Fixing common sewing machine problems:

17 January 2018

"Help my sewing machine will not sew....what have I done wrong?"

Fixing common sewing machine problems:

16 January 2018

 

Help my sewing machine will not sew....what have I done wrong?

Fixing common sewing machine problems:

Your Sewing machine manual.

Should you encounter a problem with your sewing machine, it's best to refer to the instruction manual supplied with your machine. This will contain details of the correct settings for your machine and may contain a trouble shooting guide.

1. Machine not sewing

Refer to your instruction manual for general set up of your machine.

Some common points to check are:

  1. Check that the bobbin winder shaft is not pushed to the right if it is then push it to the left.
  2. Check that your machine is threaded correctly ensuring the threading line on the hand wheel is at the top position, this will put the needle into the correct position for threading. Also, make sure the presser foot is lifted before threading the machine.
  3. Set your bobbin correctly into the machine. For top loading bobbins the thread needs to be going around the bobbin in an anti-clockwise direction. Use the guides on your machine or refer to your instruction manual.

If you have a mechanical machine, check that the foot is lowered before sewing. Some Computerized machines will remind you to do this.

 2. Thread bunching or "Bird nesting " of thread under the fabric.

There are many causes for this but fortunately some simple steps can help solve this problem.

  1. Re-thread the top thread ensuring the threading line indicator on the hand wheel is positioned to the top (this puts the thread take up lever in the correct position for threading.) Missing the take up lever will cause thread to gather under the material.
  2. Re-thread the top thread, with your presser foot raised. (Threading your machine with the foot down will result in no tension being applied to the top thread because the tension discs are closed.)
  3. Check the position of your bobbin case and reset as per instruction manual.
  4. Check the tension settings, if the setting is too low reset the tension to setting number 4.

  3. Thread breaking

  1. Re-thread the top thread ensuring the threading line indicator on the hand wheel is positioned to the top (this puts the thread take up lever at the correct position for threading.)
  2. Use a good quality thread. It's common for inexpensive low-quality threads or threads designed for hand sewing to be the cause of what appears to be tension problems when there is nothing wrong with the machine. For best results use a good quality branded thread.
  3. To check if your thread is suitable for use on a sewing machine.
  4. Thread your machine with the foot raised. The thread should pull through the machine with no tightness. Using thread that does not pull through smoothly can cause thread breakages, poor stitching or damage to your machine.

 4. Bobbin

Your sewing machine is made to use a bobbin specifically designed to give the best stitching results. It's important to use only original Bobbins manufactured for your machine. Check your machine manual for the correct size.

Using 3rd party bobbins may result in poor stitch quality or even damage your machine.

Metal bobbins must NEVER be used in a sewing machine equipped with a Top loading or Quick Set bobbin system.

Make sure the thread is wound onto your bobbin evenly. When winding thread onto your bobbin the thread needs to go right underneath the tension disc on the top of the machine. Follow the guide on your machine or the instructions in your manual.

Set your bobbin correctly into the machine. For top loading bobbins the thread needs to be going around the bobbin in an anti-clockwise direction. Use the guides on your machine for help or refer to your instruction manual.

 5. Fabric not feeding.

If your machine has drop feed, check that the feed has not been accidentally lowered. If they have, raise the feed to ensure the fabric will move forward.

If you have a mechanical machine, check that the foot is lowered before sewing. Some Computerised machines may remind you to do this.

Check the stitch length on your machine. If it is too low the machine might not feed through enough.

 6. Needle.

The sewing machine needle is probably the most important part of the sewing machine. Choosing the proper needle for your sewing project will result in a beautiful finish and fewer problems.

Below are some things to keep in mind about needles.

Sewing with a bent needle can be extremely dangerous since the needle may break while the machine is being operated.

Before using the needle, place the flat side of the needle on a flat surface and check that the distance between the needle and the flat surface is even.

(1)   Flat side

(2)   Needle type marking

 

Correct needle


(3) Parallel space       

(4) Flat surface

 

Incorrect needle


If the distance between the needle and the flat surface is not even, the needle is bent.

Do not use a bent needle.

(5) Flat surface

 

Fabric / Thread / Needle Combinations

The sewing machine needle that should be used depends on the fabric and thread thickness.
Refer to the following table when choosing the thread and needle appropriate for the fabric you wish to sew.

 Fabric Type/Application

Thread

Size of Needle

Type

Size

Medium weight fabrics

Broadcloth

Cotton thread

60 – 90

75/11 – 90/14

Taffeta

Synthetic thread

Flannel,
Gabardine

Silk thread

50

Thin fabrics

Lawn

Cotton thread

60 – 90

65/9 – 75/11

Georgette

Synthetic thread

Challis,
Satin

Silk thread

50

Thick fabrics

Denim

Cotton thread

30

100/16

50

90/14 – 100/16

Corduroy

Synthetic thread

50 – 60

Tweed

Silk thread

Stretch fabrics

Jersey

Thread for knits

50 – 60

Ball point needle
75/11 – 90/14
(gold coloured)

Tricot

Easily frayed fabrics

Cotton thread

50 – 90

65/9 – 90/14

Synthetic thread

Silk thread

50

For top-stitching

Synthetic thread,
Silk thread

30

100/16

50 – 60

75/11 – 90/14

 

 Note: Never use a thread of weight 20 or lower. It may cause malfunctions.

 

7. Need more help?

Call us on 01483 267777 or email info@sewcompare.com

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