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Fixing common sewing machine problems

Having problems with your sewing machine? Try our troubleshooting guides and machine manuals below, which offer solutions to the most common issues. If you’re still stuck, view our extensive list of FAQs at the Brother Solutions Center .

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Machine manuals

Access our complete list of sewing, quilting, embroidery and ScanNCut machine manuals to help you set up and maintain your Brother machine.

View Brother manuals

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Brother SupportCenter App

At Brother we’re always ‘at your side’ and will be with you every step of your sewing journey. Our support app is only a click away, so download today.

What you will find on the app:

  • Operation Manual (PDF format)
  • Suggested combination of fabric, type of needle and thread
  • How to use standard and optional accessories
  • Stitch pattern chart
  • How-to-use and How-to-make short videos

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Do I need to register my machine warranty?

Fabric not feeding through my sewing machine.

If your sewing machine has drop feed, check that the feed has not been accidentally lowered. If it has, raise the feed to ensure the fabric will move forward.

If you have a mechanical machine, check that the foot is lowered before sewing . Computerised sewing machines will remind you to do this.

Check the stitch length on your machine – if it is too low the machine might not feed through enough.

My needle will not move, but the handwheel is free?

Check if the machine is in bobbin winding mode by sliding the bobbin winder shaft to the left. This will switch the machine back to sewing mode.

My sewing machine will not pick up the lower thread?

Why is my sewing machine skipping stitches.

Check and replace the needle as it may be bent. Re-thread the machine following the instructions in your manual and ensure that the foot is raised.

The thread should pull through the machine freely with no tension. If there is tension when pulling the thread, then the thread may be unsuitable for machine sewing and should be replaced with machine sewing thread from a reputable brand.

If you are using a stretch fabric, a ball point needle will give better results.

Never use a thread weight of lower than 20 as this may cause your machine to malfunction.

If the problem persists after replacing the needle and ensuring the correct needle and fabric combination. It’s possible there be a timing issue with your machine. Contact your Brother dealer to arrange a service or contact our customer service team.

Sewing machine not stitching?

Refer to your instruction manual for general set up of your machine.

Some common quick fixes:

  • Check that the bobbin winder shaft is not pushed to the right; if it is, then push it to the left.
  • Check the machine is threaded correctly ensuring the threading line on the hand wheel is at the top position (this puts the needle into the correct position for threading). Make sure the presser foot is lifted before threading the machine. Set your bobbin correctly into the machine. For top loading bobbins, the thread needs to be going around the bobbin in an anti-clockwise direction. Use the guides on your machine or refer to your instruction manual. If you have a mechanical machine, check that the foot is lowered before sewing. Computerised machines will remind you to do this.

Sewing machine thread keeps breaking

Try re-threading the top thread, ensuring the threading line indicator on the hand wheel is positioned to the top (this puts the thread take-up lever at threading point 3, the correct position for threading).

Use a good quality thread – it's common for inexpensive low-quality threads or threads designed for hand sewing to be the cause of what appears to be tension problems when there is nothing wrong with the machine. Using thread that does not pull through smoothly can cause thread breakages, poor stitching or damage to your machine. For best results, you should use a good quality, branded thread.

To check if your thread is suitable for use on a sewing machine thread your machine with the foot raised. The thread should pull through the machine with no tightness.

Thread bunching or "birds-nesting" of thread under the fabric

  • re-threading the top thread ensuring the threading line indicator on the hand wheel is positioned to the top (this puts the thread take-up lever at threading point 3, the correct position for threading)checking you haven’t missed the take-up lever (this will cause the thread to gather under the material)
  • re-threading the top thread, with your presser foot raised (threading your machine with the foot down will result in no tension being applied to the top thread because the tension discs are closed)checking the position of your bobbin case and resetting as per instruction manual checking the tension settings – if the setting is too low, reset the tension to setting number 4

My machine is sewing in reverse?

What to do when my needle threader won't work.

1) The needle is not raised to the highest position A) Raise to the highest position for mechanical machines position the line on the handwheel to the top(refer to upper threading in your manual, for electronic machines press the needle position button so that the needle returns to the top.

2) The needle is not installed correctly A) ensure the needle is fully inserted into the needle bar clamp before you tighten the screw and the flat part of the needle is to the back, please note singer and butterfly needles are not compatible, brother recommend Organ or Schmetz needles, 11/75 is the smallest needle you can use with the needle threader.

3) The hook of the needle threader is bent and does not pass through the eye of the needle A) Please contact your dealer for support or use the dealer locator  to find your nearest repair centre.  Please note needle threaders are not covered under warranty .

Brother Sewing Machine Troubleshooting and Repair Guide

Have you ever sat down at your sewing machine, only to find a stuck needle or jammed thread? The good news is that you can learn a few simple tricks of the trade to avoid most issues. Check out a Brother sewing machine troubleshooting and repair guide to get started!

Brother sewing machine repair includes regularly cleaning and rethreading the machine. Checking fabric feed and tension settings can also improve sewing machine function. Correcting bobbin, needle, and electrical issues can also repair the machine.

In this article, you’ll learn basic Brother sewing machine troubleshooting techniques. You’ll discover handy strategies for dealing with lesser-known bobbin problems. Finally, you’ll find out all about the warranty and repair manual for your Brother sewing machine!

How Do I Fix My Brother Sewing Machine: 9 Common Issues

Brother sewing machines have a good reputation, but you will still find yourself facing a tangled thread or broken needle once in a while! Check out this basic guide for troubleshooting the nine most common issues you may encounter while using your Brother sewing machine.

Thread Path

Threading a brothers sewing machine

Tangled thread, skipped stitches, and several other major issues can often be traced to the upper thread path.

It doesn’t matter if you have a fancy sewing machine or a bargain model. It doesn’t even matter if you’re an expert seamstress or a beginner sewer. Nine times out of ten, you can fix any thread issues by removing the thread and rethreading the upper thread path!

How do you rethread your machine?

  • First, remove the current thread if necessary. Instead of taking the thread spool off the spool pin and pulling the thread free, snip the thread near the spool and then pull the thread down and out through the needle. The thread should not pull back through the thread path, as the machine is not designed to work that way!
  • Turn the handwheel until you can see the thread take-up lever peeking out from the arm of your sewing machine. Some Brother models have a threading line indicator on the handwheel, which needs to reach the top of the wheel to show you that the take-up lever is correctly positioned.
  • Raise the presser foot. This may seem odd since it has no direct connection to the thread! This key step releases the tension discs, though, allowing them to encompass the thread properly.
  • Brother machines do a great job clearly marking the thread path. All you have to do is follow the colored indicators to wrap the loose end of the spool thread through the tension discs and over the thread take-up lever.
  • Make sure you slot the thread behind the last guide above the needle bar as well. Then use your automatic needle threader or thread the needle yourself. Unless your manual says otherwise, most Brother models thread front-to-back.
  • Sew a test series of zigzag stitches to make sure this has fixed the thread issue.

Sewing machine tension feels like a big, confusing issue to many new sewers. The basic concept makes sense, but adjusting the settings may feel quite scary!

So, how does sewing machine tension work? A tension disc mechanism (located in the arm above the needle bar) places more or less pressure on the upper thread. More pressure allows less thread to release into each stitch. Less tension allows more thread, creating looser stitches.

You may need to adjust the tension settings on your machine when you use silkier, thinner, or thicker types of material. Anytime you switch to a different type of needle or thread, you should test a sample line of stitches to see if you need to correct the tension settings.

And, of course, loose or skipped stitches as you work should also give you a head’s up that you need to play with the tension!

To adjust the tension settings:

  • First, rethread the upper thread path and reinsert the bobbin, just to make sure incorrect threading did not cause the problem.
  • Next, find a sample scrap of the same fabric you’re using for your real project. This makes sure you will correctly set the settings for the specific material you want to sew on.
  • Locate the tension dial or knob on the front of your sewing machine. Typically, most Brother models place this toward the front of the sewing machine arm, above the needle bar.
  • Run a few test stitches and examine the results.
  • If you can see loose bits of the lower thread poking through, you need to set the dial to a lower number, loosening the tension.
  • If the upper thread pokes through on the bottom side of the fabric, you need to set the tension to a higher number.
  • If you have trouble analyzing the test stitches, try setting the tension dial one number lower and run another line of test stitches. Do these stitches look more even?
  • If that test also looks incorrect, set the tension dial one number higher than its original setting, and repeat the test.
  • Continue adjusting the tension dial and testing the stitches until you find the perfect setting for your fabric.

Needle Replacement

Needle Replacement

Ideally, you should replace the needle in your sewing machine at the start of every new project or each time you switch to a different type of material. For example, ballpoint needles work best on knit and stretch fabrics. Sharp, narrow needles work best on silky fabrics.

Using a fresh needle helps prevent any snagging on your material. Using the correct type of needle can also mean the difference between runs and skipped stitches in your fabric or neat, even stitching.

If you notice a slight bend or skew to the needle, you need to change it right away! A bent needle may damage your machine when it lands on the wrong spot. It can also easily snap off and fly at you while you sew!

To replace the needle:

  • Turn off your machine. It’s always best to play it safe when you need to put your fingers next to the needle!
  • Lower the presser foot lever. This gives you better access to the needle.
  • Pinch the needle between your fingers to prevent it from falling down into the machine.
  • Use a small screwdriver to loosen the needle clamp screw, turning it toward you. Most Brother machines come with an appropriate screwdriver for this task.
  • As the hold on the needle loosens, it will fall away into your left hand. Set aside the old needle for safe disposal.
  • Look at the new needle and note the flat side of the shank. Insert the needle with the flat side facing the back of the machine until it hits the needle stopper.
  • Use the screwdriver to tighten the needle clamp screw again, this time turning the screwdriver away from you.

Clean Lint Buildup

Keeping your machine clean and lint-free will prevent possible jamming or refusing to sew down the road. Depending on how much you use your sewing machine, you may need to clean it on a regular schedule, such as once a week or as often as every time you begin a new project.

You should always refer to your sewing machine manual to learn exactly what you need to clean. That said, you can also follow these basic steps to perform a simple cleaning.

On top of that, you should also read the fine print on your warranty if you have a newer machine. Sometimes Brother will void a warranty if you mess with the machine yourself instead of taking it into a certified repair shop!

  • Turn off and unplug your sewing machine before you begin. Take this chance to inspect the electrical wires and make sure you do not see any lint or grease build-up around the plug outlets.
  • Use a small screwdriver to remove the needle plate. You will also want to remove the bobbin and bobbin casing.
  • With a small, clean paintbrush, carefully sweep out any accumulated lint. Do not use a vacuum for this process, as the suction could damage the alignment of movable parts! Also, don’t use a pressurized air can or even blow on the machine to clear out dust and lint, as this could damage the machine, too.
  • Replace the removable pieces.
  • Dust the outside of the machine with a soft cloth.
  • Set up a clean spool of thread and run the thread through the upper thread path, pulling it down gently to the needle to remove any lint that may have caught in the thread path.
  • Finally, run a few inches of test stitches to make sure everything works!

Fabric Feed

Fabric feed problems can have several different causes.

  • If the machine makes a weird noise and the fabric seems stuck, you might have tangled thread beneath the material. This usually means you need to rethread the machine after removing the tangle with a small pair of scissors.
  • If you have a machine that features a drop feed, check the settings to make sure this is enabled.
  • If you have a mechanical machine, make sure you have lowered the presser foot! If you forgot to put it back down after threading, the fabric will not feed through properly.
  • Feel the feed dogs with your finger. Do they still have raised, triangular teeth? If these have worn down, you may need to replace them.
  • Stitch length can occasionally impact the fabric feed. If you’re using a stitch length or pattern that does not suit the material, such as a long, loose stitch on a silky fabric, the feed may seem off.

Skipped Stitches

Skipped stitches leave gaps of loose thread between the regular stitches as you sew. This looks messy and leaves weak gaps in your seams! The good news is that you can usually perform a few simple fixes to correct the issue.

  • Are you sewing on knit or stretch material? If so, you may need to swap out your needle for a blunt, ballpoint needle. Using stabilizer material or basting your work together before sewing can also help prevent skipped stitches on knit fabric.
  • Do you have a bent needle? A bent needle can also cause skipped stitches, but you can easily check by removing the needle and laying it on a flat surface. If it lies horizontal to the flat surface, you’re good to go!
  • Gently pull on the upper thread to see if it seems caught or if the tension may prevent the thread from smoothly moving to the needle. You may need to adjust the tension on your machine to allow the thread to move freely.
  • If you have not cleaned your machine in a long, long time, clogged lint may have built up somewhere. Try giving everything a good cleaning!
  • If none of these solutions fix the skipped stitches, your Brother machine may have a timing problem. This level of repair usually requires professional intervention. However, if you don’t mind taking apart the inner mechanisms of your machine, you can try looking up a Youtube clip to help you adjust the timing.

Tangled Thread

Most of the time, rethreading your machine will fix tangled thread issues. When the upper thread slips out of the tension discs, it tends to tangle up beneath the fabric. Sometimes you may refer to this as jammed feed or as a bird’s nest tangle. This happens on every sewing machine, but you can easily resolve the issue by rethreading.

You can also try dusting under the needle plate and cleaning the thread path. Sometimes lint can gum up the works, causing the thread to get sticky and tangle.

Alternatively, you may need to check the removable parts of your machine. For example, if you have the wrong size of bobbin in place, it may rattle around and cause the thread to tangle. Replace your needle in case it has dulled and is no longer catching the lower thread properly, too.

Broken Thread

If the upper thread repeatedly breaks as you sew, something has gone wrong. You can try several different solutions to prevent this from happening again.

  • Check the spool size and spool pin you use to keep the thread spool in place. You may need to adjust the sizes.
  • You may also need to check that your machine can handle the type of thread you choose. A very fine thread might not work with your Brother model.
  • As always, rethread the upper thread path. If a thread slipped free of a guide or out of the tension discs, it may catch and tear on another moving part in the machine.
  • Adjust the tension to a lower setting. Too much tension could exert enough pressure to snap the thread.
  • A loose or bent needle might cause the thread to snap, especially if the bent needle strikes the needle plate as you sew.

Electric Issues

First things first, unless you have a background as an electrician, you may want to leave some electronic problems to the experts! That said, you can easily fix a few simple problems by yourself.

For example, if the light on your machine goes out, you can easily order a replacement bulb and install it yourself. Make sure you use your manual as a reference.

If your machine doesn’t turn on, check the wall outlet first! Perhaps the plug got loose. Also, make sure the connection to the machine is snug.

Likewise, make sure the foot pedal cord has not come loose as you sew.

Beyond this, any internal writing issues probably need professional attention. If you have a computerized sewing machine, you should almost certainly take your machine in for a repair if the screen goes dark or you need any kind of computer repair.

How To Unjam a Brother Sewing Machine?

Brother sewing machine jammed

The most important thing to know about a jam is that you must stop sewing as soon as you hear a strange noise or feel extra tension in the fabric feed. Carrying on even for a few seconds can make the jam much worse!

To remove the jam:

  • Turn off your sewing machine. You will need to work closely around the needle and to do this safely, you must turn off your machine.
  • If the machine will let you, use the handwheel to raise the needle. Don’t panic if you can’t turn the wheel, and certainly don’t try to force it!
  • Lift the presser foot to give you access to the jammed fabric.
  • If you have enough wiggle room, pry up the jammed fabric just a bit and use a pair of embroidery scissors to snip the threads holding the fabric to the machine.
  • Open up the bobbin casing and remove the bobbin. Cut free any threads you may find tangled with this lower thread.
  • Remove the needle plate and use tweezers to pick out any remaining thread bits.
  • Use your lint cleaning brush around this whole area for good measure.
  • Finally, replace the bobbin and rethread the machine. Use a scrap of fabric for a few inches of test stitches to make sure you have everything working correctly again.

Brother Sewing Machine Bobbin Problems

Brother sewing machine bobbin issues

Bobbin thread issues don’t occur as often as upper thread problems, but you may come across one once in a while! When that happens, try these simple solutions to solve the problem.

  • If your bobbin thread (the lower thread) keeps bunching up, you need to check your tension settings. Too-tight tension can cause this to happen.
  • Short thread tails may get sucked back into the machine and cause tangles, too.
  • Bobbin tangles may also occur if you use two different kinds of thread, one for the upper thread and a different kind for the bobbin. Make sure you use the same thread in both places!
  • If you have the wrong size of bobbin or have not inserted the bobbin in its case properly, it could rattle around loosely and cause lots of tangles.
  • More commonly, your bobbin may have gotten chipped or bent at some point. This will also cause it to catch while spinning. A chip could even break the bobbin thread as it unwinds!

How Do I Fix My Brother Sewing Machine That Won’t Sew?

Depending on the severity of the issue, you may find a quick fix like rethreading your machine, or you may need to take it into the shop if the motor is damaged.

Check the easiest solution first: is your machine plugged in? Did you remember to turn it on, and is the foot pedal plugged in securely? Any of these simple issues will keep your machine from sewing!

Usually, a sewing machine that won’t sew is caused by a jam or incorrect threading. After removing the jam, make sure you follow the threading instructions in your manual to rethread the machine. This essentially resets everything, giving you a fresh start!

You should also rewind the bobbin and read your manual to make sure you have inserted the bobbin correctly into the machine.

Look at your presser foot and make sure you have it down as you begin to sew.

If none of these simple fixes helped, you might have a problem with the motor or something mechanical inside the machine. This level of fix usually needs a certified repair technician!

Brother Sewing Machine Repair Manual

Every Brother sewing machine comes with a special owner’s manual that will tell you how to complete basic maintenance and repairs. Even if you consider yourself an experienced sewer, you should read through this before using your machine for the first time!

What if you bought your machine second-hand and it didn’t come with the manual? No worries! Brother kindly provides digital access to all its recent manuals through the company website .

Now, if you have a vintage Brother model, you may have to put on your detective hat to find the manual! You can usually purchase old manuals on eBay or Etsy. If you want a free option, you can reach out to fellow sewers on online forums and ask for help.

Brother Sewing Machine Repair Near Me

Your average mom-and-pop repair shop may well have a certified Brother technician on staff because Brother sewing machines are so popular. That said, your best bet is to check the company website to locate an authorized dealer .

A technician trained specifically on Brother models has the best chance of fixing your machine quickly and effectively. For this reason, just Googling “sewing machine repair near me” might not do the trick! Try Brother’s website first, and see if you have a certified repair shop nearby .

On top of that, if you have a warranty, you will have to follow Brother’s rules and go to one of their people!

Do Brother Sewing Machines Have a Warranty?

Some Brother sewing machines do have a warranty. This depends on whether or not you bought your machine brand-new and when you bought it. Brother currently offers a three-year warranty for parts and labor.

Machines used professionally may have different warranty options. Embroidery machines, quilting machines, and sergers may also have some differences.

This warranty does come with some conditions, though. Typically, you will void the warranty by making your own unauthorized repairs instead of going to a professional. To find out if your machine qualifies and see what you have to do to keep that warranty intact, visit the company website .

Brother sewing machines jams or tangles often have simple solutions that you can easily learn to save time and money. Learning how to rethread the machine, replace the needle, and rewind the bobbin will make your sewing much smoother! Using the correct type of needle and thread will also prevent many problems.

Any time you run into a problem with your machine, check your owner’s manual first to see if it offers a solution. You should also make sure you do not attem[t any fixes that could void your warranty!

What Brother model do you have? What do you like most about it, and have you ever tried to repair it? Leave a comment below to let us know!

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Brother Sewing Machine Problems: 14 Common Issues (Solved)

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In this article, we will discuss some of the most common problems that you may encounter with your Brother sewing machine.

From tangled thread to skipped stitches, we will provide you with solutions to help you fix these issues and keep your machine running smoothly.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced sewist, this guide will help you troubleshoot and repair your Brother sewing machine.

Table of Contents

Thread Tension Issues

One of the most common issues with Brother sewing machines is thread tension. Incorrect thread tension can cause a variety of problems, such as thread breaking, thread loops, and uneven stitches.

Here are some of the most common thread tension issues and how to fix them.

The bobbin thread coming up

Thread Breaking

If your thread keeps breaking while sewing, it may be due to incorrect thread tension.

Here are some possible solutions:

  • Check the upper thread tension. If it’s too tight, loosen it. If it’s too loose, tighten it.
  • Make sure the thread is properly threaded through the machine, including the tension discs and the needle.
  • Check the needle. A dull or damaged needle can cause the thread to break. Replace the needle if necessary.
  • Check the thread itself. Poor quality thread can be more prone to breaking. Try using a different brand or type of thread.

Thread Loops

If you’re seeing loops of thread on the underside of your fabric, it’s likely due to incorrect thread tension.

  • Check the upper thread tension. If it’s too loose, tighten it. If it’s too tight, loosen it.
  • Check the bobbin tension. If the bobbin tension is too loose, tighten it. If it’s too tight, loosen it.
  • Check the bobbin itself. Make sure the bobbin is properly wound and inserted into the machine.

Uneven Stitches

If your stitches are uneven or the tension is uneven between the top and bottom threads, it may be due to incorrect thread tension.

  • Check the needle. A dull or damaged needle can cause uneven stitches. Replace the needle if necessary.
  • Check the thread itself. Poor quality thread can be more prone to uneven stitches. Try using a different brand or type of thread.

In conclusion, thread tension issues are a common problem with Brother sewing machines, but they can be easily fixed with some troubleshooting and adjustments.

By following the solutions listed above, you should be able to resolve most thread tension issues and enjoy smooth, even stitches.

Needle Problems

One of the most common issues with Brother sewing machines is needle problems.

In this section, we will discuss the two most common needle problems and how to fix them.

Bent Needle

A bent needle may cause damage to your machine when it lands on the wrong spot. It can also easily snap off and fly at you while you sew!

The needle of a sewing machine quilting

Here are the steps to replace a bent needle:

  • Turn off your machine. It’s always best to play it safe when you need to put your fingers next to the needle!
  • Lower the presser foot lever. This gives you better access to the needle.
  • Loosen the needle clamp screw by turning it towards you.
  • Remove the old needle by pulling it down and towards you.
  • Insert the new needle with the flat side facing the back of the machine. Push it up as far as it will go and tighten the needle clamp screw.
  • Double check that the needle is inserted correctly and is not bent.

Wrong Needle Size

Using the wrong size needle can cause a lot of problems with your sewing machine.

Here are some steps to ensure you are using the correct needle size:

It’s important to note that the above table is a general guide, and you should always refer to your machine’s manual for specific recommendations.

Using the wrong size needle can cause skipped stitches, broken threads, and even damage to your machine.

By following these steps, you can avoid needle problems and keep your Brother sewing machine running smoothly.

Bobbin Issues

Brother sewing machines are known for their reliability and durability. However, like any other machine, they can develop problems over time.

One of the most common issues with Brother sewing machines is bobbin-related problems.

In this section, we will discuss two of the most common bobbin issues: bobbin thread tension and bobbin winding.

Bobbin Thread Tension

One of the most common bobbin issues with Brother sewing machines is bobbin thread tension.

If the bobbin thread tension is not set correctly, you may experience problems such as skipped stitches, uneven stitching, and thread breakage.

Here are some common causes of bobbin thread tension problems:

  • The bobbin thread is not threaded correctly
  • The bobbin is not inserted correctly
  • The bobbin thread is wound too tightly or too loosely

To fix bobbin thread tension problems, try the following solutions:

  • Re-thread the bobbin thread, making sure it is threaded correctly
  • Check that the bobbin is inserted correctly
  • Adjust the bobbin thread tension using the tension screw on the bobbin case
  • Make sure the bobbin thread is wound evenly and not too tightly or too loosely

Bobbin Winding

Another common bobbin issue with Brother sewing machines is bobbin winding. If the bobbin is not wound correctly, you may experience problems such as uneven stitches, thread breakage, and thread tangling.

Here are some common causes of bobbin winding problems:

  • The bobbin thread is not wound evenly
  • The bobbin winder is not working properly

To fix bobbin winding problems, try the following solutions:

  • Make sure the bobbin is inserted correctly
  • Wind the bobbin thread evenly and not too tightly or too loosely
  • Check that the bobbin winder is working properly

In conclusion, bobbin issues are common problems that can occur with Brother sewing machines.

By understanding the causes of these issues and following the solutions provided, you can troubleshoot and fix these problems quickly and easily.

Machine Jamming

Brother sewing machines are known for their durability and reliability, but even the best machines can experience issues from time to time.

One of the most common problems that Brother sewing machines can experience is machine jamming.

Machine jamming can be frustrating and can cause your sewing projects to come to a halt. Here are some of the most common reasons why your Brother sewing machine may be jamming and how to fix them.

Thread Jamming

One of the most common reasons for machine jamming is thread jamming.

This can happen when the thread is not properly threaded through the machine or when the tension is not set correctly.

Here are some solutions to fix thread jamming:

  • Check the threading: Make sure that the thread is properly threaded through the machine. If it is not, rethread the machine and try again.
  • Check the tension: Make sure that the tension is set correctly. If the tension is too tight or too loose, it can cause thread jamming. Adjust the tension as needed.
  • Clean the machine: Dust and debris can build up in the machine and cause thread jamming. Clean the machine regularly to prevent this from happening.

Bobbin Jamming

Another common reason for machine jamming is bobbin jamming. This can happen when the bobbin is not properly inserted or when the bobbin thread is not properly wound.

Here are some solutions to fix bobbin jamming:

  • Check the bobbin: Make sure that the bobbin is properly inserted into the machine. If it is not, remove the bobbin and reinsert it.
  • Check the bobbin thread: Make sure that the bobbin thread is properly wound onto the bobbin. If it is not, unwind the thread and wind it onto the bobbin again.
  • Clean the machine: Dust and debris can build up in the machine and cause bobbin jamming. Clean the machine regularly to prevent this from happening.

By following these solutions, you can fix machine jamming issues and get back to your sewing projects in no time.

However, if these solutions do not work, it may be time to take your machine to a professional for repair.

Machine Not Stitching

If your Brother sewing machine is not stitching properly, it can be frustrating and can cause delays in your sewing projects.

There are two possible sub-sections that we will discuss: Machine Not Starting and Machine Not Stitching Properly.

Here are some common reasons why your machine may not be stitching and what you can do to fix it.

Machine Not Starting

If your machine is not starting, there could be a few reasons why:

  • The power cord is not plugged in properly.
  • The power switch is not turned on.
  • The foot controller is not plugged in properly.

To fix this problem, make sure that the power cord is plugged in properly and that the power switch is turned on.

Also, check to make sure that the foot controller is plugged in properly and that it is functioning correctly.

Machine Not Stitching Properly

If your machine is not stitching properly, there could be several reasons why:

  • The needle is not inserted correctly.
  • The needle is dull or bent.
  • The thread tension is not set correctly.
  • The thread is not threaded properly.
  • The bobbin is not inserted correctly.
  • The bobbin thread is not threaded properly.

To fix these problems, try the following:

  • Make sure that the needle is inserted correctly and that it is not dull or bent. If it is, replace it with a new needle.
  • Check the thread tension and adjust it as necessary. Refer to your machine’s manual for instructions on how to adjust the tension.
  • Check the threading of the machine and make sure that the thread is threaded properly through the needle and the tension disks.
  • Make sure that the bobbin is inserted correctly and that the bobbin thread is threaded properly through the machine.

By following these steps, you should be able to fix most common problems with your Brother sewing machine.

However, if you are still experiencing issues, it may be best to take your machine to a professional for repair.

Brother sewing machines are reliable and efficient sewing machines that can help you accomplish your sewing projects with ease.

However, like any other machine, they can also experience problems that may be frustrating and time-consuming to fix.

In this article, we have explored some of the most common problems that Brother sewing machines may encounter and provided solutions to them.

Problems and Solutions

Thread breakage.

One of the most common problems that Brother sewing machines may experience is thread breakage.

This problem can be caused by several factors, including using the wrong type of thread, incorrect threading, and incorrect tension settings.

To fix this problem, you should:

  • Use high-quality thread that is appropriate for the fabric you are sewing.
  • Ensure that the machine is threaded correctly by following the threading instructions in the manual.
  • Adjust the tension settings to ensure that they are appropriate for the fabric you are sewing.

Needle Breakage

Another common problem that Brother sewing machines may experience is needle breakage.

This problem can be caused by several factors, including using the wrong type of needle, incorrect needle insertion, and incorrect tension settings.

  • Use the correct type of needle for the fabric you are sewing.
  • Ensure that the needle is inserted correctly by following the insertion instructions in the manual.

Bobbin issues are also common problems that Brother sewing machines may experience. These issues can be caused by several factors, including incorrect bobbin insertion, incorrect bobbin winding, and incorrect bobbin tension.

  • Ensure that the bobbin is inserted correctly by following the insertion instructions in the manual.
  • Ensure that the bobbin is wound correctly by following the winding instructions in the manual.
  • Adjust the bobbin tension to ensure that it is appropriate for the fabric you are sewing.

Machine Jams

Machine jams are frustrating problems that can occur when sewing with a Brother sewing machine. These jams can be caused by several factors, including incorrect threading, incorrect needle insertion, and incorrect tension settings.

Machine Skips Stitches

Machine skips stitches can be caused by several factors, including incorrect threading, incorrect needle insertion, and incorrect tension settings. To fix this problem, you should:

In conclusion, Brother sewing machines are reliable and efficient machines that can help you accomplish your sewing projects with ease.

However, like any other machine, they can also experience problems that may be frustrating and time-consuming to fix. By following the solutions provided in this article, you can fix these problems and continue sewing with your Brother sewing machine.

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brother sewing machine problem solving

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Machine is not sewing any stitches while trying to sew

Follow the below instructions if your machine is not making a stitch:

Probable Causes:

- Top or bobbin thread has not been set correctly. - The thread does not match the needle.  - Thread tension is not properly set.  

1. The machines top thread may not be threaded correctly.

     - Check the threading path of the top thread and rethread your machine.  

2. Make sure the needle thread is behind the needle bar thread guide on the needle bar.  

3. The thread may be knotted or tangled.

     - Cut the tangled thread and remove it from the bobbin area.  

4. The thread may be too thick for the needle.

     - Check the table of fabrics, thread and needle combinations.

     - Select the correct combination of thread and needle to be used.  

5. Check that the upper thread tension is not too tight.

     - Adjust the top thread tension accordingly.  

6. Check that the needle is not bent or that the end of the needle is blunt.

     - If necessary, replace the needle.  

7. Check the needle hole in the needle plate.

   - Make sure there are no scratches around the needle hole in the needle plate.

   - If necessary, replace the needle plate with a new one by loosening the two screws on the needle plate.  

8. Check the presser foot.

     - Make sure there are no scratches around the hole in the presser foot.

     - Make sure that the presser foot you are using is appropriate for the stitch that you want to sew.  

9. Check your bobbin and make sure it is inserted correctly.

     - Insert your bobbin into the inner rotary hook so that it is flat on the bottom and the thread is behind the bobbin spring of the inner rotary hook.  

10. Check that there are no scratches on the bobbin.

     - If necessary, replace the bobbin. 11.  If you have tried all of the above steps and the problem persists , your machine will require service. Please use the following link to locate a Brother Authorized Service Center:  Brother Authorized Service Center Locator .

If you need assistance, please Contact Brother Customer Support : https://www.brother-usa.com/contact-us .

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Get Sew

Brother Sewing Machine Troubleshooting: Fix It Yourself

Thankfully, if you own a Brother sewing machine , that shouldn’t happen too often. But if it does, don’t panic, as a lot of common problems can be fixed within the comfort of your own home without the need to take it in to be repaired.

In this article, I’ll go through some of the most common problems you may happen to come across when working on your Brother sewing machine and what you can do to solve them.

Thread Bunching Up

If you’re still not having any joy after re-threading the top thread, check, and reset if necessary, the position of your bobbin case. Finally, check the tension settings and adjust to a higher setting. Hopefully, one of these solutions will get you up and stitching again.

Fabric Not Getting Fed Through

Another common problem you may encounter is when the fabric doesn’t feed through. If the machine has a drop feed, make sure this hasn’t been lowered accidentally. If it has, simply raise the feed and the fabric should glide through. In cases where a mechanical machine is being used, make sure the foot is lowered before attempting to sew. It’s also worth checking the stitch length on the machine as if it’s too low, the machine may struggle to feed enough through.

Machine Not Sewing at All

It’s very frustrating having a machine that won’t sew, but more often than not, it’s very easily fixed. The first thing to check in this instance is that the bobbin winder shaft has not been moved to the wrong position. Most bobbin winders need to be pushed to the left to work (check the manual of you’re unsure). Reposition this if need be. If this is not the issue, then make sure the machine has been threaded correctly and that the thread line on the handwheel is at the top.

The final thing to try in this scenario is to check your bobbin is fitted correctly. You can double-check the correct positioning in the instruction manual.

Snapping of Thread

Another common problem you’re likely to come across at some point in your sewing life is the snapping of your thread . If this keeps happening, there are a few things you can do. The first is to re-thread the machine, and as always, ensure the thread line indicator on the handwheel gets positioned at the top. Second, double-check the thread you’re using. If you want to produce good quality items, you need to use good quality materials, and that includes the thread. Make sure you are using a thread that’s strong and suitable for a sewing machine. Wherever possible, try and use a high-quality branded thread.

Another tip to prevent your thread from snapping is to always thread your machine with the foot raised. If the foot is down, the tension of the thread will be high. And using thread that’s tight and is hard to pull through is likely to cause it to snap.

A Word on Needles

Second, never, ever sew with a bent needle. This is very dangerous and could cause serious damage if the needle were to snap while the machine was in use. A good way to check to see if your needle is bent is to place it on a flat surface, flat side down. Then check to make sure the gap between the surface and the needle is even.

Using an Incorrect Bobbin

Different sewing machines use different styles of bobbins. Not all of them are interchangeable and using the incorrect bobbin for your machine could cause some serious damage. So, to avoid this, always make sure you refer to the user manual to see the correct type and size of bobbin fit for your machine.

Never use a bobbin that’s not a Brother bobbin. Not only do you risk damaging the stitch quality or your machine, but you could also void the warranty if anything does go wrong. Also, be careful not to use a metal bobbin in any top-loading or quick-set Brother bobbin system.

Brother Sewing Machine Troubleshooting: Final Thoughts

Remember to take your time and investigate what the problem is before delving, going crazy, and making things ten times worse. It’s more than likely a simple case of mis-threading somewhere. So, just start from the top and work your way down until eventually, you will get to the problem.

Fixing common problems in your Brother sewing machine is not hard. More often than not, sewing machines can be fixed at home within a matter of minutes, provided you know where to start looking. And just by reading this guide, you are giving yourself a head start.

nancy jenkins from get sew

Nancy Jenkins

Nancy is a retired seamstress who loves everything about crafting and sewing. When she is not at her sewing machine, you'll find her coming up with new patterns and designs for her sewing projects. Nancy likes the outdoors, meeting with friends, and cooking.

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Fixing common sewing machine problems

Try our troubleshooting guides and machine manuals below, which offer solutions to the most common issues. If you’re still stuck, view our extensive list of FAQs at the Brother Solutions Centre.

  • Sewing craft
  • Fixing Common Sewing Machine Problems

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Machine Manuals

Access our complete list of sewing, quilting, embroidery, and ScanNCut machine manuals to help you set up and maintain your Brother machine.

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Fabric not feeding

If your machine has drop feed, check that the feed has not been accidentally lowered. If it has, raise the feed to ensure the fabric will move forward.

If you have a mechanical machine, check that the foot is lowered before sewing . Computerised machines will remind you to do this.

Check the stitch length on your machine – if it is too low the machine might not feed through enough.

My needle will not move, but the handwheel is free?

Check if the machine is in bobbin winding mode by sliding the bobbin winder shaft to the left. This will switch the machine back to sewing mode.

My machine will not pick up the lower thread?

My machine is skipping stitches.

Check and replace the needle as it may be bent. Re-thread the machine following the instructions in your manual and ensure that the foot is raised.

The thread should pull through the machine freely with no tension. If there is tension when pulling the thread, then the thread may be unsuitable for machine sewing and should be replaced with machine sewing thread from a reputable brand.

If you are using a stretch fabric, a ball point needle will give better results.

Never use a thread weight of lower than 20 as this may cause your machine to malfunction.

If the problem persists after replacing the needle and ensuring the correct needle and fabric combination. It’s possible there be a timing issue with your machine. Contact your Brother dealer to arrange a service or contact our customer service team.

Machine not sewing

Refer to your instruction manual for general set up of your machine.

Some common quick fixes:

  • Check that the bobbin winder shaft is not pushed to the right; if it is, then push it to the left.
  • Check the machine is threaded correctly ensuring the threading line on the hand wheel is at the top position (this puts the needle into the correct position for threading). Make sure the presser foot is lifted before threading the machine. Set your bobbin correctly into the machine. For top loading bobbins, the thread needs to be going around the bobbin in an anti-clockwise direction. Use the guides on your machine or refer to your instruction manual. If you have a mechanical machine, check that the foot is lowered before sewing. Computerised machines will remind you to do this.

Thread breaking

Try re-threading the top thread, ensuring the threading line indicator on the hand wheel is positioned to the top (this puts the thread take-up lever at threading point 3, the correct position for threading).

Use a good quality thread – it's common for inexpensive low-quality threads or threads designed for hand sewing to be the cause of what appears to be tension problems when there is nothing wrong with the machine. Using thread that does not pull through smoothly can cause thread breakages, poor stitching or damage to your machine. For best results, you should use a good quality, branded thread.

To check if your thread is suitable for use on a sewing machine thread your machine with the foot raised. The thread should pull through the machine with no tightness.

Thread bunching or "birds-nesting" of thread under the fabric

  • re-threading the top thread ensuring the threading line indicator on the hand wheel is positioned to the top (this puts the thread take-up lever at threading point 3, the correct position for threading)checking you haven’t missed the take-up lever (this will cause the thread to gather under the material)
  • re-threading the top thread, with your presser foot raised (threading your machine with the foot down will result in no tension being applied to the top thread because the tension discs are closed)checking the position of your bobbin case and resetting as per instruction manual checking the tension settings – if the setting is too low, reset the tension to setting number 4

My machine is sewing in reverse?

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Fixing common sewing machine problems:

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"Help my sewing machine will not sew....what have I done wrong?"

Your Sewing machine manual.

Should you encounter a problem with your sewing machine, it's best to refer to the instruction manual supplied with your machine. This will contain details of the correct settings for your machine and may contain a trouble shooting guide.

1. Machine not sewing

Refer to your instruction manual for general set up of your machine.

Some common points to check are:

  • Check that the bobbin winder shaft is not pushed to the right if it is then push it to the left.
  • Check that your machine is threaded correctly ensuring the threading line on the hand wheel is at the top position, this will put the needle into the correct position for threading. Also, make sure the presser foot is lifted before threading the machine.
  • Set your bobbin correctly into the machine. For top loading bobbins the thread needs to be going around the bobbin in an anti-clockwise direction. Use the guides on your machine or refer to your instruction manual.

If you have a mechanical machine, check that the foot is lowered before sewing. Some Computerized machines will remind you to do this.

  2. Thread bunching or "Bird nesting " of thread under the fabric.

There are many causes for this but fortunately some simple steps can help solve this problem.

  • Re-thread the top thread ensuring the threading line indicator on the hand wheel is positioned to the top (this puts the thread take up lever in the correct position for threading.) Missing the take up lever will cause thread to gather under the material.
  • Re-thread the top thread, with your presser foot raised. (Threading your machine with the foot down will result in no tension being applied to the top thread because the tension discs are closed.)
  • Check the position of your bobbin case and reset as per instruction manual.
  • Check the tension settings, if the setting is too low reset the tension to setting number 4.

   3. Thread breaking

  • Re-thread the top thread ensuring the threading line indicator on the hand wheel is positioned to the top (this puts the thread take up lever at the correct position for threading.)
  • Use a good quality thread. It's common for inexpensive low-quality threads or threads designed for hand sewing to be the cause of what appears to be tension problems when there is nothing wrong with the machine. For best results use a good quality branded thread.
  • To check if your thread is suitable for use on a sewing machine.
  • Thread your machine with the foot raised. The thread should pull through the machine with no tightness. Using thread that does not pull through smoothly can cause thread breakages, poor stitching or damage to your machine.

 4. Bobbin

Your brother sewing machine is made to use a bobbin specifically designed to give the best stitching results. It's important to use only original Brother Bobbins of the correct size for your machine. All modern top loading Brother sewing machines will use an 11.5 mm bobbin (SFB), while some older models will use a 9.2mm bobbin (TLB). Check your machine manual for the correct size.

Using 3rd party bobbins may result in poor stitch quality or even damage your machine.

Metal bobbins must NEVER be used with a Brother sewing machine equipped with a Top loading or Quick Set bobbin system.

Make sure the thread is wound onto your bobbin evenly. When winding thread onto your bobbin the thread needs to go right underneath the tension disc on the top of the machine. Follow the guide on your machine or the instructions in your manual.

Set your bobbin correctly into the machine. For top loading bobbins the thread needs to be going around the bobbin in an anti-clockwise direction. Use the guides on your machine for help or refer to your instruction manual.

  5. Fabric not feeding.

If your machine has drop feed, check that the feed has not been accidentally lowered. If they have, raise the feed to ensure the fabric will move forward.

If you have a mechanical machine, check that the foot is lowered before sewing. Some Computerised machines may remind you to do this.

Check the stitch length on your machine. If it is too low the machine might not feed through enough.

  6. Needle.

The sewing machine needle is probably the most important part of the sewing machine. Choosing the proper needle for your sewing project will result in a beautiful finish and fewer problems.

Below are some things to keep in mind about needles.

  • The smaller the needle number, the finer the needle. As the numbers increase, the needles get thicker.
  • Use fine needles with lightweight fabrics, and thicker needles with heavyweight fabrics.
  • To avoid skipped stitches use ball point needle 90/14 with stretch fabrics.
  • To avoid skipped stitches use ball point needle 90/14 when sewing character or decorative stitches.
  • Use needle 75/11 for embroidery.
  • It is recommended that a 90/14 needle should be used when embroidering on heavyweight fabrics or stabilizing products (for example denim, puffy foam, etc.). A 75/11 needle may bend or break which could result in injury.
  • Ball point needles 90/14 are not recommended for embroidery as they may bend or break, causing injury.

Sewing with a bent needle can be extremely dangerous since the needle may break while the machine is being operated.

Before using the needle, place the flat side of the needle on a flat surface and check that the distance between the needle and the flat surface is even.

(1)   Flat side

(2)   Needle type marking

Correct needle

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(3) Parallel space       

(4) Flat surface

Incorrect needle

brother sewing machine problem solving

If the distance between the needle and the flat surface is not even, the needle is bent.

Do not use a bent needle.

(5) Flat surface

Fabric / Thread / Needle Combinations

The sewing machine needle that should be used depends on the fabric and thread thickness. Refer to the following table when choosing the thread and needle appropriate for the fabric you wish to sew.

  Note: Never use a thread of weight 20 or lower. It may cause malfunctions.

7. Need more help?

Call us on 01483 267777 or email [email protected]

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SewGuide

Sewing Machine is not stitching properly? How to troubleshoot your problem

Many of the problems that you experience when you operate a sewing machine can be prevented by properly setting up the machine and regular cleaning – but if you have developed problems that are beyond these and your sewing machine is not stitching properly, here are some solutions

Sewing machine stitching problems and solutions 

Table of Contents

Step 1. Rethread the machine

When my sewing machine begins to stitch improperly, I typically start by rethreading it.

Very important – Do not thread the machine with the presser foot down.

One little missed step in the sequence of threading and your stitching will be ruined.

Check out this post that details how to put thread in sewing machine . If you suspect a problem with the hardware causing your problem, check out this post on sewing machine repair.

Make sure that you have selected the correct size needle appropriate for the thickness of the material you are sewing.

Step 2. Check if needle is inserted correctly

Once I changed the needle and from that moment, my thread started breaking. Apparently I inserted the needle the wrong way. The sewing machine often gives you skipped stitches, thread breaks, not taking the bobbin thread, etc. because the needle is not placed correctly. Put the needle, so the flat side is to the back or per your sewing machine manual.

Putting the flat side to the back is what mine says. Re-check this in your manual.(For an industrial machine, this is different – I had so much trouble when I first changed the needle; the seller of my sewing machine told me to put the needle in one way and I put it another way. I couldnt understand why the thread was breaking so much afterwards and kept checking everything but the needle)

Check the placement of your sewing machine Needle and if it is the currect size.

If you are not thoroughly familiar with your sewing machine – check out this post on different parts of the sewing machine 

Step 3. If there are loose stitches, check tension

Check if the top thread is too loose or too tight. Check the thread tension. If it is too tight, skipped stitches could occur. Change the tension. Top stitching is loose because the bobbin tension is off, and if the backside stitching is looking off, change the top thread tension

Read more on setting the tension on a sewing machine here .

Step 4. Do a thorough cleaning 

A regular sewing machine maintenance  is recommended every 100 hours of your sewing machine working. Check out the post on the 3 steps to do sewing machine maintenance.

As a sewing machine vendor told me, the modern home sewing machines, which come with their inner components coated in grease ( comes with the label – do not oil), need yearly maintenance at the showroom by a professional.

So even after home maintenance, if your machine is not behaving or it is making unnatural sounds, it may be time for a visit to the nearest service center of your particular brand. It is recommended that you take it every 2 years, at a minimum for this deep cleaning. Do you do this?

sewing-machine-maintenance

My sewing machine has suddenly stopped while working – it is not stitching at all 

Check if the electrical points are fine and the foot pedal is attached to the machine properly, before beginning to panic .

  • Make sure the power cord is plugged into the wall and machine.
  • Also, check the fuse and/or wiring in the outlet.
  • Make sure the power strip is on.

Have you been sewing for a long time continuously? Your sewing machine may have stopped itself to prevent overheating of the motor. In this case, turn off the power and wait for 20 minutes before using it again

So what if the sewing machine will not form stitches ?

The needle may have come un-threaded. You may also have threaded the machine wrongly. When threading the machine, keep the presser foot up to release the tension. Check out this post on correctly threading the machine .

The needle may be inserted wrong or not all the way; Make sure that the needle is fully inserted and facing the correct directions as specified in the sewing machine manual. Blunt or bent needles also will result in stitches coming undone. Push the needle all the way up the clamp.

The needle may be wrong for the machine. Check out the different types of sewing machine needles you may need and the different needle sizes.

The bobbin may have run out or not been inserted correctly.

If the spool cap is the wrong size for the thread spool, this problem can occur. Replace the cap with the correct size in this case.

If the thread is not properly and fully pulled into the thread sensor guide also this problem can occur.

The motor/light is working but the machine not sewing

Check to see if there is a bobbin on the bobbin winder. Suppose the bobbin winder shaft is pressed to the right ( or however it is in your machine), it is in bobbin winding mode, and the machine will not work.

Check to see if foot control is plugged in properly; make sure foot control can be depressed completely and is free from obstruction.

Replace the presser foot if the needle hits the presser foot.

Ensure that needle is correctly inserted.

Stitching is not done properly – I am getting unattractive/uneven stitches

Check thread tension and presser foot placement and stitch regulator.

If the top stitches are looking alright but the bottom stitches look loose, either the machine is not threaded rightly or there is not enough tension on the top portion.

If the stitches are loose on the bottom of the material, change the top tension to a higher number. If the stitches are loose on the top, change to a lower number. Do not adjust anything on the bobbin case of modern home sewing machines – they are maintained as a constant, and should not be touched.

Make sure the thread has not come out of the bobbin case.

Lack of stabilizer, inferior thread, and lint build-up, incorrect needle placement also can result in unattractive stitches.

Try vertical instead of horizontal spool pin.

The fabric will not feed as you stitch

This may be due to many possibilities.

  • The presser foot is not down.
  • You may be using the incorrect foot.
  • The feed teeth could be down or accidentally lowered; Ensure that the feed dog is raised when sewing. On most machines, you should see the teeth rise about 2mm above the needle plate on forward movement.
  • Feel the teeth; do they feel sharp? If they are worn, the fabric will slip. Are they even? Examine the teeth when they are at their highest point and see if they are level; if not, replace them. 
  • Presser foot presser may have to be adjusted. If it is set too low, the fabric will not feed. If the material is too heavy, the presser may not be enough. Refer to your instruction manual on how to increase the pressure. Most machines have a dial or knob above the foot on top or to the side of the machine for this purpose.
  • The stitch length may be too short, like near zero.
  • Check for dust under the needle plate – dust-lint build-up could jam due to debris inside the sewing machine. Remove the needle plate and clean out the grooves between the teeth. If these are full of lint/fluff, they will stop the teeth from rising to the proper height.
  • Make sure the needle plate is firmly seated. Another reason may be the needle plate hole is too big for the particular type of fabric.
  • Check that thread is not knotted under the fabric.

The stitches fail to “grab” at the seam beginning 

This occurs most often with lightweight/loosely woven fabrics – In case of such delicate fabrics, start the seams with an extra bit of fabric to prevent your presser foot from eating your fabric.

  • Increase presser foot presser.
  • Try a smaller needle.
  • Use a straight stitch plate.
  • Be sure threads are under presser foot.
  • Make sure needle is fully inserted.

I am getting the occasional skipped stitches

This refers to missed stitches which result in one or two skipped stitches merging into one long stitch, occasionally. Maybe this has to do with a malfunctioning feed dog and it can be especially frustrating when doing a simple darning job as the fabric must move smoothly to sew over the holes.

Select a different type/size needle; If you are missing stitches, go up one size. Change to a stretch needle if the fabric calls for it. Sometimes the problem is with the needle point, like switching between ballpoint or sharp needle and seeing if the problem persists.

Pre-treat ( pre-wash) fabrics to remove excess sizing. The sizing can clog up the needle and the machine.Using too thick a thread with a fine needle will cause the machine to miss stitches.

Some fabric ( too thin or stretchy) can cause missed stitches. Try adding some interlining or stiffener; even tissue paper will work. I see skipped stitches every time I sew over elastic. Also, allow the feed dog to move the fabric rather than forcing the fabric with the hand, which usually results in a bend needle.

You can find a more detailed explanation in this post – Is your Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches? 7 Questions to ask .

The Sewing machine is not stitching in reverse.

Check whether the machine has the capacity for reverse stitching.

At times, some stitches, like buttonhole or stretch stitches maynot reverse stitch. So check your stitch control and adjust to straight stitch before reverse stitching.

Why is the fabric not feeding and moving straight when stitching?

This may be a result of worn-out or bent teeth on your needle plate. Check whether the presser foot is properly pressing down on the fabric as you sew – if it is not, it will be impossible to sew straight.

Cleaning of the teeth may be all you need to do if you are lucky because lint in the teeth can make your sewing wonky. 

If you have a gut feeling that your machine needs a trained professional to look over the problem it is having, you are probably right. There are some things only a professional can fix. 

For eg. you have broken gear inside the machine like the timing belt (you will know if the bobbin hook is not moving or taking up the thread when you move the hand wheel towards you, the bobbin thread is not catching into the needle even after you have tried all solutions like re-threading the needle or changing needle. This usually means your machine needs to be re-timed.

When the bobbin case jumps out and seems to be out of sync with your machine and the driver is damaged (The driver is the part that sits right below the bobbin- this moves the hook), the reverse mechanism is jammed, or the reverse gear is damaged, there is a funny smell coming from inside the machine, etc .

Some repairs should be done only by the company – when you are under warranty, most companies insist that you do not do the repairing by yourself or any external party. So wait for them to resolve the problem. 

Stitching problems due to fabric characteristics

Sometimes problems arise due to the kind of fabric you are sewing, and you mistake it for a sewing machine problem.

How you sew with satin is very different from how you sew a wool ; Sewing knitted fabric often requires a different presser foot to accommodate the stretch, without which the fabric may pucker or run. How you sew with a fabric like polyester will be different from how you sew with a thicker fabric. Leather sewing requires a different set of tips than if you are sewing with a thin fabric.

Refer to the sewing machine Manual

The sewing machine manual you got when you purchased the machine should always be kept near your sewing machine at all times for easy reference anytime a problem arises. It should be thoroughly read before your first stitch. All the settings and maintenance information will be given in them. If you have lost it, you may contact the manufacturer through their online sites; some sewing machine manuals are available on their websites.

Related posts:

  • Sewing Machine basics

sewing machine pressure feet guide

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182 thoughts on “Sewing Machine is not stitching properly? How to troubleshoot your problem”

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When sewing all stitches are perfect except for the 1st stitch. The upper thread on 1st stitch is showing through on the bottom. Why is this happening w/beginning 1 stitch? We have checked threading, bobbins, tension.

Did you hold the thread to the back as you started sewing?

My sewing machine suddenly stopped the wheel not moving i put oil and clean every parts but no use what i do please help

Please help.what should i do if the rotary hook of my riccar sewing machine is not rotating

Hi Can you check out this page to see if there is a solution

Thanks for such a great piece on sewing machines!!

My vintage Kenmore Model 95 (158.150) uses drop-in cams to achieve a satin or zigzag stitch and other decorative stitches. I had the machine thoroughly serviced, for $100, before moving out to a rural area. After being stored for a couple of years, I set out to sew, and found that it sews zigzag stitches at the set width, as long as I sew slowly, but as soon as I speed up, the stitch width drops to barely wider than straight. For some reason, the needle holder really only seems to want to sew to one side of center. I have cleaned and lubricated and lubricated and wrapped the machine in an electric blanket to help the lubricants travel and penetrate, but I haven’t solved the problem. Could it be wear, or a damaged part, rather than inadequate lubrication, causing this problem?

Are you sure that there is lint, or debris or extra lubricant which has hardened that may be affecting the movement of the needle and the stitch width mechanism? Also, Check the thread tension settings. Ensure that the upper and lower thread tensions are correctly adjusted for the type of fabric you are using. If nothing works, you may need to show a a professional technician to adjust the timing – this can cause stitch width problems . Or maybe certain parts of your vintage sewing machine have worn out, leading to this stitch width performance.

Good and helpful

Sorry, but I am looking for complete mechanical spear parts for my rewind Bobbin parts for my Jones Deluxe 1958 sewing machine, I do hope you can help because mine is shattered

What are common double needle lock stich machines problems and remedy action

Uneven tension is the most persistant problem. incorrect threading can cause a lot of problems – for upper thread and bobbin thread. Do not thread the machine with the presser foot down.

Hi I have a Bernina 535. I’m not really having any issues sewing, as in it doesn’t trouble me. There’s just one thing. Sometimes when I sew the material will jump up, and get completely tangled into the foot, ja d the only way to get it out is to remove the foot and slowly coax it out. The lady at the dealership where I bought it from says it’s because of the feedog or something and to place the fabric a whole 2-3cm behind the foot; don’t start at the edge. But when you look at the videos on the Bernina website, they don’t necessarily start so far in, the do also start on the edge. Any idea why the fabric jumps like that? I’d really, really appreciate any advice you can help me with. Thank you

Hi In my experience, this is a common problem when you sew with thin fabrics. Some machines have it prominently with most fabrics. You will have to hold on to the fabric or use a paper underneath along the edge and other solutions – read this post on sewing with thin fabrics. Have you tried using a straight stitch needle plate ? this has a narrow hole and chances of the fabric going in is less. Bestwishes

Are you sewing with thin fabrics when you experience this? The presser foot pressure may be too high, causing the fabric to bunch into the feed.Lighter fabrics may require less pressure, while thicker fabrics need. And start sewing slowly and then Gradually increase your speed.Check that the machine is threaded properly.

Thank you very much for adding to our knowledge. All these tips are beneficial for smooth machine operations.

I have a Kenmore model 1207. The needle continues to move when threading the bobbin even after unlocking the hand wheel. I can’t find anything on line that shows me how to fix this. There aren’t any sewing machine repair services nearby and I would love to fix it myself.

This is almost certainly due to the hand wheel ‘dragging’ on its shaft after the clutch is loosened for bobbin winding. You may need to remove an end cover to expose the motor mount. You need to remove the small knurled inner wheel that you turn to unlock the clutch. This may have an offset screw or a centre screw. Loosen the motor tensioner and remove the drive belt. The hand wheel can then be pulled off the shaft. Clean the shaft and inside the wheel with spirit etc, dry and apply a spot of light oil to the shaft and to the inside of the wheel. Reassemble.

Set upper thread tension to its lowest setting when you’re threading the bobbin. This reduces tension on the needle thread and should prevent it from moving while threading the bobbin.

I bought a vintage zigzag sewing machine it is a model Dom-b was made in Japan. It has a lot of different zigzag patterns and it depends on whether you have the needle in L.M.R. position on some of the patterns and it sews them great .But my problem is that it will not sew a straight stitch I have a manual and have done everything that it says to do but it still will not sew a straight line .Do you know how I can fix this . I have clean and oiled it hope that maybe it is stuck some how but that has not fixed it either.

Is this the Riccar brand? Nr 208 model? Because mine does the same. Cant sew straight

I have just recently got a vintage Dial-N-Sew model 516ss made by KOYO machine Industries Osaka Japan. And I can only get it to do zigzag also. Only has 2 dials on the front and both are numbered 1-5 and the smaller one has button hole options. But that is all. No straight stitch option or even shows a zigzag option, that’s just ALL it will do. So is it possible that they just made some machines to do zigzag only?

Oh, maybe your machine is designed specifically for zigzag stitching, and it does not have a straight stitch option.If the machine is working properly and you are able to create quality zigzag stitches, then it’s likely that it was designed this way.

Verify that the needle is positioned correctly for a straight stitch. When sewing zigzag patterns, the needle position might be adjusted to the left (L), middle (M), or right (R). For a straight stitch, it should be set in the center position (M).Adjust the stitch width to the shortest setting, which is typically used for a straight stitch. If everything else is fine, check if the machine is meant to sew only zigzag

I have a 25-year-old Viking # 1, not sufficiently maintained, I believe was permanently oiled. The hand wheel is locked & the machine frozen. Is this expensive machine repairable at a decent cost, or should I trash it?

Hi carol Sorry to hear that. Did you check the bobbin area ( Hook / Bobbin Case holder Assembly) – usually when that part is not aligned the wheel can get stuck.check if there is lint build up around the hook race (area around the bobbincase). Or check for any broken parts inside, in which case you will have to give it to a repairman.

I believe my 25-year-old Viking #1 is permanently oiled. If the cause of the hand wheel freezing up is because the oil has dried out, can this be repaired at a reasonable cost. or do I trash it? Thanks for your advice!

Hi Carol I am out of my depth here – Can you checkout this site https://vssmb.blogspot.com/2011/07/201-hook-assembly-removal.html with some good advice on restoring vintage sewing machines. Or post on this reddit board for vintage sewing https://www.reddit.com/r/vintagesewing/ Best wishes

If everything still looks great and is still frozen any ideas what else it could be?

Hi Pam Have you look at this post on simple sewing machine repair .

It is a best write up on troubleshootsewing machine problems. I enjoyed reading this article.I like how you have researched and presented these exact points so clearly.I am sure many people will come to read more about it in future. I have also found this resource Energysmith.co.nz useful and its related to what you are mentioning.

I am a new sewer and I’m having a major issue. I have a Brother CS6000i and used it yesterday and it was perfectly fine but today however, When I sew the presser foot doesn’t move as it did when I first used it. I looked up many videos and none seem to be related with the issue I’m having. PLEASE HELP.

Hi Kyah I think you mean the feed dog (the bed under the needle which moves the fabric) not the presser feet because presser feet doesnot move as you sew. You can loosen the screws of the needle plate and take it out and check whether any lint/thread is blocking (near the bobbin compartment or anywhere nearby) the movement of the feed dog. Other than that you will have to check all that is mentioned in this article one by one.

Hi I have a A new home classmate sewing machine I cannot get the needle arm to go up and down when I am hand cranking it or sewing with the presser foot but I took the screwdriver and pop the Cover off and the belts are fine it’s oiled but I can take a screwdriver to that screw that makes the arm go up and down and it goes up and downBut it won’t handcrank or so with the presser foot

Hi- I have a Brother CS6000i and my machine seems to be stuck in reverse, only sewing backwards. Sometimes, randomly, it will start working as normal again but I cannot rely on this. Does anyone know how to fix it?

Usually a reset can set this right. Turn off your sewing machine, unplug it, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, plug it back in and turn it on. This can sometimes help reset the machine’s internal electronics. Check whether the reverse stitch lever or button is stuck or jammed in the reverse position.

Hi there – I’ve got a Janome J3-18 and have never had a problem with it – but today, trying to sew a face mask (!) the stitches just won’t form properly – bottom row of stitching is just a thread with regular little loops over it where the stitch hasn’t formed properly, so you can just pull the bottom thread out and all the stitches undo. I’ve tried bobbin tension, stitch length, bobbin tightening etc but to no avail…. HELP!

I have a juki DX5. When free motion quilting, the thread wraps around the thread lifter. I have changed needle, re-threaded and cleaned the bobbin area. The thread continues to break. I just don’t know what else to try. Don’t understand why it continues to knot around the thread lifter.

Hi Have you checked if the sewing machine tension is correctly set for free motion stitching? – both for the top thread and the bobbin thread. Though you usually don’t tinker with bobbin tension you have to do what you have to do in desperate situations. Did you read your sewing machine manual – may be the kind of machine you have needs some other adjustments for free motion quilting? Hope you find a solution soon

Hi Connie, I’m having exactly the same problem with my Janome JE918 (a very old model). Just wondered if you found the answer to your problem?

Carefully inspect the entire thread path for any rough spots, burrs, or areas where the thread might be catching. Adjust the presser foot pressure to accommodate the thickness of your quilting sandwich. If the pressure is too high, it can cause issues like thread breakage and knots.Quilt at a slower and more consistent speed. And adjust the tension – When free motion quilting, you typically reduce the upper thread tension.

Hi my machine is emel product the problem I have is that while working the machine will stop suddenly and it will not move to the front or to the back.hope their is any remedy to this,because that is what am facing right now

First and foremost, Make sure it’s properly plugged in properly, and the power source is functioning. Sometimes the plug comes loose and it may be causing problems. – though i am sure you have checked it. Check for any loose connections or issues with the foot pedal. Remove any thread snags or obstructions that might be hindering the machine’s movement.A bent or broken needle can halt the machine’s operation. Check if the needle bar is moving correctly when you manually turn the handwheel.

Hi, I have an empisal expression 889, the bobbin driver no longer moves or rotates,

What could be the cause?

Hi Johannes I am sorry – I hope someone who knows about the machine will read your query and answer. Hope that no thread is stuck anywhere.

Look for thread being stuck or dust. Check both the bobbin case and the upper thread tension area or above the needle are. Most Brother machine have a screw in the back that will open the area on top to clean and check for stuck thread. When upper thread keeps breaking it can get caught and cause the machine not to sew.

Thanks Judy

A common cause of a non-rotating bobbin driver is a thread jam or tangle in the bobbin area. Inspect the bobbin case and surrounding areas for any thread snags, lint, or debris that might be obstructing the rotation. Ensure that the bobbin case is correctly inserted, and it’s not cracked or misaligned. You may have to replace the bobbin case if it’s damaged.Mechanical problems within the bobbin driver or its associated components can also cause it to stop rotating. Over time, parts can wear out or become misaligned, leading to this issue.

My handwheel is hard to turn, then clogs the thread up. My singer is is 1116. I am trying to sew over elastic in making face masks. Help

Betsy O’brien

I have the same problem,Norma and I am also sewing masks. Please send me a reply to fix our problem

Hello, Please I have a old singer1119 manual machine and I use it to sew leather but I noticed it not sewing at all and I have checked the needle, thread and have even clean the needle plate but it still not sewing. I will appreciate it if you can attend to my request. Thank you

Make sure the feed dogs are engaged and properly moving the fabric forward. If they are not moving, the fabric won’t feed, and the machine won’t sew. Verify that the presser foot and needle bar height are correctly set. An incorrect setting may prevent the needle from penetrating the fabric properly. If the problem is more technical like the timing, it may require professional adjustment and should be addressed by a sewing machine technician.

Hi Norma Did you try to take up the feed dog part by loosening the screws there. May be something is stuck there. Whenever fabric gets stuck during sewing never forcefully pull the fabric out. Loosen the screws with a screwdriver, take up the feed dog , clean up and then put it back together. The repair person I went to told me that most machines get damaged when people frocefully pull the fabric out when it is stuck.

A needle designed for heavy or stretch fabrics may work better. You may also need to decrease the tension slightly to accommodate the elastic. Adjust the presser foot pressure if your machine allows it. Reducing the pressure can make it easier to sew over elastic without causing resistance.

I have an Elna 9000. The bobbin thread isn’t engaging. I took apart everything and cleaned lint, etc. and it’s still not working. Any suggestions would be helpful.

Noticed I have the model number incorrect. It should be 7000.

First, confirm that the bobbin is inserted in the bobbin case in the correct orientation and that it’s properly placed in the machine. Inspect the bobbin case to ensure that it’s in good condition and hasn’t been damaged. Sometimes, a worn or damaged bobbin case can lead to issues with bobbin thread engagement. If the bobbin case shows signs of wear, consider replacing it.Make sure the bobbin thread tension is correctly adjusted. If it’s too tight, the thread may not engage properly. Adjust the tension to match your fabric and thread.

Good day. I dont know why the tension of my sewing machine keeps falling off while sewing. Pls what can I do? Tobi

Hi Tobi Did you try the solutions mentioned in the post ?

Hey guys please help me my machine name is Zoje and it a flat one

the problem is that when I turned on a spark just came by and a white flame blew so now when I turn it now it not turning on so please guys help me what may be the problem of it

Hi May be the motor is damaged due to short circuit. Better to show it to a repair person for the particular machine. Unplug the powercord to prevent more damage.

Do not attempt to turn on the sewing machine again. Disconnect it from the power source, unplug it. Ensure that the machine is in a safe place and away from anything that could catch fire.If your sewing machine is under warranty, contact the manufacturer or the place of purchase for guidance on repair or replacement. Additionally, if you have insurance that covers accidental damage or electrical issues, you may want to look into filing a claim.

Thanks for this article, so I bought an electric sewing machine, and while I was still a beginner, as I began to sew, the machine stopped working, I was told that I pressed the machine the opposite way, then i have locked the neck of the machine accidentally… Please, what can I do to fix this.

Hi Atunwase Did you take it for repair?. If it is during the free service period they will come and repair it for free, right?

You will have to read through your sewing machine manual to see which lever you have locked. A damaged needle can cause the handwheel to become stuck and the machine will stop working. Check if the needle bar is moving correctly when you manually turn the handwheel.

No thanks, I’m not interested!

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Troubleshooting 25 Sewing Machine Problems and Solutions

  • December 15, 2018
  • / Sewing Tips
  • / By R. Geraldi
  • / 6 COMMENTS

Certainly, nobody is born with a perfect set of built-in skills on how to diagnose sewing machine problems.

But above all, whenever there is a problem, there is also a suitable solution out there.

The truth is, in order to become sewing machine masters, we need many years of practice. However, there are also some basic sewing machine troubleshooting tips and tricks that can make sewing feel like a breeze.

Thus, below is a compilation of the top 25 most common sewing machine problems, as well as their best solutions.

Consequently, we can continue sewing without feeling confused, stressed out, or puzzled. If you also want to learn how to diagnose sewing machine problems on your own, then keep reading!

#1 - Machine is Making Strange Noises

Machine is making strange noises

For a start, we need to stop using the sewing machine as soon as possible. Next, we need to take appropriate actions.

Check for lint build-up

Indeed, excessive lint tends to accumulate in the bobbin zone and/or under the needle plate. For this reason, we need to clean up any possible debris using a suitable lint brush.

Nevertheless, it’s important to address the race-hook sector as well. To illustrate this, we want to clean the area with the help of a needle or a pin.

Keep in mind that the presence of even the tiniest thread left behind can cause the sewing machine to keep making excessive noises. Above all, knowing how to diagnose sewing machine problems is key.

Inspect the thread closely

First of all, we need to check out if the thread is in the right position. Specifically, we want to inspect if the thread is snatched around the shuttle. Even more, we have to clean it very carefully.

Secondly, we should watch out for the thread getting bundled up right around the take-up lever.

Nonetheless, we can try replacing the needle.

Lastly, we can lubricate the sewing machine after going through the manual thoroughly.

#2 – Sewing Machine Needle Getting Stuck

Sewing machine needle getting stuck

Above all, it can be very frustrating to fight with the needle getting stuck over and over again. Indeed, this can make us feel as if we will never learn how to diagnose sewing machine problems efficiently.

However, the truth is, the solutions to this issue are actually very simple and straightforward.

Adjust the stitch length

Most noteworthy, if the stitch is too fine, this will affect the sewing process adversely, and in particular, the job of the needle.

Adjust the size of the needle according to the thread you are using

As a rule of thumb, each type of thread is intricately related to the size of the needle. For example, working with thicker thread requires using a lower thread number.

Clean the bobbin case

In order to do this, we need to read the manual of the sewing machine and proceed with the cleaning process accordingly.

#3 – Sewing Machine Needles Breaking

Sewing machine needles breaking

Seemingly, a broken needle is not supposed to cause too many complications when it comes to learning how to diagnose sewing machine problems. However, we mustn’t underestimate the issue either.

Reinsert the needle

More often than not, we may have just inserted the needle the wrong way. Therefore, we need to reinsert it properly.

Inspect the quality of the needle

In short, we might be dealing with a needle that is already bent or blunt. Ultimately, we simply need to replace the faulty needles.

Tighten the needle clamp screw

For instance, the needle clamp screw might become loose. As a result, this can cause the needles to break.

Adjust the thread tension

Similarly, if the needle thread tension is high, this will affect negatively the ability of the needles to work without breaking.

Make sure not to pull the fabric too rigidly

Generally, pulling tightly while sewing may be the reason for the needles breaking, so we need to adjust the grip.

Check if the needle matches the fabric

Certainly, working with a fine needle on a rough fabric and vice versa can be the very essence of the issue we are experiencing. Therefore, we want to adjust the type of needle accordingly.

#4 - Thread Bunching Up Under Your Fabric When Sewing

 Thread bunching up under your fabric when sewing

Interestingly, thread bunching is also known as the birds nesting syndrome.

And, indeed, it seems like this is one of the most annoying issues we can face while learning how to diagnose sewing machine problems.

Check if the bobbin is threaded the right way

Above all, by following the manual of our sewing machines, we can make sure the bobbin thread is fully and correctly engaged.

Inspect the bobbin case tension

In some cases, we may loosen the screws of the bobbin case in order to adjust it for working with thicker threads. Subsequently, we can forget to bring it back to the normal setting. As a result, problems with the tension can cause the thread to bunch up under the fabric.

Thread the needle thread accurately

Although threading the needle seems like an easy-peasy task, we want to make sure that the tension discs have fully grasped the thread. This can help stop or prevent fabric bird nesting.

Clean the sewing machine

In brief, the best way to stop and prevent stitching issues from ever happening is to dust, clean, and oil our sewing machines regularly.

#5 - Sewing Machine Needle Keeps Hitting the Metal Plate

Indeed, experiencing issues with the needle hitting the metal plate can feel very discouraging. However, that’s an important part of knowing how to diagnose sewing machine problems.

Inspect the bobbin case

Firstly, we need to make sure that the sewing machine is OFF. Next, we need to raise the needle and proceed with removing the needle plate cover.

Afterward, we can remove the bobbin case. Initially, we can inspect it for possible damage. If there are no visible issues such as scratches, for example, we can simply clean it thoroughly.

However, if we stumble across serious damage, we will have to replace the bobbin case.

Position the needle precisely

Surely, adjusting the needle bar is one of the most overlooked aspects of sewing. Keep in mind that it takes a lot of patience, an eye for detail, and practice in order to learn how to position the needle perfectly.

As a rule of thumb, we need to pay attention to the hook-needle clearance.

In short, the term hook-needle clearance means that the needle should penetrate fully from the center back to the front. What’s more, the needle should not touch the very point of the hook. Despite that, we need to position it as close to the hook as possible.

#6 - Fabric Not Feeding

Of course, learning how to diagnose sewing machine problems can’t happen overnight. Moreover, when fabric refuses to be fed, there is more than a single one-size-fits-all solution.

Check the stitch length

Typically, an incorrect stitch length that is too short can cause troubles with the fabric being fed properly.

Remove accumulated dust under the needle plate

Firstly, we need to remove the needle plate itself. Next, we want to clean the debris that blocks the teeth from rising up to a suitable height.

Adjust the presser foot pressure

For instance, if the fabric we are sewing is too heavy, we may need to increase the pressure by following the manufacturer’s instructions. In short, a presser foot that is set on too low can also lead to troubles with the fabric getting fed properly.

Inspect and adjust the feed teeth

For a start, we need to check if the feed teeth are well positioned. For this purpose, the feed dog has to be raised while sewing.

Next, we can examine the condition, as well as the positioning of the teeth. To illustrate this, worn out teeth can cause the fabric to slip. Meanwhile, we may have to adjust the teeth if they are uneven. Nevertheless, we may also have to replace them with new ones.

Last but not least, we can check if the needle plate is seated tightly. Besides, the thread might have just bundled up beneath the fabric.

#7 - Sewing Machine Needle Keeps Cutting Thread

Sewing machine needle keeps cutting thread

Above all, knowing how to diagnose sewing machines problems requires a healthy dose of patience and persistence. Because of this, it’s important to try out different possible solutions before giving up.

Similarly, if the needle keeps cutting the thread, we may need to go through several potential fixes.

Rethread the sewing machine

Although this one seems obvious, simply rethreading the machine and sticking strictly to the instructions in the manual can turn out to be the perfect solution.

Mind the thread tension

Indeed, high thread tension can cause the continual cutting of the thread. Therefore, we may need to adjust the settings.

Check out the needle for damage

For example, the needle can sometimes break or bend without us being able to notice this immediately. Therefore, we may need to replace the needle.

On another note, it’s a good idea to check if the needle is pushed all the way into the sewing machine.

Rewind the bobbin

As a rule of thumb, we want to check if we have wound the thread evenly first. Next, we need to examine the wounding of the bobbin and rewind if necessary.

Finally, we may be using low-quality thread. This can affect the process of sewing, leading to issues with the needle constantly cutting off the thread.

#8 - Seams are Puckered and Distorted

Seams are puckered and distorted

Although seam puckering can be quite bothersome, it’s mainly due to the fact that we need to adjust the tension back to normal.

Opt for high-quality thread

First of all, using high-quality thread can quickly resolve the issues we face when it comes to seam puckering. Also, it’s a good idea to apply low-friction lubricant.

Adjust the needle thread tension

Ultimately, we need to set the needle thread tension to the lowest setting available. What’s more, while reducing the thread tension, we also want to achieve a well-balanced stitch.

#9 - Sewing Machine is Skipping Stitches

Fortunately, the most common culprit behind this annoying issue is a bent needle. Thus, start by inspecting the condition of the needle and replace it if necessary.

Thread the sewing machine carefully

Also, when pulling the thread through the machine, it’s important to make sure the presser foot is up.

Match the thread and the needle

As a rule of thumb, we need to remember that each type of fabric requires using a needle of a suitable size. Opting for the right combination of thread and needle is also crucial to prevent and eliminate skipping stitches.

#10 - Bobbin Tension Not Consistent

Above all, when we start learning how to diagnose sewing machine problems, and specifically those related to bobbin fixes and maintenance, we need to be careful and precise.

Balance bobbin tension by the upper-tension assembly

Firstly, select the appropriate thread for the needle, as well as for the bobbin. Afterward, we can fill the bobbin. Next, it’s time to thread the machine.

Do a tiny test on the fabric to examine the stitches. Doing so can help us cope with inconsistent bobbin tension by balancing the sewing process through the upper-tension assembly.

However, this particular fix may prove to work only temporarily. Therefore, if the issues with bobbin tension persist, it’s important to know that plastic bobbin tensions tend to wear off very fast.

#11 - Seams in Stretch Fabrics Coming Out Wavy

Working with stretchy fabric can prove to be quite challenging. In fact, stretchy fabric is one of the top reasons we end up with wavy seams. However, there are several possible ways to deal with this issue.

Adjust the pressure on the presser foot

As a rule of thumb, the softer the fabric, the less pressure we need to apply in order to enjoy less stretching (and the resulting wavy seams). In short, we simply need to reduce the presser foot pressure by following the manual of the sewing machine.

Try working with a walking foot

In case we are using a regular sewing machine (and not a serger), a walking foot can greatly help to stop seams from becoming wavy. In a nutshell, a walking foot assists in feeding the fabric layers evenly.

#12 - Sewing Machine Seizes Up or Won’t Sew

Of course, when we don’t know how to diagnose sewing machine problems, dealing with a sewing machine that has abruptly seized up may seem like a nightmare. However, there are several possible solutions out there.

Turn off the power for 20 minutes

Many sewing machines will automatically seize up in order to prevent possible overheating. Thus, we can simply turn off the power of our sewing machines and let them cool down in order to start working again.

Adjust the bobbin winder

In short, a sewing machine will automatically stop working (or it simply won’t sew at all) if the bobbin winding mode is ON.

Adjust the foot control

Above all, we need to make sure that the foot control is completely free of obstruction. Surely, any obstruction can cause the sewing machine to seize up or refuse to start working.

Therefore, we need to check if we can press the foot control all the way down.

#13 - Needle Comes Unthreaded Before Sewing

If the needle keeps coming unthreaded, here are 8 simple and effective ways we can resolve the issue. These are achievable even if we are at the very beginning of learning how to diagnose sewing machine problems.

  • Thread the upper thread correctly
  • Reduce the upper thread tension
  • Remove any tangles from the thread
  • ​Install the needle the right way
  • ​Change the needle if it’s bent or broken
  • Check the bobbin case for possible damage, such as scratches, and replace it if necessary
  • Inspect if the spool cap is the right size
  • Double check if the spool cap is installed precisely

#14 - Sewing Machine Needle Holder Fell Off

Sewing machine needle holder fell off

First things first, we can check if the needle clamp assembly is properly set up according to the manual of our sewing machine.

Secure the needle clamp screw

For a start, it’s a good idea to tighten the socket set screw. Secondly, we can adjust and tighten the needle clamp screw by inserting a new needle first.

#15 - The Machine is Running, But the Needle Won’t Move Up and Down

Certainly, a motionless needle is probably one of the most overwhelming issues we can face when trying to learn how to sew.

Inspect the sewing machine for lint or thread jam

Firstly, we need to make sure the bobbin winder is off. Then, we can take out the thread and inspect it thoroughly for any possible jams. Next, we can proceed with cleaning the sewing machine carefully.

Tighten the hand clutch

Oil the sewing machine.

Ultimately, we can oil our sewing machines after referring to the manual. In some cases, we may need to seek expert help in order to lubricate the sewing machine.

#16 - Fabric or Threads are Bunching at the Start or Ends of Seams

As a rule of thumb, dealing with fabric or threads that keep bunching at the ends of seams is essentially quite similar to the bird nesting syndrome we discussed above.

However, there are some additional options when it comes to possible solutions we can adapt while learning how to diagnose sewing machine problems.

Feed the thread up from the bobbin

We want to start by holding up to 4 inches of the thread behind the hole and the needle. Afterward, we need to keep holding the thread behind while making up to 4 stitches very slowly at the start of the seam.

Insert a new needle

Also, it’s a good idea to check if the needle is tightly secured all the way up in the clamp.

#17 - Thread Inconsistently Knots, Loosens, or Tangles

Another common issue we can face while mastering how to diagnose sewing machine problems is none other but a faulty thread.

Clean the sewing machine thoroughly

Above all, it is the nasty fluff which accumulates inside the sewing machine that is to blame for the inconsistent knotting, loosening, and/or tangling of the thread. Moreover, we should pay extra attention to the possible lint and dust build-up around the bobbin case.

As a rule of thumb, if this particular issue becomes persistent, we should address the tension and threading settings.

#18 - Thread Fraying, Shredding, and Breaking

Match the size of the needle and the thread.

All in all, our best move is to check if the needle, as well as the thread, are fully compatible with our sewing project.

Next, we also need to make sure that the combination of both the needle and the thread is a suitable one.

#19 - Sewing Machine Needle not Catching the Bobbin Thread

Sewing machine needle not catching the bobbin thread

Certainly, this is one of the most common issues that sewing enthusiasts face when it comes to learning how to diagnose sewing machine problems.

Adjust the position of the needle, the bobbin, and the upper tension discs

Firstly, we can re-insert the needle. Afterward, we can proceed with checking if the bobbin is placed correctly. Finally, we want to thread the upper tension discs properly.

Push back the bobbin-winding spindle

Ultimately, if our bobbin-winding spindle is not in the right position, the needle will simply fail to pick up the bobbin thread.

#20 - Fabric Feed is Inconsistent

Surely, failing to produce even seams can be quite frustrating even for the most patient sewing enthusiast.

Most noteworthy, it is the feed dogs which are to blame. Therefore, if the solution below doesn’t work out, it may be high time to replace the worn out feed dogs with new ones.

Increase the pressure of the presser footer

It is the low pressure that causes the fabric to lose proper contact with the feed dogs, resulting in an inconsistent feed.

Clean the area around the feed dogs well

Then again, the nasty lint build-up can become a key factor for dealing with an inconsistent feed. Specifically, this tends to affect sewing machines that possess a drop-feed function.

#21 - Sewing Machine Needle Misaligned

As a rule of thumb, a misaligned needle is the culprit behind the sewing machine hitting the metal plate.

What’s more, a misaligned needle can further lead to problems with stitch tension, as well as proper stitch formation. Hence, we need to adjust the needle positioning very precisely (check out #5).

#22 - Decorative Stitch Settings are Not Working

 Decorative stitch settings are not working

The major reason behind issues with decorative stitches is the mismatch between the stitch length and width.

Thus, our best move is to check the manual of the sewing machine thoroughly. Next, we need to adjust the width and the length of the stitch accordingly.

#23 - How to Fix Sewing Machine Hook Timing

For a start, we need to remember that learning how to diagnose sewing machine problems can be very, very tricky.

Generally, fixing the sewing machine hook timing varies from one machine to another, so we must always follow the manual carefully.

However, before blaming all our issues on the hook timing and setting it up, it’s best that we check several key factors that are closely related to the production of even, consistent stitches.

  • Make sure the needle is straight
  • Mind the needle’s, as well as the thread’s compatibility with the fabric
  • Check if the needle is tightly screwed in

#24 - Sewing Machine Bending Needles

Similarly to dealing with a sewing machine that keeps breaking the needles, fixing issues with bent needles can put our patience to the test.

Fortunately, there is more than one solution that can help us learn how to diagnose sewing machine problems in the future, too.

Switch to needles of the highest quality

In short, the reason why the sewing machine keeps bending the needles can be closely related to their quality.

Oil and clean the sewing machine

Most importantly, we need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely. Also, we want to check for the proper alignment of the throat plate.

Remove any pins away

Ultimately, if there are any pins holding the fabric before it goes under the foot, our needles will keep bending or breaking.

#25 - Bent or Broken Needles

Bent or broken needles

Indeed, bent or broken needles are among the most common issues we face while sewing. Of course, above all, we need to replace the damaged needles. However, this may prove to be challenging. Thus, below are 3 smart tricks.

  • Use a fine screw to push the damaged needle
  • Use another needle to push out the faulty needle

Take the broken or bent needle out with a magnet

All in all, when dealing with bent or broken needles, we need to know how to act accordingly. We have compiled more solutions for this issue at #3 and #24 on this list.

The Bottom Line

Did we manage to help you out with our Troubleshooting 25 sewing machine problems and solutions guide? Indeed, we’d be happy to hear your tips, comments, questions, insights, or anything else that can contribute to the sewing enthusiasts’ community!

Finally, we believe that to share IS to care, so don’t hesitate to show this article some love and support.

After all, knowing how to diagnose sewing machine problems is not the biggest quest. On the contrary, it is having a neat cheat sheet of smart solutions that can make a true difference in our lives as sewing aficionados.

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By Annabelle Short on 10/17/2017

17 Common Sewing Machine Problems and How To Solve Them

17 Common Sewing Machine Problems and How To Solve Them

There's nothing worse than working with an uncooperative sewing machine! Broken or tangled threads, skipped stitches, snapped needles—it can make for a very frustrating experience. But most of these issues can be resolved without taking your machine in for expensive repairs. We've assembled a list of some of the most common sewing machine problems, and their solutions, to help you troubleshoot even while mid-project!

1. Thread bunching up under your fabric when sewing

If you're seeing knots of extra thread on the underside of your sewing, there are several likely culprits. First, remove your sewing from the machine. You may have to cut through all the extra thread to get it free. Don't simply pull it loose, or you risk damaging the mechanism of your machine, not to mention your fabric! Once your project has been freed, carefully remove all the cut bits of thread as well. Now you're ready to identify the issue. Keep a scrap piece of your fabric on hand to test solutions as you try them.

  • Remove your top thread and re-thread the machine, being careful to follow the threading schematic provided in your machine's manual. Make sure your presser foot is up while threading—many machines lock the tension disks when the presser foot is down, making it impossible to thread the machine through the disks correctly.
  • Remove and re-thread your bobbin. Some machines are particular about which way the bobbin unwinds. Consult your manual to be sure it's inserted correctly.
  • Make sure you are using the same type of thread in both top thread and bobbin. A difference in thread weight commonly causes machines to draw threads at different rates, leading to tangles and knots.
  • Adjust your tension settings. This is a common issue, especially if you go from working with a heavy fabric to a delicate one (or vice versa) without remembering to adjust your settings. Test your tension settings on a scrap of your project's fabric to make sure everything is correct.

2. Bent or broken needles

This is a problematic issue that can be dangerous as well as annoying. Always use a new needle for a new project. This prevents needles from getting dull or hooked at the tip, which can damage your fabric. Make sure you're using the right type of needle for the project at hand— knit fabrics do best with a ballpoint, or jersey needle, while leather, vinyl, or denim will need sharp, sturdy needles. If your needle breaks or bends, stop sewing immediately. Carefully remove the broken needle and put it in a container to be disposed of properly. Replace the needle with the correct type for your project, being sure to install it according to your sewing machine's manual. Re-thread, and continue your project. If you're using the correct needle, but you continue to have issues with breaking or bending, you may have underlying mechanical issues with the timing mechanism, which will require expert repair.

3. Fabric not feeding

Make sure if your machine has a drop-feed setting that it has not been activated, and that you don't have an embroidery or darning plate covering the feed dogs. You'll also want to be sure that your presser foot is down, and is set to the correct pressure for your fabric—too little or too much pressure results in a poor feed. When starting a seam, make sure the fabric is all the way under the needle before lowering your presser foot.

4. Thread keeps breaking

Check the type of thread that you're using. Delicate threads designed for hand sewing are not suitable for use in a sewing machine. Your top and bottom threads should also be of the same weight. Re-thread your top thread, making sure your presser foot is up while threading. If you're still having issues, lower the tension settings for your top thread.

5. Machine is skipping stitches

There are several possible reasons for your machine to skip stitches. First, check that your needle is installed correctly, not bent or otherwise damaged, and that you're using the right type of needle for your project. If the top thread is not reaching the bobbin, the threads will not lock properly, resulting in a skipped stitch. Re-thread your machine, both top and bobbin threads, and test. If your machine is still skipping stitches, there may be an issue with the timing, which will require expert repairs.

6. Bobbin tension not consistent

If you find yourself constantly adjusting the tension of your bobbin thread, check the bobbin itself. Plastic bobbins especially can wear, causing them to grow loose within the bobbin housing and making it difficult to maintain the correct tension. Try switching to a new metal bobbin and see if that resolves the issue.

7. Seams in stretch fabrics coming out wavy

This one may be a sewing machine issue, but it can also be a problem with your technique. First, adjust the way you're sewing. Make sure the entirety of your project is supported while you're sewing. The weight of the fabric alone can be enough to cause knits or other stretch fabrics to stretch while you're sewing, so don't let your fabric drape off the table while you work. Let the feed dogs do all the work, and avoid pulling on the fabric to straighten it as you sew. Pin well before you start! If you're still seeing issues, adjust the pressure of your presser foot, or better yet, switch to a walking foot, which will feed the top and bottom layers of your fabric under the needle at the same rate, avoiding that distortion.

8. Sewing machine seizes up or won't sew

It's not uncommon to need to give your machine a bit of help by turning the handwheel, especially when you're just getting a seam started. However, if you need to force the wheel to turn, or the machine doesn't pick up after a bit of assistance, stop what you're doing! Likely, your fabric is too tough for your machine to sew, and continuing to try will damage your machine. If you're not working with a particularly tough fabric, make sure that your needle is installed correctly and is the right type. Remove it to check that it isn't bent. If you're still having issues with your machine not sewing, check your manual for cleaning and maintenance tips. A build-up of fuzz and lint can make it tough for your machine's mechanisms to work correctly.

9. Needle comes unthreaded before sewing

How annoying! You just spent ages getting that thread through the eye of the needle, and as soon as you go to start sewing, it unthreads itself. Luckily, there's an easy fix for this one. Before threading your machine, just make sure that the needle is at its highest point. You can do this by winding the handwheel toward yourself (always wind it toward yourself since this advances the machine—winding it backward can cause threads to tangle) while watching the needle. Some machines also have an "up/down" function that allows you to raise or lower the needle automatically to its highest or lowest point.

10. Fabric or threads are bunching at the start or ends of seams

Your seams should lay perfectly flat from one end to the other, but it's not uncommon to see bunching or tangled threads at the ends. This is caused by backstitching (or back-tacking) over the ends of the fabric, which changes the tensions your sewing machine experiences and causes tangles. Avoid this by sewing an extra few millimetres into your fabric before backstitching at the start of seams, so that the backstitches are all made through fabric and not over the edge. Similarly, when ending a seam, backstitch before you hit the edge, and then sew straight off the edge for a nice clean finish.

11. Thread inconsistently knots, loosens, or tangles

This can be an infuriating problem to track down. One minute, everything's sewing along just fine, and the next, your machine has tangled, skipped stitches, or knotted up the threads. If the issue is inconsistent, the problem is not likely to be your threading or tension settings. Instead, the issue is probably fluff! That's right, the tiny bits of lint and dust that build up inside your sewing machine, especially in and around the bobbin case, can cause no end of difficulties if they end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Avoid the issue by regularly cleaning your machine per the instructions in your manual. Many sewing machine manufacturers recommend using brushes or vacuum attachments to remove lint; while using cans of compressed air may seem like a good idea, they often have a tendency to drive tiny bits of lint further into the mechanism, where they can continue to wreak havoc. It's best to follow the manufacturer's instructions!

12. Thread fraying, shredding, and breaking

If your thread looks as though it's been through the mill, it's probably an issue with your needle. Make sure that your thread and needle sizes are compatible—your needle needs to be large enough for the thread you're using to pass through the eye without catching or pulling. If your needle and thread are incompatible, there's a good chance one or the other isn't right for your project anyway, so start by making sure you've got the right tools for your materials.

13. Fabric feed is inconsistent

Even seams are the mark of a good sewist, but it can be terribly difficult to manage if your machine isn't drawing the fabric evenly. There are several possible reasons for uneven feed, and the culprit, not surprisingly, is usually the feed dogs. If your machine is older, it's possible the feed dogs may have worn down enough that they aren't catching the fabric evenly. They can typically be replaced, and your machine can be running good as new in no time. If your machine is new, try cleaning around the feed dogs. Lint tends to build up in this area, particularly if your machine has a drop-feed function. If neither of these seems to be the issue, try increasing the pressure of your presser foot to make sure your fabric maintains even contact with the feed dogs.

14. Machine is making strange noises

Step one: stop sewing! As soon as you hear unexpected thumps or clunks coming from your machine, take your foot off the pedal. It's likely that your machine just needs a good cleaning, so check through your manual for the recommended maintenance procedure. Clean and oil your machine according to the instructions, and then give it test on a bit of scrap fabric. If there are still unusual noises, it's best to take it to a repair shop to have it tuned up.

15. The machine is running, but the needle won't move!

Though initially perplexing, this problem has a simple solution. Your machine is likely set in bobbin-winding mode, so check that the lever or winding post for your bobbin is in the correct position.

16. Decorative stitch settings aren't working

If your machine has a variety of decorative stitch settings, but they don't seem to be working, the first step is to check your stitch length and width settings. Many decorative stitches require specific settings in order to appear properly. Double check your manual to make sure that you're using the right length and width for the stitch you're trying to create.

17. Seams are puckered and distorted

While a bit of unevenness in a seam can be dealt with by pressing, puckered and distorted seams may actually be a problem with your machine. First, check the weight of the thread you're using. A thick, stiff thread will cause distortion in lightweight fabrics, and will also throw off your tension settings. Tension is the second thing to check, if your thread is sufficiently lightweight for the project. Another possibility is uneven feed. If your presser foot pressure is correct, and your feed dogs are working properly, try switching to a walking foot, which can help even out the feed for slippery or heavyweight fabrics.

As frustrating as it can be to have your sewing machine stage a revolt, the solution is likely quite simple. A bit of regular maintenance can help prevent the worst issues, and your manual is an invaluable resource. Do you have other tips and tricks to help with sewing machine difficulties? Share them in the comments below!

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Brother Sewing Machine Tension Problems

How Do I Fix The Tension On My Brother Sewing Machine?

If you own a Brother sewing machine and are currently facing tension problems, it can be quite a difficult situation to be in. You’re most likely caught between trying to fix it yourself or hiring a professional.

It’s one thing to decide you want to fix your Brother sewing machine tension problems and it’s a completely different thing to fixing the problem correctly.

I have compiled a list of common tension problems you’re likely to face on your Brother sewing machine and how to solve them.

7 Common Brother Sewing Machine Tension Problems

1. top stitches too tight, 2. upper thread keeps breaking, 3. failed to set tension, 4. top tension is too tight, 5. top tension is too loose, 6. bobbin tension too loose, 7. incorrect thread tension, 1. incorrectly threaded machine, 2. dirty machine, 3. damaged parts, 4. thread, needle, and fabric, brother sewing machine tension chart, how to adjust tension on brother sewing machine, how to adjust bottom tension on  brother sewing machine.

There are several tension problems that could arise in your Brother sewing machine.

It could be that the top stitch is too tight, upper stitch breaks often, problem setting the tension or top tension is too tight. If the top stitch is the problem, you can tighten the bobbin tension while you can turn the knob to lower the top tension if it’s too tight.

Other problems can simply be solved by cleaning out dirt and gunk from the sewing machine, rethreading the machine completely, or replacing damaged parts.

The first thing to do while facing a tension problem on your Brother sewing machine is to determine the exact cause of the problem. Once you’re sure why your machine is not working well, you can proceed to apply the appropriate solution.

One common tension problem people face on their sewing machine is when the top stitches don’t come out well. They usually appear like straight threads with small loops emerging from the underside.

This makes the stitches unusually loose and causes the cloth to pucker. Usually, the bottom stitches come out just fine leading most people to believe it’s a top tension problem.

This problem might be affecting the top stitch, but it’s got nothing to do with the top tension. Instead, it’s all about your bobbin tension. All you need do is tighten your bobbin tension and your machine should be back to normal again.

Step 1. When your top stitches are too tight, you will observe that there are some loops on the surface of your fabric or garment that you are stitching. This makes your work untidy and not properly sewn as the stitches don’t hold onto the fabric tightly. This problem is solved by threading your bobbin properly.

Step 2. Pop open the bobbin cover on your sewing machine. This allows you access to the bobbin so that you can rethread it and solve the top stitches too tight problem you are facing. Make sure that you are using the recommended bobbins for your Brother sewing machine.

Step 3. Remove all the thread from the bobbin to thread it correctly. You can cut it out or just unroll it off the bobbin. Unrolling it from the bobbin ensures that you can reuse the thread. You can roll it around another spool to use in another project.

Step 4. Place your empty bobbin onto the bobbin winder on your sewing machine. Push your bobbin winder to the right. Turn the bobbin clockwise until you hear it click into place on the bobbin winder.

Before you thread your bobbin make sure it has no cracks or rust. Cracked and rusted bobbins can easily damage your sewing machine and the fabrics you are working on.

Step 5. Place a spool of thread on the spool pin. Make sure to secure it with the pen cap. 

Always use a new or cleanly wound thread. If you don’t you are likely to end up with bobbin tension problems. 

Step 6. Looking at the diagram on top of your sewing machine, or following your manual, pull a thread from the spool and pass it through the guides and tension pin. Make sure to follow threading instructions properly for a flawless sewing experience. For example, make sure that your thread is tightly wound around the tension pin.

Step 7. Wrap your thread around the bobbin a few times by hand. Then, press your start button or the foot controller depending on your type of sewing machine. Also, set the speed for which the thread will wind around the bobbin.

Step 8. Let the thread wind until you have enough thread on your bobbin. Make sure that the thread on the bobbin is as much as is required for your bobbin size.

Step 9. As the bobbin fills up, it will start rotating slowly. Cut off the thread, push the bobbin winder back to the left and remove your bobbin.

Step 10. Raise your needle to its highest position. Open the bobbin cover and put your threaded bobbin into the bobbin case. Leave some thread outside and make sure it unwinds to the left.

Step 11. Push the bobbin down with your finger. Then pass the excess thread around the space provided and cut off the excess and return the bobbin cover.

Step 12. Set your sewing machine tension correctly by turning it up or down to ensure that your threads have the right tension to make sure the top thread is not too tight while sewing.

When the upper thread keeps breaking, there are several reasons for this problem.

It could be that your thread is old or is of low quality. It could also be that the machine is not threaded properly or the needle is not right for the kind of fabric.

Yet, from experience, I have come to understand that this usually occurs when the tension device has some gunk in it.

When you have confirmed that your thread and needle is fine, your best solution is to clean out the gunk in the tension device.

To do this, take off the top thread and loosen the tension disk completely. Raise your presser foot and try to clean out the gunk with Perl cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol. Clean the tension mechanism thoroughly and set tension back to the midpoint. Rethread your sewing machine.

Your machine should be working perfectly again. If it doesn’t, you should think about taking it to a professional for servicing.

Some times, you could have issues setting tension. If you try again and again and still fail at it, it’s probably due to a number of reasons.

Firstly, it could be that the upper thread is tangled. It could also be that your presser foot was not raised while the machine was being threaded.

This problem can also be caused by the use of incorrect bobbin or needle type.

As always, the first thing to do is to determine the exact cause of the problem. If the thread is tangled, remove it completely and rethread your sewing machine. If your presser foot wasn’t raised while threading the sewing machine, rethread and be sure to raise your presser foot so the thread can go into your machine’s tension disk.

Also, be sure to set your tension dial between 4-5. If the problem is connected to the shuttle race, clean out any lint accumulation and rethread the bobbin in the shuttle race.

Follow these steps to adjust thread tension on your sewing machine:

Step1 . Confirm that your sewing machine is properly threaded. You can do this first, visually. Look at how your top thread is threaded. Confirm that it is properly threaded following all the threading guides and that it is tightly threaded.

Second, you can confirm proper threading by sewing a piece of fabric on your sewing machine. After sewing check the placement of your top and bobbin thread on the fabric. When it is correctly threaded, only the upper thread is visible on the right side and only the bobbin thread is visible on the other side.

If the top thread is visible on the back side of the fabric, and vise versa, you need to adjust your sewing machine tension. If the bobbin thread is visible on the right side of the fabric, the bobbin is not properly threaded, hence affecting tension.

And, if the upper thread is visible on the lower side, the top thread is poorly threaded hence loss of tension.

Step 2. Thread your sewing machine correctly. Follow all the guides to thread the top thread as it should. Second, thread your bobbin properly. Further, make sure that you are using the right size of bobbin for your sewing machine.

Also, check that your bobbin is not broken. This could lead to loosening the tension of your bobbin thread as the crack may prevent proper movement of the bobbin during sewing.

Step 3. When adjusting your sewing machine tension, you need to confirm that you have the right needle and the right thread for the fabric you are sewing. If you are working on a strong, woven fabric, you will need a different thread and needle when you are working on a silky fabric.

Using the wrong needle and thread may affect your sewing. This may cause you to have tension problems that make your thread and fabric bunched up.

Step 4 . Adjust the tension of each of the sewing threads for a flawless sewing experience. When you have properly threaded your sewing machine, test on a scrap of fabric before you start sewing.

If the top thread is visible on the underside of your fabric, you have low tension. You need to increase the tension by turning the tension knob to a higher number. Test each time you move the tension knob until you have the right tension for your top thread.

If yourbobbin thread is visible on the top side of the fabric, you have a high tension on the bobbin thread which needs to be reduced. Thus, turn the tension dial or knob to set a lower tension for your sewing thread,

Test your new tension settings on a scrap fabric. When you have an evenly produced thread, then you have found the right tension for your sewing.

As a result of the bobbin threads being visible on the top all you have left to do now is to reduce the tension on your sewing machine.

When the top tension is too tight, you are likely to see loops appear on your fabric. This means that you will have an untidy stitch on your fabric.

Correct thread tension makes it easy for you to sew anything. As long as you have the correct needle and thread for the fabric that you are sewing. However, when you don’t have the correct tension, you won’t enjoy sewing.

When you have your top thread too tight, it means that you don’t have enough top thread going through the fabric. This means that you will have a weak stitch that could easily unravel. Thus, your sewing produces low quality products.

How Does Top Tension Work?

When you look through your sewing machine, you will see two metal discs at the top. The correct top tension is provided by these two metal discs. On one side of these two discs is a spring. The spring is important as it provides and regulates the pressure that goes onto the thread.

Step 1 . To get pressure onto the thread, the spring is controlled via a dial. This is the tension control dial. The pressure exerted onto the spring by the dial is characterized by the numbers shown on the dial. The higher the number set, the higher the pressure and thread tension.

Step 2 . When you press the presser foot or switch on your machine, the discs open up and let your thread through to the needle and fabric you are stitching.

When the pressure foot is lowered, the discs come back together and provide the set tension to the thread before the next cycle of sewing starts. For this reason, never thread your sewing machine with the presser foot down. You will encounter lots of tension problems.

Once you’re sure your top tension is too tight, the only solution is to loosen it.

To do this, turn the knob in a way that has the number decreasing. You can try going half or a number lower than the current top tension.

Test this new tension with a small piece of fabric using a different thread color. Keep going low until you’re able to sew evenly on both sides and until the bottom thread no longer shows at the top.

Another frustrating tension problem you can face on your Brother sewing machine is when the top tension is too loose.

This problem is similar to top tension being tight. The major difference is that the top thread is visible at the bottom.

When the top tension of your sewing machine is too loose, the stitches on your fabric will look out of place. When you are a sewing beginner, you need to learn how to properly thread your sewing machine. Proper threading goes a long way in making sure that you have the right tension on your sewing machine.

Here is how you can get your sewing machine back to normal if its top tension is too loose.

Step 1. Proper threading also includes the bobbin threading. Confirm that your bobbin is properly threaded and installed into the sewing machine before you touch the tension dial. Change or also re-thread your bobbin if necessary.

Most times, proper threading of your sewing machine is what you require to solve this tension problem. Also, knowing what needle and thread to use for the fabric you are sewing will help reduce the instances of your top tension getting too loose. 

Step 2 . Also, depending on your sewing machine, you could activate auto tension. Mechanical sewing machines don’t have this feature. However, most modern sewing machines will do.

Auto tension means that your sewing machine can automatically detect the type of fabric you are sewing, your needle and type and size of thread. As a result, it will set itself to the required tension to make sure that you don’t face any tension problems.

Step 3. As you increase the tension of your sewing machine to solve this problem, make sure not to overdo it. With every turn of the dial to increase tension, make sure to test out the result on a different piece of fabric. Make sure your test fabric is similar to the one you are working on.

When working with a Brother sewing machine, one common issue that might arise is the bobbin tension being too loose. This problem is typically identified by the appearance of loops on the underside of the fabric, which can compromise the integrity of your stitches and overall project quality.

  • Loops on Underside : The most telltale sign of loose bobbin tension is visible loops or excess thread on the underside of the fabric.
  • Unreliable Stitching : The stitches may seem loose and unreliable, leading to potential unraveling of the seams.
  • Improperly Threaded Bobbin : If the bobbin isn’t threaded correctly, it can result in insufficient tension.
  • Incorrect Bobbin Type : Using a bobbin that isn’t compatible with your Brother machine can lead to tension issues.
  • Wear and Tear : Over time, the bobbin case can wear out, affecting tension.
  • Check Bobbin Threading : Ensure that the bobbin is threaded correctly according to your Brother sewing machine’s manual. A properly threaded bobbin is crucial for maintaining consistent tension.
  • Inspect and Clean the Bobbin Case : Remove the bobbin case and inspect it for lint, dust, or damage. Clean it thoroughly using a soft brush or cloth.
  • Adjust Bobbin Tension Screw : Locate the small screw on the bobbin case. This screw adjusts the bobbin tension. If the tension is too loose, gently turn the screw clockwise in small increments. Be cautious; over-tightening can cause other issues.
  • Test and Re-adjust : After making adjustments, test the tension by sewing a few stitches on a scrap piece of fabric. Observe the stitch quality and adjust further if necessary.
  • Use Compatible Bobbins : Always use bobbins recommended by Brother for your specific model to avoid tension issues.
  • Regular Maintenance : Regular cleaning and periodic maintenance of your machine can prevent tension problems from arising.

By following these steps, you should be able to rectify issues related to bobbin tension being too loose, thereby ensuring the durability and quality of your sewing projects.

Incorrect thread tension is a common challenge faced by users of Brother sewing machines. It can significantly affect the quality and appearance of your stitches, making it crucial to identify and resolve this issue promptly.

  • Thread Breakage : Frequent breaking or snapping of the thread can indicate tension that is too tight.
  • Loose Stitches : If the stitches are uneven or appear loose and sloppy, it could be a sign of too little tension.
  • Thread Bunching : Bunching or gathering of thread on the underside of the fabric is often a symptom of tension imbalance.
  • Improper Threading : Incorrectly threading the machine can lead to uneven tension in the upper and lower threads.
  • Incompatible Needle and Thread : Using a needle or thread that isn’t suitable for the fabric or the machine can disrupt the tension balance.
  • Tension Settings Misadjustment : Incorrectly set tension dials can result in tension that is either too high or too low.
  • Re-thread the Machine : Start by re-threading your machine, ensuring that both the top and bobbin threads are correctly placed according to the machine’s guidelines.
  • Check and Adjust Tension Dials : The tension dials on your Brother sewing machine control the thread tension. Experiment by adjusting these dials, typically by increasing the number for tighter tension or decreasing it for looser tension.
  • Match Needle, Thread, and Fabric : Ensure that you’re using the appropriate needle and thread for your fabric type. A mismatch can cause tension issues.
  • Test Stitch on Scrap Fabric : After making adjustments, perform a test stitch on a scrap piece of fabric. Check both sides of the fabric to assess stitch quality and make further adjustments as needed.
  • Consult the Manual : Refer to your Brother sewing machine manual for specific guidance on setting the correct tension for different types of projects.
  • Regular Maintenance : Keeping your machine clean and well-maintained can prevent many tension issues.

By carefully addressing these aspects of thread tension, you can achieve smooth, even stitches and enhance the overall quality of your sewing projects.

What Causes Tension Issues on Brother Sewing Machine?

The following are the most common reasons why your Brother sewing machine has tension issues.

Many tension issues arise from machines that are incorrectly threaded. This mistake usually happens when sewers thread with the presser foot down stopping the thread from slipping all the way between tension disc.

The best solution is to rethread the sewing machine completely and with the presser foot raised upwards.

A sewing machine that hasn’t been cleaned for a long while will certainly pose several problems.

For sewers who sew regularly, it is always best to clean your sewing machine at least once every week. This takes away the lint and gunk that would otherwise be hidden between the tension discs.

Always see to it that your Brother sewing machine is lint-free to ensure you don’t have tension issues.

So what’s the state of your machine? Is your needle broken? is it the thread guide, tension disc, or take up lever?Always be careful not to leave any broken parts without fixing it as this could seriously affect your Brother sewing machine’s tension.

Once you notice your machine has been damaged in any way, be sure to get professional help.

If your needle is not the right size for the project, it could easily affect your machine’s tension. Also, the wrong thread size can get your tension settings messed up.

The solution is to always get the right needle, thread, and fabric for the project at hand.

Brother sewing machine is one of the finest brands of sewing machines on the market. If you ever face a tension problem, always be sure to consult your manual guide to see if there are directions for tackling such problems.

If you do try the above solutions to their corresponding problems and they fail to work, simply hire a professional to service your machine and get it working properly again.

Most seamstresses or dressmakers avoid adjusting the tension dial because they are afraid of messing up the stitch quality of their sewing machines. However, thread tension setting is crucial in achieving the perfect seam quality. 

It is common knowledge that lower numbers mean loose tension and higher numbers mean tighter tension. Get to know the purpose of different numbers on your tension dial and identify which one works best for specific threads and fabrics. 

If you want to experiment and find the best tension for your choice of fabric, you can start with number 4 and work your way up or down the tension dial until you find the perfect setting. It’ll also be beneficial to list down the different tension numbers and their purpose for future reference. 

In sewing, machinery problems are unavoidable. Some of the most common problems are incorrect thread tension, bobbin and needle not being inserted the right way, and improperly threading your machine. These can be annoying especially when you have a project due and you can’t seem to fix it. In this section, let’s discuss these problems and the steps to fix them.

On Brother sewing machines, the normal tension setting is 4.0, however, adjustments might still be possible depending on your choice of fabric. You have to take note that in the middle of your fabric’s surface, the needle and bobbin threads interlock. Only the needle thread should be Visible on the right side of your fabric, and the bobbin thread on the opposite side. When you notice loops on the right side of the fabric, your tension might be too tight. You have to decrease the upper tension by turning the tension dial to the left. Keep in mind that thread tension isn’t the only factor affecting weakened seams. 

Threading is a crucial step in setting up your Brother sewing machines or any other machines, in general. Even by twisting the upper tension-control dial, the thread tension cannot be accurately adjusted if both the upper and lower threading are incorrect. Before adjusting the thread tension, check the upper and lower threading. 

You might wonder why whenever you change into a different fabric, your seams are suddenly too loose or too tight. This could be because the needle you’re using isn’t fit for the fabric. Finer needles are advised to be used on lightweight fabrics. Larger needles are for medium to heavyweight fabrics, and universal needles are for polyester and cotton fabrics. So, the next time you encounter tension problems, check if your needle is appropriate for your fabric. 

Brother sewing machines come with manuals which contain basic troubleshooting for situations like tension problems. It will be beneficial for you to scan through it and take note of useful information. The right tension is crucial to getting good results when stitching your project. Make it a habit to follow the right steps in handling your sewing machine. 

Loose bottom stitches can be caused by weakened upper or lower thread tension, among other factors. Upper and lower thread tension being too tight or too loose can cause the appearance of loops or small knots on the wrong side of your fabric. Incorrect threading could be another cause too. Tightening the tension dial or cleaning your machine might not be enough sometimes. 

Determine the precise reason for the tension issue on your Brother sewing machine before taking any other action. You can move forward with implementing the proper solution if you are certain of the cause of your machine’s poor performance. You can follow these steps to identify the root cause and troubleshoot accordingly.

Your upper thread could be threaded incorrectly. Carefully re-thread the top thread and check whether the upper tension is right. Depending on the fabric you’re using, you can set the tension high or low. Get your scrap fabric and test the stitches to see if you were able to fix it. Remember to always raise the presser foot when adjusting upper thread tension. 

Check the bobbin and check if it’s placed correctly. In almost all Brother sewing machines, there is a guide embedded on how to wound a bobbin. Your bobbin might differ depending on the model of your machine. Some have a separate bobbin case and some don’t. Make sure that you are using the appropriate bobbin as this may cause your thread to get caught up upon sewing. 

For drop-in bobbins, there’s no need to change the bottom tension. However, for front-loading bobbins, there are times when screws are moved. Make sure your bobbin tension is correct by inserting it in your bobbin case and holding it up by the thread. It should not  move or fall. Pull it slightly and if the bobbin slides down a little, its tension is perfect. If it falls, it’s too loose and if it doesn’t budge, it’s too tight.  

To check if your bobbin was inserted properly, just follow the guide on your machine or you can re-do the insertion. After that, check the direction of your bobbin when you pull the thread, make sure that it’s turning counter clockwise. Remove loose threads before you do another test. 

Beginners in sewing sometimes forget that there are different needle sizes for specific kinds of fabric. Wrong needle size may affect your stitch quality. Thinner needles are for lightweight fabrics while thicker needles are for heavyweight ones. You can also avoid ruining your fabric if the correct needle is being used. 

These basic troubleshooting methods should be able to help you fix tension problems on your Brother sewing machines. However, maintenance is also essential. Clean your machine of loose thread from time to time and keep it out of dust. Another tip would be to test your stitches on scrap fabrics every time you start a new project. This is to avoid possible fabric damage if your machine is not working well. 

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I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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