Adjust the Tension in your Machine for Successful Machine Quilting

Proper tension in your sewing machine is the one thing that can set your quilt apart - making it look like a professional did it versus an amateur did it.

It's all about the tension; and you know that little dial on your machine - if the tension is not right, it's either too tight or too loose. The goal is to have your threads meet in the middle inside the batting.

If your bobbin thread is showing on the top of your quilt, you need to loosen your tension which means a lower number.

And if your top thread is showing through on the backside of your quilt that means that you need to tighten the tension. That's going to bring the threads up and that means a higher number.

Every thread is different and every machine is different in the threads that it likes. So you're going to have to experiment and see how your machine works with each kind of thread.

Often using the same thread on the top and the bottom or in the bobbin gives you a good result. Also if you use the same color thread on the top and bottom, then you really don't have any problem. Even if it does sneak up to the top or the bottom, it won't be that noticeable.

When using a variegated thread or if you use different threads on the top and the bottom, that also will affect the tension. If you are using a pre-wound bobbin with light-weight thread and the top thread is a heavy variegated thread, you may need to adjust both the top tension and the bobbin tension.

It helps to practice on a quilt sandwich to check your tension before you start working on your quilt. A quilt sandwich is simply two layers of fabric with batting sandwiched between. It measures about 24 inches square, and can be used to check your tension as well practicing stitching your machine quilting designs.

Happy Quilting!

Penny Halgren

Where Quilters Connect

Specializing in Information for Beginning Quilters

By: Penny Halgren

About the Author: