Last Updated on 1 year by Susan Mayrich
There’s nothing worse than trying to sew a seam and having your machine suddenly stop sewing. The needle will just sit there, unmoving, and you’ll be left wondering what to do.
Fortunately, most of the time there’s an easy fix for this problem. Here are some common reasons why your machine won’t sew.
The needle is jammed
If you’re using thick fabric, especially something like denim or canvas, it can cause the needle to get stuck on the underside of the presser foot.
To fix this problem, simply remove the needle from the throat plate (where all of your other needles are located) and look for any debris or pieces that might have gotten caught in there. Then put everything back together again and try stitching again.
The needle does not move when you press the pedal
When this happens, check your power cord for kinks or breaks in the wires. Make sure it is plugged into an electrical outlet and not into a surge protector. If you still have no luck, take apart your machine and see if there are any obstructions blocking the movement of the motor belt or pulley system.
Bobbin Case Is Full of Lint
This is the most common problem that people have when they are trying to sew. The bobbin case is full of lint and needs to be cleaned. You can do this by pulling out the bobbin case and using a toothpick or an old hairbrush to clean out all of the lint. Then rethread your machine and try again.
Machine Is Threaded Correctly
The first thing that you need to do before trying to sew anything is to make sure your machine is threaded correctly. If you have a top loading bobbin, then you need to make sure that it goes in with the string facing up and coming through the bottom hole of your bobbin case.
There should also be no knots or twists in your thread at all because this will cause problems when you try to sew.
Needle Is Not Properly Aligned
If your needle has come out of alignment, then it won’t be able to go through what you’re trying to sew at all. If this happens, then try re-aligning it by turning it so that it points in another direction than what it was originally pointed at when you first tried sewing with it.
Bobbin Tension Not Consistent
The bobbin tension is one of the most important settings on your sewing machine. The bobbin tension is what controls how much thread is left on the bottom of your fabric after you have sewn it.
If the bobbin thread is too loose, then there will be too much thread and it will show on your fabric. If the bobbin thread is too tight, then there will be little to no thread left and you will have a hole in your garment where a seam should be.
Fabric Is Too Thick
If you are trying to sew something that is extremely thick like denim or leather, then the machine may appear to be jammed or not working at all because it cannot get through such thick material.
To fix this problem, try lowering your stitch length by one notch at a time until you find a combination that works well for both sewing and piercing through this type of material.
Feed Dogs Are Down
In the event that your feed dogs are down, they’re not being utilized by the machine to move the fabric through. The machine will attempt to move it forward, however, it can’t as a result there are no more feed dogs beneath it.
Worn Out Feed Dogs
As you utilize your machine, the feed dogs wear out over time and begin to show signs of damage. They may get bent or broken and won’t be able to push the material through while sewing. If this happens you need to replace them with new ones immediately.
The Upper Thread Is Wound on the Spool Incorrectly
If your upper thread has been wound on incorrectly then it will not be able to feed itself through from the spool onto the needle plate. This is an easy fix.
Simply take off your needle plate and remove the thread from it completely, then place it back on top of the spool correctly so that when you run your needle through again, it will create a loop around itself and get caught properly without falling off again.
Bobbin Case Spring Is Damaged or Missing
If your bobbin case spring has broken off or gotten lost during use, it won’t be able to hold the bobbin in place properly during sewing. This can cause your bobbin to slip out of alignment, which can lead to skipped stitches and even damage to your machine.
If you notice that your bobbin doesn’t seem to stay in place while sewing, take a look inside your machine and see if the spring is missing or damaged. If so, you’ll need to replace it with a new one as soon as possible.
Presser Foot Is Not Down
If your machine doesn’t sew, check that the presser foot is down over your fabric. If it isn’t, raise it by pulling up on the presser bar and lowering it again. If this doesn’t work, check for any obstructions under the presser foot such as basting stitches or pins.
You can also make sure that the needle isn’t in its up position by turning off your machine and checking that no thread comes through when you move the hand wheel forward without pushing down on the foot pedal.