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    How to troubleshoot your sewing machine

    Troubleshooting 101

    Often in the middle of a project, you may find that your machine quite simply doesn't want to sew! Most of the time, this is due to a simple issue that we overlooked while setting up the machine, or a very basic mechanical problem that can be fixed at home. This guide is intended to provide a simple checklist of problems and solutions that you can fix at home - without consulting a professional.

    Problems whilst setting up:

    Problem

    Solution

    Cannot thread the needle

    • Needle is not in the correct position - raise the needle.
    • Needle is not installed correctly- remove the needle and reinstall.
    • Needle is bent, dull or broken - replace the needle.
    • Upper threading is incorrect - rethread the upper machine.
    • The wrong size needle is being used - check your manual and use the correct size.

    Bobbin thread is not winding neatly

    • The thread is not passed through machine guides properly - rethread.
    • Bobbin spinning too slowly - make sure machine is set to full speed.
    • The thread was not wound correctly - wind the thread ⅚ times around the bobbin, clockwise before winding the bobbin.
    • The bobbin was not on the winding post correctly - make sure it is clicked in place before filling.

    Bobbin thread is not pulled up to make stitches

     

    • The needle is bent, snapped or dull - replace the needle.
    • Bobbin is inserted incorrectly - reinsert the bobbin/case.

     

    Problems whilst sewing:  

    Problem Solution

    Needle breaks

    • Needle is not installed correctly - reinstall, following instructions.
    • Needle clamp screw is not tight enough - tighten the screw.
    • Needle is bent or dull - replace the needle.
    • Needle is not suitable for the fabric you are using - use a different type of needle, suitable for the fabric composition.
    • Upper thread tension is too tight - adjust thread tension settings.
    • Fabric is pulled during sewing - apply no pushing or pulling motion when sewing.
    • Your bobbin is not suitable for your machine - replace with a style recommended in the manual.
    • Upper threading is incorrect - rethread correctly.
    • Bobbin is set incorrectly - reset.
    • Presser foot is attached incorrectly - reset.
    • Screw of the presser foot holder is loose - tighten the screw.
    • Your fabric is too thick - only use fabric that your machine can pierce when the handwheel is turned.
    • Stitch length is too short - adjust the stitch length.
    • Bobbin is incorrectly wound - re-fill the bobbin.

    Upper thread breaks

    • Machine is not threaded correctly - rethread.
    • Knotted or tangled thread is being used - untangle.
    • Needle is not appropriate for the thread being used - use a different thread or needle.
    • Upper thread tension is too tight - adjust thread tension.
    • Needle is bent, snapped or dull - replace.
    • Needle is installed incorrectly - reinstall.
    • The bobbin is not suitable for the machine - replace with a recommended style.
    • While sewing, thread has tangled - rethread upper and lower thread.

    Thread is tangled on the wrong side of the fabric

    • Upper threading is incorrect - rethread.
    • Needle or thread are not compatible with the fabric - use suitable needle and thread for fabric composition.

    The upper thread is too tight

    • Bobbin thread is not correctly installed - reinstall.

    Bobbin thread breaks

    • Bobbin is set up incorrectly - re-set.
    • Bobbin thread is incorrectly wound - refill bobbin.
    • The bobbin is damaged or doesn't rotate - replace the bobbin.
    • The thread is tangled - remove tangles and excess thread.
    • The bobbin is not suitable for the machine - replace with a recommended style.

    Fabric puckers

    • Upper/lower threading is incorrect - rethread.
    • Needle or thread are not compatible with the fabric - use suitable needle and thread for fabric composition.
    • Needle is bent - snapped or dull, replace.
    • Stitches are too long when sewing thinner fabrics - shorten the stitch length.
    • Upper thread tension is too tight - adjust thread tension settings.
    • Incorrect presser foot used - use suitable foot.

    Skipped stitches

    • Machine is threaded incorrectly - rethread.
    • Needle or thread are not compatible with the fabric - use suitable needle and thread for fabric composition.
    • Needle is bent, snapped or dull - replace.
    • Needle is not installed correctly - reinstall, following instructions.
    • Dust or lint is clogging machine - clean machine with a brush.

    No stitching

    • Needle is bent, snapped or dull - replace.
    • Bobbin is set incorrectly - reset.
    • Upper threading is incorrect - rethread.

    The needle hits the needle plate

    • The needle clamp screw is loose - tighten.
    • Needle is bent, snapped or dull - replace.

    Fabric being sewn cannot be lifted/removed from the machine

    • Lift the fabric, trim threads below it - clean out machine/bobbin area.

    Stitches are not sewn correctly

    • The presser foot is not the right type for the stitch/fabric - use an appropriate foot.
    • Thread tension is incorrect - adjust tension of the upper thread.
    • Feed dogs are in the down position - lift the feed dogs.

     

    Problems after sewing:

    Problem

    Solution

    Thread tension is incorrect

    • Upper threading is incorrect - rethread.
    • Bobbin is set incorrectly - reset.
    • Needle or thread are not compatible with the fabric - use suitable needle and thread for fabric composition.
    • Presser foot holder is not attached correctly - reattach.
    • Thread tension is set incorrectly - adjust thread tension.
    • Bobbin thread is incorrectly wound - refill bobbin.
    • Needle is bent, snapped or dull - replace.
    • The bobbin is not suitable for the machine - replace with a recommended style.

     

    This is only a condensed list of common problems, so if you do have other issues, it may be best to refer to your manual, manufacturer or get a professional service!

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