Trouble Shooting Your Sewing Machine

12:35 PM

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Hi Everyone!  If your following this class, good to see you back again.  If your new welcome to the class! If you need to catch up you can see at the bottom of this post or click here to what our prior lessons were if you need to catch up  Today we are going to learn what to do when you have sewing machine problems!

One of the most important things you can learn when it comes to sewing is what to do when your sewing machine goes crazy, because it will!  Just ask anyone who has sewed for a long time.  This often scares off new sewers and cause projects to be put off only never to be finished.  Just picture yourself finally on a roll on your project until..... it jams with your project stuck in the machine.  Aughhh!  It will happen to you, but if you know what to do it will be a short blimp along the way.  I have often had students who say they had a little experience long ago that they stopped sewing because "they were afraid of their sewing machine".  So if this is you, just know that you are not alone.

The tricky thing about your sewing machine not working right is most of the time it really doesn't need to be repaired.  I would guess 90% of the time that's the case.  So how do you know if your machine might actually be repaired?  Well that's what we are going to cover here.  I'm going to share with you this class what I do to trouble shoot my machine.
image via pickle dish
Stop, Cut, and Rethread
Say it with me stop, cut, and rethread............stop, cut, and rethread......stop, cut, and rethread.  This is what I want you to chant in your head (or out loud if you don't mind looking crazy) when something goes wrong with your machine. This is my first method of trouble shooting when things go wrong.  It will seriously fix about 70% of your sewing machine problems.  I know it sounds to easy to be true, but I swear it is.  Sewing machines are finicky machines.  They like extra attention now and then that's all. Don't be mad at your machine, it just wants a little extra love!  Below is a more detailed explanation of my method.  If this doesn't work have no fear it might just be that your tension is off which we will cover in our tension lesson.
This is what Urban Threads (a Mpls based embroidery comp) has on their office door,

If Your Machine is Sewing Weird Stop!
My first rule is if something doesn't seem right when you are sewing stop immediately.  The reason is if you continue to sew and your machine isn't working correctly, it call actually pull your fabric down into the feed dogs (if your not sure what this is review lesson 4) and you might actually be in the position of having to cut out your project to get it out of your sewing machine.  And if you don't have enough extra fabric to cut a new pattern piece your whole project will be ruined. Really not cool! 

Cut Your Threads

The next step is to cut your threads, and take out your bobbin.  While how to cut your threads may seem self explanatory, depending on how severe the problem you are having it may be a bit difficult.  If you are having difficulties because your thread and or project is tangled up in your machine you should cut both the top and the bottom thread as close to your project as you can.  If you are having problems with cutting your thread on the top you can take out your needle.  This can also help if you have fabric stuck in your feed dogs.  You can then put your needle back in after you have your threads all out.   

Rethread Your Sewing Machine
After you've stopped, cut your threads (both top and bottom), have removed any threads in your machine, and taken your bobbin out you are ready to rethread your machine.  When I say rethread your machine I mean the whole thing top and bottom, even if you think they are OK.  If you forgot how to thread your machine review lesson 5.

After you have rethreaded your sewing machine make sure both the top and bottom flow freely.  If they do not make sure that thread is not stuck on something.  If it is still not flowing freely and it is not stuck on anything I would try a test on a scrap of fabric, but know that it might be a tension issue (which we will cover in our tension lesson).  

Lesson Conclusion
While I would say my cut, stop, and rethread method works 70% of the time, it's still not 100% of the time.  This method will not fix all machines all the time, but is a pretty quick way to fix most problems so it's worth trying first.  For that 30% of the time it doesn't work we are going to have to do some more investigating.  A common problem that you can fix at home that would not be fixed by my stop, cut, and rethread method is tension.  So check out our tension lesson, if you are still having any problems.  By the end of lesson 8 and 10 you should have either fixed your sewing machine by yourself or know that you really do need to take it to be repaired.  Class dismissed!

Found This Post Because You are Having Problems With You Machine? 
Since starting this sewing school I have had many people trying to ask my questions about problems with their sewing machines. I will not answer any specific answers to your machine questions beyond this so please don't ask.  Here is my general advice: "Have you read the above my article and applied what you learned? If not try that. If your machine is still not working check out my tension guide (our next lesson), clean and oil your machine according to your manuels instructions, also check your sewing machine manual which usually while have a troubleshooting guide as well.  If this does not work you can try a sewing forum such as Threads magazine's or try a search online describing your problem.  If this all fails you need to take your machine in to be repaired, unfortunately sometimes you just have to.   

Chant stop, cut, and rethread........stop, cut, and rethread.... while you mediate and any time you have sewing machine problems!

Next Lesson: Basic Sewing Terms ©Oh You Crafty Gal! All rights reserved.

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  1. My mom's machin goes crazey a looot hhhh that why i always hated the sewing but now when followed ur classes i really feel like ( i wan't to sew right Now !!) i doooooo i's soo exiiiiiiited
    Thannnk you soo much <<hope thers more and moore of your bueatifuul classes

    Love Nour

    1. I'm glad my classes have helped you learn to sew. Thanks for letting me know. I am currently working on a lesson on adjusting tension and will post soon. I also will likely post more lessons in Sept and October because I will be teaching my non virtual class (in a real class room). So make sure to follow us on FB,blogloving, google plus,RSS,or subscribe by email to keep up to date with new classes!

  2. Hi, quick question for you. When I use my machine, the first two stitches are fine and then the bobbin thread jumps out of those stitches and the machine then only sews with the top thread. Do you have any idea what I can do to solve the problem? I have already :
    *changed needle
    * re-threaded both top and bobbin threads
    * I am using the thread that comes with the machine, manufacturer supplied.
    * played around with stitch length and upper thread tension.


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