Greetings,

This tip is on how to prevent the "Shag Carpet Effect". Otherwise known as "My tension is all messed up!"

The Shag Carpet Stitch

If you've seen this "stitch" you know what I'm talking about. I've heard it described as "A rats nest", or "A tangled mess", or "My bobbin tension is not working right". In fact, it has nothing to do with the bobbin thread. If you were using two different color threads it would be readily apparent that it is, in fact, the top thread that is creating that mess. While it is always possible that something has gone horribly wrong with your sewing machine to cause this effect, it is usually caused by simply misthreading it. Most notably, not getting the thread between the tension discs. Now before you flame me with how you've been able to "fix" this situation by "rotating the handwheel backwards by half a click, raising the presser foot with your right hand, pushing the reverse button 3 times, rotating the handwheel forward 2 clicks and finally lowering the presser foot with your left hand", let me say that one of those actions would have actually solved the problem. Raising the presser foot releases the pressure on the tension discs, allowing the thread to fall between them, where it belongs. If you thread the machine with the presser foot down, the thread, instead of falling between the discs, lays on the outside edge of them. This creates the No Tension Effect, which will then cause your sewing machine to produce the carpet stitch. It doesn't matter where you turn the tension dial. It has no effect because the thread is NOT IN THE TENSION.

Sew here is the tip to help you avoid that trip to the repair shop. Always thread your machine with the presser foot up. That was easy, right? And to really make sure it's threaded through the tension correctly, before threading the needle, pull on the thread while the presser foot is still up. It should pull through easily with little or no resistance. It should also be consistent, with no snags or tangles. If not, you should really consider purchasing The Universal Thread Holder because you have a thread supply problem. Now lower the presser foot. The thread should have a fair amount of resistance. If you want to feel what the tension actually does, while pulling on the thread, lower the tension dial to "0". You should now feel no resistance. As you turn the dial to higher numbers, the resistance will increase. That's it. That's all the tension does. And it usually receives the most amount of blame when the machine misbehaves, but is really one of the least complicated and most reliable devices on a sewing machine. That is, until those magical words are spoken, "Don't worry dear, I'll fix it for you!"

Happy Sewing

John

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RJS Designs Inc.   Saint Petersburg, Florida USA