Sewing Machine Quick Fix Guide




Introduction: Sewing Machine Quick Fix Guide

This guide was created to help you trouble-shoot problems with your sewing machine, so you can keep your projects going.


Q-Tip, Screwdriver

Step 1: ReThread Your Machine

1. Re-thread: Cut the thread by the spool, and pull out through the needle. Re-thread the machine.


Thread can come out of the tension discs, and take-up lever.

If the thread comes out of the take-up lever, your machine will sound like a freight train.

Step 2: Change Your Needle/Position

2. Change the Needle/Check the Position.


Needles can be defective! Not often, but it does happen.

Needles in the wrong position will not pick up the thread.

The back of your needle (flat side) should be facing AWAY from the bobbin assembly.

Step 3: Use the Correct Bobbin

3. Check the manual to make sure the bobbin is correct for the machine. Use only one thread per bobbin.


Bobbins come in different sizes. The wrong size will jump around in the bobbin case, and cause a jam.

Multiple threads on one bobbin can also cause jamming.

The bobbin on the left fits a standard Janome, while the one on the right fits a standard Singer.

Step 4: Disengage the Bobbin Winder to Continue Sewing

4. Check to make sure the bobbin winder isn't engaged, and the hand wheel is pushed in.


The needle will not move.

On older machines, the hand wheel has a dial to turn on the inner handwheel to disengage the needle while winding the bobbin.

Step 5: Clean the Hook Area

5. Clean out the bobbin area.

Remove the bobbin, case, and circular magnet(Not pictured).

Take a Q-tip and clean around the inside of the hook.

Place a drop of oil in the center if there is a wick. (Top Load only)


Lint builds up under the case, and causes it to jump up, and jam.

(Front load hook can also be cleaned with an old toothbrush and Windex)

Step 6: Changing Stitches = Needle Up

6. Move the needle to the up position BEFORE moving the stitch selection dial.


The needle will move against the hook in the down position.

This can cause timing issues, and skipped stitches.

Step 7: Remove a Fabric Jam

7. If the fabric jams, GENTLY pull the fabric away from the opening, WHILE rocking the hand wheel back and forth.


Releases thread from the hook.

(Occasionally, the bobbin case will need to be removed, and the fabric cut from the thread below.)

Step 8: Check the Button Hole Lever

8. Make sure the button hole lever is all the way up.


The machine will jam in the button hole mode.

Always remember to raise it up until snug, after making a button hole.

Step 9: Place the Bobbin in the Correct Position

9. Check that the bobbin is in the correct position.


It will jam the thread, or cause looping on one side. f.

TOP Loading: The bobbin goes in with the thread hanging off the LEFT side.

FRONT loading: The bobbin goes in with the thread hanging off the RIGHT side.

Step 10: Bobbin Case Is Seated Correctly

10. The bobbin case is seated correctly.


The needle can break.

FRONT Loading: Open the clip, and snap into place.

TOP Loading: The notch at the front sits snug, and bounces back against the metal stop spring.

Blue = Correct

Red = Incorrect

Step 11: Thank You!

Machines come in each week with these simple issues, and we fix them during evaluation for free. I thought making this guide might help other's who are struggling with sewing machine issues.

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    Phil B
    Phil B

    1 year ago

    My wife has done a lot of sewing. People ask her for help with their machines. It seems the tension on the upper thread is often not correct.

    Someone asked me to look at her 15 year old Pfaff machine. She said it was completely unresponsive. The copper commutator on the motor’s armature was black with oxidation. The brushes were still good. I held a very fine grit sandpaper on the commutator while I turned the armature by hand. In a while it was bright and clean. The machine is good for another 15 years. The place she usually takes the machine for service wanted to frighten her into buying a new machine for $700+. I did not charge her, but asked her to make a donation in an amount of her choice to a Christian organization of her choice. (She and her husband are members of the same church we attend.)

    Very Interesting
    Very Interesting

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you so much for your reply. We used to ask people to donate $10 to the local church of their choice if we did a quick fix. Glad you were able to take the time to clean the motor. (Most of town's churches work together to help the community.)


    1 year ago

    i have seen on wish they have a big asortmet ou diff. foot for a good price would they work on my older machine its in the 60s or 70s