Tension trouble

My sewing machine’s not happy. The tension’s been slightly off for a long time, but recently it’s got a lot worse. For a long time I thought the problem was the needle tension, which I keep having to turn up higher to get even stitches. But this week the bobbin started rattling and sticking. The thread broke. And every so often, the bobbin tension went really tight and everything jammed until the scissors came out.

I guess it really needs a good service. Obviously there comes a point where faithfully cleaning it after every project and changing the needle just isn’t enough!

I think the problem might be something to do with the bobbin holder.

See that tiny little screw at the front? You aren’t supposed to adjust it, but according to the Internet it controls the bobbin thread tension. The machine was behaving so badly on Monday I gave it a tiny tweak to loosen the tension, and that helped. It’s not as good as new but it hasn’t jammed since. I’m hoping this will be enough to keep me sewing through the Christmas break. I will get it serviced after the holidays. Honest.

10 thoughts on “Tension trouble

  1. The problem with getting your SM serviced is that you have to live without your machine while it’s being serviced. Sigh. I will have my fingers crossed that you make it thru the holidays.

  2. This trouble I also had years ago, and a pensioner who used to fix machines told me to do the same, apparently after a lot of use things do work loose, bit like me I suppose.
    Good on you for letting others know, it does save a lot of frustation.

  3. Hi Catherine. I have a very old Toyota machine and it’s always been my understanding that that screw is the official way to alter the bobbin tension. Threads are not always the same thickness and you need both bits of the machine to be running properly. Again my understanding is that once the bobbin is in, you should be able to dangle the bobbin and holder by holding the thread and it all stays put, but if you give it a small, sharp downward flick, like setting a yoyo going, it should slip down by about an inch, no more. It really works for me and often if I have problems with tension I will check this and find it to be the problem. I had my machine serviced a couple of years ago (it’s 30+ and had never been touched) and got a good telling off for not keeping it clean, but it really made a difference to how it ran! Interestingly, the bobbin holder was replaced then as it was worn.

  4. I too was always told never to touch that screw, but then when I bought a new machine some years ago, the instruction booklet that came with it showed me to do exactly what you did to adjust the bobbin tension. Maybe we used to be told not to touch it to keep sewing machine repair persons busy…

Comments are closed.