Sewing Machine not stitching properly? (Easy fixes for 25 common problems)

Some very simple solutions to sewing machine not stitching properly as you sew with your sewing machine.

You have started your new project with great anticipation. But your sewing machine does not share your enthusiasm. It has decided to go on a lockout or a hiccup. This is one of the most common and frustrating scenarios a sewist could experience (other than not getting the exact fabric in mind, of course)

But if you know some common problems and their easy solutions, you will be surprised that you can resolve them quickly. Many of these problems can be prevented by properly setting up the machine and maintenance – but if you have developed problems, help is at hand.

How to troubleshoot a Sewing machine problem 

If you suspect a problem with the hardware causing your problem, check out this post on sewing machine repair.

Do this first – Refer to your Sewing Machine Manual

The sewing machine manual you got when you purchased the machine should always be kept near your sewing machine at all times for easy reference anytime a problem arises. It should be thoroughly read before your first stitch. All the settings and maintenance information will be given in them. If you have lost it, you may contact the manufacturer through their online sites; some are available on their websites.

Most of the time, small details may cause the sewing machine hitches. You should check some things first as soon as you have one such hitch. Check the placement of Needle.

The sewing machine often gives you skipped stitches, thread breaks, not taking the bobbin thread, etc. because the needle is not placed correctly. Put the needle, so the flat side is to the back or per your sewing machine manual. Putting it backward is what mine says..

Next to look for is whether the machine is threaded properly. One little missed step and your sewing sequence are off. Check out this post that details how to thread a sewing machine. If you are not thoroughly familiar with your sewing machine – check out this post on different parts of the sewing machine 

This assumes that you have done regular sewing machine maintenance, which is recommended every 100 hours of your sewing machine working. Check out the post on the 3 steps to do sewing machine maintenance.

As a sewing machine vendor told me, the modern home sewing machines, which come with their inner components coated in grease ( comes with the label – do not oil), need yearly maintenance at the showroom by a professional.

So even after home maintenance, if your machine is not behaving or making unnatural sounds, it may be time for a visit to the nearest service center of your particular brand. It is recommended that you take it every 2 years for this deep cleaning.


Sometimes problems arise due to the kind of fabric you are sewing, and you mistake it for a sewing machine problem. 

Why is there excessive noise while sewing?

A knocking noise coming from your machine is giving you jitters. If your sewing machine is making loud noises, there could be various reasons.

The most common explanation is a need for cleaning or maintenance. Right away, stop operating the machine, turn off the power, and inspect the machine for the problem.

Try Replacing the needle.

Another solution is to remove lint from under the needle plate and bobbin area. Lint build-up could also be causing unnatural noises; Use a lint brush to clean out lint and other debris. Clean the race-hook area out with the tip of a pin or needle, brush and blow.

The slightest piece of thread in this area can cause a tight spot. Put a single drop of oil on the race hook.

Also, make sure the thread is not wrapped around the take-up lever. The thread caught around the shuttle also could cause noise; if that is the case, clean the shuttle.

Check out that there are no loose screws in the machine; if yes, and you know what you are doing (beware, some screws are not meant to be tightened), tighten them.

Read the sewing machine manual; if it says so, oil the machine with the appropriate oil to lubricate the parts. But most modern home sewing machines are oiled at the factory and should not be oiled at home.  

If everything else fails, take the machine to the service center for repair.

Why is the machine running slowly?

  • Check foot control.
  • Adjust speed control.
  • Remove lint/dust from under the needle plate.
  • Check if the bobbin winder is still engaged.

If you do not use the sewing machine for a long time, this could be the reason for the machine not working. Motors get damaged if kept in storage for a long time. 

What to do if the machine will not form stitches?

The needle may have come un-threaded. You may also have threaded the machine wrongly. When threading the machine, keep the presser foot up to release the tension. Check out this post on correctly threading the machine.

The needle may be inserted wrong or not all the way; Make sure that the needle is fully inserted and facing the correct directions as specified in the sewing machine manual. Blunt or bent needles also will result in stitches coming undone. Push the needle all the way up the clamp.

The needle may be wrong for the machine. Check out the different types of sewing machine needles you may need and the different needle sizes.

The bobbin may have run out or not been inserted correctly.

If the spool cap is the wrong size for the thread spool, this problem can occur. Replace the cap with the correct size in this case.

If the thread is not properly and fully pulled into the thread sensor guide also this problem can occur.

My sewing machine has suddenly stopped while working. What do  I do? 

Have you been sewing for a long time at low speed continuously? Your sewing machine may have stopped itself to prevent overheating of the motor. In this case, turn off the power and wait for 20 minutes before using it again.

What to do if the motor/light is not working?

  • Make sure the power cord is plugged into the wall and machine.
  • Also, check the fuse and/or wiring in the outlet.
  • Make sure the power strip is on.

What to do if the motor/light is working but the machine not sewing?

Check to see if there is a bobbin on the bobbin winder. Suppose the bobbin winder shaft is pressed to the right ( or however it is in your machine), it is in bobbin winding mode, and the machine will not work.

Check to see if foot control is plugged in properly; make sure foot control can be depressed completely and is free from obstruction.

Replace the presser foot if the needle hits the presser foot.

Ensure that needle is correctly inserted.

Why does the needle break or the needle gets bent/ blunt?

Your needle is the most used part in a machine – so it could have broken due to prolonged use or run over a pin or a hard object while sewing. But if this is not the case –

  • Ensure that you are not pulling on the fabric as you sew. If you force the fabric, it could result in a bend needle which in turn will lead to needle breaking. Ease the work through the machine at the same speed as the machine is going.
  • Make sure the needle is not loose. Insert the needle fully and properly into the needle bar.
  • Check the size/type of needle for the project – this is very important; make sure that the needle size matches for the fabric you are sewing. You cannot use a needle used for lingerie for sewing a heavy upholstery material. Using the correct sized needle is very important.

Checkout this post on selecting the best needle for your project. Using a too fine needle for the work will cause it to bend and snap. As a general rule, thick work, thick needle, thin work, thin needle. Choose sewing machine needle sizes as per this post.

  • Make sure the bobbin is inserted properly.
  • Make sure the thread you are using is free from knots. Cheap threads should be avoided especially for your best projects. Checkout the post about sewing machine threads.
  • Check presser foot is the correct one.
  • Check presser foot presser; make sure the presser foot is securely attached.
  • Check if the needle clamp screw is loose or not.
  • Ballpoint needles are not suitable for dense fabrics like cotton. Use regular sharp needles for these fabrics.
  • When sewing very thick fabric, which is also hanging down and pulling down the needle, support the fabric to prevent the needle from getting bend..
  • Double-check that you have the correct foot and plate, and make sure the machine is set to stitch straight. The needle will break if you are sewing a zig-zag stitch and have a straight stitch needle plate on it.
  • When sewing special fabrics like Leather take precautions. Soften it with soap first, or use talcum powder to allow it to slide under the foot.
  • Sewing very close to the zipper, over the zipper teeth, over sequins, and beads can sometimes cause the needle to bend or break.

Don’t sew over pins because that is a surefire way of breaking all your needles.

Raise the needle out of the fabric before removing it.

With all the precautions and solutions needle still breaks. To continue sewing, keep extra needles at hand at any point in time.

If the needle is stuck inside the bobbin, you have to take apart the bobbin case by taking the ring that holds the hook assembly in place apart. You can do this by loosening up the screw that holds the needle in place, removing the hook, and then removing the stuck needle.

Why do I get the occasional skipped stitches?

This refers to missed stitches which result in one or two skipped stitches merging into one long stitch, occasionally.

Most of the time, this is due to a needle problem. It may be due to a bent or blunt needle or it may not be properly and fully inserted. Simply put in a new needle, even if you have recently changed it.

Select a different type/size needle; If you are missing stitches, go up one size. Change to a stretch needle if the fabric calls for it. Sometimes the problem is with the needle point, like switching between ballpoint or sharp needle and seeing if the problem persists.

Pre-treat ( pre-wash) fabrics to remove excess sizing. The sizing can clog up the needle and the machine.

Using too thick a thread with a fine needle will cause the machine to miss stitches.

Some fabric ( too thin or stretchy) can cause missed stitches. Try adding some interlining or stiffener; even tissue paper will work. I see skipped stitches every time I sew over elastic.

Check if the top thread is too loose or too tight. Check the thread tension. If it is too tight, skipped stitches could occur. Change the tension. Read more on setting the tension on a sewing machine here.

Make sure that you have selected the correct size needle appropriate for the thickness of the material you are sewing. Also, allow the feed dog to move the fabric rather than forcing the fabric with the hand, which usually results in a bend needle.

Apply adequate pressure on the presser foot.

Ensure that you are sewing at an even speed and not pulling the fabric.

Lack of maintenance and lint build-up also can cause missed stitches. Give the machine a good clean around the shuttle area and teeth, then a drop of oil if needed.

You can find a more detailed explanation in this post – Is your Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches? 7 Questions to ask.

Why is my thread winding itself on the shuttle?

Ensure you have drawn the upper and lower thread to the back under the presser foot. This is usually the number one reason the thread winds and bunches on the shuttle, and the needle refuses to move because of the thread jam.

Why is my thread bunching (Bird nesting) up on the fabric?

The thread bunching up may be due to several reasons. Inspect your machine for each of the solutions given below.

  • The bobbin thread is not aligned in bobbin tension; check that bobbin is correctly inserted.
  • Incorrect thread tension. Reset the tension of the upper thread.
  • Ensure that you have drawn both the upper and lower thread to the back under the presser foot.
  • Check if the feed dog is down.
  • Did you thread the machine with the pressure foot raised.
  • Is the thread threaded correctly on the machine – have you missed threading over the take-up lever ?; because it is mostly hidden, I always miss checking this spot.

Thread bunching on the upper side?

This is primarily because of loose tension on the bobbin.  

Thread bunching on the lower side?

This is primarily due to loose tension on the machine’s upper part or higher tension in the bobbin.

Read more on solving this problem here – 10 solutions to thread bunching up under the fabric.

Why is the stitch forming in loops in between?

The number one reason is usually a not properly wound bobbin.

The fabric needs to be taut when the stitch is formed. Adjust the stitch tension. Another reason may be that the machine needs to be threaded properly.

What to do if the top thread breaks frequently? 

There are many reasons for the top thread breaking.

Usually, this happens because the threading is not done properly. Try to re-thread the machine.

Examine the snapped thread. A frayed snap rather than a straight cut is usually because of a rough spot around the bobbin case, race, hook, or needle plate area. Run your finger around the shuttle area and feel for anything sharp. If you find something, however small, polish it away with fine emery paper.  

Sometimes it may be due to a knot in the thread or because of old thread or low-quality thread. Always run your machine with a good-quality thread.

It may be due to incorrect needle size/type for the project – use a bigger needle size. This can also happen if you have a blunt or bend or even a too-sharp needle – the top thread can break. You can try changing the needle – go up one needle size or try a Top Stitch needle.

Adjust tension. If the thread tension is too tight, the thread may break. Make sure your tension dial is tight enough. It should usually be around the middle of the dial.

If the thread is caught on the spool pin, the thread may break.

Did you thread the machine with the presser foot raised?

Make sure the thread and needle are compatible. A thread too thick for the needle and a needle too fine for the thread can also cause problems.

Starting to stitch very fast also can cause the upper thread to break. Make sure that all the procedure is followed in threading the machine.

If you have recently changed a needle, check you have put it in the correct way. Make sure the needle is properly inserted.

The thread is shredding near the needle eye; Why?

Poor quality or even old thread is usually the culprit when thread frays. The friction, when passing through the eye of the needle, shreds the thread strands apart. Good quality thread costs more but they are worth it because they will have fewer weak spots..

Only keep a thread less than ten years old, and do not buy an older one even if it is offered for ‘almost’ free. They usually are bad for sewing.

Check that the appropriate needle is used for the thread. If the eye of the needle is very small, for the thickness of your thread. It will shred. A thread lubricant can be useful in such cases.

When you use decorative specialty threads as top sewing thread, it starts to shred quickly due to the friction through the needle eye. Use the specialty thread on the bobbin instead and stitch from the back of the fabric. This is a solution that is very effective.

Look at the solutions given for the above answer (for thread breaking).

What to do if the bobbin thread breaks?

If the bobbin thread frequently breaks, ensure that the bobbin is inserted properly or bobbin does not have more than the appropriate amount of thread.    

One way to ensure a nice, even bobbin when winding is to rest your finger gently on the reel of thread while winding the bobbin. Never wind bobbins by hand.

Overfilled bobbin can also cause thread breakage. An overfilled bobbin will jam in the bobbin case and cause snapping, remove some of the thread before putting the bobbin into the machine. A bobbin should never be more than 90% full.

A damaged bobbin case is a common problem. Place your bobbin into the case and make sure it turns freely and smoothly as you pull the thread out.

Check whether you have the correct bobbin for your machine.

Lint in the bobbin case will jam the bobbin and cause lower thread to snap. Clean out the case and place a single drop of oil on the shaft.

Why do I get Unattractive/uneven stitches?

Check thread tension and presser foot placement and stitch regulator.

If the top stitches are looking alright but the bottom stitches look loose, either the machine is not threaded rightly or there is not enough tension on the top portion.

If the stitches are loose on the bottom of the material, change the top tension to a higher number. If the stitches are loose on the top, change to a lower number. Do not adjust anything on the bobbin case of modern home sewing machines – they are maintained as a constant, and should not be touched.

Make sure the thread has not come out of the bobbin case.

Lack of stabilizer, inferior thread, and lint build-up, incorrect needle placement also can result in unattractive stitches.

Try vertical instead of horizontal spool pin.

What do I do if the fabric will not feed?

This may be due to many possibilities.

  • The presser foot is not down.
  • You may be using the incorrect foot.
  • The feed teeth could be down or accidentally lowered; Ensure that the feed dog is raised when sewing. On most machines, you should see the teeth rise about 2mm above the needle plate on forward movement.
  • Feel the teeth; do they feel sharp? If they are worn, the fabric will slip. Are they even? Examine the teeth when they are at their highest point and see if they are level; if not, replace them. 
  • Presser foot presser may have to be adjusted. If it is set too low, the fabric will not feed. If the material is too heavy, the presser may not be enough. Refer to your instruction manual on how to increase the pressure. Most machines have a dial or knob above the foot on top or to the side of the machine for this purpose.
  • The stitch length may be too short, like near zero.
  • Check for dust under the needle plate – dust-lint build-up could jam due to debris inside the sewing machine. Remove the needle plate and clean out the grooves between the teeth. If these are full of lint/fluff, they will stop the teeth from rising to the proper height.
  • Make sure the needle plate is firmly seated. Another reason may be the needle plate hole is too big for the particular type of fabric.
  • Check that thread is not knotted under the fabric.

Why is my stitching wrinkled or fabric puckering?

First and foremost, the way you sew could be the reason for this. Keep your fabric taut as you sew by keeping your hands on the fabric in front and to the back of the needle.

For hems and seams that pucker you can use stay tape. You can also use any stable fabric that does not stretch.

Other reasons are

  • If the fabric you are sewing is very soft or a sheer delicate one, use an underlay of tissue paper or two layers. You can also stitch slowly.
  • Suppose the stitch length is too long for the material, decrease the stitch length. A long stitch can produce puckering on fine fabrics.
  • The bobbin thread was wound very fast. You should wind the bobbin thread slowly and evenly.
  • If the needle point has become blunt, change the needle.
  • Check thread tension. Lowering the thread tension helps sometimes.
  • The needle may be bent, or you have the incorrect size/type of needle on the machine.
  • Incorrect or poor-quality thread. You may be using stretchy fabric and non-stretchy thread. Use cotton polyester thread if you know the fabric has stretch. A two-ply thread will stretch more than a three-ply.
  • Wrong presser foot; The wrong foot will cause puckering, for example, using the buttonhole or appliqué foot.
  • Incorrect presser foot presser.
  • Inaccurate or insufficient amount of stabilizer.
  • Lower stitch length.
  • Incorrect thread tension.

More details on solving this can be found in this post : 10 reasons why you have a Puckered seam and fabric {& what to do about it}.

Why do the stitches fail to “grab” at the seam beginning?

This occurs most often with lightweight/loosely woven fabrics – In case of such delicate fabrics, start the seams with an extra bit of fabric to prevent your presser foot from eating your fabric.

  • Increase presser foot presser.
  • Try a smaller needle.
  • Use a straight stitch plate.
  • Be sure threads are under presser foot.
  • Make sure needle is fully inserted.

Why can’t I thread the sewing machine?

This can happen if the needle is not in its highest position. What you can do is to turn the hand wheel until it reaches the highest position.

If the threading hook is not entering the needle eye, it could mean that the needle is not properly inserted. Fully insert the needle into the needle bar to solve this problem. More on threading the machine here.

Why is the needle threader not turning?

The needle threader will not turn if the needle is not up. Turn the hand wheel until it reaches the highest position. 

Why does the needle unthread when I start to sew?

Always have at least six inches of thread out the back of the machine before you start to sew. You can also hold the thread or start the first stitch by hand. 

The Sewing machine is not sewing reverse.

Check whether the machine has the capacity for reverse stitching.

At times, some stitches, like buttonhole or stretch stitches maynot reverse stitch. So check your stitch control and adjust to straight stitch before reverse stitching.

Why are thread loops / birds nests under the fabric as I sew?

This is mostly a tension problem. Adjust the tension and this problem will mostly go away.

Ensure that the take-up lever is in the uppermost position before you sew. If it is not, this may be causing the problem.

Get a long tail of thread from the top thread and bobbin thread and take them to the back of the machine; hold it to the side before you start sewing.

If you get thread bunching up and tangling when backstitching at the beginning of the seam, try straight stitching instead with very short stitches for 1/8″ to 1/4″, then change to the normal stitch length for the remainder of the seam until you’re 1/8″ to 1/4″ from the end. Change back to the very short stitches to finish the seam. 

Why are the threads of my fabric snagging as I sew ?

This is definitely a sewing needle mismatch or a sewing needle defect. Check out the post on sewing needles for selecting an appropriate needle for your fabric.

Why is the fabric not feeding and moving straight ?

This may be a result of worn-out or bent teeth on your needle plate. Check whether the presser foot is properly pressing down on the fabric as you sew – if it is not, it will be impossible to sew straight.

Cleaning of the teeth may be all you need to do if you are lucky because lint in the teeth can make your sewing wonky. 

If you have a gut feeling that your machine needs a trained professional to look over the problem it is having, you are probably right. There are some things only a professional can fix. 

For eg. you have broken gear inside the machine like the timing belt (you will know if the bobbin hook is not moving or taking up the thread when you move the hand wheel towards you, the bobbin thread is not catching into the needle even after you have tried all solutions like re-threading the needle or changing needle.This usually means your machine needs to be re-timed.

When the bobbin case jumps out and seems to be out of sync with your machine and the driver is damaged (The driver is the part that sits right below the bobbin- this moves the hook), the reverse mechanism is jammed, or the reverse gear is damaged, there is a funny smell coming from inside the machine, etc .

Some repairs should be done only by the company – when you are under warranty. 

Related posts:

sewing machine pressure feet guide

sewing machine thread

parts of a sewing machine

first sewing machine

buy used sewing machine


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Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

149 thoughts on “Sewing Machine not stitching properly? (Easy fixes for 25 common problems)”

  1. When sewing all stitches are perfect except for the 1st stitch. The upper thread on 1st stitch is showing through on the bottom. Why is this happening w/beginning 1 stitch? We have checked threading, bobbins, tension.

  2. Thanks for such a great piece on sewing machines!!

    My vintage Kenmore Model 95 (158.150) uses drop-in cams to achieve a satin or zigzag stitch and other decorative stitches. I had the machine thoroughly serviced, for $100, before moving out to a rural area. After being stored for a couple of years, I set out to sew, and found that it sews zigzag stitches at the set width, as long as I sew slowly, but as soon as I speed up, the stitch width drops to barely wider than straight. For some reason, the needle holder really only seems to want to sew to one side of center. I have cleaned and lubricated and lubricated and wrapped the machine in an electric blanket to help the lubricants travel and penetrate, but I haven’t solved the problem. Could it be wear, or a damaged part, rather than inadequate lubrication, causing this problem?

  3. Sorry, but I am looking for complete mechanical spear parts for my rewind Bobbin parts for my Jones Deluxe 1958 sewing machine, I do hope you can help because mine is shattered

  4. Hi
    I have a Bernina 535. I’m not really having any issues sewing, as in it doesn’t trouble me. There’s just one thing. Sometimes when I sew the material will jump up, and get completely tangled into the foot, ja d the only way to get it out is to remove the foot and slowly coax it out. The lady at the dealership where I bought it from says it’s because of the feedog or something and to place the fabric a whole 2-3cm behind the foot; don’t start at the edge. But when you look at the videos on the Bernina website, they don’t necessarily start so far in, the do also start on the edge. Any idea why the fabric jumps like that?
    I’d really, really appreciate any advice you can help me with.
    Thank you

    • Hi
      In my experience, this is a common problem when you sew with thin fabrics. Some machines have it prominently with most fabrics. You will have to hold on to the fabric or use a paper underneath along the edge and other solutions – read this post on sewing with thin fabrics.
      Have you tried using a straight stitch needle plate ? this has a narrow hole and chances of the fabric going in is less.

  5. I have a Kenmore model 1207. The needle continues to move when threading the bobbin even after unlocking the hand wheel. I can’t find anything on line that shows me how to fix this. There aren’t any sewing machine repair services nearby and I would love to fix it myself.

    • This is almost certainly due to the hand wheel ‘dragging’ on its shaft after the clutch is loosened for bobbin winding. You may need to remove an end cover to expose the motor mount. You need to remove the small knurled inner wheel that you turn to unlock the clutch. This may have an offset screw or a centre screw. Loosen the motor tensioner and remove the drive belt. The hand wheel can then be pulled off the shaft. Clean the shaft and inside the wheel with spirit etc, dry and apply a spot of light oil to the shaft and to the inside of the wheel. Reassemble.

  6. I bought a vintage zigzag sewing machine it is a model Dom-b was made in Japan. It has a lot of different zigzag patterns and it depends on whether you have the needle in L.M.R. position on some of the patterns and it sews them great .But my problem is that it will not sew a straight stitch I have a manual and have done everything that it says to do but it still will not sew a straight line .Do you know how I can fix this . I have clean and oiled it hope that maybe it is stuck some how but that has not fixed it either.

    • I have just recently got a vintage Dial-N-Sew model 516ss made by KOYO machine Industries Osaka Japan. And I can only get it to do zigzag also. Only has 2 dials on the front and both are numbered 1-5 and the smaller one has button hole options. But that is all. No straight stitch option or even shows a zigzag option, that’s just ALL it will do. So is it possible that they just made some machines to do zigzag only?

  7. I have a 25-year-old Viking # 1, not sufficiently maintained, I believe was permanently oiled. The hand wheel is locked & the machine frozen. Is this expensive machine repairable at a decent cost, or should I trash it?

  8. It is a best write up on troubleshootsewing machine problems. I enjoyed reading this article.I like how you have researched and presented these exact points so clearly.I am sure many people will come to read more about it in future. I have also found this resource useful and its related to what you are mentioning.

  9. I am a new sewer and I’m having a major issue. I have a Brother CS6000i and used it yesterday and it was perfectly fine but today however, When I sew the presser foot doesn’t move as it did when I first used it. I looked up many videos and none seem to be related with the issue I’m having. PLEASE HELP.

    • Hi Kyah
      I think you mean the feed dog (the bed under the needle which moves the fabric) not the presser feet because presser feet doesnot move as you sew. You can loosen the screws of the needle plate and take it out and check whether any lint/thread is blocking (near the bobbin compartment or anywhere nearby) the movement of the feed dog. Other than that you will have to check all that is mentioned in this article one by one.

  10. Hi I have a A new home classmate sewing machine I cannot get the needle arm to go up and down when I am hand cranking it or sewing with the presser foot but I took the screwdriver and pop the Cover off and the belts are fine it’s oiled but I can take a screwdriver to that screw that makes the arm go up and down and it goes up and downBut it won’t handcrank or so with the presser foot

  11. Hi- I have a Brother CS6000i and my machine seems to be stuck in reverse, only sewing backwards. Sometimes, randomly, it will start working as normal again but I cannot rely on this. Does anyone know how to fix it?

  12. Hi there – I’ve got a Janome J3-18 and have never had a problem with it – but today, trying to sew a face mask (!) the stitches just won’t form properly – bottom row of stitching is just a thread with regular little loops over it where the stitch hasn’t formed properly, so you can just pull the bottom thread out and all the stitches undo. I’ve tried bobbin tension, stitch length, bobbin tightening etc but to no avail…. HELP!

  13. I have a juki DX5. When free motion quilting, the thread wraps around the thread lifter. I have changed needle, re-threaded and cleaned the bobbin area. The thread continues to break. I just don’t know what else to try. Don’t understand why it continues to knot around the thread lifter.

    • Hi
      Have you checked if the sewing machine tension is correctly set for free motion stitching? – both for the top thread and the bobbin thread. Though you usually don’t tinker with bobbin tension you have to do what you have to do in desperate situations. Did you read your sewing machine manual – may be the kind of machine you have needs some other adjustments for free motion quilting? Hope you find a solution soon

    • Hi Connie, I’m having exactly the same problem with my Janome JE918 (a very old model). Just wondered if you found the answer to your problem?

  14. Hi my machine is emel product the problem I have is that while working the machine will stop suddenly and it will not move to the front or to the back.hope their is any remedy to this,because that is what am facing right now

    • Hi Johannes
      I am sorry – I hope someone who knows about the machine will read your query and answer. Hope that no thread is stuck anywhere.

    • Look for thread being stuck or dust. Check both the bobbin case and the upper thread tension area or above the needle are. Most Brother machine have a screw in the back that will open the area on top to clean and check for stuck thread. When upper thread keeps breaking it can get caught and cause the machine not to sew.

  15. My handwheel is hard to turn, then clogs the thread up. My singer is is 1116. I am trying to sew over elastic in making face masks. Help

    • Betsy O’brien

      I have the same problem,Norma and I am also sewing masks. Please send me a reply to fix our problem

    • Hello,
      Please I have a old singer1119 manual machine and I use it to sew leather but I noticed it not sewing at all and I have checked the needle, thread and have even clean the needle plate but it still not sewing. I will appreciate it if you can attend to my request. Thank you

    • Hi Norma
      Did you try to take up the feed dog part by loosening the screws there. May be something is stuck there. Whenever fabric gets stuck during sewing never forcefully pull the fabric out. Loosen the screws with a screwdriver, take up the feed dog , clean up and then put it back together. The repair person I went to told me that most machines get damaged when people frocefully pull the fabric out when it is stuck.

  16. I have an Elna 9000. The bobbin thread isn’t engaging. I took apart everything and cleaned lint, etc. and it’s still not working. Any suggestions would be helpful.

  17. Hey guys please help me my machine name is Zoje and it a flat one

    the problem is that when I turned on a spark just came by and a white flame blew so now when I turn it now it not turning on so please guys help me what may be the problem of it

    • Hi
      May be the motor is damaged due to short circuit. Better to show it to a repair person for the particular machine. Unplug the powercord to prevent more damage.

  18. Thanks for this article, so I bought an electric sewing machine, and while I was still a beginner, as I began to sew, the machine stopped working, I was told that I pressed the machine the opposite way, then i have locked the neck of the machine accidentally… Please, what can I do to fix this.

    • Hi Atunwase
      Did you take it for repair?. If it is during the free service period they will come and repair it for free, right?

  19. Hi,
    Mine is singer promise 1409 sewing machine is not running after a proper power supply.what would be the problem.How can I check and fix the problem.


    • Frister rossmann panda 6. The presser foot holder keeps dropping off no matter how tight I turn the screw. Any suggestions? Thanks

  20. I have a Brothers machine # LS2125. It has been sewing perfect ,then the top thread will not bring the bobbin thread up. I’ve cleaned it, brush and air,changed needles,lowered the needle,and checked the tension on top and botton!

    • Hi Carol
      Did you check whether your needle is set in the slot for the needle properly with the flat side of the needle facing the back or as per your sewing manual says . If this simple solution is not your problem watch this video www.

  21. i have a consew 206 RB-5 industrial walking foot and i sew leather exclusively. i am having a problem where on every stitch when the top thread is being pulled across the top of the bobbin case during the needles up motion after completing a stitch, the thread is getting held up several places on the bobbin case. most of the time it does still make a stitch but if i start to go fast then it snaps every time. it makes a clear sound as it is dragged over the bobbin case

  22. I have an old Singer 447 and my husband has replaced the top bevel cog which I believe is a common problem with this model.
    The machine is stitching again but only straight stitches – it will not sew zig zag and skips most stitches leaving a straight line. What have we done wrong?

    • I’m am having this problem too. The needle does not go all the way down. It is a Singer and has been used very little.

  23. I have a Babylock Ellegante3 machine and the thread keeps bunching up in the bobbin area. I have cleaned it and replaced the bobbin and made sure it machines up in the machine, but it still will not sew. What can I do?

  24. Hi I have an old electric singer. The needle has just snapped. On investigation the bobbin holder was blocking the progress of the needle under the presser plate.. I have resited and cleaned the bobbin /area. The needle is running free but not picking up the thread from the spool. Can you help?

    • If you have a Singer Featherweight, check your bobbin case. The finger has to fit up in the slot in the faceplate.

    • ( 1 ) First of all was the machine giving you a good clean stitch before?
      ( 2 ) Have you had any difficult with the needle going through heavier material before the fault occurred?
      ( 3 ) Solution could be the wrong needle replacement. Check the right needle is in.
      ( 4 ) ” If the needle is not picking up the thread check that the needle is the right way round ie the screw pressure is facing the flat of the needle. this also affects the pickup
      from the bobbin.
      All of the questions 1&2 relate to the needle bar that the needle is attached to. If this is moved by not going through heavy material or a pin for instance this can move the bar and throw out the timing for picking up the thread from the bobbin.
      Take off the plate where the needle bar goes up and down and remove the cover where the bobbin is underneath,also remove the foot, with the machine motor switched off and with a correct needle in place, wind the wheel around and see if the needle when it goes down does it go into the bobbin pickup hole without touching anything, and does the top thread pick up any bottom thread at all?
      If not, the top bar needs to come down minutely to adjust the timing. Do this by hand
      until the thread picks up correctly. If in doubt go to a machine mechanic. Best of luck.

    • I am having the same problem I have read the manual and ask of advice form the singer sewing machine support and I get emails back,
      I have cleaned my bobbin area, I have put in new needles and oil it too.
      I the stitches are all ok…so I know that that part is ok…but then after a few lines of testing
      to see how the stitches look they are ok.. But when i continue to sew it happens over and over. I am getting tired of take the needle off and taking the throat plate off and to cute
      the treads jams away…and change to another needle and change the stitch selections
      for over & over again. I emailed my repairman and he had emailed me back yet? Now What?

  25. I have a Singer Confidence Quilter 7469. The foot pedal started working intermittently. So I purchased a replacement pedal (from Singer) for the the 7469 and it doesn’t work at all. It just beeps when plugged in, but never worked at all. So I’m back to the old pedal, which does work, but not all the time. Could there be something wrong with my machine, instead of the pedal being defective?

  26. Our singer winds the thread under the bobbin. cleaned it still winding under. Any ideas, we have done new needle, rethreading machine ect’

  27. Top thread is jammed in the part where it goes ‘down and up and down again’ An extra thread got mixed in with my top thread and now is wound inextricably in there. There doesn’t appear to be any access to that part to get it unstuck. It’s a Janome Decor Computer. Thank you.

    • Hi Janet
      In my machine there is a screw in the back of that part which you should unscrew ( use the screw driver you got with the machine) – that part comes off and I clean it inside- this is what I do with my machine – yours might be different – but there is usually something to open it up

    • Hi Tshidi
      Did you check the options under What to do if the motor/light is working but the machine not sewing? given above – other than those I can only think about checking if some thread/dust/lint is blocking your machine from working.

    • I’m having a problem with the feeder not working. I can hear the motor but there is no movement with the needle. I’ve checked for lint still not working???

    • Did you get your machine fix? I’m also having the same issues like yours. Please let me know if you found a solution.

    • My electric sewing machine wheel removed and whenever I fix it back it doesn’t work but keeps removing. What do I do??

  28. I have a Janome 6600P sewing machine, and the stitch length is not uniform. It will start sewing at the length I have chosen, and then, all of a sudden, it changes the length of stitch on the fabric, not on the display panel. They change to very, very, small stitches. How do I remedy this?


    • Hi Zualbawihi
      Sounds like a hardware problem.Did you try to tighten with a screwdriver ? is the needle right for your machine?

  30. As soon as I plug in my sewing machine the needle starts going up and down. Can you explain how to fix problem thanks. Machine is an old Frister Rossman Beaver 4.

    • Hi Akins
      You have sewing machine showrooms near you ? – usually, they have franchisee retailers or showrooms the brands themselves own. You will have to search in your area. hope you will find what you want . Best wishes

  31. Is the singer sewing machine works like 4in1 mini sewing machine? That is, is it using battery as well? And how do I get the singer brand?

    • Hi Akin
      The usual singer and other brand machines use a motor ( which comes with it, just like for the mini machine) and you plug the machine into a power outlet in your house. That is how it works. You move the machine and control its operations by operating a foot pedal

  32. My mini sewing machine is giving me problem, it’s normally hooked when am sewing, and the needle is making sound on the presser foot, how do I fix the problem?

    • Hi Akins
      Do you have spare needles? And did you try to change the needle ? I am afraid I am out of my depth here with mini sewing machines – Have heard they are very fragile

    • If you have tried the solutions given here like cleaning the whole machine, changing the needle, rethreading the machine properly etc, your machine may be in need of a service. Most modern machines need to be serviced by professionals after some use as you yourself should not put oil in them .

  33. I have an innovis brother machine and the blind stitch is looping up even though I have changed needlean d cleared the race it makes no difference

  34. Hi
    I bought a new sewing machine in which the bobbin thread not come out properly. How to solve this problem. Where is the service center near Chennai

    • Hi
      Depends on your brand of the machine – a google search would tell you; Is the needle correctly inserted?

  35. Dear Sir/Madam,

    Thank you so much for this blog, I was searching for these informations from past 6mnts. Here I got more than what I needed. Requesting you to put information regarding internal parts of a Sewing Machine.

    Thanks & Regards

  36. Hi! I’m having difficulty, as I am just getting back into sewing, and am hoping someone can offer some advice before I take it for servicing.

    I recently purchased a brother XR-31. The shuttle hook is the mechanism that holds the bobbin case, correct? If so, currently, pushing down on the pedal does not cause the shuttle hook to rotate. I am able to rotate the shuttle hook by hand and it seems to move without much effort. I also took it out to ensure it wasn’t dirty and reassembled. It still is not rotating when pushing the pedal or turning the wheel.

    At this point in my Root Cause Analysis, I concluded that there must be a disconnection somewhere in the machine? Such as the driveshaft(s)? Maybe?

    Also, I feel that I should make note that yesterday evening some thread bunched up underneath because of a tension issue. I was able to remove and resume sewing.

  37. I have a Singer treadle sewing machine and all of a sudden, my “top stitch” is now on the “bottom” of my material. And the “bottom stitch is now on the “top” of my material. Can anyone Help me out? I’ve sewn on this machine for at least “40” years and Never had this happen. My machine is a Singer Treadle , model 66. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • Hi Lisa
      Sorry for the trouble you have with your sewing machine. I am out of my depth here. Hope someone else will chime in with a solution.

    • Hi Mary
      I donot have an idea as to your machines specific settings. Wouldnt your manual have an indication about this ? I keep the tension between 2 and 3 on my home use brother machine; if there are more layers increase the tension to 4.

    • Sally
      Seems like your regulator is jammed or needs some oiling. If your machine is the kind which takes oiling try that or if the manual says no oiling give it to the repair shop for a service . cheers

    • Did you check the upper tension
      is the pressure foot up when you thread?
      as you thread is the thread going through the tension discs properly?
      is the bobbin right for your machine?
      if all this is done ok, may be take the machine for repair

  38. My White 1700 Jean machine makes a loud screeching noise when start to sew when you press down on the foot control the screeching stops. Sounds like a bad reed on a clarinet.

  39. Could anyone tell me why my machine will do a zigzag stitch perfectly one day and the next day the zigzag only shows up on the bottom of the fabric. The stitching on the top is not the same. Not sure what the stitch is. Thanks for any help!

    • I have a White Jeans Machine (1577) and it is now doing the same thing! I have no clue why. It was fine one day and now I have a zigzag stitch for bottom thread and the top thread in just going in a straight line – doesn’t appear to be stitching at all. I’ve gotten the lint out etc. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Holly
      Did you try to adjust the upper thread tension? Usually, when i loosen the top tension I get loops on the back. could this be what happened to you?
      Adjust the bobbin case tension also simultaneously so that they balance.
      You will have to make a checklist and try many solutions – tick and go and see what works

    • I had done (I thought) everything! So now, I have a cleaned out, new needle and less upper tension sewing machine that is working like new! Thanks so much!!!

  40. I know that this may sound petty, but the proper term is Presser foot, not Pressure foot.

    To the person who said something about the machine not stopping when they take their foot off of the foot control – be sure your foot control is not getting stuck under the edge of the cabinet or something else on the floor. The cord on the foot control should only be long enough to reach the floor and your foot comfortably. If it is too long, and you don’t have a retractable cord, shorten it by tying the excess up with a cord lock or a twist tie.

    • Hi Sandra Jones, I just bought a 7640 Confindence Singer Sewing Machine. It is running fine except for one problem. The Machine does not stop sewing when I take my foot off the foot pedal. it just keeps going and i can’t figure out how to stop it. Nothing is stuck by pedal. cord is just long enough to reach floor. is this mechanical defect? should I return the machine?

    • Hi Sandra
      So sorry to hear your trouble just after buying the new machine – Did you check if the pedal is jammed somehow giving the effect of your foot pressing down – I think you should call and ask the retailer what to do or is it an online purchase? Try to call the singer company service center toll free no. Usually this happens when something is stuck in the pedal but yours is a new machine so the company is answerable to it . It is dangerous to operate as it is.

    • Hi Manu
      Hope you tried the solutions detailed in this post. If you are still having problems it might be time for a visit to the nearest service shop for the particular brand ( the retailers can tell you where to repair it – in my place the shops themselves do the repair as well )

  41. My feed dog is not moving whenever i’m sewing,the fabric will not move for the next stitches unless i pull it, please what do I need to adjust

  42. Thank you for your advice , it was very helpful. If I may point out a spelling ( or grammar) error in your writing . The word “Anyways” is pronounced “Anyway” you don’t add the “S”, it’s a big no no. Thanks again for your advice.

  43. My machine is not stitching correctly the bobbin isn’t catching
    When I pull the bottom thread it just comes out
    I am using clear thread could that be the problem

  44. When I straight stitch it will only go backwards and when I push the reverse button, it goes forward! Is there something under the base that could have been misplaced when my friend’s husband tinkered with her machine? I have taken the base off, but things look pretty good, but obviously, things are not running the way they should. Thank you.

  45. My machine keeps sewing for about 6 stitches after I stop, could you please help me, it’s a industrial auto brother .thanking you Denise

    • I am afraid I have no idea 🙂 is it your motor – guessing because you said machine stops. My machine stops like that at times when the power outlet gets loose .

    • Hi Sinky,
      First take off the belt that connects the motor to the sewing machine and see if the motor goes on its own without stopping. if it does its possible that your machine needs a good oiling. If needed proceed to oil on all the areas needed but sparingly. take out your bobbin and any thread you may have on the machine before you oil.leave for a couple of hours for the oil to penetrate and put some old cloth around the base or sewing area to catch any suplus. Wind by hand on the wheel to help free any seized parts and clear any lint that may have accumulated. Re-connect your belt and proceed to sew on some old cloth until all the residue oil is gone.Good luck

  46. As soon as I start sewing, my thread comes out of the needle. It doesn’t appear to have broken, it just seems to slip out. After rethreading, I don’t know what position to put the needle in, it’s sort of hit or miss; a position that works one time does not work the next. I waste (spend) a lot of time rethreading the needle and am getting frustrated. I am going to try some suggestions made above and will come back if they work.

    • Hi Judith
      seems like you are not putting the needle correctly. if you have the sewing manual it will have instructions to correctly put the needle in or go to the nearest showroom for sewing machines of your model – they will have technicians who will advice you most likely.

    • Before starting to sew take both threads to the back of the needle and hold them while sewing the first few stitches then you can let go. All the machines I have used unthread on starting if you don’t do this.

    • 🙁 Depends on how much it costs to buy a similar machine now, right ? Yes repair is costly and machines getting cheaper

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