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How to adjust the thread tension on your sewing machine

Friday, 28 March 2014

Whether you are new in sewing or have some experience, getting the right tension on your sewing machine can very often be nerve breaking.

Firstly you will need to know your sewing machine. If it is a new sewing machine you can have a look in the manual from where you can adjust the top and bottom thread tension.

In order to form a balanced stitch the flow of the thread from top and bottom should be the same.

Make sure that you have threaded the sewing machine correctly. You will not achieve a balanced seam if your sewing machine hasn’t been threaded correctly.

The flow from the spool at the top and from the bobbin at the bottom should be the same.

The trick is to know how to adjust the tension what to loosen and what to tighten and in which instance.

In the basic lockstitch machine a seam is created from the upper and lower threads which form a knot that should be hidden between the fabric layers.

  • If the knot shows on the upper fabric, this means that the lower tension is too loose, or the upper tension is too tight. The tension is not balanced, the top thread pulls stronger.
  • If the knot shows on the underneath fabric, this means that the lower tension is too tight, or the upper tension is too loose. Again the tension is not balanced, the lower thread pulls stronger.

Practice on scrap fabric to make sure that you have the tension adjusted correctly. You may still need to adjust the tension if it is too tight on both sides, the seam may pucker or break easily. You need to get the right balance.