how to fix sewing machine tension knob

How to Fix Sewing Machine Tension Knob

How to fix sewing machine tension knob? One of the most important parts of the sewing machine is the tension knob. Do you know why it is important? Let us tell you why. The tension knob helps you to achieve proper tension. Why should you be concerned with proper tension?

Proper tension on a sewing machine allows for your stitching to be uniform. Proper tension is also essential if you want your thread to move freely on the material that you are working on.

If you want to make the back and front stitches on your cloth the same, you would need to maintain proper tension. Hope you have seen why proper tension is important.

To successfully adjust the tension on your machine, there are some basic things about the sewing machine that you need to understand.

You would need to check these on the machine before going ahead to adjust the tension knob.

  • Threading of the machine

The thread guides on the machine as the name implies help to guide the proper way in which the thread is expected to flow from the top of the machine to the needle. The thread guide allows the thread to run smoothly and avoid entanglement. Always check to see that the threading is done right.

  • Check if machine is damaged

Damaged parts of the machine can cause tension on the machine to be off. Be especially careful of not damaging the bobbin. A little drop to the floor from a bobbin can completely damage it, even though the bobbin might still look in perfect conditions.

Also take note of other parts of the machine like the throat plate, thread guides and take-up lever to ensure that they are in good conditions.

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What to do when the tension is still off?

It is expected that the upper and lower thread are the same when you are sewing. If you notice that one side is getting tighter or loose than the other, then there is a tension problem.

Here is a simple trick on how you can check the tension of the machine. Get a white piece of clothing and sew on it with two different colors of thread. This would help you to clearly see if there is a problem with the tension or not.

Find the tension knob or dial

Depending on the machine, the tension knob would be located on different sides of the machine. You should check the machine manually to be sure where the tension knob is. The knob usually has numbers around it.

In the case where the tension is loose, you should turn the knob in such a way that the numbers are increasing. Slowly increase the number and test the new tension as you go on. Continue adjusting and testing until the thread is no longer loose.

In the case where the tension is too tight, you should turn the knob in such a way that the numbers are decreasing. Slowly decrease the number and test the new tension as you go on. Continue adjusting and testing until the thread is no longer tight.

Keep testing the tension until you get it right. Remember to test the tension on materials that you do not intend to wear.

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What is the appropriate number for the tension setting?

Most of the sewing machines have the tension dial set to number four. Other numbers, such as three and five can still work, but will not be at the optimum level.

The higher and the lower numbers will have the tension being either too tight or loose. In such cases, the sewing machine will have its belt either coming out or getting too tight.

When such a thing happens, the sewing process will be impaired, and hence you will need to fix it first before you continue.

What makes the bottom stitch to be loose?

That is an indication that the tensioning system is not in its optimum position. It could also mean that threading has a problem.

When the tension is loose in the bobbin and the needle thread, and you have to thread the machine correctly before you proceed with sewing. It could also mean that the thread is not in its optimum position in the tensioning mechanism.

Does the loose tensioning make the sewing machine to jam?

It does not necessarily mean so, but the loose tensioning will make the thread to be loose as well. That will result in the thread going off the bobbin and jamming the sewing machine.

To fix that, you will need to adjust the tensioning to its optimum position. You will also need to re-thread the entire system and to clear the jam.

Before you engage the machine, have a look at it again to ensure that everything is working well. Sometimes, when it jams, it can bend or even bend the needle. That is why you should do the confirmation before re-engaging it.

Why is my thread hitting the underneath?

The issue still rotates around the tensioning. You need to check it for the correct adjustments and correct the problem if need be.

The next step is to check the bobbin to see if there is a problem inside there and make the necessary adjustments. Finally, you will also need to check on the needle before proceeding with sewing.

How do I tighten the thread tension?

If the top tension is loose, you will need to increase it. You can do this by turning the tension knob so that the numbers will increase. Adjust the knob by a half to one number lower than the original and test the stitches on a piece of scrap fabric.

Continue with the adjustments and testing until the time when you achieve the optimum tensioning of the sewing machine.

Be careful not to make it too tight, as it will not allow the machine to work as it should be. Do not leave it when it is loose as well, because the thread will keep on coming out, and jamming the bobbin.

How tight should the bobbin tension be?

The rule remains the same that it should not either be too tight or even loose. In case the bobbin case does not budge, then something has to be done.

To tighten it, rotate the tiny screw clockwise. On the other hand, to loosen it, turn it in an anticlockwise direction. Adjust until you obtain the optimum tensioning.


You can only sew a master class if you get the tension right. There are a number of factors that could cause the tension to be off as we have discussed in this article.

When you notice that there is something wrong with the necessary, do well to follow the guidelines in this article to have your machine tension knob working the right way again.

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