Sewing Machine Trouble Shooting

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Threading A Sewing Machine – Keep The Presser Foot Up
This is one of the most common mistakes people make with a sewing machine. Always thread a machine with the presser foot up. Make sure that the thread is in all the way, in the take up lever, that is why presser foot needs to be up, so the thread can hook around the take up lever.

Bird’s Nest Of Tangled Threads
A massive nest of tangled thread is usually because the sewing machine is improperly threaded. Just because the tangled mess is on the bobbin side of the stitching, don’t assume it is the bobbin. Most of the time it is because the sewing machine is not threaded properly. Put the presser foot up and unthread the sewing machine entirely. Use your sewing machine manual as a guide to be sure you are guiding the thread through all of the guides it is suppose to go through.

Skipping Stitches
The most common reason for your sewing machine to skip stitches is because you are using the wrong type of needle for the fabric you are sewing. The simplest rule of thumb is that a knit fabric requires a ballpoint needle and woven fabric requires a sharp needle…. but there is more to it than that. If the machine is sewing fine and you find yourself changing the needle very frequently, you should pay attention to make sure you are allowing the machine to feed the fabric and you are not forcing the fabric through the sewing process.

A sewing machine needle is the smallest and usually one of the least expensive part of a sewing machine to replace. Change needle often, saves your machine motor. A dull needle will make the motor work twice as hard.

Fabric is not Feeding Under the Needle
Many sewing machines have a setting that lowers the feed dog. This is done for free-motion sewing, but the feed dog are what move the fabric under the sewing machine needle. If the feed dog are not coming up to move the fabric check for a setting that lowers the feed dog. If there is no such setting on your machine, take the throat plate off and clean out all dust, thread and lint. Oil according to your sewing machine manual. If the feed dogs still do not work, read your sewing machine manual. When all else fails, it may be time to take the machine in for repairs.

The Machine is Jammed and Won’t Sew
Scarey as it maybe, it is actually a common problem for the sewing machine to jam up and have nothing move. Your first step is to remove anything you were trying to sew. This may require gently tugging at the fabric and lifting it enough to snip at the threads that were sewing until you can get the fabric free of the machine. Now remove all the jammed thread, remove the bobbin, remove the throat plate or any other parts to remove all jammed threads and get the machine sewing again. Before you start sewing again, check your sewing machine needle. If it is even slightly bent it can cause this type of thread jam.

Breaking Or Shredding Thread
If you have the thread breaking every so often or it is shredding until the machine jams, stop and take heed of a few things.

  • Is the thread getting hung up on the thread spool it self. Make sure your thread cap is a little larger than your thread. Not too big and not too the little bear said
  • Are you using old or inferior quality thread? Cheap thread costs you much more in the long run. Machine repairs, damaged fabric and needles. Use high quality thread such as Metler.
  • Are you using a relatively new sewing machine needle? If the needle has sewn over pins it can have a nick in it that will play havoc with the thread causing it to break and shred. Change machine needle often. Every project or 8 hours of sewing or when using thick or fuzzy fabrics change more often.
  • If the thread continues to break after all of the above cautions, take a time out to thoroughly clean out all dust and lint from the bobbin area and the tension disks. Run your fingers over the areas the thread travels to see if you can find any kind of burr or a piece of thread that could be snagging the thread while it travels through the sewing machine.

Avoid Wasting Sewing Machine Needles and Damaging the Machine
If you find your sewing machine having problems on a very regular basis, stop and look at how you are operating the machine. Are you letting the feed dogs do the work? If you are even inadvertently forcing the fabric through the machine as you are sewing, you will be bending the needle and causing your own problems.

Sewing can be so fun and rewarding. If you are still having trouble stop by our service department and let our courteous factory trained technicians have a look at your machine.



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