Common Sewing Machine Problems & How to Fix Them

Whether you are a beginner or an expert sewer, there are different types of problems that everyone comes across as they go with their sewing projects.

While some sewing machine problems are common, many may occur for the first time.

Similarly, while some sewing machine problems can be fixed at home if you have some knowledge, some other problems may require you to take the sewing machine to the service station.

There are many videos and articles (like this one) available on the internet that can help you fix small problems on your own by following them.

It will save a lot of costs.

We are always asked for solutions to various sewing machine problems that people face while using their sewing machines through e-mail.

We suggest fixes based on the issue they face.

We have analyzed all those queries and found some very common problems that people face the most and offered our solution to fix them below.

Common Sewing Machine Problems & How to Fix Them

Discussing these problems in this article will help a large number of people at a time who are facing similar problems with their sewing machines.

Sewing Machine Problems

Skipped Stitches

This is one of the most common sewing machine problems that you’ll encounter if you haven’t changed the sewing needle for a long time.

Yes, Skipped Stitches are caused by a bad needle.

You’ll see several good stitches and a few skipped one or all perfect stitches for some time and suddenly all skipped stitches.

This is not good for your crafting projects.

It will result in weak strength of stitches which means two pieces of fabric you stitched together will fall apart in the coming days and you’ll have to sew them together again.

It will not only be a waste of time and money but irritating too.

When the needle is used for a long time, its tip (“Point” end of the needle) tends to become dull that resulting in skipped stitches.

The needle becomes dull because of several reasons like it hitting pins or several layers of fabric continuously.

In some cases, bent needles it is found bent needle is a culprit for skipped stitches.

Just a slight bend in the needle may cause this problem because the thread doesn’t pass through the front groove of the needle.

The other possible reason for skipped threads is the wrong selection of sewing machine needle size.

If you are sewing a thin fabric like silk, you need a thin sewing machine (maybe 8 or 10) however for the thick fabric you should choose size 16 or 18 in order to get the perfect stitch.

For the heavy-duty sewing machine or quilting machine, you should choose the size 16/18 needle as they are meant to sew heavy/thick fabric.

Double-check the thread guides if you have correctly threaded your sewing machine.

Look for the manual if there is any confusion.

Thread Keeps Breaking

The other common problem that is normally encountered as you along with your sewing project is constantly breaking the thread.

It becomes annoying when you have to complete the project as soon as possible but the thread keeps breaking over and again.

It wouldn’t only annoy you but will result in a waste of time as well.

There can be several reasons for the same but the most likely reason for this problem is the tension, thread quality, and the needle type (size).

The upper thread tension and the tension of the thread coming out of the bobbin should be set to optimum.

Sewing Thread

Also, make sure you are using the right size needle for the fabric you are working on.

We have shared a complete Needle size guide to help you choose the best needle for a specific fabric.

Sometimes the bad thread quality also results in repeatedly breaking the thread.

Make sure you buy a good quality thread to avoid such problems.

The sewing machine making a weird noise

When you hear an unusual weird noise, stop sewing! You should immediately stop the sewing machine and investigate where the sound coming from.

It generally happens when the sewing machine is not maintained properly.

Before you start to sew, make sure you oil the sewing machine so that every part of the sewing machine works smoothly.

Not oiling the sewing machine properly creates a high level of friction among the sewing machine parts as they move that results in a weird sound.

The proper oiling of the sewing machine is important to increase the durability of the sewing machine and the sewing machine parts.

Changing sewing machine parts can cost you a hefty amount of money.

Needle bends or breaks

It clearly happens when the needle is not attached right away to the needle bar.

The sewing machine needle’s flat side should stick to the needle bar.

The screw that holds the sewing machine needle with the bar should be tightened properly.

Make sure the bobbin is inserted correctly and you are using a good-quality thread.

Some thread has a lot of knots that result in the bending of the needle and ultimately result in the breaking of the needle.

Also, make sure you are using the right needle for a specific fabric.

Using a thin needle (size 8 or 9) for a heavy fabric may cause needle breaking in the first place or bending of the needle first and eventually needle breaking.

Some people have the habit of pulling the fabric as they sew which results in bending the needle and breaking.

Needle thread comes unthreaded

It mostly happens to beginner sewists because those who have experience with a sewing machine can handle this problem properly.

If you are a beginner too and becoming kind of worried, don’t do that, there is a simple fix to this problem.

Make sure you take the needle to the highest position with the winding of the handwheel before threading the needle.

If you are using an advanced sewing machine, there should a button to set the needle up/down with just the press of this button.

Loose or Loopy stitches

Sometimes you start to get loose or loopy stitches as you stitch or when you use the sewing machine after a long time.

You should keep the sewing machine maintained even if it is not being used as it is very important for the durability of the sewing machine and proper functioning.

The loose and loopy stitches are the result of a certain reason – Thread Tension.

If the upper thread tension is not set to optimum, you tend to get loose or loopy bottom stitches and if the tension of the thread coming out of the bobbin is not set to optimum, you are most likely to get loopy/loose top stitches on the fabric.

The fabric wouldn’t feed evenly

This problem generally occurs when you have an old sewing machine.

The possible reason for the fabric not being pulled evenly is the feed dog.

Sometimes the feed dog of your sewing machine is worn out because of years of use or the heavy use that causes improper pulling of fabric.

You can fix this problem by changing the feed dog to a new one.

You can purchase feed dogs separately, not necessarily with the sewing machine only.

Missed Stitches

This is yet another common problem that sewists face and in most cases, it is the sewing machine needle again that causes this problem.

Sometimes it happens that two or more stitches are combined together and form a big stitch which is unusual and results in bad strength and integrity of the stitches.

It happens because of two things:

  • The sewing Machine Needle is not inserted correctly

When the sewing machine needle is not inserted correctly, it causes the formation of missed stitches.

Make sure you have attached the sewing needle correctly with the needle bar.

The flat side of the needle should stick to the needle bar and the screw that holds the needle with the needle bar should be tightened properly.

  • The sewing machine needle becomes dull

When the needle becomes dull due to long use or rough use (small size needle for thick fabric), it starts to create a problem, and missed stitch is one of the most obvious problems.

Changing the needle with a new one can solve this problem.

Formation of Bird Nest/Thread Bunches up

Sometimes as you sew, you start to face this problem commonly.

The thread bunches up or starts to form a bird’s nest beneath the fabric eventually resulting in the breaking of threads.

In many cases, it can even cause the breaking of the needle.

It happens because of the bad thread tension settings.

Make sure the upper and lower thread tension is set appropriately in order to resolve this problem.

The optimum thread tension setting is done by trial and error unless you are an expert who developed the skills of setting optimum thread tension.

These are some of the common problems that you encounter as you sew.

Most of the problems are caused due to the bad needle and bad thread tension settings.

It is advisable to check the manual before you use a sewing machine if you are a newbie so that you understand the functioning of every part of the sewing machine well.

There should be optimum settings for the upper thread and the lower thread coming out of the bobbin.

The upper thread tension can be adjusted from tension discs and the regulator.

You need to check where the tension discs and regulators are. It is mostly on the extreme left side of the sewing machine.

The regulator needs to be rotated clockwise in order to increase the thread tension and anti-clockwise to reduce the thread tension.

As you tighten the regulator, it pulls the tension discs closer creating high tension for the thread passing through the tension discs.

The lower thread tension can be adjusted with a very small and only screw of the bobbin case.

Tight or loose the screw in order to increase or decrease the thread tension.

If you have any other problems than these, please let us know in the comment section or e-mail us, and we will reply as quickly as possible.

I hope this article helps you solve these common problems.

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