If you own a Brother combination sewing and embroidery machine a bobbin case with a green marking covering the tension screw has been installed in the machine at the factory. On recent models you will have been supplied with an alternate bobbin case with pink marking or no marking provided as an accessory. The alternative bobbin case is tensioned tighter and is also adjustable, enabling you to achieve correct tension for the threads you are using.
When using the #60 embroidery bobbin thread provided, please be sure to choose the green marked bobbin case when performing utility stitch sewing and embroidery functions. When in the embroidery function mode, if you use substitute embroidery bobbin threads (other than what is accompanied with your machine #60) then the alternative bobbin case should be used for adjustment to tension. See our separate help guide about understanding Bobbin Fill.
For embroidery-only models you have just the alternative bobbin case fitted which can be adjusted.
Golden Rule: If it isn’t broken – don’t fix it! The following information is supplied to help you if your tension is causing you problems. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have perfect tension as long as the results you achieve are good enough for you.
Important Note: Safety First – SWITCH OFF the machine (or put it into Safety Mode if you have this feature) before undertaking any removal of covers or putting your fingers under the needle bar or inside the machine etc. To remove the bobbin case on most Brother machines you do not need to undo the screws securing the needle plate. Just slide the L-shaped plastic cover forwards and then take out the bobbin case. If you do remove the needle plate screws at any time always replace the needle plate first and securely fasten down BEFORE replacing the bobbin case. Failure to do it in this order can result in the machine becoming locked-up.
When replacing the bobbin case align the two markings if you have them, otherwise just replace with the adjusting screw facing the front, ensuring the bobbin case fits snugly in the race. You should be able to turn the balance wheel freely and the bobbin case shouldn’t pop-up.
Note: We recommend that you don’t adjust the tension on the factory-set bobbin case where the screw is held in place with green screw sealant. Once the seal is broken the screw will move from any setting you have adjusted to because it’s no longer secure. Make your adjustments with the thread removed from the bobbin case.
Important note before making adjustments: If you are suddenly experiencing a lot of top thread locking up below the needle plate then this is likely to be a top thread tension issue where there is contamination in the upper tension unit or a damaged bobbin case (sometimes caused by a jam or needle breakage) or the bobbin case has been inserted incorrectly. These issues are covered in a separate help notice Know your top thread tension.
If your bobbin tension has suddenly become loose it may be because contamination has lodged itself under the tension spring. Before adjusting thoroughly clean the bobbin case and then insert a pin gently into the spring to hold it open and blow hard, or gently dig around with the pin to remove the tiny offender.
Firstly, make sure that your machine top thread tension is set to 00. You’ll find this in the Machine Settings section. Check your instruction book if you can’t find it.
To check your tension frame up a piece of medium weight, non-stretch fabric with a tearaway backing with both items fully secured by the frame. Choose the basic font in your machine, letter A, set for Large, and stitch your first letter in the top left of your frame. After stitching each letter remove the frame and check the underside.
The bottom row of samples is the underside for each A:
Make your adjustments in stages until you have a balanced result as in the middle example. Dont force the screw at any point. If tension is too tight you are likely to experience excess puckering of the fabric around your embroideries. Too loose and your bobbin thread will show around the edges of your embroideries giving poor definition.
There are 3 blogs relating to tension, all with a downloadable PDF which are handy guides to keep with your instruction manual. Here are the links to the other 2 posts and the PDF to this one:
Please understand that Keith Lord & Lords Sewing are not responsible for anything you undertake as a result of reading these articles and information guidelines.