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How do I fix the lower bobbin tension on my bernette 66 sewing machine?

Im sampling fabric before I started working on my curtains and the upper tension is set to 4 which is recommended. The problem however is that the lower tension is either too loose or tight and I have no idea how to fix it! please help

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bargainbox

Hassy

  • 1388 Answers

SOURCE: Thread bunching and knotting under fabric

The thread does pass over the top of the bobbin case to form a stitch, perfectly normal, whether front or top loading bobbin.

Ensure that all is clean and free of lint jams....now 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.

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

TOP THREAD TENSION:
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).

IS YOUR NEEDLE SHARP ?
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 !

TOP TENSION & GUIDES:
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.

BOBBIN TENSION:
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 ....do .....actually .....need .....to adjust the bobbin case, first check there is no lint trapped in the metal spring where the thread is tensioned.

TOP LOADER:
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 beware....it 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 !

FRONT LOADER:
....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
GETTING THE BALANCE RIGHT:
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 this.....BUT....it is,
and eventually, you do get a "feel" for the correct tension and then it happens quite quickly.....as 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 !?!?!)

OTHER ISSUES:
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....no 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 !)

FINALLY, A WORD ON THREAD:
If it is worth spending the time, energy and money on making something that you would like to give lasting enjoyment......use quality thread, .......it 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 consistant diameter with good thread, and less compensating to be done by your tension plates and less thread breaks !

If you want any more help with this, just post back here, or, drop a line through the "Contact Us" page at www.bargainbox.com.au

Posted on Feb 24, 2008

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Anonymous

SOURCE: Bernina 801 Sport

Did you clean out the lint under the plate?

Posted on May 18, 2008

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Anonymous

  • 8 Answers

SOURCE: bobbin tension

Bobbin Tension Adjustment:

1. Do you have a genuine Bernina bobbin casing and not an Oriental copy? If yes, proceed as follows:
2. To set the bobbin tension, wind a genuine Bernina bobbin with Metrosene thread, type 1161 white thread as your "gaging thread". Load the bobbin case so that the bobbin turns CW. Attach the bobbin case to the hook body from the machine. Wind a couple of revolutions of thread around your index finger with the assembled bobbin case and hook body dangling about 6" to 12" below your finger. Gently and rapidly move your finger back and forth in a "sideways" motion about 1/4" to create a gentle vibration on the bobbin assembly. (Do not shake the bobbin assembly up and down). When the tension is right, the bobbin assembly should fall slowly and as you stop the movement, the assembly should stop.
The adjustment is found on the small screw, holding the flat tension spring against the bobbin case. If the tension is too tight, one must loosen the screw (past) the desired location and always make the adjustment by tightening to the correct position.

There are other checks for tension imbalance and associated problems on the bobbin case that I won't go into here. For further information I can help you later on.

Top Tension Adjustment:

1. The top tension rarely changes and can be depended on throughout the life of that machine providing that tension assembly is maintained occasionally. This can be done by blowing out the tension disks with the presser bar lever in the up position. One can also drag or pull a piece of sized percale or muslin through the disks with the presser bar lever in a down position. Perhaps both methods can be employed.
2. Load the top of the machine with Metrosene 1161 thread in a dissimilar color. I prefer to use a pastel color so as not to create an optical illusion of imbalanced tension.
3. Sew a satin stitch (.25 on the Nova 900) in sized cotton muslin with a thin piece of paper between two plys of fabric. The width should not exceed 4.5mm (standard width on the 900 Nova), however the newer machines have wider stitch widths so one must adjust as specified. The result will be a slight amount of top thread in symmetric lines on both the right and left sides of the satin stitch.

Typically, the top tension will not need adjusting. If the Nova 900 needs adjustment, please ask for additional help.

Posted on Nov 28, 2008

Anonymous

  • 19 Answers

SOURCE: Bernette 800D seized up

Please don't use WD40 on your sewing machine, WD40 is an alcohol based cleaner and will do the opposite of lubricate. Take your machine to a certified Bernina Repair shop, they will have a look at the timing and lubricate all of your gears. Lubricant will dry out over time, grease turns to putty and oils turn to varnish after several years of non-service. Lint is attracted to moisture, moisture being those key areas of any machine. Lint acts like an oil wick and will draw out your lubricant from key areas. It then begins to attract dust and other nasty things over the years to become grit. Your motor begins to burn out due to stress trying to move all of these clocked gears, cams and shafts. Take your machine in!

Posted on Dec 10, 2008

Anonymous

  • 124 Answers

SOURCE: Loose stitch

Welcome to FixYa. I am the sewing machine expert that chose your issue to solve.

When everything seems to be working fine and an occasional stitch is loose.....now get ready.......here it is.......the needle!

It seems impossible, but the needle is the most neglected part of the machine. The one you are using could be slightly bent or have a slight burr that you won't see with the naked eye. Also, needles, especially in an embroidery machine (which work their buns off), are only good for about 8 hours of cumulative use. I would say that an embroidery needle should be retired after 3 or 4. They get dull like a razor blade which can cause enough drag to create a timing issue that's barely perceptible.
Welcome to FixYa! I am the sewing machine expert that chose to help you with your issue.

There are really only two things that can cause bottom (note: remember that problems with the bottom thread, almost always comes from the top and not the bobbin. Bobbins rarely need tension adjustments). These two things are:

  1. An area was missed when the machine was threaded (most machines have an arrow at each area on the thread path where the thread MUST run or the stitch on the bottom will be sloppy. Threading can be tricky and even the most experienced miss once in a while.
  2. The tension adjustment mechanism in the thread path. If the thread is not properly through this area, the thread on the bottom will be sloppy or if, threaded properly, and the tension is set too loose, the stitch will be sloppy. If the tension is set too tight, the bottom thread will be tight and pucker the fabric.
It is counter-intuitive that problems with the top tension cause problems with the bottom stitch but it sure will.

So try it and see if that helps.

Thanks for using FixYa.com

P.S. - If you find that the solution/answer I provided led you to, or resulted in a fix, please close the ticket with a FixYa! rating. I would be very grateful for your show of appreciation.
If it hasn’t, please do not assign a rating just yet. Please post back as to what steps you took, results, etc, and I will try to assist you further.



Posted on Jan 31, 2009

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I am sewing voile curtains, but the stitching keeps looping on the underside

Check your sample. Is it the top thread that is looping under the fabric? That is called bird nesting or thread nesting. It happens frequently if the top thread is not seated completely in the tension disk. It could also be a top tension problem.

Be sure to use a brand new needle compatible with the thread and fabric.
Remove the top thread from the machine.
ALWAYS RAISE the presser foot and rethread from the beginning.
Set the top tension to the midway point and test on a scrap of the same fabric. Adjust the top tension until the top and bobbin threads meet in the middle of the fabric. (Tightening the top tension will pull the bobbin thread up. Loosening the top tension will allow the bobbin thread to pull the top thread down.)
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Straight stitch. Top is fine loose on bottomadjusting top tension does not help how to adjust bottom tension?

Usually, if there are loose threads under the fabric, it is the top thread that is too loose. Check your sewing sample closely--you can even test with two different color threads to help distinguish which thread is which. Loose top thread will generally be pulled DOWN and show under the fabric. Loose bobbin thread will be pulled UP and show on the top of the fabric. The ideal tension is when both threads MEET in the middle of the fabric.

First, remove the thread from the machine. Install a brand new needle. Always Raise the Presser Foot and thread the upper thread, making certain the thread path is correct.

Check that the bobbin thread is threaded correctly and turning the proper direction in the bobbin case.

Set the upper tension to the midway point and sew a retest. A tweaking of upper tension may be necessary to get it where it should be. Generally, upper tension should make the majority of adjustments needed for tension correction. Bobbin tension is one of the last tension adjustments to make as it is very sensitive and can go awry very quickly.

If, in fact, the bobbin tension is off, the tension skrew on the bobbin case is where the adjustment is made. Before making any bobbin tension adjustments, mark where the skrew slot is located on the bobbin case with a permanent marker. This will allow you to reverse your changes if necessary. Be CAREFUL as TINY changes make HUGE differences in tension. Make only 1/8th turn adjustment, then retest before making another adjustment.

Remember that tension testing and readjustment are a necessity when sewing. The same tension that will work with light weight thread and fine fabric will most likely not work when using heavy thread on drapery fabric. Get comfortable with making tension adjustments to get the ideal tension for each project.

Understanding Thread Tension Threads

Oh You Crafty Gal Sewing Lesson 10 How to Fix Tension on Your Sewing...

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=14&ved=0ahUKEwilg-3t2vHMAhVJDlIKHXnsBWYQFgheMA0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ca.uky.edu%2FHES%2Ffcs%2FFACTSHTS%2FCT-MMB-213.pdf&usg=AFQjCNE4QlGk1Fvt8K2UGCRCfzMpGS-A2Q&cad=rja

How to Adjust the Tension on Sewing Machine

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1helpful
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How to adjust the bobbin tension.

According to the manual, you should not need to adjust the bobbin tension (and I located other sites which stated the bobbin tension cannot be adjusted on this machine). Apparently, all the tension adjustment is accomplished through the upper thread::
"EN Thread Tension Upper thread tension Basic thread tension setting: "4". (1) To increase the tension, turn the dial to the next number up. To reduce the tension, turn the dial to the next number down. A. Normal thread tension for straight stitch sewing. B. Thread tension too loose for straight stitch sewing. Turn dial to higher number. C. Thread tension too tight for straight stitch sewing. Turn dial to lower number. D. Normal thread tension for zig zag and decorative sewing. Correct thread tension is when a small amount of the upper thread appears on the bottom side of fabric. Lower thread tension The bobbin tension has been set correctly at the factory, so you do not need to adjust it. Please note: - Proper tension setting is important for strong seams. - There is no single tension setting appropriate for all stitch functions, thread or fabric. - A balanced tension (identical stitches both top and bottom) is usually only desirable for straight stitch construction sewing. - 90% of all sewing will be between "3" and "5". - For zig zag and decorative sewing stitch functions, thread tension should generally be less than for straight stitch sewing. - For all decorative sewing you will always obtain a nicer stitch and less fabric puckering when the upper thread appears on the bottom side of your fabric. 1 A B C 22 D"

Doing further research, I found this statement on a machine review site:
"After reading reviews online from where I've bought my drop-in bobbin machines, I think many of the negative reviews are due to the bobbin thread coming up without laying across the bobbin. It can cause the stitches to look very sloppy and no amount of tension adjusting can fix the stitches."

There are several machine review sites wherein 4423 owners stated their disappointment in the 4423's performance. Some said the machine failed almost immediately and others said the machines developed problems when sewing heavy fabric.
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How to adjust tension on lervia sewing machine

Tension is a balancing act between the upper tension and the bobbin tension. Balanced tension (which is not always necessary) is when the two threads meet between the layers of fabric. Not all unbalanced stitches are a tension problem. You can have loops under the fabric from a failed take up lever, improper clearance between the positioning finger or even a burr or lint. First I check the upper tension. If you can not make the upper tension normal pinching the thread after it comes off the spool will act as a tension device. If this solves your problem then start with cleaning.

You may have lint between the tension discs at the top next to the take up lever. Clean this out with the presser foot up. Next install a new needle size 80 and thread the machine. When you lower the presser foot and pull the thread the spring steel the needle is made of should bend 1/8 of an inch at normal tension. Between 3-5. If this does not happen turn to a larger number on the tension assembly. If this does not deflect the needle as you pull the thread to the left rear of the machine your tension assembly needs repair or replacement.

The bobbin tension is controlled by a spring on the bobbin case or bobbin basket (depends on the sewing machine). This spring can also get lint under it. The lint can hold the tension discs open causing no tension. This may be the problem if you see the lower thread pulling up to the top of the fabric. Normal tension on the lower thread is usually 150-200 grains. That may not mean much to you and you may not have a scale to measure that. One simple trick is to take a wooden clothes pin and glue 3 pennies to it. I then use this as a weight to set the bobbin tension. I clip the clothes pin to the thread and set it on the work bench. Next raise the bobbin case or bobbin basket without touching the thread or bobbin. Then tighten the tension screw on the bobbin case until the clothes pin lifts off the work bench.

This gives you a good place to start on balancing the tensions. Set up a straight stitch at the mid range of 2-3mm long and sew. Turn the upper tension dial to the mid range 3-5 and observe the stitch. If the bottom of the fabric shows too much top thread tighten the upper tension. If the top of the fabric shows too much lower thread loosen the upper tension. I recommend playing with your tensions to learn what too loose and too tight a tension look like. Sometimes we want the upper tension really loose to do a basting stitch. If you want to pucker (gather) you can create a long stitch and play with the tensions. A tight upper tension will pucker thin fabric. You can also gather fabric manually by using a long stitch and a loose upper tension then bunch the fabric together on the loose threads.

After all that it may be easier to take this to your local dealer and ask for advice.
Have a great day and keep on sewing.
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My bernette 65 is bunching underneath. How do I resolve that?

Grasp the threads and hold them down when you start your seam. If it still happens make sure your thread is seated into your upper tension mechanisms. If that still isn't solving your problem... CLEAN between the tension discs with some sturdy fabric folded in half. (wax build up from threads can cause issues)

Good luck
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Trying to sew curtains!!!! Been testing the machine on a swatch of fabric and it seems to be working but then when i turn the fabric over the stiching is all loose and loopy. Is the bobbin tension the...

check both upper & lower tensions
also check your needle to see if it's bent-roll on a flat surface to see if it rolls correctly
if the needle is blunt-it makes a popping sound when it penetrates the fabric
also check the bobbin area for lint & loose thread-some fabric produces more lint than others
make sure the bobbin isn't warped
make sure that the bobbin is correctly in the bobbin case & that the bobbin case is correctly inserted in the machine
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I once heard from a great sewing instructor that if the problem is on the back of the fabric then it is a spool to needle problem.... if the problem is on the top of the fabric, then it is a bobbin problem. Check your machine for dust and stray threads. Check your bobbin casing for dust and stray threads.
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