How To Balance
Tensions on a sewing machine.
When the tensions are out of
balance on your sewing machine, the stitching can be a
disaster. You can get gobs of thread collecting under or
on top of the fabric. The seam may have irregularly
formed stitches as well as skipped
This is one of
the most common problems facing the sewer. It can be
terribly frustrating to finish a seam and discover it looks
really bad. There may be no real problem with the bobbin
tension assembly or the upper threading system, or there may be
some little snag in the works.
however, is to fix the tension balance. Fortunately, this
is usually a pretty quick fix. You need to understand the
tension system of your sewing machine and how to set the
tension balance properly.
How do you
balance tensions on a sewing machine?
Tension is the
amount of drag or resistance on the thread as it moves through
the sewing machine. The tension on top and on bottom
should balanced properly. The threads will join in the middle
of the fabric with no excess thread on top or on the bottom of
from the top and the thread from the bottom meet and form
stitches in the center of the fabric. There should be no excess
thread on top or bottom. Hence, tensions are said to be
How do you
on a sewing machine?
are trying to line up three square blocks in mid air by holding
on to the two outer blocks only. In your left hand you
hold the “Bobbin Block”. In your right hand you hold the
“Upper Thread Block”. Your goal is to hold all three
blocks in a straight line with no block out of
skew. If you move the left hand block one way
it automatically affects the other two.
illustration of this can be seen in a game of tug of war. Two teams grab
their thread one from the bobbin and one from the needle
If the two
teams pull with equal force, the thread knot or stitch will be
centered inside the fabric.
If one team
pulls harder than the other, you will see the thread knot
bubble to that side. The stronger side pulls harder
than the other. The harder it pulls, the more thread
collects on that side of the fabric.
How do you
balance tensions on a sewing
Now if you
look at your seam, do notice a bunch of thread collected
under the fabric? Which side is pulling harder the bobbin team
or the needle team? That is right the team that
pulls the hardest gets the excess thread collection.
collects on the bottom of the fabric. The bobbin team is
pulling harder than the needle team. The same would be
true in reverse. If the thread collects on top of the
fabric, the needle team is pulling harder than the bobbin
So, how do you
fix the problem of excess threads collecting on one side of the
How do you
tensions on a sewing machine?
To balance the
tensions, simply adjust the upper tension in relation to the
You may think
the bobbin tension could be poorly adjusted. This happens
if you just changed the size of thread you have been
using. Reset the bobbin tension.
should not have to adjust the bobbin tension. Note if you
do change the size of thread, your bobbin tension may need to
be adjusted. You may need to compensate for the
difference by adjusting the upper tension.
excess thread on the bottom of the fabric. Increase
the tension on top by turning the adjustment knob to a larger
number (usually turn clockwise). There is excess thread on the
top of the fabric. Decrease the top tension by adjusting
the tension knob to a lower number
& Double Check threading.
2. Test lower and upper tensions as you thread.
3. Test sew and adjust upper tension – increase or
4. If you continue to have tension challenges, take the machine
to your local sewing machine service center for a thorough
So, this is how you balance tensions on a