Monday, 28 January 2013

Trouble Shooting Your Sewing Machine

We all have trouble with our sewing machines from time to time. Sometimes our seams are very weak, other times stitches are being skipped. Here are a few simple things to check before running to get your machine repaired.

Fabric is not being fed through the machine.

Check to see if the "dogs" (the feeder grips) are engaged. Many times I've used my machine for free hand embroidery or sewing on a button and had to lower the dogs. I've then forgot to raise them and wondered why my machine wasn't feeding through fabric.

Thread bunching under the fabric, weak seams or uneven seams.

When your computer is acting up your first instinct to turn it off and on again. Re threading is the equivalent for a sewing machine.

If re-threading doesn't help double check your tensions. I filmed a quick example of how incorrect tension can effect your sewing. This also means you can finally put a voice to the blog :)

Skipped stitches, fabric  getting damaged, thread still snapping despite tensions checked.

When we start sewing the books always say "new job new sewing needle" and yet so many people never actually use a fresh needle. Needles work out at around 50p, a fraction of the cost of the fabric, thread, interfacing, buttons that we use on a sewing project. I've actually served someone in the shop who refused to sew denim because she would have to change her sewing needle, something she had not done since buying her machine 4 years ago!

  A blunt needle can cause skipped stitches and damage the fabric as you sew. An old needle can also bend slightly this can actually damage your machine! The picture shows the footplate of my sewing machine where a bent needle actually shipped away some of the footplate itself. This was left jagged and would snag fabric as it passed over. A little attention with a needle file helped solve this, but it taught me the lesson of the damage a bent needle can do.

It is also important to use the correct size needle and the correct type of needle for the task at hand. Your sewing machine manual will have a chart showing you which size and style the recommend for each fabric.

Keeping you machine in good running order is always advisable. You tend to be unable to oil modern machines (again, check your manual  but your machine will run better and for longer if you pop off the foot plate and clean the fluff out every few months.


  1. Informative post, and worth a read by all sewing machine owners

  2. Opps, missed your lovely comment. Thanks it's nice to know people like our work :)