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Tips & Techniques > Bobbin Tension...changing or correcting

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Posted by: SewVeryTall

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Posted on: 3/18/05 6:38 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 12 people   
Basically speaking, you shouldn't fiddle with the bobbin tension, it's very sensitive and really shouldn't need any adjustment normally.

It's not a bad idea to mark the 'normal' setting if it's correct and you plan to change it [a hash mark of nail polish on the screw and the casing...use a toothpick for a little mark].

That being said, if you want to use some chubby thread in your bobbin, or anything thicker for bobbin work [too big to use on top in even your biggest needle], here's how you adjust the tension and know it's correct.

Pull the bobbin and its case out of the machine. Make sure the thread is guided through the case correctly. Now pick up the whole works by the thread. The weight of the case, bobbin, and its thread is just the right amount of weight to gauge the proper tension. When you pick it up by the thread tail, it should just hold. If you give it a little shake up and down, the casing should allow some thread to feed out.

If the tension is too loose, tighten the screw a tiny bit [clockwise is tighter]. If it's too tight, loosen the screw a tiny bit.

Now it's ready to go back in the machine.

Safety tip...the bobbin screw is extremely tiny, if you should happen to loosen it so much it falls out, you may spend the next week looking for it. When loosening, work over something that will catch it if it falls.

Ok, so you forgot...dropped the screw and can't find it. Get your vacuum cleaner hose and slip an old pantyhose leg over the end. Leave it loose so it gets sucked up inside the hose a little. Secure with a rubberband or hold onto the pantyhose. Vacuum the area where you dropped the screw. It will go into the pantyhose so you can easily retrieve it.

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PVA said... (6/10/05 10:13 AM) Reply
This is *Brilliant*! Thank you for posting it, I dropped a teenie, tiny, ittsie-bittsie little screw from one of the slots for my serger needles! (*EEEEK*) Haven't found it yet, but I'm sure going to try this. Even if it doesn't work this time, I've got a shot at a next-time. (Of course the ounce of prevention is going to prevent that, right?)
Muria said... (5/16/05 11:32 PM) Reply
I've used the vacuum cleaner/pantyhose trick to pick up a major bead spill a month of two ago (tip: don't leave seed beads out around a toddler). Never thought of it for screws, though. If I lose something metal, I generally try looking with a strong magnet. Thanks for the info on the bobbin tension, too. I adjusted mine a few months ago, but didn't have a way to check to see if it was correct.
SewVeryTall said... (4/13/05 3:00 AM) Reply
SewGoingCrazy...sorry, no, I've never used a machine like that. Maybe you could ask on the Message Boards here.
SEW Going Crazy said... (4/12/05 10:43 AM) Reply
Do you know how to adjust the bobbin tension when the machine has a drop-in bobbin and not a take out bobbin case?
SewVeryTall said... (4/9/05 1:36 AM) Reply
You're all very welcome. Yes, Jayme, I've found my tiny diamond studs and/or their backs this way too.
Jayme girl said... (4/8/05 10:38 AM) Reply
thanks for the hose tip,,I found the back of my gold earings , saved a lot of nagging from my better half
Astrostitcher said... (3/20/05 3:23 PM) Reply
Sewverytall, Great minds think alike - Harriet Hargraves says just about the same thing concerning bobbin tension in her book on heriloon macnine quilting. But I do believe the vaccum cleaner/panty hose trick is what it takes to make it work! Thanks for both.
SewVeryTall said... (3/19/05 2:44 AM) Reply, I have to tell experience was with the crank handle of a new window I had installed. I was attaching the crank handle, which is held on by a tiny screw. This window just happened to be right above a floor register. Now I saw the possibilites there, and laid a newspaper over the register. I'm so smart, right? lol Well, I got all done, put the newspaper away, and then decided I didn't like the position of the handle. Yep, this is where my brain suddenly took a time out...didn't get the newspaper...screw fell into the air duct. I used the pantyhose trick, and was on my hands and knees with the vacuum hose down inside the duct, swinging it back and forth. It worked!
SewTwin said... (3/19/05 2:00 AM) Reply
**This should be in the manuals for Sewing Machines! Yes'm,I lost mine for hours the first time, never did that again!Great for beginners!
Georgene said... (3/18/05 10:41 AM) Reply
Heheh, do I hear the voice of experience? Love the 'needle in a haystack' tip.
els said... (3/18/05 7:43 AM) Reply
Great tip about the vacuum cleaner, thanks.
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