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Forum > Sewing Machines > Thread tension-- what do the numbers mean? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Thread tension-- what do the numbers mean?
Uhoh

Uhoh
Member since 1/13/07
Posts: 38
Skill: Intermediate
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Date: 1/1/12 1:17 PM

My sewing machine (about 1940's vintage, though my 1960's one has this, too) has a dial on the left-hand side which controls the thread tension. The numbers run from 0 to 15. What do these numbers mean? Do low numbers mean looser thread tension, or vice versa?
beauturbo
beauturbo
California USA
Member since 5/2/09
Posts: 5414
Skill: Advanced
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In reply to Uhoh

Date: 1/1/12 3:33 PM

Not much, except zero means no tension, just like you had your pressure foot up and you can't sew that way, and then 15 or whatever your highest # is there, would mean the most thread tension. At that point your bottom thread would most likely be getting pulled to the top of the fabric. so that would not be good. So just in the very middle would probably be the best place to sew at. Never saw a top tension dail that had a #15 before on it, but if I did, even then I still would be sewing with the dail set to the middle #, which I guess in that case, might be something like between a 7 and a 8 there. I would try that, and see if you like it.
PattiAnnJ
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PattiAnnJ
Ohio USA
Member since 12/3/06
Posts: 9161
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In reply to Uhoh

Date: 1/1/12 5:16 PM

New sewing machines are usually set at mid range.

With an older or machine that has lots of use, the control may be worn.

Use contrasting thread (top thread and bobbin) to test the balance.

This is the best way to find which setting gives a balanced stitch.

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