How To Fix Bobbin Tension On Sewing Machine


Understanding how a bobbin tension system works is essential for fixing problems with the tension on a sewing machine. The bobbin case holds the bobbin and tension spring, and the tension mechanism uses a small screw to control how tight the spring is. The screw should be screwed in clockwise until the bobbin thread is looping properly. If the tension is too tight, the bobbin thread will cause the stitch to pucker. On the other hand, if the tension is too loose, the upper thread will slacken and create loose stitches.

In order to fix this, start by opening the bobbin case and making sure the bobbin is installed properly. If the bobbin is spinning the wrong way, it should be inverted. Then, try adjusting the tension screw by turning it slightly either clockwise or counter-clockwise until the bobbin thread is looping properly. If this doesn’t work, try using a different bobbin and spool of thread, as the issue may be caused by a combination of the two. If all else fails, consider replacing the bobbin tension spring or the entire bobbin case.

Preventative Care

When it comes to bobbin tension problems, prevention is key. Regular maintenance such as cleaning, oiling, and inspecting the parts can keep the machine running smoothly. Change the needle often, as it is designed to be used for a certain length of time. Substituting a needle for a different type of material or fabric should also be tested. Above all else, be sure to check for any loose connections, such as the screws or the wiring.

Some machine manufacturers may offer specific instructions for servicing their particular machines. Following these instructions can help to ensure that the machine is functioning correctly and that the parts are in good condition. It is a good practice to keep records of any maintenance done on the machine. If an issue arises after any maintenance has been done, the records can be checked.

Troubleshooting Techniques

When it comes to troubleshooting a sewing machine, there are a few important steps to take. Firstly, inspect the entire machine to see if any parts are broken or worn out. If a broken part is found, replacing it is the best option. If the issue is a lack of tension, check the tension screw and make sure it is adjusted correctly. Additionally, make sure the bobbin is not too full and that the bobbin case is installed properly. Finally, check for any thread buildup in the machine and clean it out if necessary.

If these steps do not resolve the issue, seek help from a sewing machine repair service. Professionals can often identify issues that the average user may miss and determine the necessary repairs. Professional repair also comes with a guarantee, ensuring that the work will be done correctly and that the machine will continue running for years to come.

Thread Variables

The type of thread used in a sewing machine can also have an impact on the bobbin tension. Different types of threads require different tensions and should be tested with the machine they will be used with. For example, cotton thread requires less tension than polyester or nylon thread. Additionally, thread with a finer diameter requires less tension than coarser thread.

Using a bobbin winder can also help to ensure the bobbin is not too full and that the correct amount of tension is used for the type of thread. This can help to prevent issues with the bobbin tension before they arise and save time and money in the long run.

Practice and Patience

Fixing a bobbin tension issue is not always an easy task and may take some time and patience. It is important to remember that the majority of sewing machine issues can be fixed without the help of a professional. Taking the time to understand the machine and its components can go a long way when it comes to troubleshooting any issues.

Additionally, taking the time to practice on a sample fabric can help to identify potential issues with thread tension. Trying a few different types of thread and fabric can also help to better understand the bobbin tension system and how it works with the machine.

Testing and Calibration

Once the bobbin tension is fixed, it is important to make sure it is working properly. Test the machine by making a few stitches on a scrap piece of fabric. Be sure to check for any puckers, slacks, and jump stitches. Other than that, the stitches should be balanced and even.

Calibrating the machine can also help to ensure optimal performance. During this process, the bobbin tensions will be adjusted and set to the manufacturer’s specifications. The calibration process should be done by someone with experience and knowledge of sewing machine mechanics. Professional machine repair shops and dealerships offer these services and can also provide recommendations and advice.


Another element to consider when dealing with bobbin tension is the type of fabric used. Different types of fabrics require different tensions, and should be tested before starting a project. Lighter fabrics, such as silk and chiffon, require less tension than heavier fabrics, such as denim or corduroy. Adjusting the tension will help to ensure the stitches are even and balanced.

Additionally, there are many variables that can affect the bobbin tension, such as the type of thread, the needle size, and the type of stitch. Each of these factors should be taken into account when setting the tension, as any changes can have an effect on the quality of the stitch.

Tension Settings

Each machine may have different factory settings for the tension. If the tension settings are not adjusted correctly, it can lead to issues with the bobbin tension. For this reason, it is important to familiarize yourself with the settings on the machine and make sure that they are set correctly.

When making adjustments, start by setting the tension to the lowest level and adjusting it as necessary. Additionally, use a test fabric to check the tension before starting a project. This will help to identify any issues with the tension, such as slacks, puckers, or jump stitches.

Maintenance and Servicing

Regular maintenance and servicing can keep a sewing machine from having bobbin tension problems. It is important to dust, clean, oil, and inspect the machine often. Additionally, make sure to use the correct needles, threads, and fabrics for the particular project. Testing the material and stitch settings beforehand can help to ensure the machine is running properly and that the stitches will be even and balanced.

If any issues arise, check for any damages and be sure to check the tension settings. If necessary, consider taking the machine for servicing. Professional servicing will include a warranty, guaranteeing the work and its efficiency.

Troubleshooting Solutions

If the bobbin tension becomes an issue, having the right tools available can make all the difference. Basic tools such as a screwdriver, wrenches, and pliers will come in handy when troubleshooting the tension mechanism.

Seeking help from a professional repair service or dealership may also be necessary. Professional repair services can help diagnose and fix the issue, as well as provide advice and recommendations. If a new part is needed, most services also offer parts replacement.

Safety Precautions

Fixing a bobbin tension issue can be dangerous, so it is important to take the necessary safety precautions. Be sure to read and understand the instructions in the user manual before attempting any repairs. Additionally, unplug the machine before making any adjustments, as electricity and spinning parts can be dangerous. Lastly, always wear protective clothing and eyewear when working with a sewing machine.

Fixing a bobbin tension issue is not always an easy task and may require patience, practice, and knowledge. It is important to understand the mechanics of the machine and how the various components work together. This understanding can go a long way when it comes to troubleshooting and preventing bobbin tension issues.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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