Serger 5

Fine Tuning for a Balanced Stitch

How to Adjust Tensions and Fine Tune a Balanced Stitch

When changing tensions, only change your tensioner a fraction of a
number at a time. Example: If your dial is set at 3, change to it to 3
1/8th then 3 1/4 then 3 1/2, do not change from 3 to 4. I realize the
machine is numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 etc, and changing from one number to
another makes major changes. Changing only a fraction of a number at a
time will allow you to fine tune your stitch and give you that
balanced stitch you are looking for. Always start with the lower
looper first when making changes in tensions.

With a pen mark a line across the stitch on the fabric and mark the
number you changed it to. Sew another 3-4 inches and look at it,
change the tension number again and again make a mark on the fabric
and write the number. By writing right on the fabric it lets you see
the changes.

Once you have achieved the stitch you desire, cut that section off and
pin it to a piece of paper. Mark on the paper all your settings.

Now lets get started.

Change all your Tensions to 4 and change your lower looper to 0.

Serge 2-3 inches and mark your test fabric with a 0. Begin turning the
lower looper 1/4 of a number at a time. Serge 2-3 inches, mark the
sample with the tension number. You will begin to see the lower looper
getting tighter and tighter. When you have gone through all of the
numbers place the lower looper back to 4.

Now place your upper looper to 0. Again begin changing the tension
control 1/4 of a number at a time. Serge, mark your samples. Go
through all of the numbers. Turn your upper looper back to 4 and now
change the right needle. Again go through all of the numbers and when
finished change the right needle back to 4 and change the left needle
to 0.

If you find you are having a hard time determining one-quarter from
one-half, you can use different colored permanent markers and assign a
number to your tensioners. Placing a mark on the dial or knob itself
such as green for 1/8, blue 1/4, red 1/2, and yellow 3/4 may help.

Adjust the tensioner one at a time and test stitch before making
another adjustment. After you are happy with your lower looper stitch
move on to your upper looper then your right and last your left needle.


You may start to notice a change in your balanced stitch. Remember you
have only changed the length of your stitch. You will want to start
adjusting the lower looper first to continue maintaining a balanced
stitch. You will continue sewing a few inches, mark on the fabric a
line where you stopped and the number it was changed to.


Next go back to your original tension settings and length setting. Now
change the setting of your width.

When the width is being changed, the cutting blade is actually being moved. To get a wider stitch, the blade is taking a smaller bite our of the fabric. The opposite for a narrow stitch.

If the loops on the edge of the fabric aren’t almost hugging the edge, and adjusting tensions of the loopers isn’t working, try changing the width to a little wider.

The reason for these exercises …Remove the right needle and do it all over again, remove the left
needle and do it all over again. The idea is to get familiar with changing tensions to create a balanced stitch as well as learning some really neat stitches your machine can do.