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Common Sewing Machine Problems: How To Fix Them?

A sewing machine makes our life so much easier, doesn’t it?

You might need hours to finish the job that takes a machine mere minutes. A machine certainly helps us save time and unnecessary efforts. That is until the machine falters and you are left with a technical problem.

Whether you are using a traditional, basic sewing machine or an electrical one, they are bound to come across some problems at one point.If you are a newbie to this world, some of the problems may seem extremely annoying and complicated to you.

But the truth is, most of the problems that you can face with your sewing machine are common and can be easily fixed by you.

Here are seven of the most common problems of a sewing machine and the easy solutions to fix them.

Problem#1: When your needles keep breaking or bending while sewing


When you are working on a large project, it becomes quite annoying if the needles keep breaking or bending every now and then. Having to change your needles often is truly a hindrance in the middle of sewing, and it could seriously damage the perfection of your work. It can even hurt your fingers if you’re not careful.

There are two ways to deal with this:

  • Always keep at least a dozen or more needles with you when you are starting a new project. Put in a new needle every now and then before the one you are using breaks/bends and damages your clothes.

Changing your needles every few hours will save you the hassle of damaged fabrics or blotched projects, and you won’t have to stop what you were doing; your fingers would also be safe from harm.

  • Always make sure that you are using the correct needle type/size for your project. If you are using thicker fabric like denim, vinyl of leather, you need sturdy, sharp needles; on the other hand, if you are using basic fabrics for garments, you need a ballpoint or a jersey needle.

Your needles may break if you are using the wrong type for your project. If you are using a fine needle for thicker fabric, it has more chances of breaking than if you are using a sturdy needle.

Also, make sure that you are not sewing over pins, buttons or any kind of adornments, because that will also cause your needles to break or bend.

Problem#2: When your machine keeps skipping stitches


If your machine keeps skipping stitches, the mistake possibly lies with the needles. This can happen if your needle has bent or broken while in use and you hadn’t noticed it.

If this is the case, you have to immediately stop sewing and carefully change the needle. Even if the needle isn’t broken or bend, it may have become dull and needs changing.

Another reason could be that you are using the wrong needles for the project. If the fabric you are working on is thick and the needle is small, it may cause skipped stitches. Change the needle and choose a more appropriate one for the job, if this is the case.

This problem can also occur if the top thread has become too tight or too loose. If you start skipping stitches, you should check the thread tension and change it to the normal range.

Something else that you can do is to make sure you are putting the right amount of pressure needed on the presser foot.

If you are sewing at a speed that is higher than what is needed for the fabric you are using, it may cause skipped stitches. If this is the reason, you need to go a little slow even if you are in a hurry, especially if you want a flawless project.

Problem#3: When your machine isn’t sewing or has suddenly stopped sewing 


If your machine has suddenly stopped working mid-sewing, it could be because there has been any sort of problem with the main connection (in case of an electric sewing machine). If you are using a mechanical sewing machine and it stops working, check if there is a bobbin in the bobbin winder.

Remove and change it if necessary, or simply remove and put it back. The position of the bobbin depends on your model of the machine; see that it is exactly the way it should be according to the manual.

If your light/motor is on, but the machine is not operating, make sure the foot control is plugged right. Remove and connect it to the machine, and then try again. The needle should also be checked to see if it is inserted properly, as should the presser foot.

Problem#4: When your thread keeps breaking when sewing


If your thread is occasionally breaking, it might mean that you are not using a very good quality thread. You might need something stronger and sturdier for the project at hand.

Breaking of threads often indicates that the fabric is too much for the thread to handle; some threads are delicate and made especially for hand-sewn projects, and they should not be used in machines.

The best solution to this problem is to replace the thread you are using with something sturdier and more capable of taking the pressure. You can also rethread the machine, sew a little slower than the speed that you were going,and put a little less pressure on the presser foot.

Problem#5: When your machine is making strange noises 


Sewing machines are quite noisy in general, but sometimes you can hear a few strange noises coming from the machine. If you hear something strange, your first step should be to immediately stop sewing and take your project out of the machine. Next, you can inspect the machine to see what’s wrong.

Your machine may need a good cleaning if it is making noises. Make sure to clean the internal parts of the machine, take out all the lint accumulated inside, and give the space a dusting. If it has been a long time since you’ve oiled your machine, the noise might mean it is time to add a few drops of sewing machine oil to the motors as well.

The motors might also suffer from accumulated dust particles. Clean the motors with a lint brush before you add some oil drops on it, and the noises will stop altogether.

Problem#6: When your stitches are coming out wavy or disheveled.  


If your stitches are not straight when you want them to be, it could mean that your fabric isn’t taut or sturdy. The fabric that you feed into the needle needs to be as straight and taut as possible; if the fabric has creases, the stitch will come out wavy and bendy.

This is why, some fabrics need to be washed and ironed before sewing on it. Go slow and gently straighten the fabric as it feeds into the needle, and the stitches will come out even.

Another reason could be that the thread can come out of the bobbin case, or that the thread tension and the placement of the presser foot are wrong. If they are both all right, check the stitch regulator too. You might have chosen a wrong stitch for the fabric that you are using.

Some other reasons for wavy and uneven stitches could be the lack of stabilizer in the machine, the inferior quality of the thread you are using, a massive amount of lint build up inside the machine, or even a misplaced needle.

Check to see if the needle has been inserted properly or if the needle is in good working condition, i.e. not broken or bent.

Problem#7: When your threads keep bunching up under the fabric.  


Your designs may get a haphazard look if your threads keep bunching up under the fabric. This usually occurs if your thread has somehow gotten knotted at one point. This is not a fault of the machine, per se, but maybe of the thread.

The best way to deal with it is to imply cut away a part of the knotted thread from underneath the fabric in a manner that the stitches don’t come out.

Most of the problems that occur when you use a sewing machine can be solved at home, without the assistance of a professional. However, it is important that you regularly clean and oil your sewing machine, as per the instructions of the manual.

Keeping your sewing machine clean and maintained well will guarantee you years and years of trouble free use, and all the simple problems that you face will become easy to handle.

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