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Repairing a Singer Sewing Machine

Some problems that you may experience with your sewing machine can be repaired or adjusted at home, others will need to be looked at by a repair person. This is a guide about repairing a Singer sewing machine.

Singer Sewing Machine
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July 23, 2016 Flag
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I have a Featherweight sewing machine, circa 1950, Mod#221-1. I don't use it much and then only for hemming slacks, shorts, fixing my flags, etc. It has always worked great. The last time I set it up for use was about 2 weeks ago. I was half way finished with my job when I noticed it was stitching perfectly on top, but the bottom stitching was all bunching up. So I pulled all of the stitching out and was going to start over, but needed more thread on the bobbin. I was just starting the process of filling the bobbin when it just quit functioning. The motor will run fine, but it just won't sew. The belt is looking good and motor is good. I tried to turn the wheel on the right, but can't. However, the sewing arm will slightly move up/down when I try to move the wheel, but it just won't move any further. It is as if something is either broken or has become disconnected, so that it won't function. I would like to try to fix this with some help before I turn it loose on some of the local repair persons. None have very good references and all try to overcharge and have no customer service. I'll take any help you can give me.


BTW: I'm new to sewing and have only used this machine which does nothing but straight stitch. Additionally, this has a lot of sentimental value since it was my grandma's and my mother's before she gave it to me.

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    July 25, 20160 found this helpful

    Nothing's quite as frustrating, right? In the middle of a project and the darn machine quits? (I've been sewing for more than 30 years and remember those early days well. If it turns out you love to sew, consider - at some point - investing in a good machine: it makes the world of difference.)

    To the problem at hand: first, remove all threads, spools (including bobbin) and lint. If you can unscrew the plate beneath the presser foot, do so. Use a small brush to get rid of fabric and thread remnants in the undercarriage. If you use canned air to blow / clean your computer fan, use a spurt to get rid of the last of the lint beneath the presser foot. Use the same canned air to dislodge any potential thread blockage in the sewing machine foot pedal.

    At this point it's crucial to check the entire area where the lower thread bobbin resides. Some sewing machines are extremely sensitive in this regard. (I'm not familiar with your make / model but have dealt with Singer and Husqvarna which I consider to be the most tempermental and problematic sewing machines extant.)

    Once clear of all blockages, try turning the hand crank. You may want to give it a quick burst of WD-40. Depress the foot pedal and keep trying to turn the machine by hand. Do not add any threads at this point.

    If your machine still refuses to engage, you may indeed have a broken shaft, but at least you'll have tried everything before spending money.

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    May 4, 2016 Flag
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    I have a Kenmore 8 sewing machine. The needle will move up and down with the handwheel on the right, but not with the pedal. When I press down the pedal the wheel moves, but the needle does not. I checked the bobbin threading position and also took apart the bobbin area and there was no tangled thread that I could see. The machine zooms like it's working, but the needle is still. Any ideas?
    Thanks so much!

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      July 21, 20160 found this helpful

      The wheel will only bring the needle half way down to feed dogs on my singer superb machine.

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      March 12, 2016 Flag
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      I got a Singer sewing machine model 7011. It stitches on the top, but gathers on the bottom of the fabric. We changed the bobbin, but nothing changed. What would be the next step? We got it at a garage sale about 10yrs ago.

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        March 15, 20160 found this helpful

        When thread is bunching underneath the fabric it is usually a problem of tension balance. The upper thread doesn't go down enough. Reduce the tension on the needle thread by putting the tension knob on an average tension level.

        There is also a little screw on the bobbin holder that adjust the tension on the bobbin thread you can tighten it with a screw driver. As Grandma J. said dusting, cleaning all parts

        of the machine where the threads go through is very important specially the tension disks in your case (these are the disks the tension knob is pressing on) and of course make sure you are using the same kind of thread for the bobbin and to feed the needle.

        They can be different in colours but they must be the same type of thread, cotton or polyester and good quality threads made for sewing machine and not thread for hand sewing which are wax coated to make them stronger.

        If they are different in type it will be very difficult to balance the tension as for example cotton thread and polyester thread do not have the same elasticity.

        Balancing the tension is the tricky part of sewing with a sewing machine even with the most modern machines. Once you have succeeded don't forget that the first thing you should sew is a proper cover made to the shape of your machine that will protect it from dust.

        Hope this helps !

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        April 6, 2016 Flag
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        I just bought a Singer 301a. The needle is centre correctly, but my attached presser foot is not. It is shifted to the left so the needle is very close to the right hand side of the foot. This is the case for all the feet. How do I adjust the presser foot bar so they are centred correctly. Otherwise, I see broken needles in my future.

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          April 8, 20160 found this helpful

          Here's a link to the user guide for your vintage slant needle machine:

 ... 8d6b837d82e1e8bef36ad0d14d6145d0.pdf

          And here's a link to the most reliable online parts and repair tech EVER - he is in American Samoa and what he doesn't know about vintage Singers isn't worth worrying about:

          Now - what I suspect (I'm a self-taught successful vintage Singer repair tech here in Scotland) is your machine is currently wearing the wrong class feet - probably 66 or 15.

          But your machine is a slant needle machine which means your machine needs the specialised slant feet.

          Being off by as little as 1mm will cause the problems you describe, and there is that little difference between class 66, 15, and slant needle machine feet. They may all look the same but they are not. Contact a reliable local repair tech - he/she should be able to trade you your class 66 or 15 feet for the slant feet you need - it may cost you a few (insert your local currency name here) but will get your gorgeous vintage slant Singer back to sewing.

          Congratulations on the find of a slant, by the way. Lovely machines that make an outstanding stitch. Go to and have a good long browse about the slants. He also sells parts, manuals (domestic and service), and posts a great lot of very helpful information and links regarding caring for and maintaining these lovely ladies of Singer sewing.

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          May 3, 2016 Flag
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          I have an original Singer Touch and Sew 720. Until tonight it was in perfect working order. I lifted the presser bar, when I went to lower it again the lever made a click sound and the bar now won't move at all. The lever just wiggles about without any noticeable tension against it. Does anyone know how I access the lever and repair it?
          Thanks in advance.

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            May 5, 20160 found this helpful

            The plastic gear that lifts and lowers the presser bar has worn and the click you heard was its 'dying gasp'.

            This isn't something you can repair at home - take your Touch and Sew to a Singer factory trained repair tech. The Touch and Sew is a tricky machine to work on so you need to be sure you take it to a qualified (ie 'factory trained') tech.

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            February 24, 2016 Flag
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            I bought an old Singer 6110 from a yardsale. It plugs in, and the light turns on, but when I press the foot pedal, it doesn't run. The cords and foot pedal seem to be in good shape. I need a little help.

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              March 2, 20160 found this helpful

              What about my quest to become a self taught tech by searching for tips and information on the Internet? So far I'm not having much luck. Gotta start somewhere :-/

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              October 15, 2015 Flag
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              I'm new here and hoping for some help or guidance. I have just bought a Singer 99k. I think it's a Simanco 33663. I've given the machine a good cleaning and oil, I'm happy with how it's cleaned up, all seems well apart from something that should be happening with the bobbin thread.

              When I attempt to sew, the top thread does just what it should in respect that it goes around the bobbin case and pulls up the bobbin thread. So far so good. :o)
              But then when I attempt a few stitches all I get is the top cotton in place, (these stitches pop out because they are not anchored.) There's no sign of the bobbin thread :o( I've read some trouble shooting threads and used a new needle and adjusted the bobbin tension.

              I don't know much about these machines yet and was wondering if it's a timing issue, but given that the top thread collects bobbin thread everytime, I thought maybe timing is OK? I've looked underneath the machine and can see where the metal part catches the top thread and takes it round to the bobbin, but I can't work out which bit might involve connecting the bobbin thread! I thought a vintage machine would be easy to maintain on my own!

              Any advice would be very much appriciated.
              Many thanks in advance :o)

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                Anonymous Flag
                October 23, 20150 found this helpful

                BRAVO!! ... for your wonderful answer! I'm also addicted to old machines - and just ran into this very thing on a 99K. WHAT a good little lump of pig iron, though .... All cleaned, serviced, oiled and adjusted, it's so quiet that you can't hear the little thing running and it sews extraordinarily well. I'm on to a 221 Featherweight - and then a TOTAL refurb of a Singer 66 treadle machine. Good thing I have a Free-Westinghouse to SEW on whilst I work over these Singers!! Hahaha!!!

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                November 28, 2015 Flag
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                I have a Singer 600E, I've threaded the bobbin and all that good stuff. But when I push my pedal down my needle won't move, the motor runs, but nothing happens. Is it my pedal?

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                  November 29, 20150 found this helpful

                  It most likely is a problem with the bobbin casing. There is probably a piece of thread stuck in it somewhere and if you don't remove every little piece, it will not go. Sometimes, you can find the piece and pull it out, but sometimes, you just have to take it in.

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                  April 8, 2016 Flag
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                  I just brought a new sewing machine, a Singer Promise 1408. I had been sewing for approximately half an hour then stopped for a few moments and then started again. Only the machine wouldn't go. The spindle is to the left and from what I can see, there's no threads jammed in the bobbin area or inside the machine. What do I do? I urgently need to complete a bag that I am making for tech or I'll get a low level.

                  I have three days left and this is important or I'll get bad marks and my teacher would be disappointed and I'm going to be disappointed and also annoyed because this awful machine broke and I looked on the internet and I can't find anything useful and I'll get bad marks and it will be absolutely horrible and I'll get bad marks and my fish will die.
                  And I'll get bad marks. Please help.

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                    April 9, 20160 found this helpful

                    I strongly suggest you return the machine to the store for an immediate fix or replacement. Why will your fish die?

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                    October 24, 2015 Flag
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                    So I was sewing and the thread got bunched up, the bobbin case or basket had moved. I don't know what to do, I'm super new to sewing and I'm not sure what I'm doing. view of bobbin
                    It looks like the basket has tuned just a bit and the whole machine is stuck. I tried to remove the basket, but it won't budge and I don't want to forced anything.

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                      October 31, 20150 found this helpful

                      I agree with Frugal Sunnie. It is likely a piece of thread stuck in there. I don't suppose you have a friend who is an experienced sewer who could look at your machine for you? I guess not, or you would have asked her instead of asking for hints online!! If you did, I would have her check it out if you didn't find the thread yourself, before you take it in to get fixed.

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                      June 16, 2016 Flag
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                      I am a beginner sewer. I borrowed a machine, a Singer CG 500/550, and somehow the piece that you put the bobbin onto to put thread on the bobbin came unhooked within the machine. I opened the machine up, but have no clue how to connect the piece again. Help?

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                        March 26, 2016 Flag
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                        I have a Singer 478 Stylist special zig zig sewing machine.The bobbin is not moving at all. I just purchased the machine and it was frozen so I oiled it in all places and it unfroze itself, but the bobbin is not rotating like it should.

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                          March 27, 20160 found this helpful

                          It sounds as though the bobbin gear has given up the ghost. This isn't a home repair, so you'll need to take the machine to a repair tech. Be sure to ask if he/she is using a 'salvage part' (not as reliable, please trust me on this) or a 'new-milled' part (not sure if this part is still being milled but the repair tech should know and be able to source the part for you).

                          If the tech has to use a salvage part, I urge you to consider retiring your machine. Once the bobbin gear goes on a vintage Singer, the machine quickly become a 'money pit' requiring more time on the repair bench than putting in sewing hours. I'm very sad to say as I love vintage Singers so much I own a few service manuals and do limited repair-refurb for my Sewing 101 students over here in Scotland:)

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                          March 18, 2016 Flag
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                          I want to repair a Singer sewing machine, the Fashion Maker Rotomatic model. I am in need of a the lower bet at the base of the machine. Where can I get one? Thanks.

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                            March 20, 20160 found this helpful

                            Try this fellow - he specialises in vintage Singer parts and has an excellent reputation in the US. I live in the UK but my American friends, fellow vintage Singer enthusiasts, highly recommend him - he carries just about everything, and can direct to a source if he doesn't stock it:


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