Ever get a tension headache from your sewing machine?

That’s the kind of headache you get when you continue to have sewing problems caused by improper thread tension.

Tension issues can be really frustrating but with a little understanding about thread tension and how to correct it, you’ll be stitching away on your Juki sewing machine in almost no time!

What Is Thread Tension?

Thread tension is how tight or loose your thread is coming off the spool and bobbin on your sewing machine down to the fabric.

To make a perfect stitch, models like the versatile Juki TL 2010Q rely on having an even tension on both the top and bobbin threads so when they are looped together, the stitch is evenly tensioned to seam the fabric without bunching it or showing loose stitches on one side or tight stitches on the opposite side.

What Causes Tension Problems?

When your sewing machine is working like a charm and you’re breezing through projects, everything is right with the world!

Thread tension problems can bring any sewing project to a standstill if you start experiencing tight seams, snapped threads, or unbalanced stitches with the bobbin thread pulled through by the top thread or vice-versa.

The first thing you should do when the thread tension goes all wonky is to stop and consider the different things that can cause improper tension to begin with:

  • Thread Type - Poor quality thread is notorious for causing all sorts of problems with even the best Juki sewing machines; thread should be quality made, fresh, and suitable for the fabric being sewn and the needle being used.
  • Thread Consistency - Though some projects like quilts might require a different thread in the top than in the bobbin, inconsistent thread types and weights can affect the tension balance and give you problems.
  • Batting or Multiple Fabric Layers - The more fabric the needle must pass through whether many layers of fabric or a quilt with a middle full of batting, the more drag is created on the thread which can affect tension and result in unbalanced stitches.
  • Fabric Types - On top of all the rest, even the type of fabric you’re working with can affect thread tension as more tightly-woven, higher thread count fabrics tending to create additional tension that must be taken into account when starting on any new project.
  • Needles - A dull needle or the wrong needle for the job can affect thread tension and produce poor quality stitches, broken thread, and broken or bent needles.
  • A Dirty Machine - Lint caught in the tension discs can prevent the thread from sliding freely through them, tightening the tension and effecting your project.

Easy Steps To Fix Thread Tension Issues

So what to do when you’re working along on a machine like the Juki TL 2010Q and your stitches look bad or your thread keeps snapping?

Since unbalanced thread tension is the most common reason these problems happen, look there first.

Consider the above causes for tension issues and then go back to the beginning to reset your machine and adjust its tension if necessary.

The easiest way to do that is to completely unthread the machine top and bobbin, give it a good cleaning, put in a fresh, sharp needle that’s ideal for the fabric being sewn, and then rethread the machine.

Check to make sure the bobbin is properly wound as well as functioning properly and that the top spool is also spinning freely.

Stitch again on some scrap fabric from your project and if the problem continues, start slowly adjusting the thread tension based on which thread is too tight or too loose.

Continue adjusting until you get beautiful, even stitches and can safely move on to the actual project.

Don’t Let Wonky Sewing Machine Tension Ruin Your Work!

When your stitches just aren’t coming out right, the problem may very well be incorrect thread tension on your sewing machine.

Before ending up with a real headache, stop to fix that tension by analyzing your project to diagnose the cause and with a few quick, simple fixes, you’ll be back to sewing in a flash!