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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is a guide about sewing machine presser foot stuck up. Sewing is impossible if the presser foot on your machine is stuck up.
This is a guide about a sewing machine stuck in reverse. Right in the middle of sewing the machine gets stuck in reverse.
It can be very frustrating if your machine is not sewing properly. This guide is about sewing machine needle not catching thread.
"Little problems with the sewing machine can be very irritating and time consuming. They can happen to even the most experienced seamstress.
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.
I wonder if anyone can help. I am trying to repair my bobbin winder unit (Toyota RS2000) and after taking out the broken part and putting the replacement in, I can't work out how to attach the little spring that came off with it. Does anyone have a photo or diagram of the positioning?
Here is a video tutorial
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?
The needle bar may need an adjustment. You need to take it in for a repair.
I have a Jack 9100b sewing machine which is showing an error E1 on the speed adjustment screen and the needle is not moving with wheel, as well as, pedal. How can I solve this problem?
There is a "contact us" link on their website: http://en.china tail.aspx?ID=26. I think that is the best option.
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
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.
I sew primarily on Singers (modern and vintage) but the trouble you are describing is universal to most vintage electric sewing machines - sadly, you are describing a broken (or worn) bobbin gear. A Brother trained and qualified repair tech is the best person to fix your machine, in the US it will cost you around $35, in the UK around £25-30.
But when you take it in, be sure to ask the repair tech to:
A-identify the model name and number so that you can find your user guide/owner manual on the Brother website (usually a free download). Download and print it out so that you will always have it to hand when sewing.
B-give you an estimate on doing a servicing that includes not only the part and repair, but a thorough going over and clean/oiling. Yes, this will bump up the price to something like $100USD or £100GBP but is well worth it especially on a vintage electric machine like yours. An annual servicing will keep your machine running longer and find/replace parts near breaking before actual breakage and you are stopped mid project.
C-save and give you the part he/she replaces, and tell you if the replacement part is newly milled (very much preferred for longevity) or salvage (not so good, who knows the number of sewing hours on that part, and the conditions it was asked to perform under prior to salvage?!).
I used to do a lot of vintage electric Singer repair and refurbishment for my sewing students (I teach total newbies who arrive to my workshop unable to thread a needle to resew a button) but because newly milled parts for a lot of the vintage machines are so hard to come by I have given up completely on repairing and recommending them.
I still repair and refurbish non-electric machines because there is no plastic on them - parts are steel and cast iron and easy to source or refurbish if salvaged. The electric machines (all brands) went with silicone and plastic parts in the mid-60s and do not have the reliability of the metal parts.
Planned obsolence, gotta hate it!
When one of my new sewers needs a new sewing machine (usually because the vintage machine they've brought down from Mum's loft has finally sewn its last) I always urge them to buy an inexpensive but feature packed Singer, Brother, or Janome with the nearly jam-proof top-drop in bobbin system, the one-step buttonhole, and most importantly, a warranty.
Easy to use, easy to repair - important features in sewing with an electric machine. An inexpensive machine with plenty of features to keep you sewing runs from $150-200USD or £140-200GBP.
As you can see, the cost of a new machine is close enough to the cost of repairing the vintage machine to make the thought of having more features and that wonderful warranty a very good idea.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
The fabric will not move, but I can pull it.
By Debbie K.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.