Tips for Repairing a Sewing Machine

Tips for Repairing a Sewing Machine: The Common Problems and Solutions

Spread the love

Did you ever wonder if there are tips for repairing a sewing machine that you can apply instead of bringing it to the professional repairman each time some issues occur? As similar to any products, there are ways to go about your sewing machine issue, depending on the gravity of the problem.

When individuals are learning how to use a sewing machine, mistakes are inevitable since they constitute part of the learning curve. A skilled seamstress can also face challenges due to dreaded skipped stitches, broken needles, thread bunching, or general machine breakdown. Stitches that turn out puckered, loopy or uneven might be signs of inappropriate pressure on the pressure foot, a misaligned needle, worn-out tension disk, or an insecure needle plate.

Below, we have listed the common problems encountered by both novice and experienced sewing machine users, together with the tricks on how to repair each problem.

Tips for Repairing a Sewing Machine

1. Thread Bunching

When a thread is bunching under the fabric, it implies that the top has a perfectly straight stitch while a “bird’s nest” is formed on the bottom.

A seamstress may assume that this inconsistency is caused by the bobbin, but this might not be the actual cause. They fail to acknowledge that the thread can snarl under the fabric due to decreased tension on the upper thread.

The best remedy to this problem is to raise the presser foot lifter and rethread the machine since the tension mechanism will open up to receive the thread. Depending on the description given in your machine’s manual, you will also be required to raise the needle and the take-up lever to the highest position, which will help confirm that the right tension has been obtained.

2. Skipped Stitches

If the stitches are skipping entirely or coming out uneven, there is a high chance that the needle is damaged or broken. According to expert recommendations, the needle should be replaced after every sixteen hours of stitching time.

This problem can also arise if the fabric is mishandled while sewing. If you develop a tendency of making the fabric go through the sewing machine by pulling the fabric forcefully from behind, the outcome might be unclean stitching or machine breakage.

Such a technique of force-feeding the fabric might work against the metal teeth-like ridges known as feed dogs that grip the bottom of the fabric, making it move further from the needle during stitching. Refraining from force-feeding the fabric is the best way to avoid this problem.

3. Constant Needle Breaks

If the needle keeps breaking, you might be using the wrong needle. The size of the needle determines the machine’s output, and selection of the right size can lead to improvement in its performance. Needle sizes range from eight to eighteen, but each size has a specified function.

A needle of size nine or eleven is ideal for delicate, lightweight fabrics such as organza, silk, or chiffon, while a needle of size fourteen is ideal for medium-weight fabrics such as linen, flannel, and synthetic suede. On the other hand, a needle of size sixteen or eighteen is preserved for heavyweight fabrics such as denim due to its strength.

Also, remember to check whether you are using the appropriate type of tip. A needle can either have a regular point, ballpoint, or wedge point.

4. Thread Knots

If the thread begins knotting up together or get jammed in the sewing machine, you should examine both bobbin and spool thread to confirm if they are sticking out toward the sewing machine’s backside. Putting the thread in the right direction and ensuring that the sewing starts a few millimeters from the edge of the fabric prevents it from twisting up.

Another cause of this problem is if there is insufficient fabric under the needle when stitching begins because tangling up of the spool thread with the bobbin thread that lay underneath it might occur, which in turn creates knots.

5. Jammed Machine

Sometimes, the sewing machine might jam and stop sewing. When this problem occurs, it is advisable to remove the fabric you were trying to sew.

For safe removal, gently tug at the fabric and lift it slightly to snip at the sewing threads until the fabric is detached from the machine. After that, remove all the jammed threads before you begin to sew again. Remember also to examine the needle and confirm that it is not bent since it could also be the cause of the problem.

6. Lower Thread Breakages

The improper winding of the bobbin might cause the lower thread to break. Regardless of whether the bobbin is wound on top of the hand wheel, inside the machine or on the front side next to the hand wheel, the main “bobbin” rules apply.

The bobbin should be wound with a complete thread evenly and across to form layers, but you must refrain from winding it fully that it poses a challenge while inserting it in the bobbin case. Some newer models of sewing machines are fitted with a device that enables an automatic “shut off” when the bobbin gets full, but if your model does not, you will need to be aware of this precautionary measure.

The spool and bobbin thread should also not have varying sizes unless you intend to do some specialty sewing or sewing machine embroidery. If different weights of sewing thread are used, ragged stitches and other complicated stitching problems will arise besides lower thread breakages.

7. Disturbing Machine Sounds

Tightening the screws of the sewing machine is another important repair mechanism. Loosening of the screws used to join the various parts of the sewing machine may make it rattle unnecessarily, so it is recommended to examine loose parts on a regular basis and tighten the visible screws and bolts. Nonetheless, caution should be taken to avoid over tightening the screws to avoid minor problems.

If your machine is producing clunking, banging and grinding noises, it needs thorough examination since this might be a signal of minor problems that could result in a major breakdown. These signals usually indicate that a key part of the machine has jammed up or is rubbing against other parts.

Some Maintenance Tips

As your machine gets older, there is a likelihood that it will require periodic checkups to identify any faulty parts that need to be replaced before the problem worsens. To ensure that your machine is well-maintained, here are some of the things that you should do.

1. Allow the Machine to Rest

Constant usage of the machine can make it overheat and begin to malfunction. Overheating occurs when the fibers get trapped in the bobbin or if you fail to oil the machine. A burnt smell normally indicates this problem.

Giving the machine a break after prolonged hours of sewing can also help you avoid overlooking any problems. Although this technique might sound irrelevant, it is vital since it eliminates vague assumptions.

2. Clean and Oil It

As mentioned, frequently cleaning and oiling the machine can prevent overheating. This will also ensure that all the parts won’t stuck up. Make sure though to follow the guidelines outlined in the sewing machine manual.

3. Changing of Parts

Periodic replacement of worn-out and old parts may prevent frequent breakdowns and other minor problems that lead to poor sewing.


It is recommended that you use the above tips to repair a sewing machine before a problem gets worse. These repair tactics help in mitigating the damage that could result in costly repairs.

With the knowledge you’ve just obtained, if the sewing machine develops a solvable mechanical problem, you can immediately fix it and later obtain help from technicians if the problem persists. The last thing to remember is that it is important to keep tools such as screwdrivers, tweezers, an emery cloth, and sewing machine oil since they aid in repairing and maintaining the machine.

About the Author SMC

Leave a Comment: