Why Is My Sewing Machine Not Moving the Fabric – Here Are The Causes

Last Updated on 10 months by Susan Mayrich

Sewing machines are a fantastic tool for creating beautiful and unique garments. However, there are some common issues that new sewers may encounter when using their machines. One of the most common issues is when the sewing machine does not move the fabric through the machine. 

Why Is My Sewing Machine Not Moving the Fabric

This can be caused by several different factors and each one needs to be addressed separately before you can get back to sewing comfortably again.

Sewing machines work by pulling the fabric through the needle, not pushing it. So if your sewing machine is not moving the fabric, it’s likely there’s something wrong with your machine or the way you’re feeding fabric through.

There are a few reasons why your sewing machine may not be moving.


Needle Not Set to Correct Height

The first is that the needle is not set to the correct height. The needle should be set in a way that it can move freely up and down when you press the foot pedal. If it cannot move freely, then your machine cannot sew. 

If this is the case, try adjusting the height of your needle by turning your hand wheel until it is high enough for you to push down on it without hitting something in front of it.

why is my sewing machine not moving the fabric

The Thread Has Broken or Become Tangled Inside Your Machine

Check for knots in your thread near where it comes out of your spool, on top of your bobbin case, and anywhere else that seems like it could cause problems. 

If you find one, try unwinding more thread until you find where it comes out cleanly. If that doesn’t work, then try tightening both ends of your thread so they’re equally tight (but don’t over-tighten them).

the thread has broken or become tangled inside your machine

The Needle Is Not Piercing the Fabric

This can happen if the needle is not in contact with the presser foot. The presser foot should be down on top of the material. If it isn’t, try lowering it again. 

If your machine has a needle up/down button, try pushing it to make sure the needle moves up and down freely (without being locked in place). 

You can also check to see if your needle is bent or broken by looking at it from the top – you may see a dark spot on one side of the needle if it’s bent or broken.

the needle is not piercing the fabric

Jammed Feed Dogs

Make sure that your feed dogs are turned on (if they haven’t been already). Feed dogs are little teeth located underneath each side of the feed dog cover on many machines that help pull the fabric through when you start stitching (they also help with straightening out seams once they’re sewn). 

If these aren’t turned on then they won’t be able to do their job properly.

jammed feed dogs

Presser Foot Is Not Properly Adjusted To The Fabric 

If your presser foot is not adjusted correctly, it may not be able to push down on the fabric enough to move it through the machine. Make sure that your presser foot is lowered all the way and that there are no wrinkles in it, which can cause it not to press down properly.

presser foot is not properly adjusted to the fabric

Needle Position Is Not Set Correctly

Some machines have an automatic needle position feature where you just turn a dial until it stops at a certain number. If your machine doesn’t have this feature, you’ll need to manually adjust the needle position so that it’s in line with where you want your stitches to go. 

needle position is not set correctly

The Fabric Is Too Heavy

If you’re using a heavy fabric, you may be having trouble feeding it through the machine. This can be remedied by turning the handwheel towards you to make the needle go down deeper into the fabric.

the fabric is too heavy

The Upper Thread Tension Is Not Adjusted Properly

Your upper tension may need to be adjusted if it keeps pulling up when you try to sew with a bulky material. Adjusting your needle position can help fix this problem as well. 

If your needle is too far in or out of its arm, then your bobbin thread will tighten when sewing and cause problems with the upper tension.

the upper thread tension is not adjusted properly

The Needle Is Bent or Not Inserted Properly

The needle may be bent, or it may not be inserted properly. Be sure that the needle is straight and that it has been inserted into the needle clamp. If necessary, replace the needle with a new one.

the needle is bent or not inserted properly

The Bobbin Case Is Not in Place

Make sure that the bobbin case is placed properly on the machine before you start sewing. If you do not see its position clearly, refer to the manual for details.

the bobbin case is not in place

The Needle Plate Is Dirty

You have to clean up the surface of your sewing machine when you find that it does not move smoothly. If there are some oil stains on it, wipe them off with a damp cloth and then dry them immediately with a dry cloth to prevent rusting through oxidation from water molecules in the air and moisture in the atmosphere (such as humidity).

the needle plate is dirty

Leave a Comment

error: Alert: Content selection is disabled!!