The Sewing Place

Tension troubles - Janome 400e


Tension troubles - Janome 400e
« on: March 25, 2018, 00:27:44 AM »
My husband gave me a fab new machine for xmas, a Janome 400e.  We picked it up off layby last week, and I have been having a bit of a play.  And I have been having tension troubles.

The machine has an auto-tension feature, and I have been loathe to fiddle with that too much.  The problem is, its not consistent.  On larger sections (see photo below), ie the petals and bigger leaves, the tension is good.  However, on the narrow leaves, and the lettering, the bobbin thread is coming up to the top. 

First embroidery by Dani, on Flickr

I have done the following:
* wound a new bobbin on a different machine (I read somewhere that the bobbin winding on these machines isn't great)
* removed the hoop, and re-inserted the bobbin mid project
* checked that I was inserting the inner hoop correctly
* checked that I was threading correctly

Please don't tell me I need to hoop tighter ..... this last project, it took serious muscle to undo the hoop screw. 

Any suggestions appreciated.


Re: Tension troubles - Janome 400e
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2018, 00:48:39 AM »
That's a difficult one, especially with autotension. I don't know about particularly about embroidery, but I have had similar problems with regular zigzagging and it was solved by upping the needle one size, sometimes a different needle tip can make a difference on difficult fabrics, some threads need extra large eye needle. Some threads are better behaved than others too, particularly for difficult fabrics and fancy stitches, embroidery might be in the same category. It's all I can think of, you have already done everything else. It looks like you are using a twisted shiny thread, not the flossy rayon type?  As already mentioned I have no idea about the finer points on embroidery threads, but I lean towards someting basic when it comes to solutions even on a super fancy machine like the 400E.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2018, 03:24:51 AM by arrow »


Re: Tension troubles - Janome 400e
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2018, 21:14:51 PM »
Are you using bobbin thread?  Embroidery machines often have a preference for a particular bobbin thread and even embroiderey thread.   Is the design one that is on the machine? 
As for tightening the hoop. Don't over tighten or you could damage the thread and even the hoop itself.  It should be hand tight, no more.  I've seen many damaged hoops like this, gets a bit expensive  :o


Re: Tension troubles - Janome 400e
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2018, 21:45:30 PM »
Whenever I have this problem (Pfaff Creative 3) I usually solve it by using extra stabiliser. If the fabric is lightweight, try using iron-on stabiliser on the fabric then a medium weight stabiliser as well. Don't over-tighten the hoop. Like you, I don't like to fiddle with the tension. My machine also has auto tension and it usually handles anything I throw at it, so I think that any problems are due to the way I've set up the fabric in the hoop rather than tension problems. Hope that helps.
2019 stash used so far :7.2m


Re: Tension troubles - Janome 400e
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2018, 07:00:10 AM »
When I get this on my 350e it's usually caused by insufficient stabiliser rather than tension. 😋


Re: Tension troubles - Janome 400e
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2018, 07:32:41 AM »
I also asked this question on pattern review, and got a couple of very good suggestions.

The first one was to do with the bobbin casing.  Janome's come with two .... a red dot (normal) and a yellow dot (high tension).  I changed out to the yellow dot one, and the improvement was impressive. 

Second try. by Dani, on Flickr

The second suggestion was to do with hooping.  Rather than hooping the fabric and stabiliser, the commenter suggested hooping just the stabiliser, and then laying the fabric over the top, using the basting option on the machine to hold it down.  I added to this, by using a small spray of temporary adhesive (my quilting spray) to the wrong side of the fabric, and then smoothing it down.  I saw this in one of the first embroidery tutes I watched.  The fabric didn't move, or pucker at all.

I am really impressed with the result, and will probably do this from now on.  I have ordered some washaway stabiliser, as I think this design will look divine on a dress I have in the wardrobe. 

3rd try  - different hooping method. by Dani, on Flickr

Stay tuned .... hubby has requested a family crest on .... something.   ;)


Re: Tension troubles - Janome 400e
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2018, 16:19:41 PM »
Good to hear you have found solutions. I have noticed there are various color bobbin cases for some of the newer Bernina models, special ones for metallic thread, embroidery, etc. I guess all the fancy models have this option since we are hardly meant to touch the bobbin tension anymore. Tricks for stabilising can make all the difference, and I know some models need more help this way than others. Did you test stitch with the new bobbin case alone?
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 00:34:18 AM by arrow »


Re: Tension troubles - Janome 400e
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2018, 22:56:26 PM »
Did you test stitch with the new bobbin case alone?

Yes the second flower circle (2nd try) is the same hooping as the first (both fabric and stabiliser in the hoop), with the third one being the change to the hooping.  I am yet to try a similarly filled design with the fabric floating, but when I think about the process, I am pretty sure it will work fine. 


Re: Tension troubles - Janome 400e
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2018, 00:41:36 AM »
Your second attempt is nearly flawless, I can only see a bit of bobbin thread showing in the tip of the green leaves. I understand you are onto it. When I think about some of the buttonhole testings I have done with new machiens and attachments; half the fun is playing around with it to get it right. At least when we have time :- )
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 00:43:32 AM by arrow »


Re: Tension troubles - Janome 400e
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2018, 22:52:51 PM »
Here is another test stitch out, this time with the changed hooping method (hoop the stabiliser, but float the fabric, and then baste down).  It worked really well, and I think I have found my hooping method of choice.  When you think about it, its bound to work.  Putting two layers of fabric into the hoop (stabiliser and fabric) doesn't make a lot of sense, as there is potential for the two fabrics to slip on each other.  I suppose it does depend how firm wash-away stabiliser is ..... at the moment I am only using tear away, which is quite firm.

This test stitch was very stitch heavy, and while I did get a bit of bobbling at one end, it still turned out well.  You can see the holes where the basting was around the design.

Sunflower by Dani, on Flickr

I am thinking today, I may stretch the friendship, and try embroidering on some satin.