Needle thread tension, Tension test – SINGER 1288 User Manual
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Needle Thread Tension
Having selected the correct needle and thread com
bination for the fabric being used, it may be necessary
to adjust the tension of the sewing machine to insure
a well-balanced stitch.
A well-balanced stitch is produced when the top and
under thread appear the same on the fabric.
Your machine has an adjustable top tension control
system. This control exerts tension on the threads as
they pass through the machine to form a stitch.
• Too much tension will produce a tight stitch which
will cause puckered seams.
• Too little tension will produce a loose stitch.
When an even amount of tension is exerted on both
threads, a smooth even stitch known as a balanced
stitch, is produced.
To help understand the effect of tension on fabric and
thread, try this simple test:
• Take two pieces of a medium weight woven fabric
in a solid light colour about 15cm (6 inches) long.
• Place a 2020 size 14 needle in the machine.
• Thread the top of your machine with a polyester or
cotton dark colour thread and use a lighten colour
thread of the same fibre and size in the bobbin.
• Select straight stitch.
• Seam the two pieces of fabric together starting with
the top tension control at 1. Then as you sew, slowly
turn the tension control from 1 through 9.
• Sew another row turning the dial back to 1. You
should have a balanced stitch on each row mid-way
between the start and finish in each case.
• The different coloured threads will help you to see
the effect that the tension has on the top and bottom
Now that you have observed the effects of tension,
we suggest that you perform a similar test on a scrap
of fabric you plan to use, being sure to duplicate the
number of thicknesses of your garment.