Why Did My Sewing Machine Lock Up? 15 ​Surprising Reasons!

Last Updated on 1 month by Susan Mayrich

Do you ask: why did my sewing machine lock up? There are a few surprising reasons which you will know as you read along.

Why did my sewing machine lock up

I know that when I get frustrated, I usually don’t understand what’s going on. When my sewing machine locks up and doesn’t want to sew, even though the thread is threaded correctly, and the needle isn’t jammed or bent or anything like that – sometimes I think about how frustrating it can be when we’re trying to do something but things won’t work out.

The more we try and push them in a specific direction, the more they resist us! It’s tough not to take this personally. We start thinking, “It must be me!” or “I’m doing something wrong”.

But then there might be a more straightforward explanation for what’s happening: maybe you need some new bobbins (the things that hold the thread), or a bent needle is causing your machine to jam up. Or maybe you need to fix a problem with the timing on it – but how do we know what’s going on?


How Did My Sewing Machine Lock Up?

The most common cause of a sewing machine locking up is when the thread is tangled. One way to check if this is the issue is to cut off the needle and pull on the thread, but be careful not to touch it because it is sharp.

There are several reasons why did my sewing machine lock up. Here are the following:

#1. The thread is threaded correctly, and the needle isn’t jammed or bent

#2. You might need some new bobbins or a bent needle

#3. The timing on your machine might be off

#4. Your machine may have been running too long without being turned off

#5. There may be something in the way of your sewing surface, such as lint, dust, or stray threads from previous projects, that is causing it to jam up

#6. If you’re using an old sewing machine with a foot pedal, make sure there’s nothing in the way of where you step when you’re pressing down on it to start and stop your project – if so, remove whatever’s blocking it before continuing to sew!

why did my sewing machine lock up

#7. Make sure there’s nothing in the way of your machines, such as lint, dust, or stray threads from previous projects

#8. Your feed dogs may be dirty – take them out and clean them to see if this fixes the problem

#9. Check your bobbin case as well as your needle plate for lint or other debris that may be preventing the thread from advancing

#10. Check to make sure there’s nothing in the way of your presser foot, keeping it raised enough so that it allows the fabric to pass under it freely

#11. Is your bobbin case correctly inserted? It’s best to know your bobbin cases!

#12. Are there any small bits of thread or other debris on your feed dogs?

#13. There may be something stuck in your machine or a piece of lint that’s preventing it from advancing

#14. Is there anything small and fluffy in the bobbin case? Read all about bobbins.

#15. Maybe you need to oil it up and give it a good cleaning.


Related Topic

How To Fix A Jammed Brother Sewing Machine The Best Way


What Do You Do When Your Sewing Machine Locks Up?

The moment your machine locks up, turn it off. The following steps depend on the sewing machine you own; if you’re not sure, call customer service for help. But there are a couple of things you can do, such as the following:

#1. With a needle up/down button, press the button to raise the needle. This allows you to remove your work from underneath the machine without causing damage.

#2. On specific machines (Bernina and Bernette, for example), use the knee lift (if it has one) to raise and lower your footer. Place one hand on the knee lift to raise the presser foot.

#3. For most machines with a vertical oscillating hook, remove your work by turning the handwheel toward you until you can pull out your work from underneath it. Some machines have an adjustable speed control for this hook type; set it to zero if possible. Next, grasp the bobbin case and pull it out from the machine’s body.

#4. When you’re finished, return the bobbin case to its position in your machine. Be careful not to scratch or dint it as you put it back into place.

#5. If you have a serger that uses needles, undo any needles from their shafts before attempting to move the machine.

what do you do when your sewing machine locks up

#6. If you have a lock stitch machine that sews forward only, turn the handwheel towards you until it stops. Then, pry out your work underneath with a small pair of pliers or tweezers. Be careful not to stretch the fabric as you remove it.

#7. Some machines have a grounding wire attached to the frame that must be connected to a metal part of another more significant piece of equipment (such as a sewing cabinet) before being plugged in again. These machines often have a metal grounding screw on the back of the machine that you should tighten with a Phillips head screwdriver.

#8. For machines without this feature, touch two metal pieces of your machine together before plugging it back in to work again. This helps equalize the electrical charge between your machine and other surrounding objects.

#9. If you still feel a “tingle” when plugging in your machine after following these steps, call customer service for help. If you don’t have any metal pieces to touch together, try turning the handwheel toward you until it stops before plugging it back in.

#10. When your machine is working again, sew with something straightforward (like a straight stitch on normal tension) for a while. Then, if everything works fine, move on to more complicated things.


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It’s A Wrap!

We’re happy that you already know the reasons, and we’ve answered your question: why did my sewing machine lock up? Thank you friends for reading until the end of this article!

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