What is the proper tension for my sewing machine

Choosing the proper tension for your sewing machine is a significant decision. There are so many different types of sewing machines on the market, each with its unique benefits and drawbacks.

The correct tension can make your sewing experience a breeze, or it can be a nightmare that makes you want to throw the machine out the window. What’s the difference between good and bad tension? This post will discuss choosing the proper tension for your sewing machine.

Adjusting the tension on a sewing machine

The machine needs a top and bottom thread to make a correctly-formed stitch. These threads must work in harmony, so they interlink precisely in the middle of the fabric. If there is an imbalance, one will pull the other through to the other side of the fabric. This will cause a poor-quality stitch that may not hold.

The bobbin thread tension is factory-set and wouldn’t usually be adjusted for regular sewing.  So we’ll be talking only about the top thread tension since that’s where you’d usually make the adjustments. The dial settings run from 0 to 9, so 4.5 is generally the ‘default’ position for everyday straight-stitch sewing. This should be suitable for most fabrics.

If you are doing a zig-zag stitch or another stitch with width, you may find that the bobbin thread is pulled through to the top.  It may show at the sides of the stitch, and the fabric is slightly raised or bunched. If you see this, slacken off the tension slightly (perhaps between 3 and 4).   Then the fabric will lie flattered. It also helps to loosen off the top tension a little if you are topstitching and want the stitches to be more of a feature. Tension settings vary slightly between machines. The thread’s thickness and the fabric’s weight will also affect the tension. So don’t be afraid to experiment and find the best setting for your specific project.

How to test thread tension

You can check your thread tension if you have a needle and thread. Thread tension can be checked by running the thread through a piece of paper. If the thread stays flat on the paper and doesn’t pull through, the thread is too tight. To get the right amount of tension, you must adjust the thread tension accordingly.

You can also use this method to check the tension on your sewing machine. If the thread pulls through the paper, the thread is too loose. Adjust the tension until the thread does not pull through the paper. Then, check that the threads are parallel on the fabric. It is always advisable to test your thread tension. Doing so will prevent the fabric from puckering.

Bobbin thread tension

If you use a bobbin thread tensioner, you can ensure it is working correctly. It should allow you to adjust the tension. It should allow you to check the tension on your machine while the sewing is going on. If the bobbin thread tension needs to be fixed, you might have to reread your machine.

If you are working on a new piece of fabric, do some tests with your machine to see how it works. You should test the thread tension on your machine first. You should then check the tension on the bobbin and the needle.

Before you begin sewing, it is a good idea to test your bobbin thread tension. You need to adjust your bobbin thread tension if the threads aren’t even.

Thread tension guide

If your thread tension guide is loose, you should tighten it. A loose thread tension guide can lead to skipping stitches and uneven stitching. You should use a tension guide if you are sewing with a double thread and want to create a straight, even line. You should check the string tension for your bobbin and the needle.

A thread tension guide is a tool to help you measure thread tension. It is also called a thread tension gauge.

Thread tension controller for sewing machine

Some sewing machines have a thread tension controller that you can attach to the machine. This will help you to change the amount of tension while you sew. You should use this device whenever you are making something complicated. If you don’t have a thread tension controller, you should read the instructions in the sewing machine manual. This is the number you should use when using a thread tension controller. 

Is higher string tension better

A high string tension is better than a low one. But you should know that high string tension can cause many problems. High string tension will make it more difficult to sew a straight line, and it can cause your needle to skip stitches.

This will help you determine which type of string tension is best. When you are buying a sewing machine, you should pay close attention to the sewing machine manual.

Sewing machine tension number

Sewing machines come with two or three tension numbers on the back. The first number tells the length of the stitch, the second one tells the amount of space between the needle and the fabric, and the third number tells you the amount of tension used. If you are unsure which tension number you should use, go with the one closest to the second number.

The second number is the one that tells you how much space the needle will have to move. If you use a too-tight tension number, you may have to reduce the distance the needle moves. This will make your needle move faster and harder to stitch a straight line.


The tension is significant to the success of a piece of clothing. Make sure that the needle moves at speed. If it moves too fast, you may need to reduce the distance the needle moves. On the other hand, if it moves too slowly, the stitching will be uneven, and the clothing will not look as lovely as it should. If you don’t use the sewing machine tension, your finished product will have bad quality. Follow all instructions carefully to get the best results from your sewing machine. Make sure you read the manual that came with your sewing machine.


How do you know what tension to use when sewing?

The recommended tension setting for a particular sewing project will depend on a number of factors including the fabric type, thread thickness, and the stitch being used. Generally, lighter weight fabrics such as silk and cotton lawn require a lower tension setting, while heavier fabrics like denim and canvas may require a higher tension setting.

Additionally, the type of thread being used may affect the tension setting. It’s best to consult your sewing machine manual or do a test stitch on a scrap piece of fabric to determine the appropriate tension setting for your particular project.

What number is tighter tension on sewing machine?

The exact numbering system for tension settings may vary depending on the sewing machine brand and model. Generally, a higher number on the tension dial indicates tighter tension, while a lower number indicates looser tension. However, it’s important to refer to the sewing machine manual to determine the specific numbering system used on your particular machine.

How do you set the right tension on a thread?

To set the right tension on a thread, start by threading your machine correctly and placing your fabric under the presser foot. Adjust the tension dial and sew a test stitch on a scrap piece of fabric.

The ideal tension setting will create even, balanced stitches with no visible loops or knots on either side of the fabric. If the stitches are too tight, the fabric may pucker or the thread may break. If the stitches are too loose, there may be visible loops or the fabric may appear to be pulling. Adjust the tension dial accordingly until you achieve the desired stitch quality.

Does thicker thread need more tension?

Thicker thread may require a higher tension setting than thinner thread in order to create even, balanced stitches. This is because thicker thread takes up more space in the stitch and requires more tension to properly secure it in place.
However, the exact tension setting will depend on the fabric type, stitch being used, and other factors, so it’s best to refer to the sewing machine manual and perform a test stitch on a scrap piece of fabric to determine the appropriate tension setting for your particular project.

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