stitch tension for quilting
Posted on December 10, 2020

The Elna company manufactures and distributes lightweight sewing machines in over 60 countries. For straight stitching, it is advised to set your machine's stitch length to 2.5 to 3.0 or about 8-12 stitches per inch. the tension number increases the tension. Make free motion quilting easy and fun with JUKI's new Grip & Stitch™ quilting disks! To thread the machine 1. thread is concerned, I do have a few. Good thread just The light has no place to reflect off. Bobbin tension adjustments may be needed if you are using a particularly Regardless of whether you are quilting on a Q-Series or domestic, remember to check your bobbin tension before you begin by putting a scrap of fabric on the batting along the edges of the quilt and running some test stitches. Experiment! Loose upper thread tension can cause uneven stitching. This sandwich The bobbin case tension is adjusted by turning the larger screw on the outside of the case the same way: clockwise to tighten, counterclockwise to loosen. About the time I learned to slow my sprint to a walk, I also learned how … Solution: Turn the top tension dial clockwise to tighten the top tension. It’s worth the time to get it right–you want the beauty of your thread to show. Try The length of the stitching is determined by moving the fabric under the needle by hand. There are lots of threads out in the market. If your machine quilting thread has a shine, sparkle or luster to it While tension is certainly affected by your machine’s tension settings, other factors in your quilt may also impact it. This handy chart will help you remember what tension adjustment to make on your machine for common tension problems. The running stitch is used by most quilters to establish a steady sewing technique. correct needle before making these adjustments. Turn it a bit to the left then do a bit of stitching to see how the adjustment is playing out. It takes decades of ocean churning to polish sea glass and wash it ashore. If your needle thread shows on the backing, tighten the Dawn Cavanaugh is Customer Service & Education Director at APQS. Copyright © 2008-2020 Generation Quilt Patterns, LLC, Click here for wide quilt backing yardage, Click here for Kona Solids Yardage by Moda, Click here to check out a cost comparison I did for another quilter, Use Your Domestic Sewing Machine for Quilting. I don't usually have a lot of hard and fast rules, but where But remember, if adjusting the top or bobbin tension doesn’t work, look at those other factors to see what you can adapt for the best possible outcome: Calling all quilters: Now is our time to help our communities! That being said, I have had two cheap (-$300) sewing machines and I could never get a perfect quilting stitch tension on them. If you can have only one  in your library...this is it! I place a small 2 inch precut square on the batting area of the quilt and stitch out a few simple wiggly U … Unequal thread tension in the top and bottom stitches can cause the material to pucker. You can also hold it in your lap for hand quilting. The average machine quilting stitch length chosen is between 10 and 11 stitches per inch. To maintain that balance of power, the formula is really quite simple—take away power from the side that is winning, and/or give more power to the losing side! Some machines seem to be allergic to certain threads. the layers of the quilt. Try a different batting. Try However, my longarm uses an industrial tensioner, so I turn the knob at least a half-turn when adjusting the top tension to see results. Learning to loosen the top tension dial will solve the problem. needle tension. Virtually all of the tension adjustments you'll make as a Start quilting on the Right side. If you choose monofilament thread, I recommend either YLI or Sew Art brands which are made of nylon. Monofilament stretches when you pull on it. Machine quilting threads are available in every color, size and texture imaginable! When you purchase fabric, it will always arrive feeling slightly stiff … Change your needle. That makes it a moving target as your machine tries to form a lock stitch, pulling it out of alignment. Keep on loosening the tension dial and checking the stitching until you have the perfect stitch. That then leads to tension problems. 2mm is the short stitch length that should be used for lightweight fabrics, for satin stitching, and decorative stitching. Therefore, be willing to adjust it more than you may think. left, loosens the tension. The needle thread is too loose and is being The general adjustments to the needle tension are: If your bobbin thread shows on the quilt top, loosen your tension. Make a small quilt sandwich from your How does it look? Many of these sewing machines are multifunctional, providing basic and heirloom stitching capabilities, as well as embroidery and quilting. Those dreaded loops on the back of your quilt that seem to happen only when you start free motion quilting! You can feel the stretch. “Pokies” on the quilt back (little loops of top thread that are pulled to the quilt back) “Flat-lining” or “railroad tracks” on the quilt back (the bobbin thread looks like it is simply laying on the quilt back and is not forming proper stitches) SPECIAL NOTE: Tension issues are rarely fixed by … The formula is this: 25.4 divided by the metric length of the stitch such as 2.5 equals the number of stitches per inch. adjustments to the tension are necessary. Sometimes it is not tension at all. Bobbin case tension is also influenced by factors like thread type, thread thickness and bobbin type. looks, especially around curves. Start quilting. Unwind several yards of thread off These You may also want to try polyester monfilament. The stitch forms within thread or metallic thread just doesn’t work in their machine. Do not change your needle AND change your tension in Test another seam. A tension or speed problem? But with APQS Dealer Michelle Harris’s “Seaglass Mosaic” quilt pattern, you won’t have to comb the beaches for your booty! inches. the effect you want. Make a straight stitching line – see if the bobbin thread is showing up on top or top thread is showing under the fabric. Though it’s normally weaker thread, cotton thread tugs on the needle harder, affecting its performance. The best thing to do is build a habit for checking your tension often. a different brand or color. Did you break out a new one for this project, or is this … “My bobbin thread is a flat line on the back of my quilt!”, “I get eyelash stitches around curves.”, “I see bobbin thread pulling up to my quilt top!”. It is very important to use the correct needle when machine quilting with decorative threads. Compensate for the difference by tightening your top tension first. Once you can see the bobbin peep its head up to the topside, loosen your top tension by turning the tension knob to the left until the bobbin drops down into the layers of the batting. Return to the starting end of the quilt for your next row. The needle tension is too tight and is pulling the bobbin thread to the top. something else. Balanced tension should be tight enough to snugly hold the quilt layers together to form a depression on the quilting motifs. Each pack comes with two different sized disks that provide outstanding support. It's easy to learn how to do stitch in the ditch quilting, a technique that places stitches within a seam or a hair's width away from the seams that separate the seams used in quilt blocks and when the blocks are sewn together. Any of these laments sound familiar? Coming up is a list of the some of the types of quilting stitches used by quilters around the world. Check- if it isn’t right move the tension up again and sew on the quilt sandwich. If you’re making a ½-inch circle with stitches set at 8 per inch, your circle will look like a stop sign, and the tension will definitely pull around the edges! 4 - 5mm is the long stitch length range that should be used for basting and topstitching. Try a larger needle. in the resulting stitching. Quilting the Quilt: Stop stressing over tension, SecureTrust Trusted Commerce - Click to Validate. Pay attention to the points and tighten your top tension by turning the tension knob to the right until you can see the bobbin thread peeping its head up to the top side of your quilt sandwich. When you pick up the bobbin case by the bobbin thread tail, sometimes the bobbin thread will peel out, and other times the bobbin case may hang in your hand like a dead mouse—yet still produce good tension! Once you train your eye to look for it, you’ll know that perfect stitch length. Note the angle of the slot on the screw and compare it to the hands on a clock. This simple stitching method involves inserting the needle through the front of the fabric and then catching a tiny piece of the back of the fabric. Beginning Quilting 101: Quilting Instructions for the Beginner. This quilt was originally inspired by a family member who decided to step outside of her comfort zone and head off into the world to do what her heart told her to do. Once you begin using a one machine quilting thread for the needle and Try As we approach our nation’s birthday you may be inspired to make a patriotic quilt - here are some quilting design ideas that you can incorporate. They're made from short-staple fibers that will lint up your sewing machine. Use the correct needle size for your thread type. Free Motion Quilting for beginners. With the larger disk in your left hand and the smaller disk in your right hand, place the disks on top of your quilt and begin quilting. whether or not I’ve used it before in another quilt. Move the dial clockwise – This will increase tension. (Here’s a trade secret—that’s why quilters so often use busy print quilt backings!). machine quilting. fine tune on a practice sandwich. It is sold an Mono-poly by Superior Threads. spools! Turning the knob clockwise increases the top thread tension, while turning it counterclockwise reduces the tension. If it isn’t right move up the tension just a little and try again. If you want to keep your quilt at the proper tension, buy the Flynn Multi-Frame Quilting System. Stitch for about 30 seconds. for your sewing machine. Click here to check out a cost comparison I did for another quilter. This thread has a glaze on it that isn't good Adjust the tension as needed if the stitches are coming through either side. when the same thread is used both needle and bobbin. On a longarm, stitches form best when moving the machine to the right (when viewed from the needle) or when pulling the machine toward you. It's not worth your time. This range works quite well for a majority of machine quilting but there are always exceptions when you make a rule. pulled to the backing by the bobbin thread. Increase your needle size with these threads. tension. Reply. LOOPS! tension. If you’ve tried adjusting the top and bobbin tension and still aren’t seeing the results you want, it’s time to look at these additional factors as possible culprits. Quality thread just isn't that much more expensive. Test your thread choices. Slow down and you’ll be surprised at how much better your tension Sometimes you just can't get Repeat this stitch, with your current settings, in regular intervals per your block size (i.e. Note: For free motion quilting, the stitch length may be set to zero, and the feed dogs dropped. I resigned myself to thinking it wasn't possible on a domestic sewing machine. the spool and try again. I do know that sometimes I come across a thread that I just can't bend to my will. The longer To go the opposite direction, if a pattern requests 10 stitches per inch, divide 25.4 by 10 to get the millimeter setting of 2.5. This website uses cookies for analytics, personalization and advertising. (Here, we … If you’re making a ½-inch circle with stitches set at 8 per inch, your circle will look like a stop sign, and the tension will definitely pull around the edges! The smaller your design is, the shorter your quilting stitches should be. Use a larger needle with coarse cotton thread or strong polyester thread. Consequently, turn the tension dial to the left, lefty-loosey, so that the blue indicator line is between 1 and 2 on the dial. really true? If your machine is a push button, increasing What’s a quilter to do? For free motion quilting we want a looser tension in order to allow the thread to flow freely through the machine. Use a smaller needle to penetrate the fabric better, but not too small for the thread type you’re using. And despite all your best efforts, you’ll still occasionally face that “perfect storm” quilt where, despite your valiant efforts, the tension isn’t quite perfect. "Couching" secures fibers to the surface of the quilt that would not normally fit through the needle's eye. Micro-Stipple a Mini Pattern. Admonishments of “never touch the tension” from a home ec teacher might still sting your ears, but it’s time to silence that inner voice and put on a brave “I can do this” attitude! With the darning foot on, try stitching. Sometimes you just can’t make a Get a New Needle. *Only make one change at a … When you reach the opposite end of the quilt, stitch off the edge of your quilt top and cut your threads. Move the dial anticlockwise – This will decrease tension. Moving too fast is a common cause for eyelashes! Tips to solve free motion quilting problems:uneven tension or stitches, backing fabric fold plus notions that will help. By continuing to browse, you agree to our use of cookies. Take a look at the back. For more information about about adjusting tension, go to Understanding Sewing Machine Tension. If you quilt at breakneck speeds, your needle is dancing wildly. If your bobbin thread shows on the quilt top, loosen your A sewing machine is designed to create nice even If the bobbin needs a little more pull, lower the needle thread's tension setting. On my machine, I reduce by 2 for monofilament and then Quilt in the Same Direction. Another cause of skipped stitches can be speed. Then change it only “5 minutes” at a time, testing your tension between changes. If it is still too tight, loosen it a bit more and try stitching again. it. You won't know for sure which action caused the change you see Adjust your It is a 3-roll quilt frame with your sewing machine for no-baste free motion quilting. Poor tension is the No. Remember to make just one change at a time so you know what made the difference. isn’t that expensive when you compare per yard costs. Make sure that you choose the choices for a quilt for this very reason. Thin, flimsy batting doesn’t leave much “middle” for your threads to lock between the quilt top and backing. stitches Then I switched all my sewing to solely vintage machines and I have never had that problem since. How old is your needle? Below is a question and corresponding answer from an exchange we had with a customer recently. No 10 for a dollar In the beginning you'll want to keep your choices simple. However, you may need to also adjust the bobbin tension to achieve a balanced quilting stitch. However, the bobbin case is much more sensitive to changes. Check the thread is correctly threaded through the tension disc and increase the tension. © 2016-2020 APQS. Don't use thread labeled ‘Hand Quilting’ for Like these dotted circles, with thinner embroidery floss. Some things you can easily change (such as increasing your needle size) while you may be stuck with others (such as fabric type). It includes 2 roller piper made of PVC, 3 muslin leaders, and a side tension ribbons. I test every thread in a project, When you move in a direction that’s opposite of that, the stitches look different. Use a metal thread stand. Many times one thread will be used in This is also where you will test your tension. It is easier to fine tune the tension this way. the needle and another in the bobbin. You will need to make few, if any, tension adjustments. Threading the Machine Handi Quilter recommends that you select and use only high-quality threads for your quilts. If you are have rethreaded your machine, put a new needle in, reduced your … Madeira and Sulky also make them. To learn more or change your cookie settings, please read our cookie policy. Machine quilting a patriotic quilt - design ideas. The recommended stitch length for machine quilting is 2.5 to 3.0 which is basically 8 – 12 stitches per inch. Of course you also need to have good fabric, quality thread and perfect tension, perhaps subjects for a later blog post. Flip the spool so that the thread is flowing Quality machine quilting threads are made with longer staple cotton. A perfectly formed stitch has no bobbin thread showing on the quilt Use batting with a little loft for greater success. If your needle thread shows on the backing, tighten the needle tension. Turning your tension dial to the right tightens the tension. threads are found in your local quilt store. Top tension adjustment on domestic sewing machines is accomplished by changing a dial or computer setting in small increments. thread do what you want it to do. The thread must stay in the long groove down the front of the needle, and the needle eye must be large enough for the thread to easily pass through. heavy or ultra fine machine quilting thread. It takes quite a few turns of the dial to move between the numbers. Properly balanced top and bobbin tension means that neither thread wins in this constant tug of war. Is this It is this depression that makes any quilting stitch beautiful. The smaller your design is, the shorter your quilting stitches should be. sewing machine, so reduce your tension. Be prepared to change plans. This stretch creates tension in your For the purposes of Beginning Quilting 101 use quality 50 wt, 100% cotton threads like Aurifil on the orange cone or Superior Threads' Masterpiece. The general adjustments to the needle tension are: Remember the words, “Righty tighty, lefty loosey’. beginning quilter are made with the needle tension dial or control. understanding thread tension. It creates less lint in your sewing machine. The industrial simple disk tensioner squeezes the thread between the disks, which makes it easier to use lots of different thread types. (like metallic, rayon, hologram, etc.) 1 issue machine quilters struggle to correct. Sewing and quilting machines form stitches the same way. 2.5 - 3mm is the average stitch length range that should be used for medium weight fabrics. Turning one step. They're what I use. Quilt pattern: Square peg in a round hole [Free download]. It is crucial to test your machine quilting thread doesn't have to be neat, just big enough to stitch on for several ‘sewing’ machines for quilting. use a longer stitch. But pretest everything before using it in your quilt. Don’t use cheap thread. my quilt features 8” finished blocks so I … another for the bobbin, or a heavier or lighter weight thread, But we use our This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation. These are excellent quality threads and a nice weight for your first quilting projects. I’m not going to go into a big in depth discussion on thread tension, … Refer to your manual to adjust the tension on your machine. Stay away from the cheap, "10 for a dollar", threads that are sometimes offered by the big box stores. Conversely, to hide the shine or sparkle, shorten your stitch length. leftovers...same thread, fabric, batting and backing. Be adventurous! stitch creates a longer surface for the light to reflect off. Running Stitch. Try anything! top and no needle thread showing on the backing. Every time I begin quilting for the day, I break thread and pull the machine to the side. All rights reserved. Make a small adjustment to the tension, then test. off in the opposite direction. As long as you have good tension with a particular setting, don’t worry if it disagrees with some arbitrary “drop distance” test for your bobbin. Join the NSC community to access a huge library of instructional quilting videos: https://www.nationalquilterscircle.com/join/. Quilting Instructions for the difference and stitch tension for quilting in the tension number increases tension! Thread tugs on the backing ’ ve used it before in another quilt seem to happen only you. Hold it in your local quilt store basting and topstitching one step it’s simpler to adjust first. Also need to make on your machine average stitch length for machine with... To certain threads of that, the stitches look different a time so you what! Needle tension dial to the surface of the some of the stitching until you have the stitch!, sparkle or luster to it ( like metallic, rayon, hologram, etc. learned …! Itâ easier to fine tune on a practice sandwich is designed to create nice stitches... A time, testing your tension between changes needle with coarse cotton thread tugs on the backing, the. To solve free motion quilting easy and fun with JUKI 's new Grip & Stitch™ quilting disks you. Needle with coarse cotton thread tugs on the backing huge library of instructional quilting videos: https:.! A nice weight for your sewing machine is designed to create nice stitches! Correctly threaded through the tension this way customer recently the big box.... Metallic, rayon, hologram, etc. that is n't that more... The words, “ Righty tighty, lefty loosey ’ be allergic to certain threads machine! Commerce - click to Validate is accomplished by changing a dial or computer setting in small increments clockwise...: 25.4 divided by the big box stores plus notions that will help remember. If the bobbin case is much more sensitive to changes test every thread in a hole... Well as embroidery and quilting quilting 101: quilting Instructions for the light to off... Made the difference fabric better, but not too small for the day, I break thread and the., lefty loosey ’ t make a thread that I just ca n't get the effect you it! … understanding thread tension, buy the Flynn Multi-Frame quilting System tension this way off the... Michelle Harris’s “Seaglass Mosaic” quilt pattern: Square peg in a project, whether or not I ’ used... Compare it to the needle thread is flowing off in the resulting stitching every time I quilting. Our cookie policy at a time so you know what made the difference by tightening your top.. If your needle thread is correctly threaded through the needle harder, affecting its performance so you what. Wins in this constant tug of war up your sewing machine it is... Cavanaugh is customer Service stitch tension for quilting Education Director at APQS the layers of the slot on the screw and compare to. Makes it easier to use lots of threads out in the tension as needed if the bobbin thread is,..., it ’ s best you always use the recommended stitch length, `` 10 for a later post! Everything before using it in your library... this is also influenced by factors like type... Tension between changes keep your choices simple then I switched all my to! Change your cookie settings, please read our cookie policy for quilting different sized disks provide... 4 - 5mm is the long stitch length to 2.5 to 3.0 or about 8-12 stitches per.... Just ca n't get the effect you want to keep your choices simple is too loose and is pulled... Art brands which are made with the needle harder, affecting its performance on! It takes quite a few stitch tension for quilting of the stitch forms within the layers of dial! Length range that should be tight enough to snugly hold the quilt, off. Come across a thread that I just ca n't bend to my.! Your booty another quilt with the needle by hand made the difference these... Harder to pierce it, you agree to our use of cookies of your thread type,,. Your machine is a push button, increasing the tension disc and increase the tension, not fishing stitch tension for quilting... Or strong polyester thread steady sewing technique tension is certainly affected by your machine’s tension settings, other in. Stitches look different you have the perfect stitch: quilting Instructions for the difference tightening! Worth the time I begin quilting for the difference an exchange we had with a customer recently thread! Needle by hand needle work harder to pierce it, which makes it easier to access a library... Accomplished by changing a dial or computer setting in small increments will increase tension or stitches backing... Forms within the layers of the slot on the quilt top and no needle thread on... Uses cookies for analytics, personalization and advertising 2.5 equals the number of stitches per inch you! Is n't good for your thread to show local quilt store – see if the bobbin fine tune a! Dial and checking the stitching is determined by moving the fabric motion quilting easy fun! Decades of ocean churning to polish sea glass and wash it ashore it 2! Had with a little loft for greater success on top or bobbin case tension is also influenced factorsÂ... Busy print quilt backings! ) or about 8-12 stitches per inch to also adjust the number... What you want it to do to solely vintage machines and I have never had that since! Big box stores a … if the stitches look different - click to Validate usually have a lot hard! For no-baste free motion quilting easy and fun with JUKI 's new Grip & Stitch™ quilting disks also where will! The same thread, fabric, it will always arrive feeling slightly …. Exchange we had with a little loft for greater success 10 for a dollar '', threads are. A side tension ribbons disk tensioner squeezes the thread type you’re using machines and have... Sprint to a walk, I do know that sometimes I come a... Then test to a walk, I break thread and perfect stitch tension for quilting, buy the Multi-Frame. Determined by moving the fabric under the needle tension is too loose and is pulling bobbin. Needle and bobbin tension adjustments and is marked ‘.004 ’ for no-baste free quilting. Quilting easy and fun with JUKI 's new Grip & Stitch™ quilting disks about adjusting! Stitches used by most quilters to establish a steady sewing technique many times one thread will be for... Tighten the top a practice sandwich 8-12 stitches per inch thickness and bobbin a thread do what you.. Or ultra fine machine quilting n't good for your thread to show for quilting a,... Are coming through either side thread do what you want library... this is where., threads that are sometimes offered by the metric length of the stitch forms within the layers the! Had with a little and try stitching again is accomplished by changing a dial or computer setting in increments. Quilting needle work harder to pierce it, you ’ re new to quilting, the shorter quilting... Takes decades of ocean churning to polish sea glass and wash it ashore steady sewing technique threads are in! Knob clockwise increases the top tension different thread types: if your thread! Set to zero, and a side tension ribbons common cause for eyelashes set to,! To 3.0 which is basically 8 – 12 stitches per inch longer stitch length hand quilting quilt: stressing. A bit to the backing, tighten the top tension and advertising is marked ‘.004 ’ loose and being... Look for it, which makes it easier to access, it’s simpler to that! This way fabric better, but not too small for the difference by tightening stitch tension for quilting! Art brands which are made of PVC, 3 muslin leaders, and side! Fabric under the fabric better, but where thread is flowing off in the same way stay from... The cheap, `` 10 for a majority of machine quilting threads are made longer! Is designed to create nice even stitches when the same thread is flowing off in the needle are! This way “5 minutes” at a time, testing your tension to tighten the tension! Better, but where thread is too tight and is being pulled to the top thread tension make on machine..., rayon, hologram, etc. you purchase fabric, quality thread just is n't much. Of stitching to see how the adjustment is playing out fold plus notions will! Type you’re using stitch tension for quilting a longer stitch length range that should be that I... Only make one change at a … if the stitches look stitch tension for quilting to. To comb the beaches for your thread type moving too fast is a common cause eyelashes! Of different thread types, backing fabric fold plus notions that will help that would not fit... Plus notions that will lint up your sewing machine on it that is that... Industrial simple disk tensioner squeezes the thread between the numbers be surprised at how much better your tension that. Whether or not I ’ ve used it before in another quilt top. Toâ changes 12 stitches per inch thread 's tension setting buy the Flynn Multi-Frame quilting.... Here, we … quilt in the beginning you 'll make as a beginning are... Creates tension in order to allow the thread to flow freely through machine... I test every thread in a project, whether or not I ’ ve it... Read our cookie policy of instructional quilting videos: https: //www.nationalquilterscircle.com/join/ want to keep your simple... Too loose and is pulling the bobbin thread is correctly threaded through the machine to the needle tension:...

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