How To Fix Tension In Sewing Machine

What Causes Tension Problems in Sewing Machines

Sewing machines work by feeding the same thread through two lines at the same time: an upper line attached to the needle and a lower line attached to the bobbin. The tension of the upper line is determined by the machine and can be adjusted to achieve the desired results. Having a tension that is too loose can cause the upper line to become tangled while having too tight of a tension can cause the upper line to break.

Tension problems can be caused by incorrect threading, incorrect needle size, incorrect tension settings, thread type, fabric type, and old or damaged machine parts. Incorrect threading can cause the thread to become tangled while incorrect needle size can cause the thread to break. If the tension settings are too loose, the thread won’t feed properly and could become tangled, while if the tension settings are too tight, the thread can break. Also, certain types of thread and fabric may require different tensions.

Solving Tension Problems In Sewing Machine

One way to solve tension problems in sewing machines is to start by examining the thread path. Make sure that the thread is running in the correct path from the spool, through the tension mechanism, and into the needle. Then examine the needle size and make sure it is the correct one for the type of thread and fabric being used. After that, adjust the tensions accordingly.

If the thread is still not running properly, check the machine’s parts for any wear and tear or blockage. Inspect the bobbin case and bobbin thread for any signs of damage. If the bobbin case is damaged, replace it. Finally, if the tensions are still not set correctly, adjust them manually.

Advanced Tips For Solving Tension Problems in Sewing Machines

To further improve the tension of the machine, you can use a tension disk or tension tool. A tension disk is usually made of metal or plastic and has adjustable screws that can be used to fine-tune the tension settings of the machine. A tension tool is similar but is used in combination with the tension disk to provide more accurate fine-tuning of the tension settings.

You can also use a tension gauge to test the tension settings of the thread. Place a loop of thread between the gauge and the tension dial and then twist the knob on the tension dial until the thread matches the tension gauge. This will help to ensure that the thread is at the right level of tension.

Also, if the machine’s parts are too old, it may be time for a new machine. Older machines may not be able to hold up to the rigours of modern sewing techniques, so it may be best to invest in a new machine with updated parts and better design.

Regular Maintenance To Prevent Tension Problems in Sewing Machines

To ensure that tension problems don’t occur regularly, it’s important to do regular maintenance on your sewing machine. This includes cleaning and oiling the machine on a regular basis. Make sure to use the correct type of lubricant for your sewing machine, as not all machines are compatible with the same kind of oil.

Also, check all of the machine’s mechanisms and parts to make sure they are in working order. If any parts need to be replaced, make sure to replace them in order to keep your sewing machine in optimal condition.

Making Sure Your Thread Is of Good Quality

It’s very important to use good quality thread when sewing. The quality of the thread can make a big difference to the quality of the stitching. Good quality thread will be thinner and more tightly woven, which means that it will be much less likely to break or get tangled. It is also important to match the correct thread for the fabric you are using in order to avoid any tension problems due to improper thread.

Using The Right Needle For Your Sewing Machine

Another important factor for avoiding tension problems is to make sure that the correct needle is used for the type of thread and fabric being used. The size of the needle will affect the tension of the thread and so the correct needle size should be used for the job. The weight of the fabric also plays an important role when it comes to selecting the right needle.

Upgrading Your Sewing Machine To Solve Tension Problems

If all of the other steps have failed to solve your tension problems, then it may be worth investing in an upgraded sewing machine. Sewing machines vary in their sophistication and the higher quality, more modern machines tend to have better tension mechanisms than older, lower quality machines. Newer machines are also much more efficient at controlling the tension of the threads, which can help reduce the likelihood of tension problems.


Tension problems can affect the quality of stitching on a sewing project, so it is important to take measures to ensure that tension is properly adjusted and maintained in order to avoid any issues. Start by examining the thread paths, checking the needles and machine parts for any signs of damage, and making sure the correct thread is being used. Then, use a tension tool or gauge to make sure the thread is at the correct level of tension. Finally, consider investing in an upgraded sewing machine to help alleviate tension problems.

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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