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How to Repair Sewing Machine

How to Repair Sewing Machine
Credit: Sewing Machine Gallery / Shanta Roy

He gets many cuts on his clothes while playing. What will you do then? Will you rush to the tailor or try to mend them by yourself at home?

Definitely, you want to do such a problem fixing or altering the cloth at home. Hence you need to have a sewing machine.

When you run the sewing machine, you will experience some problems; you may get stuck on some points.

It may seem to you bothering if you don’t know the reason of those problems and know-how of getting rid of them. In this article, I will show how I am enjoying the most benefits of it and solving the problems at home.

Before going for its repair, you must know the problem types, reasons, and tools to be used.  

Problems as Experienced by Users and Required Tools: 

For its long life expectancy of it, I try to maintain its routine lubrication. Despite that, I am faced with troubles with bobbin or take-up lever jam, corrosion of the bobbin, bobbin case, hook, and tension spring, faulty or lose drive belt, faulty motor, and failure of electrical cord and on-off switch.

In most cases, you are in trouble for a bent, broken, loose, or incorrect sewing needle. To fix the problems, you are to use screwdrivers, sewing machine oil, tweezers, emery cloth, a small brush, etc.

How to Find the Problem:

Your machine may have a working light like mine. It may not work. Just open the head test the bulb& check the electrical connection. If my machine doesn’t turn on, I check the power supply, on-off switch, etc. Sometimes it runs but doesn’t sew.

Then I look for any jammed thread in the bobbin, lubricate it, tighten the clutch knob, and check the drive belt. It becomes irritating when the needle or the bobbin thread breaks. You can take the help of the user manual. To ensure well feeding of your fabric, keep lint from feed dogs clean.

Thread bunching

At the time of sewing, a perfectly straight stitch on the top enlightens you. But what happens when you turn the opposite side and see a “bird’s nest” like formation? Definitely, it’s frustrating. The incorrect winding of the bobbin thread, uneven tightening of the bobbin thread, accumulation of dirt and lint in between tension discs, and incorrect top and bobbin thread tension may be the reasons.

What do I do? I don’t wind the bobbin by hand & ensure even tightening of the bobbin thread. Then, I clean the tension discs. Adjustment of thread tension is more important in this respect. Regulate needle thread, not the lower thread, except if you are sewing lightweight fabrics like chiffon, etc.

To have the right tension, I re-thread the machine raising the presser foot lifter. Then I raise the take-up lever and needle to the highest position following the manual. 

Some repair mechanisms for the following common problems are stated below: 

Uneven or Skipping Stitches 

While dealing with my machine, I got such a bitter experience. The reasons are incorrect insertion of the needle, using damaged or worn needles, mismatch of needle size and thickness of fabrics and thread, dirt accumulation under needle plate, incorrect threading and sewing machine hook timing, etc.

So, install your needle properly. Insert it with the flattened edge towards the back of the sewing machine. Then, push the new needle up inside the needle clamp as high as it will go. Don’t be a miser. Change the needle as recommended after stitching every 16 hours.

Like others, you may also pull fabric from behind for passing it through the machine. It results in skipped stitching or even can damage the machine.

Needle size and thickness of fabric and thread must have good coordination. You may require adding some interlining or stiffener, even tissue paper, to thinner fabrics. Changing thread tension, you get relief from this situation.

In addition, apply the required pressure on the presser foot and sew at an even speed. Remove dirt using a brush. Clean the shuttle area and teeth of the machine. Then lubricate, if necessary.

Needle breaking

Excessive or prolonged use or running over a pin or a hard object while sewing may cause needle breaking. Again, don’t fight with your fabric as you sew. Make sure that you are sewing at the same speed, inserting the needle fully and properly into the needle bar, and that the needle is not loose. Your wrong choice of needle size may create an obstacle to breaking the needle.

Insert bobbin properly. Use knot-free, quality thread. If your needle breaks down, check the pressure foot, its pressure & secured attachment, loosening of the needle clamp, correct foot, and plate. If you intend to sew a zig-zag stitch and use a straight stitch needle plate, the needle will break.

Top Thread breaking 

When you are fed up with the top thread breaking, check the threading. You may need to rethread the machine. The rough spot around the bobbin case, race, hook, or needle plate area may cause it too. Then, rub it with fine emery paper.

If the still problem remains, check the quality of the thread. Use a knot-free, new thread for smooth sewing. For settling the problem, choose the exact needle size/type which is blunt or bent, or too sharp. Take care of thread tension. Usually, I keep it around the middle of the dial to not be too tight. 

Check whether the thread is caught on the spool pin because thread breaking may occur. Besides, ensure compatibility of needle and thread. Thread too thick for the needle, needle too fine for thread, the correct needle with faulty insertion, fast stitching – all create problems.

Sewing Machine Noise

Such a problem may arise for loos screws(used for joining parts of the sewing machine). So tightening them works well as a repair mechanism. Over-tightening is prohibited. Noise from the machine warns you of minor problems but may lead to a major breakdown. Jam in any notable part of the machine also produces much noise.

Loose Drive Belt:

If your machine is motor run, inspect the drive belt for damage and wear. It may require replacement. Unmasking the handwheel cover with screws, removing the old one, and reinstalling a new one. Usually, I check the belt tension by pushing the belt side and tightening the motor mounting belts.


Every problem must have a solution. But it may get worse if not taken care of. Following the mentioned tips, I try to repair my machine at home. You may give them a try to mitigate the damage that might lead to costly repairs.

It’s just a primary treatment, saving your time and money. Allow machines to rest after trapping any fiber in the bobbin, clean and lubricate it regularly, replace worn-out and old parts of it periodically, apply obtained knowledge from my article, and enjoy hassle-free sewing.

Happy sewing!!!! 

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