Tension Revisited

We Carry
by Sara Snuggerud in Sewing Tips

The most common statement heard at our sewing machine service counter is: “I think the tension is off.” TENSION always gets a bum rap! Why do people think that tension is the only problem that a sewing machine can have? Is it a myth? Or is it from decades of statements from our mothers and grandmothers?

Before blaming tension as the culprit, check the following items:

1. Try to remember the last time your sewing machine was professionally cleaned. If it has been over a year, bring it in for its annual cleaning. We automatically check and adjust the tension too.

2. Remove the top and bottom thread and rethread the machine from the beginning.

3. Use the same thread for top and bobbin. If you need to use a different weight of thread in the needle and the bobbin, you will probably need to adjust tension. Use the chart below to determine if a higher or lower tension number is appropriate.

4. Check the needle size and be sure the needle eye is large enough to accommodate the selected thread. If you are unsure, select a Topstitch needle. It has a huge eye and will work with most threads!

Here is an illustrated concept of tension and how to adjust it. This is it the best picture I have found to help people understand how tension is adjusted if you have to adjust it for any reason. PRINT IT OFF and keep it in with your sewing machine accessories!


(Picture provided by Superior Threads)

For additional information read my sewing tip from June 25, 2007 – “When is Tension Really the Problem”?

And, to read a more technical version of tension, click here to visit Superior Thread’s website.

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