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  1. #1
    New Member Tosto's Avatar
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    Thread Tension Question

    Ok, I've read through almost every post on sewing problems and they have answered nearly all of my questions (thanks everyone!), but I have a quick one on thread tension.

    I'm adjusting the top and bottom tension as described here, but when I finish a few inches of stitching, the threads still seem loose. If I push on each thread with a pencil point, they give a bit and I can pretty easily loop the pencil point under each stitch.

    Should I increase the top and bottom tension until each stitch is tight? I know how to tell if the top tension is too tight or if the bottom tension is too tight, but how can you tell if both top and bottom are too tight?

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    Balance is the key, Grasshopper! (smile)
    tighten up the bobbin tension, run a test or two, then tighten up the upper tension to match- if the fabric starts to pucker or gather, it's _too_ tight; back off a bit on the bobbin tension, then match the top to it again.
    Hope this helps, Betsy

  3. #3
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    just for kicks and giggles, check your presser foot tension as well. When I have had bad stitches it has often been because I have done something stupid like leave the presser foot up. That'll botch the overall job royally. My wife is a professional seamstress so when I sit down I am pretty sure the tension is where it should be and I don't mess with that. But fabric and thread quality can play hob with tension as well. Sometimes you can follow all the right steps and the fabric or thread is off kilter enuf to mess things up.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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    We Don't Sew... We Make Gear! video series

    Important thread injector guidelines especially for Newbies

    Bobbin Tension - A Personal Viewpoint

  4. #4
    Senior Member Iafte's Avatar
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    You want the tension set so the tread is joined between(lll) the fabric, not on top(ll) or bottem(l).

    Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. ~Steven Wright

  5. #5
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    That looks like the same 1950's diagram in my singer book.
    Is that too much to ask? Girls with frikkin' lasers on their heads?
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  6. #6
    Hooch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramblinrev View Post
    just for kicks and giggles, check your presser foot tension as well. When I have had bad stitches it has often been because I have done something stupid like leave the presser foot up.
    Is there a way to adjust the presser foot tension or am I missing something?
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  7. #7
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Hooch... on the machines that I have used there is a knob or a knurled nut that you can turn to adjust that. again, I usually don't mess with that stuff on my wife's machine but I know they are there. The manual for the machine should show it and say how to adjust it.

    Particularly with very lightweight slippery fabrics (sound familiar?) the presser foot tension can effct the slippage between the two layers of fabric. Sometimes you need what's known as a "walking foot" to move the fabric along. But those can be expensive and they are not available for all machines. They are a PITA to adjust as well.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

    We Don't Sew... We Make Gear! video series

    Important thread injector guidelines especially for Newbies

    Bobbin Tension - A Personal Viewpoint

  8. #8
    Senior Member Iafte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    That looks like the same 1950's diagram in my singer book.
    Funny what you can find on the internet.

    The only time I mess with the tension is when I switch from fabric to webbing and back. Always test before you start the actual project.
    Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. ~Steven Wright

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