Fix Your Sewing Machine Tension

Fix Your Sewing Machine Tension

Fix Your Sewing Machine Tension

If your machine is anything like mine every so often it has a tantrum. The stitches will start skipping, or the thread keeps breaking, or the bobbin thread starts looping... you name it, my machine has done it!

Its mostly because I'm always using different fabrics and threads which mucks everything up after a while of sewing. But its also because my machine is about 60 years old! I guess after all those years its getting a little tired and saggy. A bit like a guitar with old strings - it still plays a lovely melody, but you have to keep tuning it every 10 mins to keep it sounding good. :)

Every couple of months when I give my machine a clean and oil I'll also perform a tension reset. But on the odd occassion I start getting sewing problems I do a reset to help eliminate issues. Most sewing problems can be solved with a new needle and tension adjustment.

So, if your stitches a looping on the back, or the top seems too tight, or you are skipping stitches here are the steps to getting perfect tension settings:


Red thread
Green thread
New sewing machine needle
Small screw driver

1. After you have cleaned and oiled your machine change your needle to a nice new one.

2. Top thread your machine with red, checking it is threaded correctly*.

3. Wind an empty bobbin with green, inserting bobbin case the correct way round for your machine**.

4. Set your stitch length to 3.

5. Set your tension dial to between 4 or 5.

6. Fold a piece of calico in half and sew a straight line.

7. Examine the stitches:

a) If the top red thread shows on the bottom of your fabric remove your bobbin and loosen the bobbin screw by a quarter turn.

b) If the green bobbin thread is showing on the top of the fabric tighten the bobbin screw by quarter turn.

8. Sew another straight line.

9. Examine the stitches again and re-adjust bobbin screw again if necessary.

10. Repeat until the top thread only shows on the front of your fabric, and the bobbin thread only shows on the bottom. Thats when you will have perfect tension!

* Check your instruction manual to ensure you are threading your machine correctly.
** The bobbin needs to be inserted into the bobbin case the right way around so check your instruction manual.... If inserted the wrong way the thread will come out too quickly.

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