How to Adjust the Brother Sewing Machine Tension

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Things You'll Need

  • Thread

  • Sewing machine needles

  • Scrap material

  • Scissors

Basic home sewing machine.

Correct usage of a home sewing machine can be very simple once you familiarize yourself with the proper functions of your particular sewing machine. A common difficulty for the novice sewer is knowing how to make basic adjustments to the tension setting to allow for proper stitching on different fabrics. A Brother sewing machine is a popular model of home sewing machine and making adjustments to the thread tension is easily accomplished.


Step 1

Set up your sewing machine on a table with good lighting available. Plug in the electrical cord. Insert a new needle into the shaft on the needle bar and tighten the thumb screw to secure the needle. The needle bar is the area on the shaft where the assembly for the needle thumb screw is located.

Step 2

Thread your sewing machine according to the manufacturer's directions. This requires slipping the thread through various retaining and tensioning loops to allow for the proper drag while sewing. There is usually one loop at the top to go through first, then a second above the thread tension knob. Bring the thread into the tension knob area and pick up the loop of the tension wire. Bring the thread back to the next upper thread loop and then down to the needle bar where you thread the needle.


Step 3

Wind a bobbin with the thread that you intend to use. You may have to partially unthread your machine to do this. Make sure there is tension on the thread while you are winding it so that the thread winds properly. Insert the bobbin in the bobbin case and place it in the shuttle race then draw up the thread with the needle thread to prepare to sew. The shuttle race is located in the lower body of the machine under where the needle enters the throat plate.

Step 4

Cut a scrap of fabric from the fabric you intend to use for this project, at least 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. Double the thickness of your scrap by folding it in half lengthwise. Insert your scrap under the sewing foot and lower the foot into position. Sew a seam approximately 6 inches long then remove the scrap to check the stitches. If the stitches are loose on the bottom, adjust the tension knob to a higher number for more tension. This is done by turning the knob so that the indicator mark moves to a higher number. If the threads are loose on the top you will need to make the opposite maneuver.


Step 5

Sew more seams on your scrap, stopping to check your thread tension for your stitches until you have stitches on top and on bottom with no discernible looseness.


Always begin a new sewing project with a new needle and by checking the thread tension for your fabric. It may take several attempts to get the thread tension right; keep at it but take care not to unscrew the tension knob too far.


Watch your fingers while sewing. Allow the sewing machine to feed the fabric; do not pull it or you will break needles and may throw the timing off.