no

The Ultimate Sewing Machine Repair Cheat Sheet

36 comments
The Ultimate Sewing Machine Repair Cheat Sheet
repair


We all make mistakes - big ones, small ones, and even silly ones that make you want to hide under a tree. I was the latter last week, and I was cringing with embarrassment. 

How did I get there? Well, my sewing machine had stopped working - it was jammed and I couldn't think why. 

I cleaned it...

I oiled it....

I even took out the bobbin and gave it a good scrub


Eventually, I enlisted the entire universe (well, everyone I knew who knows how to sew!) to take a look at the machine. I took it apart and uploaded a video to show which parts were jammed. The lovely Karen from RUDE Record even made a video on sewing machine repair just for me. We were on a mission to fix my machine, and we were determined to get it fixed.

sewing machine repair


I was so sure that it was a mechanical fault....I was going to call the repair man.... I HAD to...

but then...

it was then I realised that NOTHING was wrong with my machine....

I had not seen this coming - I had not shifted the bobbin holder into the correct position for sewing! The machine was prepped for filling up a bobbin instead of sewing. HIDE!

Sometimes we are so engrossed with fixing things that we forget that it might be a simple thing - I can't believe how many things I had done before finally realising that all that was required was a simple shift of the bobbin holder. 

So, if your machine jams, DON'T jump to conclusions and call the repair man. Have this CHEATSHEET ready if you think it needs a repair!!


#1 Is the Bobbin Setting Correct?
Make sure the holder is in the correct position. If you have the machine set for threading a bobbin, it will definitely feel like it's jammed when you attempt to sew.

sewing machine repair



#2 Did You Check the Needle?
Maybe the needle is bent or you are using the wrong one for your project. 

One easy way of remembering which needle you have in the machine is NOT to leave it there at all. After a sewing project, take the needle out and put it back in a labelled container.  Easy peasy!

sewing machine repair


#3 Do You Have the Correct Bobbin?
Use a bobbin that's made for your sewing machine. An incorrect one won't turn properly and can cause the thread to jam the machine.


sewing machine repair


#4 Have You Cleaned Out the Dust / Lint?
Use that tiny brush that comes with the machine and give it a good spring cleaning. The most important areas are the dog feed (unscrew and clean) and the bobbin case. Don't use tissue as this will leave even more dust behind. 

Tilt the machine towards you to get rid of any broken needle remnants inside the bobbin area that maybe causing the jam.



#5 Wrong Tension Setting?
Check the tension dial - you might be setting it too high that it causes your fabric to pucker and jam the machine.

sewing machine repair


Have you ever jumped to conclusions in your repair?
Do you have any sewing machine repair tips to offer?

For more repair tips, follow the Fix It Friday series!


Icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC BY 3.0

Linking up to
CreativeKKids
Behind  The Seam Sewing

author profile image
Abdelghafour

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

36 comments

  1. Glad you did not take it to the repair man. With all the world's help we were adamant you would fix it yourself, and well you did, yey! It was RUDE'S pleasure to try and help you, as we are keen, like you, to encourage people to DIY.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was funny actually, how we were all looking for the solution, but I am glad it's fixed!

      Delete
  2. I always trouble-shoot first. Tension is the absolute first thing I look at, then what stitch size and I go down my own list. The bobbin is never a problem. You place the bobbin on and there is a button on the stick (lever, whatever it's called) that engages the 'wind bobbin'.

    I like to get my machine serviced once a year if I've been sewing a lot or using fake fur. I don't feel confident to do it myself and it isn't that much. Of course, then I have to hear about how old my machine is (1982 is THAT long ago) and if I'd like a new one. My Viking has been going strong for so long that I'd never change.

    Every machine has it's particularities that you have to learn. Learning your machine is very important. I did like this article. You're so brave servicing your own machine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kim. I always hate tension issues, but it's best to get that sorted before sewing the actual project.

      Delete
  3. Glad you realised what was wrong before you took it to be repaired, Agy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is great! I would add two things to this list:
    1. make sure that your bobbin is inserted correctly
    2. try a different (better quality) thread
    I'm definitely going to share this with my readers! Thanks! :) Lisa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the two tips - yes, definitely!

      Delete
  5. Thank you! I have spent some time myself under that tree, maybe we crossed paths there at some time ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Is there a cheat sheet for proper tension settings? I have no idea what to generally have it on for sewing seams and am constantly having issues with the stitching being too tight or loose. TY

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll have to work on that one, but in general, if you are working with thin fabrics, it is best to work with the dial at lower numbers (e.g. <3 on mine) and with heavier ones such as jeans, you will need at least a 4 or a 5. You will need to experiment with your machine with scraps and get comfortable with the settings before you start on a project.

      Delete
    2. I don't know either but hoping for some good advise also!

      Delete
  7. I noticed that lots of people can't tell the difference between bobbins, even when the different sizes are side by side. I do agree that it can be pretty confusing!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This happened to me last week. The bobbin thread was bunching up and it wouldn't sew. I tried a few things and was getting ready to take it in to be fixed. Then I remembered about having the right bobbin so I changed it and it's been sewing like a charm ever since.

    ReplyDelete
  9. If I had a sewing machine this would be very helpful! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm not a sewer but my sister in law is and I will pass this great info on to her.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have done that one before myself. Well once you do it you will never again forget to move the bobbin winder gizmo back where it belongs. A friend also couldn't get her machine to work and I asked her questions and one of them was if she inserted her bobbin case in correctly, because I know that if it's not set in there just right it can jam too. That was it, she didn't place it in correctly and I saved her a trip to the repair guy too. I have the same check list too. Clean, oil, new needle, etc. Glad you got your problem figured out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's great when you have sewing friends like you to help out! Yup, our machines need a lot of tender loving care :-) Thank you for popping over!

      Delete
  12. I once thought I had broken my machine then it turned out I had somehow dropped the feeder teeth by mistake, It's easily done.
    I know I should really give my machine a little more TLC then I do, I think I'll clean out the fluff and lint tomorrow - thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've been sewing for 46 years. I've got 3 machines that stay set up and are used almost daily... and 4 more that come out from time to time. I was bringing my Juki back into the country and was told by customs that I had to check it…rather than carrying it on. SO distressed as I had checked first and didn't pack it to go into the belly of the plane. When I got it back, I couldn't get it to run and took it to my machine man. The first thing he did was to flip the bobbin winder thingy back where it belonged. DING DING.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that must have been a horrible experience. But now you know !

      Delete
  14. Very impressive you were able to repair this on your own! I get easily frustrated with stuff like this, and just take it to "the guy".

    ReplyDelete
  15. It is great that you were able to save yourself a repair visit- and the money!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Gosh I need to learn how to use this machine! I have it sitting out in case I ever do it, but this is great to know just in case!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for the tips. Getting the machine to work just right can be a challenge sometimes, but I love when I finally get it worked out, and can listen to the constant purr as I whip through my project.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is being bookmarked, thanks for the share!

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is an awesome post! There's nothing worse than trying to sew something and instead your machine keeps acting funny and you can't figure out why. Thanks for linking up at the Stitch It, Blog It, Share Link Party. I hope you’ll join us every Sunday night at 7 with more of your creative sewing projects.
    ~Bonnie @ Behind the Seams Sewing

    ReplyDelete
  20. Two more that I might add:
    1. Make sure the flat side of the needle is in the correct position for the machine!
    (to the left for a featherweight, to the right for a 15-91 to the back for most newish machines)
    2. I once had a needle with too small a hole for the machine (Singer 128) to correctly make a stitch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's very useful to know. Thanks Annie :-)

      Delete
  21. It is really very helpful in Machine Repair, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I have a few problems that I would love to have fixed on mine. Well 2 of them and they are the same machine from Montgomery Wards. Both are computerized. One of them the pressure foot will make the machine go nuts like a ghost is sewing. Foot off of the pressure foot and it still runs. Not sure what makes that happen. Any ideas? On the second machine that is exactly the same as the other machine. Mom bought one just like mine. Well when she passed away I got her sewing machine and it seems like it is totally locked up you can't move anything. No book for either one so no clue how to go about taking it apart and oiling or fixing what needs to be done. Any ideas on this one? Really would appreciate the help.
    Debby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Debby,

      Happy new year. Gosh, this sounds tough.

      For the first one - I think you will need someone to look into that. i've never experienced it before. Suspect it might be something to do with the computerising.

      For the second machine, do you have the brand of your machine? Have you tried making sure that the bobbin winder at the top is not locked in so that the sewing bits don't move?

      Hope that helps.

      Delete
    2. Deb look online and search the brand and model and manual and you might be lucky enough to find a copy you can download.

      Delete
  23. I have been servicing my own machines for ever, I have been sewing for 45 years now. So when anything goes wrong with my sewing friends machines I can usually fix it no problem. For the lady who s machine runs on its own, it could be the capacitor in the foot peddle. My husband fixed that one. I teach my quilting group to clean out the fluff every month or even more if they have done a lot of quilting.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I don't see this mentioned, but it caused me 48 hours of torture the other day, re-thread your machine. I tried everything just like you, but it turns out, the thread had just slipped from the (very nontechnical term) arm that goes up and down.

    ReplyDelete

no