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How Do I Fix The Upper Thread Tension on My Machine


Threading your embroidery machine correctly is important for a successful and efficient embroidery process. Improper threading can lead to issues such as skipped stitches, looping, thread breakage, and bird-nesting, which can be frustrating and waste time and resources.


Why Top Thread Tension Is Important 

Top thread tension is crucial in creating high-quality embroidery projects. Looping of the top thread or the visibility of bobbin thread on top of your design are signs of incorrect tension. If the tension is too loose, your thread will loop; too tight, and the bobbin thread may show, leading to frequent thread breaks and wasted time and money. To check if your tension is correct, try stitching out a simple satin stitch.


Steps to Adjust Top Thread Tension

  1. Determine if the tension issue is present in all needles or just one.
    • If it's just one needle, it's likely an upper thread tension issue and you should adjust the tension for that needle only.
    • If it's all the needles, it's likely a bobbin tension issue and you should refer to our article "Fixing Bobbin Thread Tension."
  1. Check that the threading is correct. Ensure there are no looping around the tension knobs or tangles in the thread. If there are, re-thread the needle.

  2. Check if the thread passes under the tension knob and is inside the guide pin under the tension knob. If not, re-thread the machine correctly.


4. Adjust the tension in all needles by moving the spring bar in the head of your machine - lower for more tension or higher for less tension. The spring bar should be positioned at a 90-degree angle.

5. After adjusting, run a tension test such as an “I” test. The test should show 1/3 bobbin thread running down the middle and 1/3 top thread on each side if the tension is correct.

6. Repeat the process and adjust the tension until the “I” test looks correct.

7. If you're still having thread breaks after adjusting the tension, check the needles to ensure they are all the same size and facing the back.



See additional information below for more help. 

If you are still having difficulty fixing the top thread tension of your machine... 

In your machine’s operating manual, you can refer to the threading section where you can find step-by-step instructions regarding your specific model. 

Need additional help? 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for further assistance via email at service@ricoma.com or by visiting our support page at www.ricoma.com/US/support. 

Additional Video Resources: 

A Beginner's Guide to Thread for Embroidery Machines 

How to Fix Upper Thread Issues – The Bobbin 

Threading and Tension – Upper Tension 

How to Replace Needles on Your Machine 


Need additional help?
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for further assistance via email at service@ricoma.com or by visiting our support page at www.ricoma.com/US/support.