How to thread the needle dance

"Thread The Needle" Games In Britain, The United States, The Cameroons, & Jamaica

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides information about and lyrics for some examples of the European originated "Thread The Needle" games in Britain and in the United States. This post also provides information about and lyrics for versions of "Thread The Needle" in Jamaica, (the Caribbean) and in the Cameroon (West Africa).

A YouTube video that showcases an example of the Jamaican children game "Long Long Thread" and a video of a similar thread the needle Yiddish dance are also included in this post.

[Added March 16, 2017- Two videos of traditional British "thread the needle" games are also included in this post.]

The content of this post is presented for historical, folkloric, cultural, and recreational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to all those who are featured in this video. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

"Webfeet: Thread the Needle
...Threading the Needle
Generally a dance figure rather than a dance but most likely someone, somewhere will have called a dance after it... In the eCeilidh repertoire you'll meet the movement in Bottoms Up or the Witches' Reel. It's a children's game (first recorded in 1744) and it's there in Dicken's description of Sir Roger de Coverley (where it is there in name, although likely not the same figure)"...

"Colonial Games: How To Play Thread The Needle


Thread the Needle, Thread My Needle, Thread the Tailor's Needle is an old game that was popular for both girls and boys.

There are two popular versions of the game. In the first version, all join hands to make a line. The last two people of the line raise their arms to form an arch and the first person in line goes under the arch, leading the rest of the line under. The person who was previously first in the line then becomes the end of the line and will be one of the people forming the next arch. The new front of the line will now try to go under the new arch and the whole completed until the chain is broken. The point of the game is to try and do this many times without breaking the chain.

The second version of this game was popular in the U.S. and includes a Biblical chant. Everyone holds hands and forms a line the two people at the head of the line chant "How many miles to Babylon?" The end two people chant in response "Three score and ten." The conversation continues "Can I get there by candle light?" "Yes, and back again." "Then open the gates with mere ado and let the King and his men pass through. The end couple then raises their hands up in an arch and the game is played the same as the first version. "

From Thread the Needle Games, April 26th, 2010
"In Thread the Needle Games, the players stand in two rows across from each other. They hold hands in an arch with the person across from them. Players go under the arch and join the end of the line once they’re through the arch. Sometimes they’re played while singing a song. There are variations on how the game is played.


Here are the lyrics to some British Thread the Needle songs...
I. Thread my grandmother’s needle!
Thread my grandmother’s needle!
Thread my grandmother’s needle!
Open your gates as wide as high,
And let King George and me go by.
It is so dark I cannot see
To thread my grandmother’s needle!
Who stole the money-box?


2) Thread my grandmother’s needle,
Thread my grandmother’s needle;
It is too dark we cannot see
To thread my grandmother’s needle.


3) Come thread a long needle, come thread,
The eye is too little, the needle’s too big.
4) Thread the needle thro’ the skin,
Sometimes out and sometimes in.

In some places in Great Britain they played a Thread the Needle game for Shrove Tuesday. (Shrove Tuesday is the day before the start of the fasting season of Lent for Christians. Sometimes, there’s a party before the before the fasting – like Mardi Gras.)"...
"Mama Lisa". the editor of that site noted that she received an example of a "Thread The Needle" game from a reader from the Cameroon. That example (and the Jamaican examples that I've found which are presented in this post) appear to be variant forms of the British "Thread The Needle" song that mentions "long long thread" (such as is found in Example #3 above).

"Nyango sent this song with a note that this is "a game where a long line of children weave in and out through a ring of other children standing with arms raised as arches. "
Thread and Needle
Children's Song
Thread and needle,
Thread and needle.

Long, long thread,
Thread and needle, needle
Long, long thread.

Oh, thread and needle
Thread and needle.

Long, long thread,
Thread and needle, needle
Long, long thread."
Nyango doesn't indicate how he (or she) learned this song, but it clearly has its source in the British "Thread The Needle" game.

Folk-Games of Jamaica






"[page] 38 Field Work in Folk-lore
Folk Games Of Jamaica Beckwith
31. Thread the Needle/

a. Thread Needle.

(1) (Maroon Town. )

T'read needle, t'read needle,long,long t'read.Nannie got to t'read, oh, long, long t'read.

Tread needle, t'read needle, long long t'read,

Nannie got to t'read, oh, long long t'read.

Players join hands in a curved line. The end player passes under his own and the second player's linked hands, then, followed by the second player, under the hands of the third and fourth, and so on until all are wound up in a coil.

(2) (Bethlehem.)

Annie, Annie, thread the needle, reel and sew,
Thread the needle, thread the needle, reel and sew.

[Note #] 35 See Folk-lore Record 5, 88. This is perhaps the "interesting dance movement" which Mrs. Gomme fails to find in versions of the "Babylon" game. The words "Dan, Dan, thread the needle, Dan, Dan, sew," as well as other references to "threading the needle" are found attached in some songs to the game of "How Many Miles to Babylon?" See Gomme I, 234; County Folk-lore (Suffolk), 63. In this it resembles the familiar
Open the gates as wide as high
And let King George and I go by". ..
[ADDED March 18, 2017 11:47 AM]
Here's the portion of Beckwith's 1922 book that serves as an introduction to these thread the needle games and other folk cultural examples:
[page] 8
"The wake or "set up" for the dead is probably the most strictly popular of ajl [sic] Jamaican festivities and the one most closely approaching old African customs. On the third night after death — some say on the third to remain until the ninth night — the spirit of the dead is believed to return at night "to visit his relatives and associates and overlook all his possessions. " For this reason, the friends must gather on this night — the third in some districts, the ninth in others — and indulge in all sorts of sports supposed to interest the ghost and prevent him from harm- ing anyone until day dawns. 7 Such a festivity is called "Bakin- ny," or "Back in i' " as I take to be the meaning with reference

Folk Games of Jamaica [page] 9

to the driving of the ghost back to the grave. A bonfire is built outside the house, around which the men and boys gather in a circle while the women sit by to watch the sport. Among the games most commonly played are the stone-pounding and stone- passing games, and such song-games as "Going through the
rocky road," "Thread the needle/' and "Hill and gully riding." Games of wit with words are also popular at such times. Only a few specimens of the innumerable games, songs and dances improvised for such an occasion are represented in this collection."

SHOWCASE VIDEO: traditional Jamaican Dances

Simon Miller Published on May 9, 2015
The ring game is shown at 12:07-14:03 in this video.

Here's my transcription of that game song's lyrics and the narrator's words: [Additions and corrections are welcome]
[Girls singing in unison]
"Nanny, show me how you thread the needle
Your long long thread
Thread oh, thread oh
Your long long thread

Show me how you thread the needle
Your long long thread.
Thread oh, thread oh
Your long long thread".

"Ring games were originally English children's games. In the past, traditional ring games were played by not only by children but also by adults. Today, however, it is mostly children who play the games of song and dance.

Ring games have taken on a local flavor over the years and now show some physical dexterity and creativity."
The video narrator doesn't give any name for this game. I posted a comment requesting the name for this game in this video's discussion thread and in the discussion thread for this blog about Jamaican names:

However, I didn't receive any response to those queries. As a result of Google search I found the "Long Long Thread" examples in Martha Warren Beckwith's 1922 book Folk- Games From Jamaica. And those examples led me to the other information about "thread the needle" games that is presented in this post.

In addition, I also found this video of a Yiddish thread the needle dance:

Threading and unthreading the needle

Steve Weintraub leads folkdancers at Cornell U. in the classic yiddish dance figure. Joel Rubin and the

Cornell Klezmer Ensemble playing.

There's undoubtedly a connection between the British, United States, Cameroon, and Jamaican examples of "Thread The Needle" games/dances. But is there also a connection between this Yiddish dance and the British "Thread The Needle" game/dance which is the primary source for those games in the other nations that I listed? If so, did the Yiddish game come before the British game?

ADDED March 16, 2017
Here are two videos of a British thread the needle game songs

Ally Ally Oh

Vincent Bates Uploaded on Mar 23, 2011

Oh, the big ships are sailing down the Ally Ally Oh, the Ally Ally Oh, the Ally Ally Oh.
Oh, the big ships are sailing down the Ally Ally Oh. Hey, ding dong day.

In And Out The Dusty Bluebells

thefoxtamer, Published on Dec 12, 2012

Traditional Nursery Rhyme

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Thread the Needle | Hayriders Ceilidh Band

/ Hayriders Ceilidh Band

On Saturday 7th March the Hayriders played for a ceilidh in support of HER Breast Friends.

Beckie Caroline Ben Joe Geoff and Eddy

It was a very well attended event and everyone was keen to dance. Ean soon had the guests dancing to the VIrginia Reel and The Blaydon Races.

Threading the Needle

The Virginia Reel

During the interval a raffle was held and everyone ate the delicious pie and pea supper.

The band entertained with some of their new sets, Si Beag Si Mor set, Inisheer set and the Fiddlers Green Waltzes.

It was a fantastic evening and the evening was brought to a close with our traditional CIrcassian Circle.

/ Hayriders Ceilidh Band

On Saturday 4th October the Hayriders played at Sutton Methodist Church Hall for their Harvest Festival Ceilidh. The Hayriders were joined by Eddy on guitar. It was a fabulous event and very well attended. The dancing was excellent – really enthusiastic and full of energy. Ean led them through their paces. They had great fun with the Grand Chain and Threading the Needle.

Caroline Ben Joe Geoff Eddy and John

The band entertained the guests in between the dances with some of their favourite tunes – Little Maggie Polkas and Amy’s Waltz to name a couple. Caroline played Dark Island and Herd on the Hill set on the Northumbrian pipes. Ben and Caroline played a duet on Low Whistles – Cross of Hope and Spittal of Glenshee. During the break there was a tasty supper of homemade pasties and apple crumble which the band enjoyed too.

The Pat-a-cake Polka

After the break everyone enjoyed the manic Pat-a-cake polka and the more leisurely Blaydon Races. The evening was brought to a close with the Hayriders traditional dance Circassian Circle.

/ Hayriders Ceilidh Band

On Saturday 28th June 2014 the Hayriders were playing at the new village hall in Bempton and Buckton. Geoff, Joe, John and Caroline were joined by Ray on accordion and new member Beckie on violin for her first ceilidh with the band.

Beckie Caroline Ray Joe Geoff and John

To get everyone in the dancing mood the Hayriders played the Thursday Night jigs set and the Blackthorn Stick set.

Ean hardly had to ask who would like to dance as nearly everyone got up straight away for the first dance. The dancing was excellent and many guests waltzed in style to Endearing Young Charms set and the St Bernard’s.

Thread the Needle

During the break tea, coffee and biscuits were served and the Hayriders stepped outside to enjoy the beautiful summer evening and to get a breath of fresh air. A raffle was drawn and Caroline played a set of tunes from Northumberland on her Northumbrian pipes.

Caroline changed to the border pipes and the guests danced the Gay Gordons. Thread the needle went down very well as did Snowball.

Beckie was featured playing her violin in the last set played by the band – The Little Maggie Polkas – which sounded great. Well done Beckie!

The Hayriders

The evening was drawn to a close with the Hayriders traditional last dance – Circassian Circle.

Thank you Bempton and Buckton for asking us to play – it was a fab evening. Hope to see you again soon!


/ Hayriders Ceilidh Band

On Saturday 29th June the Hayriders were joined by amazing accordion player Ray to play for a ceilidh at Swanland village hall.

Geoff Caroline and Ray

It was a great event to celebrate a 40th birthday. The dancing was excellent. Ean had no problems getting anyone up to dance and the floor was soon filled as you can see.

The Dashing White Sergeant – a basket!

The Dashing White Sergeant

The Gay Gordon’s with Caroline playing the Border Pipes in the background.

Threading the Needle

In between the dances the guests could catch their breath while the band entertained with a selection of folk tunes. Ray played smashing selections of French and American melodies on the accordion.

During the break there was a fantastic Hog Roast which the band enjoyed enormously. The event was brought to a close with the Hayriders traditional Circassian circle.

/ Hayriders Ceilidh Band

On Saturday 13th April members of the Hayriders Ceilidh Band played at a fund raising ceilidh for the Marist Church, Cottingham Road, Hull. The band had their own stage to set up on and there was plenty of space for dancing.

Caroline, Ben and Joe

Joe and John

It was a fantastic evening. Everyone was keen to dance and Ean soon had people dancing the Virginia Reel. Other dances included Lucky Seven, Snowball, I want to be near you and the Gay Gordons to name but a few.

During the interval pies and peas were served and a raffle was drawn. The band entertained while the meal was digested with a selection of their favourite sets including Mount Collins Slides set and The Munster reels. The dancing continued until late ending with the Hayriders traditional finale – Circassian Circle.

/ Hayriders Ceilidh Band

On Saturday 15th December the Hayriders played at Walkington Village Hall for Karen’s 40th birthday. The band started the evening with their favourite jigs and reels to get everyone in the dancing mood. Ean led the dancers through their steps and soon had them whirling around to Thread the Needle. Geoff and John played 2 of their new sets The Christmas Eve reels  (how festive!) and Chief O’Neil’s hornpipes on Banjo and Guitar.

Caroline Ben Joe Geoff and John

During the break there was a delicious hog roast which the band was invited to enjoy too. Everyone sang Happy Birthday to Karen and the dancing continued, culminating in the traditional finale –  Circassian Circle.

/ Hayriders Ceilidh Band

On Sunday 28th October the Hayriders were playing at the BP Sports and Social Club for an 80th birthday ceilidh. The band played a selection of their favourite sets while the guests arrived and socialised. These included the Kesh Jigs, Fr Kelly’s set, The road to Rio set and Oot be Est set.

Ben Caroline Joe and John

Ben-Accordion, Caroline-Low Whistle, Joe-Guitar, John-Banjo

Ean soon got everyone dancing. The guests were soon spinning around the dance floor enjoying the Virginia reel, Thread the Needle and The Blaydon Races to name a few. During the break a tasty buffet was served and everyone sang Happy Birthday.

There followed a selection of slow waltzes including the St Bernard’s while everyone digested their meal!

Caroline strapped on her Border Pipes and entertained everyone with the Sprig of Heather set before launching into the Gay Gordons.

Gay Gordons

The evening was brought to a close with the Hayriders’ traditional finale of the Circassian Circle.

/ Hayriders Ceilidh Band

On Saturday 7th January 2012 the Hayriders played once again for the Bellringers ceilidh at Willerby Manor Hotel. Ean opened the dancing with the Virginia Reel taking the dancers expertly through their steps.

Virginia Reel

Lucky Seven posed no problems at all – after all counting to 7 in the grand chain is child’s play compared to ringing the changes!

Ben Joe Caroline Jock and John

The band played arrangements of traditional Irish music between dances including the Kesh Jigs set, the Mount Collins slip jigs set and The Ballymac set of reels. They also played their Shetland reels set – Spootoskerry.  Jock and Ben played accordion, Joe guitar and synth, John banjos and Caroline and Jock whistles.

Ben and Joe


Caroline and Jock play low whistles


Other dances included Bottoms Up incorporating threading the needle, Snowball and the Circassian Circle all danced brilliantly by the guests. We all had a great time and thank the Bellringers for booking us again.

/ Hayriders Ceilidh Band

On Saturday 10th September the Hayriders played for a charity barn dance in aid of Help for Heroes and Dove House Hospice. It was held in a large barn at Landplan in Dunswell. Over 250 people attended the event. No sooner had we started the dancing when there was a massive downpour of rain. Luckily we were all warm and dry under the cover of the barn. The noise of the rain on the metal roof almost drowned out the sound of the band! The bonfire outside survived and was fed more huge logs.

The Hayriders in the barn - on top of a flat bed trailer.

The dancers were very keen and picked up the steps quickly. The Virginia Reel and Lucky Seven started the evening off. The band entertained with a variety of jigs and reels from Ireland and Scotland.  There was a raffle, a tombola, cakes and buns for sale and a guess the weight of the cake.

The tombola proved to be lucky for Geoff!

During the interval there was a delicious pie and pea supper which we all enjoyed. The raffle was drawn and the winner of the guess the weight of the cake. It was time for dancing again. The dancers especially enjoyed Thread the Needle and Snowball.

Threading the needle.

I want to be near you proved to be a great hit leaving many of the dancers in hysterics! The dancers soon got the hang of the Gay Gordons accompanied by Caroline on the Scottish Border Pipes.

The Gay Gordons

The Circassian Circle brought the evening to a close with the bonfire still burning brightly. A fantastic time was had by all – raising much money for two very worthy causes.

Ben Joe Caroline and Geoff.

Geoff and John

/ Hayriders Ceilidh Band

On Saturday 20th August the Hayriders Ceilidh Band played for a surprise birthday celebration at Walkington Village Hall. The room was in darkness and as the special guest arrived the party was revealed and the band played Happy Birthday.

The Hayriders - Ben Joe Caroline and John

After the guests had had time to mingle and have a chat Ean called the first dance Virginia Reel.  Ben Joe John and Caroline entertained in between dances with some of our new music – Sweetness of Mary set, The Road to Rio reels and Oot be Est set of Shetland reels. We also played slow melodies – Seo Uilleo, Deers March and The Cross of Hope and Spittal of Glenshee.

Caroline played The Children and Lily Christie on the Border Pipes for the Gay Gordons and a set composed by Caroline especially for the band – The Sprig of Heather set.

During the break the band were invited to have refreshment from the delicious buffet.

Dancing Snowball

The dancing and music continued with I want to be near you, Thread the Needle, Snowball and finishing with our traditional Circassian Circle.

  • @30davidkennedy @_Hayriders at Hornsea ceilidh again! Played Katrin's waltz for Iris. Thanks for a great tune. Lovely evening as usual. 7 years ago
  • Hayriders & friends are Carol singing @ Beverley Festival of Christmas 13 Dec 1pm to 4pm. Live Nativity with donkey! 7 years ago
  • Get your dancing shoes on. It's a great day for a ceilidh! 7 years ago
  • Looking forward to @AvenuesOpenGdns on Sunday 12th. Time for us to take a look around. Weather looks promising. 7 years ago
  • @Steeleye_Span confirmed for #BevFest2016 Great news!… 7 years ago
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Adjusting the thread tension in the sewing machine yourself

Contents of the article

Adjusting the thread tension in the machine for the first time for a beginner can seem like something very difficult. But over time, you will gain experience and learn how to cope with this task easily, quickly, and then completely automatically, imperceptibly to yourself. At the stage of learning to sew, any technical task can seem daunting. But you will definitely make it!

Wrong thread tension is hard to miss. The stitches become uneven, the lower and upper threads can catch each other, break, lose structure and spoil the whole work. If you notice that your stitches are not coming out perfectly (they are too tight or vice versa), this may also indicate a tension problem. Proper adjustment of the thread tension in a sewing machine is vital to creating uniform and quality stitches on fabric, both from the right side and from the wrong side. nine0003

Step 1. General check of the machine settings

The very first step to take to solve this problem is, of course, to carefully read the instructions for your sewing machine. Study your car model and find out its features. Once you do this, many regular problems will no longer seem like a problem.

Sewing machines are equipped with a tension disk (tensioner). You need to find a tension regulator on your typewriter. Its position varies depending on the machine model, so if you don't already know what it looks like, check your sewing machine's instruction manual again. If there is no instruction, then the regulator may look like a dial with numbers, which does not set the change in sewing programs, type or size of stitches. nine0003

This could be a relay, a switch, buttons, or a wheel that is numbered from 0 to 10. These numbers may vary on different machines. The 10 mark (or highest mark) usually corresponds to the tightest thread position. The best value is between 2 and 6. A simple test method is used to find out which number is most suitable for your typewriter.

Step 2: Checking the thread tension parts

First you need to check the sewing machine setting and thread correctly. Make sure the bobbin is wound and installed correctly. This is to determine that a misaligned bobbin or misalignment is not itself the cause of the tension problem. nine0003

There are many causes for a thread tension problem. Not all of them are directly related to regulation. Before moving the tensioner, be sure to check for other causes.

For example:

  • the machine is filled incorrectly . Check that the thread passes through all guides (thread guides). The thread unwinds freely from the spool and is not tangled anywhere. The coil is installed correctly. Thread guides - a system of hooks through which the thread passes. Make sure they are not broken, bent, and threaded correctly. nine0034
  • machine dirty . There may be thread or fiber particles between the tension discs, around the bobbin case, or under the presser foot. This increases the resistance and interferes with the normal operation of the instrument. Check all these details and parts and make sure they are really clean.
  • some kind of breakdown occurred . Bent needles or skewed spools, rough surfaces of the eye of the needle, guides, tension discs, thread winder, presser foot, bobbin or damage to its components can cause problems. Make a general inspection of the machine, remembering that any defects can affect the normal thread tension. nine0034

Pay special attention to needles, threads and fabrics. The thickness of the thread, the difference between the top thread or the bottom thread, can loosen the tension over time. In addition, an excessively long or short needle can upset the balance of the seams. If the seam on a light fabric is wrinkled, try reducing the length of the needle by 1.75 mm. All these little details make a big difference, so make sure you use the right machine settings for all your sewing needs.

  • Polyester thread is really versatile and is the best choice for most sewing tasks. And, for example, cotton thread is much thicker, so if you are going to use it, you need to adjust the thread tension accordingly. nine0034
  • Canvas and jute are examples of heavier weight fabrics, while cotton and polyester are examples of regular weight fabrics. If you change from a thicker fabric to a thinner one, you will also need to adjust the tension to keep the seams consistent.
  • Needle size varies depending on the purpose of sewing. There are thick needles designed for denim that do not break with use, and thin needles that do not damage thin and delicate fabrics. When buying needles, check with someone in the store to choose the best option for the material you will be using. nine0034

Step 3 Adjust the thread tension dial

Place a piece of fabric under the presser foot. Sew a trial stitch and check the tension on it. If the thread is pulled too tight, you will notice it on the right side of the fabric. If it is too weak, it will be more noticeable from the wrong side. At this stage, you can adjust the tension with the knob or the relay (depending on the machine model), trying different options and achieving exemplary sewing. Do not make the setting too sharp, try to smoothly transition from one value to another. nine0003

Life hack #1. Always check the upper thread tension first. In 9 cases out of 10, the tension problem can be solved by adjusting the upper thread tension.

Adjusting the upper thread tension

Adjust the upper thread tension if it is too loose

To increase the upper thread tension if it is too loose, turn the dial in the direction where the numbers increase. Try 1/2 for one more number, then run a seam test on the piece. Continue to smoothly transition until the seam is firm on both sides and you can no longer see the bobbin thread from above. nine0003

Adjust the upper thread tension if the thread is too tight.

To decrease the upper thread tension, turn the dial in the direction of decreasing the number. Try 1/2 for 1 less number, then run a seam test on the piece. Continue to smoothly transition until the seam is firm on both sides and you can no longer see the thread at the bottom at the top.

Perform a test stitch after each change of tension. So you evaluate all the options. Continue to adjust the thread tension knob until you find the ideal thread tension. Usually this is the average value of the mark on the adjustment knob. nine0003

If you cannot correct the situation by adjusting the upper thread, start adjusting the bobbin thread tension.

Adjusting the bobbin thread tension

If you've already tried all of the above and nothing worked, then you obviously need to adjust the bobbin thread.

A good way to check if the bobbin thread tension is correct is to remove the hook and hang it in the air while holding the bobbin thread. See how this thread behaves. nine0003

If it does not unwind, the tension is too high and must be reduced. If the thread unwinds easily and strongly (more than a couple of centimeters), increase the tension. It is desirable that in this position the thread is extended by several centimeters (2-3 cm).

Using a small screwdriver, turn the screw next to the bobbin case no more than 1/4 turn. Turn clockwise to increase tension or counterclockwise to decrease it. Check the tension again and repeat until the thread starts to unwind just a few centimeters. nine0003

Adjusting the thread tension in the horizontal hook

If adjustment is required in the horizontal hook, adjust it differently. The screw is located on the shuttle itself. On some sewing machines, it can only be accessed by removing the needle plate. And again - take a look at the instruction manual, for sure it will tell you how exactly in your model of the machine the tension of the lower thread in the horizontal hook is adjusted. nine0003

If you cannot do it yourself, it is better to contact the service center or ask an experienced seamstress for help.

Life hack #2. When making trial stitches, choose different thread colors for the top and bottom threads. Also, make sure the threads contrast with the fabric so the threads are easier to recognize and make more appropriate adjustments. Just do not forget to change the test color to the working color before sewing.

This activity requires patience and some time. You will need to evaluate the stitches again and again by adjusting the tension. You'll know you hit the sweet spot when the stitches on the front side have the same look and tension as the stitches on the back of the fabric. nine0003

Life hack #3. It's a good idea to keep a diary of tips for your working sewing machine. If you are just starting to sew and use the machine, just write down the adjustment marks that work best for different types of fabrics, threads and needles. Write down the brand, type, or size. This will ease the setup process in the future until you get used to doing all these manipulations on the machine.

Video: how to thread the bobbin correctly

That's all we wanted to tell you about this issue. Cutting and sewing courses LadLen wish you good luck, inspiration and constant sewing pleasure! nine0003

If you have some tips of your own on how to properly adjust the thread tension on your sewing machine, please share them with our readers by leaving a comment below.

Beginner Overlock - Overlock Stitch

Overlock is an excellent assistant when working with knitwear and seam processing. If you have never worked on an overlocker, then its setting begins with dancing with a tambourine. But we decided to help you figure out how and what is better to correct when working on this miracle machine. nine0003

Many people are afraid of thread tension on their sewing machine. There is a common phobia: we have loosened the tension and we will not be able to adjust it anymore. But if you learn how to set up and control the overlock, then you will know how many beautiful and perfect stitches you can get!

Let's start with the most important stitch, the one that gives the machine its name: the overlock stitch. When we think of overlock, this is probably the kind of seam that comes to mind. It can be performed in various ways. nine0003

Stitch formation: An overlock stitch is formed when a needle (or two needles) is lowered into the fabric into the fabric to sew a seam while the knife blade cuts the fabric and the looper thread wraps around the clean raw edge.

Stitch types:

2-3-4 thread stitch

The 4-thread overlock stitch is sewn with two top threads that essentially sew two layers of your fabric together while the looper threads wrap around the edge. This stitch is best used on medium to heavy weight fabrics or on tight-fitting garments that are often in stretch. When you need good seam stretch as well as durability, a 4-thread overlock stitch is your best bet. nine0003

The 3-thread overlock stitch is a great choice for simple edge trimming or lightweight fabrics. The stitch uses only one needle - left or right. This stitch is strong and works quite well on stretchy fabrics, but due to the use of only one needle, it is less durable. A particular advantage of this stitch is that it can be used to sew a blind stitch while hemming and overcasting at the same time.

The last variant of the overlock stitch is the most rarely used and is the double thread stitch. This stitch creates a neat and clean edge (and is especially beautiful on light or delicate fabrics), but it is not very strong and therefore not recommended for actual stitching. This stitch also requires the use of the upper looper. Due to the limited use cases and the extra setup step, you probably won't use this stitch very often. nine0003

Creating the perfect stitch.

Since the overlock stitch (regardless of how many threads are used) is the most commonly used stitch on our machines, the default settings for this stitch are indicated by a small dot. Through the tension dials you will see a dot next to number four on the BERNINA L 450 and 460 overlockers.

The same applies to stitch length, differential feed and cutting width. With these default settings, you should get a tight overlock stitch. nine0003

However, as with your sewing machine, you may find that the default setting is not always ideal for your particular fabric or thread. Since you're just getting started with the overlock, you may not know what the perfect stitch looks like!

While you are learning about your machine and learning how to best customize these stitches, we suggest threading the machine with colored threads that match the markings on the machine. Being able to identify where each thread is coming from will make it easier to diagnose potential stitch problems. nine0003

Your looper threads should meet neatly at the edge of the fabric. If there's something wrong with the tension, that's probably the first thing you'll notice. If you see the upper looper thread pulling towards the back, or the lower looper thread pulling forward, adjust the tension of these threads to balance them.

Upper thread problems can be identified in several ways. If the looper threads are visible from the front where the needle penetrates the fabric, the upper threads may be too tight. In this example, you can see little red dots where our bobbin thread is being pulled too tight. nine0003

Also, if the top thread tension is too loose, these threads will no longer look like a clean, straight stitch line. The looper threads will pull the upper thread towards the seam allowance, which is visible on both the front and back sides of the fabric.

When the upper thread is too loose, it may cause loops on the front and/or back of the fabric. In this sample, you can see small loops of green thread, which means that our right thread is too loose. nine0003

If your seam allowance is too tight (or vice versa if both looper threads hang loosely from the edge of the fabric), we need to adjust the Micro Thread Control, or mtc. This is the lever that controls the length of the overcasting thread - a small piece of metal that sits under the fabric in the needle area that supports the fabric at the point where the looper threads wrap around the raw edge.

Increasing (position +) mtc (MicroThread Tension) will increase the length of the thread creating more space between the fabric and the threads and thus reduce the tension. Conversely, decreasing (position -) mtc moves the thread length of the stitch, bringing the threads closer to the raw edge and eliminating thread slack. nine0003

When the mtc is too tight, the looper threads will cut into the raw edge of the fabric, preventing the seam from lying flat or causing a “tunneling” effect.

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