread underneath when sewing is too loosed

Usually thread too loose on the bottom is caused by the upper tension being too loose. The top and bottom tensions work together with the top thread making the underside of the stitch seem too taunt or too loose and the bobbin thread causing the top side of the stitch to be loopy or too tight. Select a large zig zag stick and sew a couple of inches. Then examine the stitch. It should look identical on both sides. Look to see which side is drawn too tight, the zig zag being smaller on that side with threads from the bottom threads pulled through. Then adjust the two tensions so that they make a uniform, identical stitch.

Also, when the bobbin tension is right you can hold the bobbin dangling by the thread and it won't spool out to the floor but will let loose a bit with a slight flick of the wrist. Too loose it will just spool out. Too tight and it won't drop at all. When you get that set right then do the above zig zag test to see where the top tension should be set.

Mar 02, 2011 | Sewing Machines

1 Answer

I tried to use a double needle on my Bernina 160. The top stitching looked ok, but underneath the thread was straight and you could pull the bottom thread right out. I've heard the bottom is supposed to...

When you thread the top thread, ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot so the thread will seat completely in the tension disk. If this doesn't improve the stitch, try tightening the top tension. If it is too loose, the bobbin thread will lay on the surface of the fabric. When the top tension is tightened, it will pull the bobbin thread up into the fabric.

Feb 03, 2018 | Bernina Virtuosa 160

1 Answer

Pfaff varimatic 6091 sew a rag quilt with jean and flannel,I can't get my tension right it seems to be funny on the bottom stitch,where shoulf the top tension be set at 4 1/2 ,when do I adjust the bobbin...

Hi! The bobbin tension rarely needs to be adjusted. First, make sure you're using the appropriate size needle and thread for your fabric (I'd probably use either a 'denim' needle or a universal size 14) and also that the upper thread and bobbin are threaded absolutely correctly. These can throw off the tension! Also, take the time to clean out the bobbin area. That can throw your stitch off also.

If the stitch on the bottom is loose, so that you see the top threads, then the top tension is too loose. If the top stitch is too loose and you see the bobbin threads on top, then the top tension is too tight.

It helps to thread the machine with different color thread on top and in the bobbin, and then stitch an inch or so on the same type of fabric as you're using in your quilt. Check the stitch. If you need to adjust the top tension, make sure the pressure foot is down! Adjust a little, stitch a few inches, and check again. Repeat until you don't see any (or very little) bobbin thread on the top or top thread on the bottom.

If you go through all these steps, and the bobbin thread is still loose (and you've tightened up the top tension), then there is a tiny little screw on the side of the bobbin case that you can use to adjust the bobbin tension. Turn the screw just a little bit (less than a quarter turn), stitch, check, etc. Once the bobbin tension is set, you shouldn't ever have to change it.

Let me know if this helps, ok?

Happy sewing!

Feb 10, 2010 | PfaFF Sewing Machines

2 Answers

The top thread is looking good, the bottom stitch is bunching up

re-thread the top, when the top looks good but the bottom is bad it is the top thread

Oct 16, 2009 | Necchi Sewing Machines

1 Answer

Sewing machine stitches upside down!

Sounds like you may need to have the tensions adjusted. If the bobbin thread is showing on top, the bobbin tension may be too loose. If the top thread shows underneath, the top tension is probably too loose. Since you are having both problems, perhaps a technician should take a look at it.

Feb 18, 2018 | Bernina Sewing Machines

4 Answers


If the top stitch is loose, then you need to tighten the bobbin tension: if the bottom stitch is loose, tighten the top tension. Hope this helps. It could also be the size needle and thread you are using for a particular fabric. Different fabrics require different notions.

Mar 13, 2008 | Sewing Machines

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