FREE SHIPPING  Enjoy free shipping on orders of $50 or more (to U.S. addresses)

Determining Tension Problems

Posted: 19 May 2016 at 6 a.m.

Determining Sewing Tension Issues

Sewing frustrations are the worst.  We don’t like it.  That’s why we use the best thread.  To avoid the frustration caused by using lower-quality threads.  Using quality thread should solve half the battle with a sewing machine and yet, we all experience moments and days when things just don’t go right.  What’s the most common culprit?  Tension.   Let’s talk about a few common issues that can be tension related.

Issue:  The top thread frays.

Probable cause:  When is the last time you changed your needle?  Old needles often cause fraying due to worn surfaces.  If you’re using a new needle which is the right size (see our Home Machine Thread Guide) and you see fraying, the bobbin may be too tight or the top too loose.


Issue:  The bobbin thread shows through on the top.

Probable cause:  The bobbin tension may be too loose or the top tension too tight.  If you have a metal bobbin case, there could be dust or lint trapped under the bobbin tension spring.

 

Issue:  The bobbin thread does not show on the bottom

Probable cause:  The bobbin tension may be too tight or the top tension too lose.


Issue:  The top thread snaps and leaves a small hook at the point of the break

Probable cause:  The top tension may be too tight.


Issue:  The thread gathers under the needle plate

Probable cause:  There are a few reasons why thread gathers under the needle plate.  The top tension is too loose or your machine is threaded incorrectly, bypassing the take-up lever. 


Issue:  Thread loops

Probable cause:  What side are you seeing loops?  This side is winning the tension tug-of-war.  Loosen the tension on the loopy side and/or tighten the tension of the opposite side.


Have you been experiencing tension issues?  Let us know if the comments below—we’d love to help answer your questions!

Categories:
Share |

Comments

  • 3. Cathy Junga (24 February 2017 at 8:59 a.m.)

    When adjusting the top tension on my machine, should the presser foot be up or down? I've always heard that it should be down, but then I saw a video where they said it should be up when doing this. Which is the correct way, or does it matter?
  • 2. Celeste @ Superior Threads (20 May 2016 at 11:36 a.m.)

    Louise--how frustrating! We'd love to help you find a solution. Please contact us at info@superiorthreads.com so we may continue this conversation.
  • 1. LouiseG (19 May 2016 at 8:14 p.m.)

    I tried using King Tut on top and Omni in the bobbin recently. I got through about a third of my quilt and then I could no longer bring up the bobbin thread. I changed needles, adjusted tension (tried both top and bobbin tension changes), tried a prewound bobbin, tried winding using a bobbin from the first part of the quilt, and thoroughly cleaned all lint out. Nothing worked :( I had to switch to King Tut in my bobbin. Any ideas of what I could have done differently?

Post a comment

Article Archive

  2017 (4)
  2016 (42)
  December (1)
  November (1)
  October (1)
  July (1)
  June (5)
  May (5)
  April (5)
  March (9)
  February (8)
  January (6)
  2015 (93)
  2014 (88)
  2013 (31)
  2012 (53)
  2011 (21)
  2010 (2)