Add to GuideAsk a Question
To Top

Repairing a Sewing Machine

Sewing Machine Sewing Blue Fabric
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.

Solutions

Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

May 14, 20131 found this helpful

This is a guide about when sewing machine thread keeps breaking. It is very frustrating to have the thread on your sewing machine constantly break.

Sewing Machine

Read More... Was this helpful? 1

December 3, 20121 found this helpful

It can be very frustrating if your machine is not sewing properly. This guide is about sewing machine needle not catching thread.

Sewing Machine Needle Not Catching Thread

Read More... Was this helpful? 1

August 1, 20040 found this helpful

"Little problems with the sewing machine can be very irritating and time consuming. They can happen to even the most experienced seamstress.



The next time you have machine troubles, check this list to see if you can determined the cause of the difficulty and correct it. It may save you a service call and save you time as well. If you can't correct the trouble, it is wise to seek professional help." - College of Agriculture and Home Economics New Mexico State University

Link: http://cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/_c/c-202.html

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

August 6, 20170 found this helpful

If you have even attempted to repair your sewing machine, you may have had the unfortunate experience of being unable to put it back together again. This is a guide about putting my sewing machine back together.

A sewing machine being repaired.

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

July 15, 20170 found this helpful

Certain sewing machine repairs require removing the hand wheel, such as when replacing the belt. This is a guide about removing the hand wheel on a sewing machine.

closeup of screw on wheel

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

July 6, 20170 found this helpful

If the bobbin is not winding on your sewing machine, you will need to get it repaired before you can continue using the machine. This is a guide about bobbin not winding.

Close up of a sewing machine.

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

June 29, 20170 found this helpful

Before you take your broken machine to a repairman, you may be able to fix the problem yourself. This is a guide about repairing a Toyota sewing machine.

sewing machine repair

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

June 14, 20170 found this helpful

Sometimes when making repairs to your sewing machine a part will come loose and it can be difficult to reinstall it. This is a guide about replacing a spring on a wards sewing machine.

Replacing a Spring on a Wards Sewing Machine

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

March 17, 20170 found this helpful

Keeping your sewing machine in good working order sometimes includes the need for repairs, which can be costly. Certain repairs can be done at home. This is a guide about repairing a Good Housekeeper sewing machine.

The foot and needle of a sewing machine.

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

March 1, 20170 found this helpful

Turning on the power switch on your sewing machine should not start it running and stitching. This guide contains some things to check if you experience this issue with your machine.

Sewing Machine

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

February 10, 20170 found this helpful

It is frustrating to have your machine get stuck in a stitch mode and be unable to set it to another. This is a guide about sewing machine stuck in buttonhole mode.

Hands using a sewing machine.

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

February 10, 20170 found this helpful

Troubleshooting the electrical problems with your sewing machine may be something you can do yourself, depending on your skills. This is a guide about sewing machine has no power when plugged in.

A sewing machine on a white background.

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

November 11, 20150 found this helpful

This is a guide about sewing machine won't sew 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.

Photo of a woman with a broken sewing machine that won't go in reverse.

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

May 8, 20130 found this helpful

This is a guide about sewing machine presser foot stuck up. Sewing is impossible if the presser foot on your machine is stuck up.

Sewing Machine Presser Foot

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

January 26, 20130 found this helpful

This is a guide about a sewing machine stuck in reverse. Right in the middle of sewing the machine gets stuck in reverse.

Sewing Machine

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

Questions

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.

March 21, 20150 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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

Answers

March 23, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 2 found this helpful
July 23, 2013

My machine was sewing fine (missing some threads, but I think that is another story!), then it makes a noise and jams a little and the needle stops going up and down. So I take out the fabric, re-thread the machine and bobbin and try again, but the needle isn't going up and down. It isn't a jam, as you can sew manually using the reel on the end of the machine. I am able to sew using the foot if I take out the bobbin and case. So it's like it is somehow getting jammed on bobbin only when being used using the electric foot. The machine is an older Brother. Unsure of model. Please see photo.

By Kaela

Answer Was this helpful? 2
Read More Answers

July 2, 20120 found this helpful

The fabric will not move, but I can pull it.

By Debbie K.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 9, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Have you checked to make sure you have not accidentally switched off the feed dogs? My machine has a switch that you turn to lower the feed dogs for free motion sewing. Check your manual or on-line manual to find yours if you are not familiar with the switch/dial/button.

Also, I have had feed dogs get clogged with fabric lint to the point they did not grab well. Brush them with a toothbrush or machine brush and vacuum to get all the stray lint out.

Good luck. If it is not one of these simple things, you could check with Brother service on-line for other ideas. They answered a query I had on my Brother serger in less than 48 hours and helped me fix the problem I was having.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

August 27, 2007

My problem is a new Singer simple sewing machine that binds up in the presser foot when I'm sewing. I have oiled the machine using WD40 because we can't find sewing machine oil around here, but I'm still having the problem. Can anyone help! Thanks.

Denise Warner from McRae, GA

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
August 27, 20070 found this helpful

Hancock Habrics has Singer Sewing Machine oil. If you don't have one near you go to their website. I would never use anything but sewing machine oil on my machine and it's old as thunder.

What does your manual have to say about the problem?... It should have a troubleshooting chapter.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
August 27, 20070 found this helpful

WD40 is a solvent, not a lubricant. Your new machine should have come with bottle of sewing machine oil. Do not use household oil--it is not fine enough. I use REEM on my Featherweights--find it in the gun cleaning section of Wal-Mart.

Try starting fresh, unthread machine, clean out bobbin area (always clean bobbin area every time you change bobbins), use good thread--not the 5 for $1 stuff. Coats, Gutterman, Metrosene are all good. I use Maxi-Lock on a cone for the most part (you'd need a special thread stand but their not expensive).

Carefully thread the machine and bobbin. Check tensions--and easy way is to zig-zag a few stitches, you can see if one side is too tight.

What kind of material are you sewing? If it's very sheer, it's easy to jam up. Try sewing across a 3 inch piece of cotton, don't cut thread and then start on your material. Or place a small piece of tissue paper under the first inch of you seam line.

Hope some of this helps!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
August 27, 20070 found this helpful

Mindy's advice was right on. I would also check the size of the needle too. Keep in mind that you use different needles for thin or thick fabrics. They will advise you at any fabric store. And please if you want your machine to last, no more WD40.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
August 27, 20070 found this helpful

I agree with the previous posts. Also, if it binds up when you first start sewing, pull the 2 sewing threads taut to the back as you start to sew. That should do the trick.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
August 27, 20070 found this helpful

When this happens on my machine, it is because the thread is not coming from the bobbin properly.

On my machine the cover over the bobbin shows how the bobbin should be loaded and how the thread should come up. Mine has a little metal tab that the thread must be hooked over before bringing the thread up. If you model does not show you how to thread the bobbin in the machine, check your manual.

Good luck.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
August 27, 20070 found this helpful

If the pressure foot is binding up it tells me there is too much pressure forcing the pressure foot down on the material. On my machines which are industrial I have an adjustment to add or relieve tension on the pressure foot. On thick material I relieve the pressure foot tension. For thinner material I add pressure. WD40 should not be used to lubricate a sewing machine. If you wanted to clean off some sewing machine parts one might use WD40. The proper sized needle is in relation to the size of the thread and has nothing to do with the material.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
August 28, 20070 found this helpful

It simply may be that your machine is not heavy enough to handle the bulk of the material. I made chair covers for my friend on a nice , but not too well-made Brother and ended up having $150.00 (half of what is cost!), worth of repairs. The repairman told me some machines have metal under parts and some have plastic. The plastic under parts will not handle the heavy sewing jobs that a heavier made machine will. I now have both.

This might be your problem.

The repairman also said he wishes the companies would stop putting in the little "kits" with the oil and the screw drivers, because the average person just ends up messing up their machines with trying to

"fix" things on their own. WD40...Please! no

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
August 29, 20070 found this helpful

Also be sure the needle is in right -- flat side facing away from you.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
November 22, 20080 found this helpful

Kerosene is the best. I've used WD-40, and it works, but the problem is that the chemical smell stays for too long. Anyways, Singer brand machine oil I hate because most of Singer's products are actually only licensed merchandise, so Singer's quality is reduced as a result of most of their merchandise being produced by third parties. The oil is one of these products. I trust Singer, but not other companies using the Singer logo.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
April 19, 20090 found this helpful

If you are sewing thin fabric you might need to put some wax paper under it to help or any paper will help, then remove the paper when done sewing, good luck.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

February 21, 20140 found this helpful

I just got a vintage Universal sewing machine. I cleaned it very good. It looks great and was sewing great until I removed the inside of the flywheel to clean it. I tried to remove the outside of the flywheel and couldn't. I didn't realize that that would throw it out of line. Please tell me how to fix this problem.

By Dale

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 24, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

This isn't a repair you can do at home without investing in a service manual (which runs into the high triple digits money wise depending on the model) so the best thing is to take it to a sewing machine repair tech. The cost should be under $100USD/£80GBPs depending on how much needs to be done to put the machine right. The cost will usually include a general servicing too.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

February 20, 20140 found this helpful

I have a Singer sewing machine. The knob on the side that you loosen in order to wind thread on the bobbin won't turn. I've tried and tried. Even my husband can't turn the knob. What could be the problem?

By Maria G.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 24, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

Without seeing the actual machine, I can't say definitely, but it sounds as though there is a clump of lint/fluff or a small bit of broken thread in the discs.

Try taking a bit of unwaxed dental floss to the area of the knob where you wind the thread through. Give it a good 'flossing action' and see if your floss comes out of the machine with a bit of grey fluff or a small bit of thread. If it does, keep at it until the floss comes back clean - no smudges, no fluff.

If that doesn't solve your problem you may have a broken or worn bobbin gear and this is a repair for a repair tech. Look for sewing centres adverting 'Singer authorised' repairs to be sure the tech knows Singers and can do the work reliably and relatively inexpensively.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

February 15, 20140 found this helpful

I have been using a Singer 418 since I found it last year. It is my first and it took me a while to learn to use it, but I finally got there - until I started a project with a stretchy fabric (yesterday). In the last 24 hours I learned lots about needles, puckering, thread breaking, feeding mechanism, presser feet, tension, cleaning, using the right stitches, etc. In the process I solved a few problems, but now I got stuck with one I can't solve on my own: the rotary hook stopped moving.

I opened the base and I can't see any broken gears or belts (see photo).

When I turn the hand wheel, the needle goes up and down normally, the feed dogs move normally, but the hook system stays still. I can move it by hand and it moves smoothly, but it would seem that the part that is supposed to engage the gears in this area is somehow not engaging, and I can't figure out what it is.

I purchased a user manual, but it doesn't cover this. The manual has a picture of the machine with the word 'Stylist' engraved on the front. My machine only has 418 on the front, it doesn't say Stylis (see photo). The bobbin case holder is different from the manual and I could not remove the bobbin case to get to the hook (last photo).

Can you help me with this? I'm not sure which of the screws around the bobbin case holder is the tension screw, but I know I must not 'screw' that! Thank you!

By Laura L.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 16, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

More than likely the silicone gears have worn just enough that the rotary hook will no longer engage. That's going to be a fix for the Singer qualified repair tech - check adverts until you find the ones that say 'Singer factory trained' or 'Singer warranty service approved repairs' - no, your vintage machine is no longer under warranty but all warranty approved service techs will have been exposed to vintage AND modern machines:) The repair will cost you around $50USD (around £30 here in the UK because there are so many salvage parts machines floating about) but splash out and have your vintage machine checked over and serviced - the total for repair and service will bring it in around $90USD (£60-£75 UK).

About your user guide...click this link and go through the free downloads until you find the one that looks EXACTLY like yours:

http://www.sing  n-manuals/search **If you get to the search page instead of the 418 page, key in only the numbers and a page with several models will come up - click till you find your machine:)

The '418 Stylist' was sold in Singer Sewing Centres around the world; the '418' was marketed through Sears - NOT branded as a Kenmore btw, but as a Singer 418). Because yours doesn't say Stylist, it is one of several 418 models (there were variations, a new one every year) and the above link will help you find your correct manual.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

January 28, 20140 found this helpful

I have an old New Home sewing machine (Model 654). I recently turned the pattern selector guide to make an overlock stitch which worked fine. When I switched it back over to a regular straight stitch, I noticed the machine was moving the material up and back twice to make a double stitch.

I switched it to a zig zag stitch to see what would happen and it is also making a double stitch with the zig zags as well. I have no idea how to get it back to just making a simple single stitch and just had it looked at recently so I'm hoping not to have to take it in again.

By Monique P.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 3, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

How long ago did you have it looked at? It's entirely possible the tech who worked on your machine made a mistake - something that is VERY easy to do on a 'vintage' (older than 10-20 years) machine.

It's also, sadly, entirely possible that yet another part has failed on your vintage machine (assuming the reason you recently had it looked at was a failed part). I love vintage machines and have repaired many, but have given up on them as once one part fails another isn't far behind, and sourcing newly milled parts is very difficult. Unfortunately newly milled sewing machine parts for vintage machines are few and far between - manufacturers prefer you buy new machines altogether and so stop making many of the parts needed to maintain vintage machines.

Even more unfortunately, this lack of newly milled parts means repair techs have to use 'salvage' parts often with unknown histories - was the machine the part was salvaged from gently or roughly used, how many sewing hours are on that part already before installation to another machine, and the all important question - how much plastic or silicone is the part comprised of?

Sad but true. The only 'vintage' machines I work on now are desperation cases ("I can't afford a new sewing machine!"), non-electrics, or all metal electric machines. Electric vintage machines usually have so much plastic and silicone the parts begin to fail after about 25 years of even the most caring owner, and there is no way those machines are ever reliable again for any length of time once parts begin to fail.

It's heartbreaking if you are an active sewer, but if your machine is vintage and beginning to have repeat part failures, it's time for a modern comparable machine - one with a warranty.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
January 19, 2011

My Singer sewing machine was sewing just fine, when out of the blue, it seized or froze and it won't sew a bit now. What happened? I've done all the "checks" for needles, proper threading, cleaning, etc. Now what?

By Monica from Cortez, CO

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
January 19, 20110 found this helpful

Something may have broken on the inside.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 20, 20110 found this helpful

The same thing happened to my Singer. I took it in to the repair shop and they told me the clutch had slipped. It was a pretty quick fix and was reasonably priced.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

November 13, 20140 found this helpful

With the bobbin case out, my machine runs. With the bobbin case in, something hits it and knocks it out and knocks the timing out.

By Donald D

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

October 17, 20140 found this helpful

I have a Brother LS-1217. I have been experiencing some difficulty sewing so I started trouble shooting and messing with the bobbin tension and such, when I found 2 springs on the left side of the bobbin winder. The larger one is attached and the smaller one is attached at the top but not at the bottom. Could this be why I'm having trouble. If so where does this little spring attach to at the bottom?

By Kara S.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

By 0 found this helpful
May 22, 2017

The bobbin does not spin on my Euro-pro Dressmaker sewing machine. Any guesses why?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

May 2, 20140 found this helpful

When sewing on my Singer Touch n Sew, I hear a clicking sound every time the needle sews. What is causing this?

By Carol B.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

By 0 found this helpful
May 12, 2017

I have a Pfaff QE 4.0. I have noticed that the needle does not seem to be in the center anymore. I have to move the needle position over to the right to line it up in the center. This works to get a perfect 1/4 inch. The problem is when using the cutter the needle swings back to the left hits the foot and breaks. Could my needle bar be bent?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

By 0 found this helpful
April 10, 2016

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!

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

By 0 found this helpful
June 16, 2015

After winding my bobbin, I shifted the bobbin winder shaft back to the left, in original position, and took off the bobbin full of thread. Then, I tightened the clutch knob, or at least I thought I did. Now, only the hand wheel turns when I press the foot control.

I can manually turn the clutch knob, and it will turn the bobbin/move the needle, but the hand wheel remains still. It's almost like the clutch knob isn't tightening when I turn it the appropriate direction. Any ideas will be much appreciated!

Thanks!

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

By 0 found this helpful
May 27, 2015

I have a Designer 1 embroidery sewing machine. I replaced the belt on the motor and now when the sewing machine starts to get warm then a little while later it shuts off. Can anybody give me any ideas?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

December 1, 20140 found this helpful

I have Singer 413; the needle is hitting the plate. What do I do? How can I stop the needle hitting the plate?

By Tish

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

November 29, 20140 found this helpful

I have a Viking, Emerald 116. The sewing needle broke. I replaced it, since then it won't stitch even the lightest garments. I have the bobbin correct for machine and spool both the same thread, twitted the tension over and over again, yet it will not give me a stitch. It does not need fixing. I cannot find my booklet for the machine. Help!

By Jane

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers
Load More
Related Content
Categories
Home and Garden Repair Machines Sewing MachinesMay 22, 2012
Guides
A sewing machine on a white background.
Sewing Machine Has No Power When Plugged In
Photo of a woman with a broken sewing machine that won't go in reverse.
Sewing Machine Won't Sew in Reverse
Sewing Machine
Sewing Machine Thread Keeps Breaking
sewing machine repair
Repairing a Toyota Sewing Machine
More
📓
Back to School Ideas!
😎
Summer Ideas!
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube
Contests!
Newsletters
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Categories
Desktop Page | View Mobile

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

© 1997-2017 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Published by .

Generated 2017/08/16 11:09:33 in 3 secs. ⛅️️ ⚡️
Loading Something Awesome!