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Thread: Thread Tension Settings Demystified!

  1. #1
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
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    Thread Tension Settings Demystified!

    Here's a great article that goes into detail about both upper and bobbin tension settings.

    http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/...nsion/page/all
    Wendy

  2. #2
    Junior Member Terricat's Avatar
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    Very excellent article, well-written and easy to understand. Thank you!!!!

  3. #3
    Super Member katesnanna's Avatar
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    Thank you Wendy for sharing this.

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    Thank you so much, this article was very helpful. Just love this Quilting Board, learn so much and appreciate all that everyone puts in to be helpful.

  5. #5
    Super Member k9dancer's Avatar
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    A few things not in the article:

    1) When changing the upper tension dial, the presser foot must be lowered to engage the tension.

    2) When making a sewing test, it is best to use the same thread in the upper and bobbin, including the same color. Believe it or not, dye content can affect the tension. I would never have thought that, but Ray White made a believer out of me.

    3) To test for balanced stitches, sew the best seam you can get on the straight or cross grain. When you think you have it, make the same seam on a double layer on the bias. Holding both ends of the seam, pull and try to break the thread. If both or neither of the threads break, your seam is balanced. If the top thread breaks, loosen the top tension. If the bobbin thread breaks, tighten the top tension.

    4) It is possible to have a balanced tension and still have the tension too tight or too loose.

    5) If you are using different threads, for example bobbin thread in the bobbin and quilting thread in the top, repeat the test. My experience has been that when using this combination, I need a much lower top tension than when both threads are the same. Your mileage may vary.
    Stephanie in Mena

  6. #6
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing!
    If a woman's work is never done....why start?

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    Junior Member terry leffler's Avatar
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    Thanks so much!

  8. #8
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by k9dancer View Post
    A few things not in the article:

    1) When changing the upper tension dial, the presser foot must be lowered to engage the tension.

    2) When making a sewing test, it is best to use the same thread in the upper and bobbin, including the same color. Believe it or not, dye content can affect the tension. I would never have thought that, but Ray White made a believer out of me.

    3) To test for balanced stitches, sew the best seam you can get on the straight or cross grain. When you think you have it, make the same seam on a double layer on the bias. Holding both ends of the seam, pull and try to break the thread. If both or neither of the threads break, your seam is balanced. If the top thread breaks, loosen the top tension. If the bobbin thread breaks, tighten the top tension.

    4) It is possible to have a balanced tension and still have the tension too tight or too loose.

    5) If you are using different threads, for example bobbin thread in the bobbin and quilting thread in the top, repeat the test. My experience has been that when using this combination, I need a much lower top tension than when both threads are the same. Your mileage may vary.
    All very good points, Stephanie. I always use #3 as my 'final check'.

    Another technique I use when making major changes in the type of thread I'm going to use is to set the bobbin tension where I want it, so the thread pulls out easily, but not freely, then set the top to match. My rule of thumb on this one is that the bobbin tension should allow me to just be able to pick up the bobbin, case and all, by the thread without it unwinding, but only require a very slight tug to get it to feed out.
    Wendy

  9. #9
    Super Member mimiknoxtaylor's Avatar
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    Thank you. Very clear

  10. #10
    Super Member k9dancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azwendyg View Post
    All very good points, Stephanie. I always use #3 as my 'final check'.

    Another technique I use when making major changes in the type of thread I'm going to use is to set the bobbin tension where I want it, so the thread pulls out easily, but not freely, then set the top to match. My rule of thumb on this one is that the bobbin tension should allow me to just be able to pick up the bobbin, case and all, by the thread without it unwinding, but only require a very slight tug to get it to feed out.
    Wendy, you are right on! Thanks for mentioning it.
    Stephanie in Mena

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