Please NOTE before experimenting and altering bobbin tension:

Bobbin Tension is done by tightening or loosening a tiny screw. Always draw a picture of the screw before you adjust and treat it like a clock. Make a note of the start ‘time’  and how ever much you tighten or loosen make a note of what the new ‘time’ is. You may increase the screw by 10 minutes or 1 hour 10 minutes, whatever the time alteration this tip makes it very easy to put it back to normal tension.  Refer to your machines manual to locate your machines bobbin tension screw.

Adjusting tensions differs from machine to machine  and there are no set rules, it relies on you to know when your tension is loose or tight when you pull your thread and watch the results as you stitch to know if it is right.

It is much easier to adjust your tension if your machine has a bobbin. ‘Drop in’ bobbins becomes more difficult as the

Whip stitch

This is a stitch that brings to the bobbin thread to the top surface of the fabric by tightening the top tension. Both the bobbin and top thread will be visible (tiny loops) so choose your thread colours appropriately

Tension setting

Top tension – Higher 6-7 (experiment)

Bobbin tension – loosen (just a small amount)

Feather Stitch

This is much the same as whip stitch but more extreme. Curving lines of stitches really shows feather stitch to its best effect. Both top and bobbin thread will be visible so choose your colours appropriately.

Tension Setting

Top tension – High 8-9 (experiment)

Bobbin Tension – Low (even bypass the bobbin tension if this is possible)

Moss Stitch

Moss stitch is first a whip stitch as above. Once you have completed an area of whip stitch embroidery bond or glue the back of your embroidery (PVA/white glue , interfacing) Then carefully pull out the top thread. This can be cut in places to remove small amounts at a time. The loops only will remain as the embroidery.

Vanishing thread could also be used as the top thread, which once the back is bonded, the top thread can be washed away.

Cable stitch

This is where a thicker thread is hand wound onto the bobbin, the bobbin tension bypasses and the embroidery is worked blind on the reverse. For best results when stitching, develop a ‘twitch’ the more random the better the results! I have found using a bernina that DMC stranded cotton, shreds. Eyelash yarn (and other hairy yarn) sticks around the bobbin race, please experiment but embroider slowly at first to avoid damage to your machine and fabric. I have found Oliver twist threads work beautifully, chenille yarn and boucle work lovely too

Tension Settings

Top tension – normal 3-4 (experiment)

Bobbin tension – bypassed if possible, if not loosen as much as possible without loosing the bobbin tension screw!