How to correct sewing machine tension

I find sewing so relaxing and therapeutic that some evenings, hours can go by only for it to suddenly be midnight, and I need to quickly rush to bed to get my 8 hours of sleep. That is when my machine is behaving and sewing the fabric with ease. When I started my sewing journey, nothing prepared me for the frustration of sewing tension issues and the issues they cause, such as loose loops, tight loops, missed stitches, and bunched stitches. The good news is that now that I have had my fair share of tension issues, I no longer worry and can usually get my machine running smoothly again in less than 5 minutes.

Steps to take to fix sewing machine tension

Tension refers to the balance of the upper and lower threads as they come together to form a stitch. If the tension is not adjusted correctly, the stitches may be too loose or too tight, resulting in an uneven or puckering fabric.

Here are some steps to help you correct the tension on your sewing machine:

  1. Begin by checking the threading of your sewing machine. Make sure that the thread is properly loaded into the tension discs and that it is passing through all of the guides and tension discs in the correct order.

  2. Test the tension on a scrap piece of fabric. Sew a few stitches and then examine the back of the fabric. If the upper thread is too loose, you will see loops on the back of the fabric, and if the upper thread is too tight, you will see little or no loops on the back of the fabric.

  3. Adjust the tension on your sewing machine. Most machines have a tension adjustment dial or knob that you can use to adjust the tension. Turn the dial or knob in small increments until you achieve the desired tension.

  4. Experiment with different thread types and weights. Some threads are thicker or thinner than others, and this can affect the tension on your machine. Experiment with different thread types and weights to find the best tension setting for your project.

  5. Clean your machine. Dirty or clogged tension discs can affect the tension on your machine. Clean your machine regularly to ensure that the tension discs are free of debris and lint.

  6. Check the needle. The needle plays a key role in sewing machine tension. Make sure that you are using the correct needle for your fabric and thread. A bent or dull needle can also cause tension issues.