For this month’s JUKI Tip, we’re focusing on adjusting the bobbin tension on your longarm machine like our Miyabi J-350QVP! A common question we hear from sewists and quilters is, “how do I adjust the tension for my bobbin on my longarm?” We’re going to start off today’s JUKI Tip by covering what bobbin tension is, how to get true good tension for your next project, and a tool we think all quilters and sewists can benefit from having in their tool kit!
Follow along below as our JUKI National Account Trainer Alba demonstrates setting the bobbin tension for her Miyabi J-350QVP Longarm machine and how she finds the perfect tension for her project needs.
The first thing we cover is what our bobbin case and bobbin look like. For our JUKI longarm machines, you’ll need an M-Class bobbin and bobbin case. Inside the bobbin case, you’ll find its spring, which prevents backlash as your bobbin turns inside. Always check on your spring when changing bobbins, confirming its blue color to ensure it’s good to go! If you notice the blue haze diminishing, it’s time for your spring to be replaced.
Now it’s important to take care of your bobbin case! Handle with care to ensure that the metal doesn’t receive any bumps or bending from drops. This will affect your tension in the long run and how the bobbin pulls on your thread.
Starting off with a full bobbin, we’ll place the bobbin thread inside the bobbin, ensuring to pull the thread to the right side, before placing the bobbin in the bobbin case and stretching the thread to where the slit is so that it falls right into that tension area. That area is what holds the thread tension when you’re creating. Now the two screws you see on the side can be used to adjust the tension. By turning the screws in 15-minute increments, as opposed to twisting it fully, you’ll be able to adjust your tension slowly to your goal tension number. Remember, lefty loosey and righty tighty!
There are two ways to test your tension. One way to test your tension is by hand. You can do this by setting the bobbin on your palm, making sure to face the bobbin away from you as it normally would in the machine, and then pulling on the thread. You’ll want to make sure you can pull the thread up, slowly lifting it from your palm without the bobbin releasing from the bobbin case. The second way, a technique that offers more precise measurement, is using a tool like the TOWA Guage.
The TOWA Gauge is a tool quilters will love because of the assistance it can offer when you’re trying to get that perfect tension. The goal place our trainer recommends is between 180 and 200. However, her favorite is a little lower at 150. On a longarm, you want your tension to be able to handle multiple layers of batting and fabrics, so you’ll want your top thread and lower thread to meet right in the middle of your batting for good strong tension.
Following along on our youtube video, you’ll notice how inserting the bobbin into the TOWA Gauge is like inserting the bobbin into your longarm machine. Make sure to listen for a click as your setting your bobbin to ensure it’s placed in properly. Next, stretch the thread and run it along the bottom side of the first wheel and up and around to the top; here, you’ll begin to notice the gauge move. As your thread goes into the thread guide and out to the side, pull steadily and even to measure the tension. From here, you’ll be able to decide if you need to adjust the tension number to your preferred goal tension.
Once you’ve finalized your perfect bobbin tension, you can focus on your needle and thread combination. Having the right bobbin, needle, and thread is what will help your projects finish successfully and beautifully, but we’ll cover those combinations soon!
Thank you for joining us in this month’s JUKI Tip, where we focused on how to adjust the bobbin tension on your longarm machine. What JUKI Tip do you want to see next? Let us know in the comments below!