Mandy's Appliance Maintenance Advice

Simple Solutions to Common Problems With a Sewing Machine

If you love to sew, you will need to know how to maintain your sewing machine properly, so that it doesn't ruin fabric or consistently break needles and shred your sewing thread. The good news is that many common problems with sewing machines have very simple solutions, meaning you can fix these problems on your own, quickly and easily. Note a few of these common problems and their potential solutions here, and then discuss any repairs that your machine needs with a repair specialist.

Fabric bunches, stiches are skipped

If the fabric bunches up when it gets fed through the machine, or stitches are always being skipped, you may need to adjust the tension of the foot. This is the part of the machine that you lower onto the fabric when you set it under the needle. The foot should hold fabric in place while still allowing it to slide through the machine. If the tension is too tight, the fabric may get bunched up; if stitches get skipped, the fabric may be moving through too quickly. There is a screw at the back of the foot that allows you to adjust it so that it is just brushing the fabric, and this should correct this problem.

Breaking or bending needles

Using the wrong size of needles is a common problem, but note if the feed dog of the machine is working properly. This is a component under the arm of the sewing machine that rotates and guides fabric along. Open up the sewing machine back and check if there is lint or other debris that needs cleaning, and then oil the machine to keep the feed dog working properly. Also, be sure you don't push the fabric or hold it while the feed dogs are moving; this can cause needles to get caught in the fabric and then bend or break.


If your sewing machine consistently shuts down, you may need to adjust the needle and the thread to something more durable. Also, remove the back and bottom of the machine and clean out any dust and lint that have accumulated, as these can cause the machine to overheat so that it shuts down. You also need to check the tension disks; these control how much tension is used when thread if fed through the machine. If there is too much tension, the thread may begin to pull and the machine will shut down. Loosen the tension and this may get the machine working again.

Pay attention to how your machine runs so you can spot issues and potentially get overlocker repairs or other issues fixed immediately.