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Sewing Machine Won't Sew in Reverse

Photo of a woman with a broken sewing machine that won't go in reverse.
It can be very frustrating when your sewing machine is not working properly. It may be time to take it in for repair. This is a guide about sewing machine won't sew in reverse.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 1, 20131 found this helpful

I have a Kenmore sewing machine, model #385.81524. It goes forward, but not in reverse.

By Barb

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Answer Was this helpful? 1
October 7, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

I'm a Singer person but can answer this one for you - either something is wrapped around the reverse mechanism inside the machine, or the gear is broken.

This is a job for a qualified Kenmore sewing machine repair tech - he/she will have the knowledge and tools to go straight in and sort the problem. Assuming the problem is not the gear (usually isn't but it could happen in which case your cost will go up a little), the repair and servicing (cleaning, oiling, check over for other problems) will cost you around $100.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 9, 2015

My Elna 3007 became temperamental at sewing in reverse some years ago. On occasion, I will need to push the button more than once in order to make it sew in reverse. Just recently, it stopped sewing in reverse completely. So I inspected the bobbin case and area and cleaned quite a bit of lint out of it. It began to sew in reverse again. I thought it was fixed. Now, a week later, it no longer sews in reverse.

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I see that there is similar question about this matter from another member, and the answer is that a gear is broken. If a gear was broken would it be able to sew in reverse sometimes and not others, like mine has over the years, and did again last week?

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November 11, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

A 'broken' gear on a modern electric doesn't mean the same thing as a 'broken' gear on a sewing machine built when all parts were made from cast iron and steel. 'Modern' electric sewing machine have a number of gears made from rubber, silicone, and plastic - if the teeth on those gears are worn just a bit the teeth will catch if there is enough of the synthetic material left on several teeth - the stop-start motion in sewing will force the wornish bits on until the remaining teeth catch. But sooner or later (and only slightly later in some cases) the remaining teeth will wear as well. A repair tech (I do vintage machine repair) will simply say the gear was broken rather than use the word 'worn' although some will say 'worn' straight off.

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Bottom line is - your gear is going/gone and you need to take your machine to a repair tech.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 26, 2017

I have a Kenmore 385.15358 sewing machine that doesn't reverse stitch anymore. When I push the reverse button it actually pushes to the inside of the machine. I took it apart and the only thing I can think of is that it needs a new spring. The spring is loose and not tight fitting around the shaft. Am I correct in assuming this is the problem? And where do I get a replacement part? I contacted Sears and they could only send me to the maker of the machine. I haven't heard from them yet.

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Answers

April 26, 20170 found this helpful

If the reverse stitch assembly is broken, it is a complex job and should be taken care of by a professional.

You can take the panel off and see if the area needs cleaning or has a loose screw. That you can handle yourself.

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April 26, 20170 found this helpful

Check all your screws on the outside especially near the reverse level, tighten them up. (As a first step)

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April 27, 20170 found this helpful

it may be the spring but has it been oiled recently? Just a drop of sewing machine oil (only) can make a big difference.

Just in case you no longer have a manual (some diagrams could help):

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http://www.manu  85/kenmore/15358

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April 29, 20170 found this helpful

Yes I oil it on a regular basis. Thanks

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By 0 found this helpful
October 28, 2015

My Kenmore model 385 sewing machine won't go in reverse. What could be my problem? Serial # 51006274.
Thanks!

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Answers

October 30, 20150 found this helpful

It's a broken gear inside your machine - this isn't a home fix. You need to take your machine to a qualified sewing machine repair tech.

I do repair-refurbs on my Sewing 101 student's machines, mainly Singers but some of the other brands as well. Please believe me - the problem with your machine isn't something you can take care of yourself at home, it requires access to parts, the tools (specialised) to do the work, and the hideously expensive service manual with all the information needed to perform the repair.

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October 22, 20161 found this helpful

No necessarily a broken gear. I just fixed my Kenmore 385 that had quit sewing in reverse. The mechanism just froze up from lack of use. Take the bottom off the machine to expose the mechanism, push the reverse button several times while studying the workings. If you do not use the machine much, it is likely just froze up. You have nothing to lose by checking it out.

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July 28, 20170 found this helpful

Thank you I will try this.

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February 14, 2017

I have an Elna 3005 sewing machine that won't stitch in reverse. Any tips?

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Answers

February 14, 20171 found this helpful

Your gear is worn or broken. You will have to take it in for repair.

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April 25, 20170 found this helpful

Would you know how much it costs to get a repair

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By 0 found this helpful
September 18, 2016

My New Home sw2018e will not go into reverse.

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July 13, 20170 found this helpful

Sorry your question went unnoticed but maybe an answer will help someone else with the same type of question.

Your New Home (Janome) may need special cleaning or sometimes you have to hold a lever down. I am not familiar with this particular machine so I have furnished a link to a site that will answer your question. Just complete the form with your information and someone will answer your question in the space provided (this is a free service).

http://www.fixy  /sewing_machines

Here is a link for a free manual just in case you do not have yours.

https://www.man  ml?page=2#manual

https://www.man  018e.html#manual

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By 0 found this helpful
June 13, 2016

My Singer 247 won't go into reverse stitching. I took off the knobs, but cannot see why it won't work. Nothing seems broken. I oiled it. Any ideas?

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Answers

August 15, 20170 found this helpful

I would make sure no thread or fabric is jamming it. You could also have a broken gear or lever, and you might need a repairman.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 1, 2016

Seems like every other time I get ready to sew my back up button quits working and I have to take it in to be serviced. Surely this is something I can easily fix at home.

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February 2, 20160 found this helpful

It might be an easy home fix depending on your machine. However, buying the service manual for your machine will cost you eye-watering triple digits, or more if the machine is a computer machine.

I do vintage repairs and refurbs here in Scotland where I live now and I can only think of two reasons why you have to keep taking your machine for the same repair.

One, that you have a vintage machine the repair tech is having to put 'salvage' parts on (because many vintage machine parts are no longer milled) - and that's something I've stopped doing as I never know how many sewing hours are on that salvage part, or what conditions the machine (and part) endured. Parts can look just great (usually because someone spent 10-20 minutes 'super-cleaning' it) but who can ever know the truth about that part?

The only other reason for the repeat failure is the tech you're using is either dishonest (uses salvage parts without telling you, and/or wants to be sure you have to come back regularly) or thick as mince. The tech either isn't really fixing your machine (no part fails repeatedly without a reason, and honest techs WILL hunt down the reason, then share that info with you), and thick ones are, well, too thick to do a proper job in the first place.

Also, if there is a logical reason the part continues to fail, a responsible tech will talk to you about it - asking you if you have a sentimental attachment to the machine that means you're happy with constant repair visit. If you haven't an attachment to the machine, a good tech will try to encourage you to 'upgrade' to a good condition refurb, or a new, under warranty machine.

Try a different tech in a completely different shop, and ask if the tech will show you what is happening to cause the repeat failures. Many (like myself) will even teach you how to do the repair yourself - for one, we who pride ourselves on our work want to keep home sewers sewing (I teach Sewing 101:), we love sharing knowledge, and we know if we work with our sewers, the sewers will trust us for the really big fixes that aren't suitable for home DIY repairs - the sort of repairs that require access to our hideously expensive service manuals and nearly as hideously expensive tool bag/box/bench equipment.

Best luck - please update when you find a solution one way or another!

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