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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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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1. Check for fuzz and use the brush to remove it

2. Make sure the thread take up lever (hook that goes up and down) is threaded. Mine did the same thing and somehow the thread got loose while sewing.

3. Oil the machine as per manual

4. New needle if the others don't help

Hope those help.

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Sometimes machines need tune-ups, just like a car. But try this first: Take the bobbin out and try pulling on the thread. Does it come off the bobbin easily or seem really tight?

If it seems really tight, on the side of your bobbin, there should be a little tiny screw for which you have a screwdriver somewhere. In teeny tiny increments (like 1/8th of a turn at a time) loosen the screw, put it back in the machine, thread, and sew and see what happens. You may need to do it a couple of times, but only do litle, little, little turns.

If this does nothing, chances are the whole bobbin assembly is out of alignment and the machine needs to be serviced. I have my Bernina "tuned up" every two years.

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I had the same problem last week with my Kenmore machine. It's fairly new and I haven't had any problems except what you're talking about. I was working on my prom dress last week and I couldn't sew more than a few inches. I was about ready to take the whole machine apart after a few hours (I love taking things apart anyway, but only three days before prom...), then I watched my needle (without thread) very closely and noticed that it was knocking on some of the interior metal. I finally realized that I was using a needle that was way too weak for the fabric density and it was being bent just a lil' too much. As soon as I got a thicker needle, I never had another problem with it. I went through three brand new needles before I figured this out. So you may just need a thicker needle. Hope this helps.

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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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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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    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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    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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      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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      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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        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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        I have a Sears Kenmore 1410 and the stitch selector knobs are frozen. Is there a way I can fix that myself?

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          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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          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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          I have a Euro Pro sewing machine, model 9106. My machine was just serviced and oiled. It has been back 1 day. Now the fly wheel will not advance forward to pull the bobbin thread up. What is wrong?

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            Do you expect the service shop to warranty their work? If you can't get the machine to work take it back and ask for their expert to fix it. Perhaps an apprentice did the service job? Don't leave the shop until you're sure the machine is working properly.

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            I have a Veritas 8014/26. It was the first sewing machine my mother ever got, so I love it really much! It seems that the "zig zag" feature has a problem. When you choose the zig zag stitching, the needle does not seem to cover the right distance (from left to right and backwards). Where should I look to find the problem?

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              Does your machine have a stitch width dial? If so check that it's a distance that you want or require. Hope this helps!

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              I need a video on how to assemble the thread tension for a Kenmore Ultra Stitch 8. Does anyone know where I can find one?

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                Hello ! The threading instructions diagrams you can find on this page : http://www.sewusa.com/Threading_Dia ... _stitch_6_8_12_threading_diagram.htm includes the adjusting top thread tension and adjusting thread bobbin diagrams. Maybe you wrote "assemble the thread tension" because you have tried to low the tension to the maximum and the tension knob jumped out and got dissambled and you don't know in which order you have to put back all the pieces ? the spring, the little disks and the knob .... (been there done that ..) , in this case you should look here : http://mysewingmachineobsession.blo ... kenmore-158-tension-assembly_11.html

                and here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzFXRdNE_1s

                where the position of the little disks and how they work is very well explained. The mecanical parts of the modern sewing machines are not really different from the ones you find on the older machines they look different or they are more hidden but they work the same way. Hope this helps !

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                I've just picked up an older sewing machine, a Brother Pacesetter, and the stitch regulator knob needs to be put back in with a small screw which came with the machine. How do I reattach it?

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                  My single needle machine stop working; it jammed. The motor hums, but it seems to be locked.

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                    Rose Anne has given you some great suggestions for getting your machine back to sewing - about the only thing I can add is to check to be sure you've not accidentally left it in bobbin winding mode.

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                    machine lying on its side 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.

                    By Jerry from Belfair, WA

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                    You need to take this machine to a qualified repair tech - don't take it apart any farther than you already have and be sure you get all the parts to the tech or he/she will have to charge you to replace the missing parts.

                    I do vintage machine repair here in Scotland for my Sewing 101 students. I can't see anything wrong with your mum's machine from the photo you've posted - because the problem is inside, under the head cover.

                    More than likely the silicone on one of the gears has dried and cracked but without getting the cover off and being able to see the machine up close and in person I can't be sure.

                    Please. Save this gracious elder stateswoman of sewing and get her to a trained repair tech who has the skills, tools, and access to parts needed to keep your machine sewing.

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                    My sewing machine bulb broke and now the machine won't work now. My machine has had no problems in the past so it came as a shock. I didn't mind the bulb breaking because they're easily replaceable, but when the machine wouldn't work, I got worried. I don't want to send it in for repair right away until the bulb comes, but I'm worried. Does anyone have any ideas as to what is wrong with it?

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                      I have a Kenmore sewing machine, model 385.19150090. I turned it on and the machine light flashed and went out. I replaced two fuses because one fuse was blown. What else in there?

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                        If the above help does not do it then I suggest the yahoo group wefixit.

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                        My Kenmore sewing machine model 158.16800 freezes. I will help it along with the hand wheel, and it goes for a little bit, then freezes again in the down position. You can hear it humming when it's stuck. It is stitching fine when it does move. I don't have a manual so, any help is grateful. Thank you.

                        By Toni H.

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                        First of all, it sounds as though the belt is worn, or there is a clump of lint/fluff caught up in there somewhere - but your problem could be a worn gear, too.

                        Best to take it to Sears to have it gone over by a qualified, factory trained repair tech. For under $100USD they will get your machine running smoothly and do a complete servicing with a heads-up to you should there be a looming part fail too.

                        And they'll be able to hook you up with a new manual as well, either as a free PDF download you can then print at home, or as a hard copy (usually spiral bound, win-win!) at a reasonable price.

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                        My machine keeps stitching 2 stitches forward and 2 back. It is almost like back stitching. It does it in every stitch setting. It will not stitch just a basic straight stitch. I originally had it in the straight stitch setting then switched to a different stitch and when I went back it started doing this.

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                        Home and Garden Repair Machines Sewing MachinesMay 22, 2012
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