Getting Your Sewing Machine Tension Right Every Time

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sewing-machine-tensionAnyone who has ever used a sewing machine has experienced a time when they sat at their machine and started the sewing machine on a difficult seam only to realize quite quickly that the sewing machine did not feel right in their hands. Something was wrong. The reason for this feeling is due to the thread tension on your sewing machine. Most often when a sewing machine does not feel right it is the sewing machine tension that is to blame.

This sort of problem can be one of the most frustrating problems to resolve when trying to get a handle on your sewing machine. There just seem to be so many places to make adjustments it is almost impossible to know where the problem lies and worse, how to fix it.

We are going to use this article to run through a number of potential areas the problem may lie and how to fix them with the minimum of fuss.

  1. Re-thread Your Sewing Machine

The first thing to try in an attempt to fix the issue of sewing machine thread tension is to rethread the machine from scratch. Pay close attention to where the thread is going. Use the manual to confirm your choices.

  1. Check the Bobbin

Sometimes the bobbin can be wound too loose or too tight which can affect the smoothness of the thread release. This in turn can affect the way the thread flows through the machine. Changing the bobbin may resolve this issue quickly and easily.

  1. Check if Anything is Broken

A broken or bent needle can cause problems. Similarly if any of the guides are blocked or constrained this can affect the tension. If in doubt, see if you can easily replace with a new item.

  1. Check the Right Thread for your Fabric

Sometimes thread does not work well with some fabrics. Try a different type of thread to see if the problems continue.

  1. Make Sure the Sewing Machine is Clean

There should be no dust trap, especially where the thread passes. These can cause halting thread and may well be the cause of any tension issues. Make sure the sewing machine is clean, paying special attention to where the thread travels.

  1. Check your Needle

If your needle is blunted then it will not feel right when sewing. Make sure you have a sharp needle and if not replace it with a new one.

fixing sewing machine tension


Obviously this does not represent a comprehensive list of problems, but those factors listed above are the most common cause of problems with sewing machine tension and you would do well to quickly run through each of the items listed before making any adjustments to the tension of the thread. For example if you were to take the sewing machine to a repair shop they would almost certainly run through each of these items before undertaking any more substantial repair. Why not potentially save yourself the bother and make sure the problem is real before taking this step.

What Are The Best Sewing Machine Brands And Why?

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Whether you’re seasoned in the art of sewing or you’re just starting out, the sheer number of brands that sell sewing machines can be completely overwhelming. The chances are you’ll know what you’re looking for in a machine, but maybe wonder which brand to buy it from? Well, if you’re looking to find out what the best sewing machine brands are, and why, you’re in the right place. We’ll go through three of the most well-known brands of sewing machine, and decide which brand is the best. This will take into consideration a number of factors, including price, range, and other things you’d consider when purchasing a new machine.


brother sewing machineBrother are a brilliantly well-known brand of sewing machines, catering to beginners right the way to professionals. They offer a huge range of sewing machines, as well as sewing and embroidery machines and even quilting machines. But how do they stack up against Singer and Janome?


On their website, the Brother sewing machines range from below $100 to almost $2000, so there really is a machine for everyone’s budget! Of course, the cheaper ones won’t be as all-singing-all-dancing as the more expensive, but they’ll get the job done. Brother also offer finance options on selected machines, so if you’re a professional looking for a high-end machine that you want to pay off monthly, that could be an option for you.


Brother has a huge range of machines, with eighteen different models currently listed on their website. This is arguably a large range, so you’re bound to be able to find something you like there! There are a number of other review sites that are worth looking at. We particularly recommend which seems to give comprehensive reviews on all the bestselling sewing machines in the Brother range.


It would be impossible to go through the features of every machine here, but to give you an overview we’ll do the cheapest, the most expensive and one in the middle.

  • Cheapest: Brother L14: 14 stitches, seven accessories.
  • Middle range price: Brother FS130QC: 130 stitches, huge range of accessories. Lots of additional features.
  • Most expensive: Brother Innov-Is VQ2: 473 stitches, wide range of accessories, and a plethora of additional features to make your sewing projects simple.


Brother sewing machines come with a three year warranty.


singer sewing machineSinger are an American sewing machine brand, so unfortunately in the UK you won’t be able to purchase directly from them. There are a range of stockists in the UK that carry Singer machines, however, so they’re still a viable option. The website that seems to be the best carrier is – this is where we’ll be getting our information from for this segment.


Singer machines start at just £85 and the highest priced machine we could find when researching costs £699. This is significantly lower than the highest priced Brother machine. It does indicate that, regardless of your budget, a Singer machine is a possibility for you.


Currently, on the website listed above, there are twenty machines available for sale in the UK from Singer. This is slightly more than Brother are currently offering, but again indicates that whatever your skill level and desired outcome, Singer will be able to provide a machine to help you achieve it.


For this, we’ll address the features and accessories that come with three machines from different price points, to give you an overview of what you can expect from Singer machines.

  • Lowest priced machine: Singer Promise 1409 – Comes with sixteen accessories. The product description does not mention how many stitches are available on it, but does make a point of mentioning that the machine is very basic.
  • Middle range price: Singer Confidence 7463 – Comes with fifteen different accessories, is computerised, has a “good selection” of stitches.
  • Most expensive machine: Singer Futura XL400 – 30 built in stitch patterns and 125 built in embroidery patterns, with five choices of font, the machine comes with ten accessories.


Listed on the website is an extended 10 year warranty on selected items. The website also states that all machines come with the manufacturer’s warranty.


janome sewing machineFinally, Janome. Janome are a Japanese company that produces many accessories for sewing, including sewing machines. Unlike Singer, they do have a website for the UK, however the sewing machines don’t appear to be for sale on the website itself, but the website will direct you to the nearest retailer.


Prices aren’t available from the website, but Janome machines seem to range from £139 for the most basic model, up into the hundreds for those with more features. On the whole, though, they seem to be quite affordable considering the wide range offered!


Janome have a huge 32 machine range on their website, which is the highest of the three manufacturers we’ve looked at here. They have standard and computerised machines, as well as those with all the bells and whistles on! More so than either Brother or Singer, there is something for absolutely everyone.


Prices taken from

  • Lowest price model: Janome J3-18. Includes 18 built in stitch choices and comes with nine different accessories.
  • Middle range model: Janome DXL603. Includes 60 built in stitch choices, and comes with twenty accessories. Computerised.
  • Highest Price model: Janome MC8900QC. Full computerised. Includes over 200 built in stitch choices, and comes with thirty six accessories.


The Janome website requires you to register your product to receive your warranty, and offers the chance to extend your warranty “for as little as £10 a year”.

Overall, taking in to consideration all the factors of each machine mentioned here, we would say Janome is the best sewing machine brand. It has a huge range of machines on offer for every budget, and each machine has a wide range of capabilities. We’d opt for Brother after Janome, and then Singer, purely due to availability issues. Hopefully you’re now in a better position to decide which brand to buy your sewing machine from! It’s understandable to be a little overwhelmed, given the amount of choice there is out there, but by comparing a few key features, it’s easy to decide which brand is the best for you.