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Top and botton threads are not connecting correctly...

by Kathy

When I quilt freestyle (or free motion) the two threads are not meeting correctly.

The top thread is coming out through the bottom layer of the quilt. I have changed the threads and needle. My machine has an auto tension control.


If your top or needle thread shows on the back side of your quilt, most likely your needle tension is too loose.

Many of the newer sewing machines have this automatic tension setting. You tell the machine what weight (light, medium, heavy) and weave (woven or knit) of fabric you are using and it sets the tension for you.

Nothing could be easier, right?

Not really.

For quilters, the tension that the machine sets is usually a good place to start. But we quilters are an adventurous lot, always using different kinds of threads and not always using the same thread in the needle and bobbin.

Sewing machines are engineered to sew with the same fine thread in both the needle and the bobbin.

Once you change the thread weight or use two different threads you introduce another variable into the thread tension equation.

So start with the tension setting the machine chooses for you and then fine tune from there.

For a needle thread that is too loose, increase the number on your tension dial (remember 'righty-tighty' if it's a dial not a button) by one. Test on a practice quilt sandwich. Continue adjusting and testing until the needle thread no longer shows on the bottom of your quilt sandwich.

For more in depth information see our page Adjusting Sewing Machine Tension.

I hope this has helped you with your tension problem.


Julie Baird

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