If you use an embroidery machine you know how important thread tension can be to the success or failure of your design. Unfortunately, mastering the proper tensions for your machine can take some trial and error. Since each machine is a little bit different, you may need to make some adjustments before you get your thread running smoothly. If you are currently having problems with your thread, here are some adjustments you can make which might help eliminate the issue you’re having.
The first thing to do is try and determine what sort of tension problem you have. If your tension is too tight, you will most likely get excessive thread breaks and pulling or puckering of your design. If your thread tension is too loose, you’ll end up with bobbin thread showing through the design, or looping of your embroidery thread. Neither situation is an optimum one.
When your thread is tightened properly and you sew a test design, you should see the design divided into thirds. The top third would be top thread, the bottom third would be top thread and the middle third would be bobbin thread. This test run card from EnMart shows you how your test stitch should look. If you aren’t seeing the 1/3 divisions, then your thread needs to be adjusted.
If more than 2/3 top thread is showing, you may need to tighten your top tension. If more than 1/3 bobbin thread is showing, you may need to loosen your main tension or tighten your bobbin. Once you’ve adjusted your tensions stitch the design again. If you see the 2/3 top thread and 1/3 bobbin thread, you’ll know your tensions are correct and you can start sewing out your design.
Some thread companies recommend that the tensions be set at a certain range of grams for the best performance. The question then becomes how do you know at what tension the machine is currently set? One way to know is to purchase a tension gauge. Such a gauge is generally relatively inexpensive and using it, and the recommended tension settings from your thread manufacturer can help ensure that your tensions are set to give you the best possible embroidering experience.