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Repairing a Jammed Sewing Machine

Sometimes a jammed machine can be fixed at home, without the need for taking it in to a shop. First remove thread, bobbin case, and needle if possible. Check to see if there is a wad of thread or lots of lint and clean. Continue troubleshooting using the tips on this page. This is a guide about repairing a jammed sewing machine.
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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.

By 0 found this helpful
November 11, 2010

My sewing machine was a gift and has no manual. I just got it back from the shop after having full maintenance done and the needle is jammed. I removed the bobbin and the threads from the needle and it still won't move. I don't want to take it back to the shop, so I hope its something simple.

By rain

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November 16, 20100 found this helpful
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Thank you for your comments. My sewing machine is a Nelco Ultra, and the bobbin chamber had shifted and jammed it self in place, but its all fixed now!

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July 8, 20120 found this helpful

I am not sure, but I think that my needle is jammed and when I press the pedal it just goes errrr. It won't move and the retractor thingy won't make it come up.

By Alyssa

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July 16, 20120 found this helpful
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I have had this happen. If you have to break the needle an easy way is to also grasp it with a pliers, look away, and break it. If the screw that holds the needle in won't budge, then you will have no choice.

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Sometimes, so much dirt and thread will bunch up to keep it from working. The other idea is to take the plate out, like kerly87 suggested, and untangle whatever is keeping it from running. Also, the timing belt might be off just a bit and something is not firing when it should be.

I wish you luck. PBP

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By 0 found this helpful
December 8, 2015

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

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December 9, 20150 found this helpful
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I would recommend you do what you can at home before taking it into a shop, Charlene. For instance, very carefully remove all fabric and thread from the sewing area, turn the wheel by hand to raise the needle. If you can get the needle up, check to see if it's broken. Remove the bobbin case and all the thread in that area as well (it's often the source of trouble).

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Unscrew the plate beneath the sewing area and check for a build-up of lint. Use a small but stiff brush to remove all that. Remove the sewing maching needle and push the sewing foot to see if your trouble shooting has done the trick. Check your machine's manual for any additional advice, check online and if no additional ideas are forthcoming, find your local dealership or other reputable repair shop. Good luck!

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January 19, 20140 found this helpful

I just got this new Singers Esteem II sewing machine yesterday and the machine was working perfectly fine until I decided to change the thread for the needle. I have the machine correctly threaded and I had my fabric ready underneath the needle and I make the mistake of not pulling the needle and bobbin thread out enough to at least 6 inches.

I started to sew and all of a sudden I get my thread stuck in the bobbin case and then I pulled it out. Then I say OK it's out and I press down on the peddle and it makes this really loud ERRR sound and at this point I burst into tears because this was a $100 dollar machine.

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I checked the machine to find any loose thread anywhere, but I don't! Is there anything I can do to get that thread out? I've been told that my machine is either jammed or locked.

By Destiny C.

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January 23, 20140 found this helpful
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It's still under warranty - take it back to the store, or to a factory approved Singer repair centre. Be sure to take the receipt, and if you go to a sewing centre, be sure to find out any charges they may make in expectation of you chasing down a warranty based refund for repairs.

To be honest it does sound as though something is jammed in there, it could be a very small piece of thread you can't see. The repair tech will have the tools and knowledge to find the jam and remove it.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 21, 2012

I have just acquired a sewing machine the make is a JMB, it's all threaded up etc., but the needle won't go all the way down and it just freezes and makes a buzzing sound. The tension is on 3, but I have tried it on other numbers and still nothing. Has anyone got any tips I should try? x

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By Jennifer

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November 26, 20120 found this helpful
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Hi Jennifer! Is your model an overlocker or a standard sewing machine? I'm not familiar with the JMB machines at all as I sew vintage and antique Singers exclusively. So I'm going to ask if you have the owner guide (user manual)-that should have a troubleshooting section that might help.

I will say if this were happening on one of my Singers I would clean the bobbin case and area, the tension disc areas, and then I'd try a rethread-I have had the same problem you describe happen on the Singers when I've threaded the machine wrong-lol, usually either passing the thread BEHIND the tension discs instead of between them, or when I've been in too big a hurry and forgot to raise the presser foot when threading the machine.

If you still have trouble, it could be something inside the machine and the best person to have a look is a qualified sewing machine repair technician.

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If you live in the US or the UK, a good repairman is as close as your local sewing centre-the staff there can recommend someone. The cost varies from country to country, US around $50, UK around £35-£60. You'll get your machine back in working order and it will have been serviced (clean, oil if needed, other potential problems found, repaired if you agree to the work being done). Well worth the money if you love or need your sewing machine!

If you don't have the owner guide, try a Google search using the manufacturer name and the machine model number in the search term. I tried to find a free download for you but since I don't know anything about JMB machines my search wasn't productive.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 13, 2012

My Singer Esteem sewing machine has a jam in it. I can't lower the needle enough to catch the bobbin thread. Before I take it to a repair shop, does anyone know what the problem could be. I have taken all of the components out of the bobbin casing to make sure there was no thread mass jammed in there, but it looks clean and thread free. When I press on the foot peddle, nothing happens and I can't turn the dial on the right side of the machine to lower the needle. I just can't figure out what's wrong.

By Carol

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April 15, 20120 found this helpful
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I'm not familiar with the Esteem model but have serviced several older, more vintage machines, and caught thread is usually what causes the problems you are describing. The are several causes of what you are describing, but it sounds as though there is thread fluff or even thread bits caught somewhere inside the head of the machine, probably between the tension discs or in the threading path.

If you are handy, and own a good quality digital camera so you can take step-by-step photos as you take the cover off and remove any screws, etc, you might be able to see the thread bits and remove them with tweezers. Then you can use the photos to help you reassemble the machine.

Without a service manual, though, you really are best advised to have a certified technician open the head and have a look-the problem could be a broken part and only a tech will be able to tell for sure.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 11, 2012

My Singer Esteem sewing machine has a jam in it. I can't lower the needle enough to catch the bobbin thread. Before I take it to a repair shop, does anyone know what the problem could be? I have taken all of the components out of the bobbin casing to make sure there was no thread mass jammed in there, but it looks clean and thread free. I just can't figure out what's wrong.

By Carol M.

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April 11, 20120 found this helpful
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If it isn't a thread jam, I would guess you would have to take it to the repair shop. I might be funny in this respect, but I would take it to the Singer dealer, providing you bought it from a Singer dealer. The Singer dealer where I won't touch a Singer that you buy in other stores. His excuse is they just aren't Singers. When he said that I felt like kicking him in the rear. lol

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January 15, 20150 found this helpful

I am new to sewing, and just got this machine. It is brand new, never been used. I was taking in a pair of jeans when I accidentally ran through some fabric that was too thick for the machine to handle. It stopped sewing, beeped, and now when I try to sew, the top thread is getting caught down where the bobbin is and the needle gets stuck. Have I ruined my machine already? How do I fix my poor, new machine?

By Olwyn

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