Janome Tensioning Issues

I bought my MB4 last year right after they came out. I don’t know if I madea good decision or not. I am on my second one. The seller finally gave me a new one because he couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it. I have major trouble with my tension. My top threads are making loops and my bobbin thread doesn’t even show up underneath.Example, I’m sewing with red top thread and black bobbin thread but it shows red thread top and bottom. I have adjusted both tensions until I’m blue in the face. Any suggestions would be very helpful. – Catnip

38 thoughts on “Janome Tensioning Issues”

  1. You may want to check the threading of the machine both upper and bobbin threads. Also what type of embroidery thread are you using? Also, is this a problem with all 4 needles? Did you change the needle?

    Hope this helps.

    Janome Tutorials

  2. Hi,
    I just purchase Janome 350e and i have simmilar problem with the tension, but still not fixed from the service, don’t know what could be.

  3. Hi

    I had similar problems with my 200e bought at Christmas. I took the machine back to the demonstrator who threaded it with janome bobbin thread and top thread and it works! i have other thread which I need to slacken the tension but I think that’s the problem.

    Hope this helps

  4. what kind of stabilzer are you using for these embroideries? And what type of fabric are you embroidering on?

    I”ve found that if I’m stitching on with a lot of stitches…a cutaway on the back helps a lot.

    If you are stitiching on knit or streach fabrid…you want to use a lightweight cutaway on the back and some water soluble stabilizer on the top. That keeps the stitches from get deep into the fabric.

    is the tread you are using for embroidery? if you are using a single needle machine…its better to have the same weight thread in the bobbin and top. Or use a good embroidery bobbin thread in the bobbin

    I hope that helps

  5. I share your frustrations with tension issues on my new Janome MC11000 Special Edition. When using one color on the bobbin and another on the top it is easy to see that the tension is off and not allowing for correct interlocking of the threads. I can see both color threads,particularly on the underside of my fabric when doing any stitch with a zig zag. Straight stitch seems to be better. (I am using thread recommended by Janome.) I have taken the machine back to the dealer 3 times in the 4 weeks I have owned it, but he just tightens the tension a little more, which helps but doesn’t totally fix. My fear is that the tension in the embroidery module will not be thrown off due to the adjustments. Any suggestions, other than asking for a new machine?

  6. Hi Catnip,

    My first questions would be the usual, do you have the right needles? what type of thread and bobbin are you using? what are your tensions set at? is the bobbin in correctly? which I am sure you and your dealer have already gone over. Next I would ask are your needles in properly? Since they are round and not flatback, it is easy to get them in crooked. After placing them in, place the old needle in the eye and make sure that needle comes out perfectly straight towards you (the eye and groove should be forward, then tighten the screw. The tensions on mine are usually set around 5-7 depending on the thread I am using at the time. Check your threading process, are you opening the tension release when you are threading the machine or changing thread colors? Also make sure you oil it as described in you manual.

  7. Have you tried the bobbin tension or just the upper tension? I change my bobbin tension quite often.
    Love my MC 10001 JanP

  8. I have Janome 10001. I couldn’t get the tension adjusted right. No matter what I did, the bobbin would always show on the top.
    Then I read an article in Designs Magazine by Deborah Jones about adjusting the small screw on the bobbin case. It was a very small adjustment. It solved the problem.
    If you are not comfortable doing it yourself, then ask the technician to do it for you. I did it myself because my theory is ” if it isn’t working, then it’s already broke”. Sure hope this helps.

  9. Have you tried changing the tension on the bobbin case? I know we all are afraid of trying this but sometimes it will make a difference.

  10. I have a 300e. I had trouble once with its tension. I had the nasty habit of pulling the thread back out from the top of the machine when it was finished with a colour. The tension got messed up because my luck ran out and one of the threads frayed and broke off inside the thread track. Someone at Janome suggested that I open the side of the machine and look for any scraps of thread caught or floating around where the thread would normally travel. I found enough thread in there to cure me of my bad habit. I now cut the no longer needed thread at the spool and pull it out through the bottom of the thread track. I am sure if your machines have been in for service they have checked this, but maybe not. I wish you luck getting your problems corrected as I love my Jamome.

  11. Hi, I have a Janome 300E and have absolutely no problems with the tension. I have my tension set at 2. I was told by my dealer never ever to touch the tension screw on the bobbin.It has been set at the factory and if you play with it you could have a lot of trouble getting it to be just right. Take it back to your dealer and get him to check it.

  12. When I first got my MB4, I also had what seemed to be tensioning problems. I replaced my bobbin case with a bobbin that has a ‘pig tail’ for one thing. This helps the bobbin tension to remain consistent. The bobbin thread that you use may also be an issue. I have found that the best to use is something like Maderia bobbin thread or OESD bobbin thread rather than the poly filament (very very thin).

    Try these things and see if that helps.

    Marsha in North Carolina

  13. Hi Catnip
    I have a similar problem with my 300E as have some of my friends with the same machine, a couple have had the timing adjusted and feel it helps, as yet I have not had a chance to get mine done but the technition who is doing this has done numerous Janome machines with this problem. I have had my machine serviced twice in a few months trying to fix, it becomes an expensive process I know I am up for another $70 odd when I have the timing done.

    May be this is an option.
    Regards Annelle

  14. I have a Janome 350E. I read my instruction manual for tension problems. If followed, the tension issue will be resolved IF you are using the proper thread. I have found my machine LOVES Maderia Rayon and Poly thread and HATES Anton as well as, all Coats and Clark threads! It also is a HUGE help to utilize a thread stand; e.g., black metal base with the tall metal arm that you utilize BEHIND the machine when you are using metallics, etc. This keeps the thread at a constant tension thus alleviating the tension problems I have encountered. Hope this helps. Thank you.

  15. I wonder if you have changed the foot tension dial to 2. I have the 11000 and it is on the top of the machine on your left if you face the machine. If you have a different machine look at the manual for info on the foot tension and see what it advises. I’ve had my machine for quite a long time but I think the manual said to set it at 2 for embroidery. Wish you great luck!!!

  16. Hi…Iam brasilian and I love my 3 machine Janome 1000 and 1001.The problems rs the same,bobin.But Iam studying whith you.Thank you.

  17. I also have upper tension problems…it will not stay tight…MC11000…I have never had any luck with the embroidery…I use floriani medium weight stabilizer, Marathon pre-wounds, and I’m only doing redwork!!!…so frustrating…

    It’s going to a dealer on Wednesday…I hope he fixed it…*sigh*

    Nancy in Canada

  18. Don’t know if this helps,but on Janome 1100se, and on Babylock quilter’s choice, I experienced tension problems when I did fancy threads. By experimenting,I discovered the embroidery bobbin threads vary considerably, and some top threads are too heavy or uneven for them.I learned to switch out bobbin thread and play with needle size to improve results, then adjust tension.Make sure it is 2 on the dial for embroidery.

  19. I’ve got a brand new Janome 350e and I realized what caused tension issues to pop up on the touchscreen display. I solved the problem by opening the front cover part and stretching the black metal coil which holds the thread tension dial. That little bit of metal was a bit loose. So I stretched it a bit using pliers until the coil turns . Sorry for poor English. Thanks from Brazil.

  20. Does anyone in North Carolina have someone that they can take an MB4 in to and let them work on the machine. I took it back to the dealer but the man that does it will not work on MB4’s any longer as he feels he is not trained enough. I also took it to a dealer and they replaced the b board and worked 6 months back and forth to get issues with the tension resolved. I am still having issues and would like to take it to someone else. Please email me if you know of someone.


  21. I have a Janome 10000 and when I embroider my white “bobbin” thread shows on top so my design edges are white. I have slowed the machine down which helps and I am using an embroider needle. In order to get a “good” design I have to use the same colored thread in my bobbin as on top which is a pain and sometimes the design gets messed up because I have to change thread color both on top and in bobbin. Help

  22. I have an MB4 and the tension has never been right! It loops on top, it makes a birds nest in the bobbin hole, and the bobbin thread only shows through occasionally! No matter what I do it won’t work. I called the store where I bought it and was told that the book is wrong that the groove in the needle is supposed to face the back while my manual says facing front! I have tried it both ways with no luck. Any one have any ideas? It will sew sometimes great for 3 or 4 designs – same color same design – then start all this looping again – Help!

  23. My Janome 11000 was giving me fits with tension problems. It worked fine the last time I used it, but then the bobbin thread kept coming to the top. I changed tension, put in new needle, changed thread, rethreaded, used different fabric and still the bobbin thread came to the top. My dealer said it could be the bobbin, which must be just the right one. I checked and have two sizes of bobbin, one thinner. When I put the thinner bobbin in, everything was fine!! However, one of the thinner bobbins did not work and maybe that’s because it has a slight bulge. Hope this helps.

  24. My Janome 1001 is breaking threads iv done all the bobbin needle,tension change make threads but its doing my head in why is it stared to break threads now..

  25. Hi! I recently got a used Janome Memory Craft 300E and I have a question hopefully someone here can answer. When I turn the machine on, the words “Bobbin winding” comes up on the screen (along with a large picture of a bobbin). It stays there no matter what I do and no other functions are available. What am I doing wrong? I’ve been troubleshooting for several hours now and I’m starting to feel hopeless.

    Thank you,

  26. Nothing but trouble out of my MB4…tension…timing constant fear it will breakdown during a project….got lucky and was able to get half way through with the project before having to breakdown and carry this heavy boat anchor in for service….when it works it’s beautiful and very capable…but that’s when it works….

  27. I have ongoing problems with tension on my Janome MC 11000 – Bobbin thread insists on showing on tip of embroidery. I have tried all suggestions above, different bobbin fill, reducing top tension, increasing bobbin tension by adjusting screw on bobbin case. At my wits end now, any suggestions more than welcome.
    I agree Ric W – always nice when it works!
    Please help……

  28. I was having the same problem on my 500e. Finally read the booklet closer and learned if I wasn’t using Janome bobbin thread, to use the high tension bobbin case with the yellow dot instead of the standard. That worked and I now get beautiful results! However at the time of purchase, I did ask the dealer about the second bobbin case and when would I use it? His reply was that I would never need to use it! Funny thing, they only sell one type of bobbin thread there and it’s not Janome brand!

  29. Hi.
    I have a Janome mb4…
    Its was sewing well at first but has recently started to sew wrong… it sews the design right but after a few minutes, it sews the design about 0.5cm above the correct place. Does anyone knows what to do?

  30. I have a 350E embroidery machine. The touch screen is not working properly. When I turn on the machine, only a few functions are working. I’ve been trouble shooting for several days. Is anyone able to help?

  31. I had a similar problem with my Janome 11000SE and found that I hadn’t gotten the thread locked into the uptake lever. Recheck your threading on the machine.

  32. I just purchased a Janome MC 500E, at a show. Got home set up and the tension is all out of sorts. Thread keeps breaking, bobbin thread clumps up, and it’s running very loud.

  33. I have a Janome 350e. When doing certain images the outline doesn’t line up – it goes slightly away from the design. Any ideas what this could be?

  34. I bought a Janome 230E not long ago and it’s giving me some issues I don’t understand. It goes off when I’m working on it and when sewing a design it sometimes gets stuck at one position without moving. I can only stop it by turning it off – what could the problem be?

  35. Ref Sherry Wilson, 28/9/16
    Dear Sherry, I imagine your “bobbin winding” problem has been sorted by now, if it hasnt, the reason for it is that the bobbin winding spindle, has been pushed to the bobbin winding mode. Just push it to its correct position on the left

  36. Hi, I have the special edition 1100 Jamona . It will sew perfect. However, when embroidering it skips stitches, keeps telling me thread is broke. I am using blue needle(new) What is wrong? Thanks Evelyn

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