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How to Adjust Your Bobbin Tension

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How to Adjust Your Bobbin Tension
Let's talk about a very important and useful topic: how to adjust the bobbin tension on your sewing machine.

Hello all of you wonderful sewists out there! Today we’re going to be talking about a very important and useful topic: adjusting the bobbin tension on your sewing machine. Though it may seem daunting, it’s a very simple technique. Let’s get to business and show you how to adjust your bobbin tension!

If you want to see exactly what we’re talking about, you can check out our YouTube video here!

Before we adjust the tension on the bobbin, let’s talk about why this might be important. When you’re working on a project you want the top and bobbin threads to join in the middle of the fabric so that they aren’t visible on either side.

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If you notice that your bobbin thread is pulling up through the top of the fabric it means that your bobbin tension is too loose.

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And if you find that the bobbin thread is pulling the top thread down, the bobbin tension is too tight, and needs to be loosened.

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So, how do you adjust your bobbin tension? First start by identifying what kind of bobbin casing you have, a top loading bobbin or a front loading bobbin. In this picture you’ll see a top loading bobbin.

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And in this picture you’ll see a front loading bobbin.

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If you’re changing the tension for one project, and the current tension on your bobbin is perfect for most things, it might be wise to put a mark on where the screw head lines up with a permanent marker so you know where to go back to.

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Oh no! Have you misplaced your screw driver? Not to worry, these are readily available at your local sewing or craft store. This is a simple flat headed screw driver. We’ve tracked down one that will work on most machines: https://www.amazon.ca/DOLITY-Sewing-Machine-Small-Screwdriver/dp/B07G86WK9X

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To adjust the tension in a front loading bobbin casing, use the small screwdriver supplied with your machine, and turn the small screw to the left or counter clockwise to loosen the tension.

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To tighten the tension turn it to the right, or clockwise.

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Work in small increments. If you’re imagining the small screw as a 12 hour clock, work in 5 minute increments at a time, and test out the tension until it’s just so.

For a top loading bobbin casing, it’s a good idea to take a photo of the casing in your machine before you remove it. This way you’ll know exactly how it should be placed back in your machine. On this casing, the tension screw is clearly marked with a green colour.

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The same rule applies as with a front loading bobbin casing, left or counterclockwise to loosen, and right or clockwise to tighten moving in five minute increments at a time. If you find yourself changing the bobbin tension often, you might consider purchasing a separate bobbin casing, so that all you have to do when you need to change the tension is swap out your casing and get to sewing.

And that’s really all there is to it! Now you know how to adjust your bobbin tension. That wasn’t so bad. There are a few other things you should note when it comes to adjusting your bobbin thread, so let’s go through those!

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When you’re working with a heavy weight thread like Dazzle™ our 8wt rayon with a single strand of metallic, or Razzle™ our 8wt 100% rayon you’ll want to adjust the tension so that the bobbin thread buries the heavier thread in the center of the fabric. We find that in most cases it’s a matter of tightening the tension on the bobbin.

You can find Dazzle™ in a store near you, or in out online shop here

You can find Razzle™ in a store near you, or in out online shop here

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The bobbin thread you use will also impact how tight or loose you set your bobbin tension. When using a lighter bobbin thread like DecoBob™, our 80wt cottonized polyester thread, as a bobbin thread you can pair it with just about any top thread! Our DecoBob™ thread comes on a regular spool in different sizes, but also in convenient pre-wound bobbins, so you just have to pop it into your bobbin casing and get sewing!

You can find DecoBob™ pre-wound bobbins in a shop near you, or in our online shop here

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However, if you’d like to use a heavier thread in your bobbin to do projects like bobbin work, we have a few suggestions! Using a heavier thread in your bobbin requires you to wind your own bobbin. This can sometimes cause tension issues. We recommend winding your bobbin by hand, or if you’d like to wind it on your machine, go a little slower to get more even tension.

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If you’re using a heavy 8wt or 12wt thread, we recommend pairing it with a significantly finer top thread. Again, we suggest DecoBob™. DecoBob™ is an 80wt cottonized polyester thread and is strong enough to hold down heavier threads and keep them put.

You can find spools of DecoBob™ in a store near you, or online here

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When doing bobbin work with a heavier thread in the bobbin do a few test stitches to see how your tension is. If you find the top thread is pulling down, you may need to loosen the tension on your bobbin. If you find the bobbin thread is pulling up through the top, you may need to tighten your tension. When doing bobbin work, you can also adjust your needle tension to get that perfect stitch.

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Want to learn a little more about bobbin work? We’ve found this really awesome blog that describes bobbin work with a quick and easy to understand tutorial! https://sewguide.com/how-to-do-bobbin-work/

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One thing that’s important to note is that you don’t want to have the tension on your bobbin, or your needle too tight. This might result in the puckering of your fabric, or even popping your stitches while you sew, which is never a good thing when you’re on a roll sewing.

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And that’s that! You know all you need to about adjusting your bobbin tension. If you liked this blog, and would like to read more about topics like this you can comment below to ask questions or make other suggestions. If you’re going to be using the threads we mentioned in this blog for your next project, be sure to tag us on social media using the hashtag #wonderfil so that we can share your wonderful creations! You can also sign up for our free newsletter to receive more educational sewing tips, tutorials, and free patterns. Register by clicking here! We’ll see you again next time!

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