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Repairing a Sewing Machine

Unfortunately sometimes your sewing machine requires troubleshooting and repair for a variety of problems, such as jamming. This is a guide about repairing a sewing machine.

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April 5, 2007 Flag
1 found this helpful

My sewing machine keeps jamming, down in the bobbin area. It won't sew even an inch. I look and see extra thread jammed down there by the bobbin, and have to yank it all out and start over, but it keeps jamming. How can I fix this?


Thanks!

DJ_DJ

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July 11, 20110 found this helpful
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I want to say thank you so much for all the veterans' comments posted to the thread. I'm a newbie and I've learned so much. Apparently my issue was my bobbin itself, I had the taller one in my machine and that's why it kept jamming. Thanks again for all your help!

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Anonymous Flag
July 15, 20160 found this helpful

Where do I put the pipe cleaner? Where's the fuzz?

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April 1, 2016 Flag
1 found this helpful

I'm new on here. I just picked up a Montgomery Ward sewing machine model 1917. The motor runs, but the needle doesn't move. I have checked the hand wheel. The belt it is fine and I can turn the hand wheel, but the needle doesn't move. I have worked on machines a little before and depending on the difficulty may try to fix this one. How do I get to the gear that moves the needle arm? And how do I know it's bad?
Any advice would be appreciated.

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April 3, 20160 found this helpful

Yes I prematurely posted this question.

I oiled the bobbin armature and it began sewing properly. Amazing what a little oil will do!

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April 3, 20160 found this helpful

Maybe you have already checked but it is possible that the machine has been left ready to thread a bobbin. Not all machines have the same way to get the hand wheel in position to thread a bobbin and stop the movement of the needle. For some machines you have to pull back and turn the center part of the hand wheel for other machines you have to unscrew the center part. The machine could also be jammed with a lot of thread entangled under the foot in the bobbin case. Hope this helps !

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March 21, 2015 Flag
0 found this helpful

My machine would not sew, so I opened it up dusted and oiled it, now it only moves at a snail pace. Help?

By Pat A

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March 23, 20150 found this helpful
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I teach sewing here in Scotland, and do some repair-refurb on vintage machines. Your problem sounds as though it could be in the foot control - a fraying wire, 'gummy' connection or loose wire. But it could also be in the machine where the connection is made between foot control and machine. Only a trained tech will be able to quickly and relatively inexpensively determine the problem and solve it.

This really isn't a home sewer DIY. You could spend a lot of money replacing the foot control only to continue having the same problem. The best thing to do is take your machine (and foot control) to a qualified repair tech. Be sure to get an up-front estimate, and ask what a total servicing would cost, too. You'll be amazed at how well your machine sews after a proper servicing, and a good tech will give you a heads up regarding developing failures.

Word of warning - vintage sewing machine parts can be difficult to source no matter what country your machine is sewing in. Many of us techs use salvage parts we find on jumble and car boot (flea markets in the US) sales. The trouble is these parts wear out quickly, and as we can never be sure of the conditions these parts laboured under with the original machine owner, we can't vouch for the longevity of the part.

Some parts are universal (but not many) and are 'new-milled', making them a lot more reliable and a lot more expensive. Hard to find, too - a good repair tech will know where to find them, and will tell you if the replaced part is new or salvage - if he/she doesn't say, be sure to ask!

I can look at a machine and on the spot be able to advise my students if the machine is worth fixing or should be replaced by a comparable new model machine that comes with the bonus of being under warranty.

The only vintage machines worth keeping forever are the old treadle and hand crank models as those parts last centuries - I have several:)

If the machine is a 'modern vintage' (meaning it was built in the last half of the 20th century or early part of the 21st) and runs on electricity) your gran sewed your christening-graduation-wedding dress on, you may be willing to keep 'er running no matter the cost, but for the most part, after a certain point it's best to make that a display piece and buy a modern machine for reliability.

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March 23, 20150 found this helpful

As ever, Dinah's right. More information would be good (as to make and model as well as age of the machine). Some higher-end machines have a "slow" gear for working with heavier fabrics and you may have activated that somehow. Check your manual if you have it or look online (with the make and model info)?

Too, and I cannot say it often enough: if we want our tools to work properly, we need to take good care of them. For instance, my 36 year old Pfaff still works wonderfully, but it goes to the shop for a complete check up and service appointment every couple of years.

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July 24, 2016 Flag
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My Kenmore 13550 sewing machine is making a screeching sound in the hand wheel. We have cleaned the machine and oiled it, but the screech continues. Any ideas on fixing it?

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July 26, 20160 found this helpful

If there is a belt driving the hand wheel it may be worn, loose or too tight. Perhaps it needs replacing.

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July 23, 2016 Flag
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I have a Husqvarna Emerald 118 sewing machine. The reverse button is stuck. How can I get a diagram for this machine?

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March 23, 2016 Flag
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My Kenmore sewing machine 158 14300, selector knob for stitches and also the feed dog lever to lower them is stuck. I just got it at a thrift store. It seems like it is brand new, but from the 1970s? It sews a straight stitch very well now. I don't think the person who had it used it much? I've oiled it in a lot of areas even around the selector knob area. I guess its been sitting too long not being used? What can I do?

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March 27, 20160 found this helpful

The only reason home servicing isn't feasible is the need and cost of model/range specific service manuals. Wowser are those eye-wateringly costly! One of mine cost over £700 (insert hugely shocked face here!). At the time I bought it I was a long-divorced empty-nester mum needing a small business on the side to make ends meet (uni fees for the two now grown children), so to me the investment was (cough, gasp) worth it. I will say the manual has paid for itself but it took a few years:)

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September 7, 20160 found this helpful

A wonderful reply! I was going to suggest giving the dealer as much money as he/she wants. I could NOT sew without my manual!!!!

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April 10, 2016 Flag
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I have a Brother Project Runway sewing machine. The zigzag stitch is only picking up the bobbin thread on the left side, not the right side, resulting in a straight line. Any suggestions? So far I have changed the needle, used a different bobbin, rethreaded top and bottom multiple times, changed thread, and changed the fabric. Help!

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April 17, 20160 found this helpful

Have you checked that you have the stitch width and length set properly to use with a zig-zag stitch? You'd be amazed to hear how many of us forget that part:)

If that isn't your problem, go through your user manual to be sure everything else is properly set and adjusted.

Here's a link to the Brother support pages - scroll through to find your specific model and then grab a free download of your manual:

http://www.brother-usa.com/homesewing/ProductList.aspx?cat=ProjectRunway

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April 18, 20160 found this helpful

Thank you. Yes, i have the setting for the zig zag. I have a manual and have done everything it says. By switching to a size 14 needle I got the zigzag working finally, but the decorative stitches still don't work. Kind of aggregating really. I also have a 38 yr old Montgomery ward machine that has never had to go to a repair shop. But it's a cabinet model and I can't take it anywhere.

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April 15, 2015 Flag
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I have a Nelco Ultra Buttonhole that is frozen. This machine belonged to my mother. She was a seamstress and used this machine for years. I don't know how or what happened to the machine, but nothing will move. The motor runs fine when disengaged.

machine lying on its side

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