How To Fix The Tension On A Janome Sewing Machine

Main Topic: How to Fix the Tension on a Janome Sewing Machine

Sewing machines with their singular potential to be able to up-cycle, mend and customize garments and fabrics form the backbone of any passionate sewers’ repertoire. However, many sewers may face problems when attempting to maintain enough thread tension on a Janome sewing machine. Having the right thread tension is key to achieving the desired results in any project; and this article covers tips and tricks to adjust the tension of your Janome machine as per your requirements.

To begin, it’s important to note that Janome sewing machines have a tension dial available at the top of the machine. Ensure that the tension dial is set on the ‘normal’ position. If tension required is still not achieved, a few more adjustments may be needed. Firstly, the presser foot must be raised and the thread brought up from the bobbin case. At this point, note the condition of the thread. If the thread appears too loose or if it looks like it’s pulling the bobbin thread too tightly, it’s time to readjust the tension.

Different kinds of fabrics will require a different level of tension. To make suitable adjustments, the needle thread tensioner should be turned one-eighth of an inch in either direction until the desired tension is achieved. In other words, make sure that the thread is tight enough on the fabric but loose enough to make even stitches without puckering.

Adjusting thread tension can be tricky and it’s not uncommon to make mistakes the first few times. Fortunately, some mistakes can be remedied. If the bobbin thread is seen on the back side of your fabric, simply loosen the top thread tension. Or, if the top thread is not showing an even tension, tighten the bobbin thread. Additionally, if your stitching is too tight, you can increase the thread tension; and if your stitching is too loose, you can decrease the thread tension.

It is also important to be aware that different types of threads and needle sizes will require the tension settings to be altered. For instance, lightweight thread and thin needles demand less tension, while thicker thread and needles require more tension. Similarly, the machine settings may need to be adjusted when working with different kinds of fabrics, such as velvet or jersey.

In addition to tension control, most Janome machines come with needle bars that can be used to adjust thread delivery. When the thread is not properly transitioning from the needle to the bobbin, the depth of the needle may need to be adjusted. Make sure that the needle is not too deep or too shallow in order to avoid any problems with the thread tension.

One of the most common issues associated with Janome machines is the thread jamming in the needle plate. This may be caused by a wrong type of thread being used, or a wrong size needle being utilized. It is also possible that the thread tension has gone off balance and needs to be reset. If this issue arises, try resetting the tension and also ensure that the needle is not damaged or bent.

Thread Types

Aside from the tension adjustments, selecting the right kind of thread is also essential. Opting for the wrong type of thread may result in difficulty threading the needle, frequent thread breakage, and even poor stitch formation. In order to achieve the best results, basic threads such as cotton, polyester and nylon are recommended. Cotton and polyester threads are good for quilting, apparel and upholstery, while nylon threads are better suited for heavy-duty applications.

Another thread type to consider is the metallized thread, namely those with a metallic finish. Such threads are a good choice for decorative stitching, giving a reflective and eye-catching effect on the surface of the fabric. However, these threads are more prone to breakage and should not be used in areas that require a lot of tension.

Needle Selection

Choosing the right needle for each project is also important. Needles with sharp points are more suited for working with light-weight materials, whereas those with a larger eye should be used with heavier materials. Additionally, Janome machines are compatible with many varieties of needles, including stretch needles and topstitching needles. Each needle has a particular purpose and the incorrect needle can lead to skipped stitches, uneven thread tension, and even tearing of the fabric.

When purchasing needles, make sure that you are getting the correct point size and type of needle as indicated in your machine’s manual. Additionally, needles should be replaced after a certain number of hours of use or projects completed. Failure to do so may result in wear and tear, which can lead to thread breakage and uneven stitching.

Clean and Maintain Machine

Finally, maintenance of the machine itself is essential to maintaining proper thread tension. Ensure that the machine is properly dusted and oiled, as this prevents the build-up of lint that can damage the threads. Additionally, check for any signs of wear and tear, especially the needles and bobbin case, which should be replaced when necessary. As with any mechanical device, the Janome sewing machine should be put through a regular service programme to ensure optimal performance.


Should you encounter problems with thread tension, it’s best to take your machine to a qualified technician or repair shop as soon as possible. For machines that are still under warranty, this should not be a problem; however, it’s important to note that repairs may still come at a cost. If you have prior experience in dealing with sewing machine repairs, you may be able to fix the issue yourself, though it’s always wise to be extremely cautious when undertaking any maintenance to your machine.


Ensuring proper thread tension on your Janome sewing machine is vital for achieving the desired results. Adjusting the tension is key and any discrepancies should be attended to immediately to avoid further problems. Additionally, opting for the right kind of thread and needle type also contributes to better performance. Lastly, maintaining and servicing your machine on a regular basis will ensure that it operates at its full potential.

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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