Solutions to Sewing Machine Problems

Close-up of fashion designer threading sewing machine
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A sewing machine doesn't act up or have any problems when it is sitting in the closet, but it does when you want to sew. Most sewing machine problems have very simple solutions and don't require a trip to the repair shop.

The very first step is to stop and take a deep breath. Looking at the issue with a calm, clear mind is going to make the troubleshooting process much easier. Take a moment for yourself if you feel frustration mounting so that you can look at the issue objectively.

  • 01 of 06

    Quality Thread

    Colored Cottons and Sewing Needle
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    Is the machine acting erratically? Are the problems the sewing machine is having inconsistent? Is your thread shredding and unraveling? Before you blame the sewing machine, try a different thread. Thread is the main tool that the sewing machine uses. Many people do not give the quality of the sewing machine thread a second thought.​​

  • 02 of 06

    Loopy, Knotting Thread, Machine Not Sewing

    The sewing machine
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    One of the most common sewing machine problems is the sewing machine creating a loopy knotted mess of thread, which stops the machine from sewing and leaves a knotted mess of loopy thread that is miserable to rip out. Believe it or not, the solution is very simple. Grab the seam ripper and calmly remove the faulty stitches.

  • 03 of 06

    Sewing Machine is Skipping Stitches

    Sewing Machine 2
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    The sewing machine is skipping stitches; it may happen constantly or it may be occasional but the stitching is inconsistent. Again, this frustrating problem usually has a simple solution, once you let go of the frustration.

    1. Re-thread the sewing machine
    2. Change the sewing machine needle.
    3. Check the sewing machine tension
  • 04 of 06

    Breaking, Bending Sewing Machine Needles

    Sewing Machine
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    Does it seem like you are changing the sewing machine needle almost constantly? Is the needle hitting other parts of the machine and making noise? Do you know what the sewing machine feed dog is? If you are fighting the feed dogs and not allowing the feed dog to do their job, you are going to bend and break sewing machine needles

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Sewing Machine Tension Problems

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    Whenever a sewing machine doesn't seem just right, many people immediately think they need to adjust the sewing machine tension. Most machines require very little messing with the tension settings or tension disks.

    There is a good reason to thread the sewing machine with the presser foot up. If the thread is not even on the front and back of the fabric, it may be a tension adjustment. If true tension adjustments are required, your sewing machine manual is the best source for adjusting your machine.

    If you don't have the manual for your sewing machine, order your manual and punt with the understanding that just like most screw adjustments, "Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey" also applies to the tension applied to the thread.

  • 06 of 06

    Clunking, Grinding, Banging Noises

    Sewing Machine Bobbin Casing
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    Is your sewing machine making noises that caught your attention? Whatever you do, stop sewing! Those noises are a signal that something is jammed or rubbing. How long has it been since you cleaned and oiled your machine? Even if the machine had been sewing along just fine, a tiny bit more lint or a single thread can be the "thread" that "breaks the camels back".

    The manual for your sewing machine is the best source for how to do regular cleanings and routine maintenance. Many machines cannot be "oiled" the way older machines were. Read your sewing machine manual to prevent damage that could lead to costly repairs that could have been avoided