The main causes of your sewing machine getting jammed and the best ways to resolve these annoying occurrences are listed below.
No matter your level of experience with sewing—from novice to seasoned pro—a jammed sewing machine is a common issue for everyone. It can be because of a maintenance issue, whereby the parts might be damaged or the machine remains dirty. Otherwise, it can be due to the use of faulty needles and entangled threads.
You’ll discover in this article why a sewing machine gets stuck and won’t stitch.
Upper Thread Tension
A problem with the upper thread tension is the most frequent cause of sewing machine jams, accounting for 90% of cases. This may result in the enormous mass of thread tangled beneath the fabric that is occasionally referred to as a bird’s nest.
As the machine makes its initial stitches, you might notice the upper thread flopping or whipping through the air too loosely. You will hear noises your machine shouldn’t be making in a matter of seconds, such as grinding or groaning.
When the thread knot prevents the needle from rising and falling, the sewing machine will unavoidably malfunction and stop stitching.
The good news is that you do not need to have any specialized knowledge to resolve this problem! You don’t even need to disassemble your sewing machine or find any specialized equipment.
- Get the fabric and tangled thread out of the machine first. To cut through the thread bird’s nest, you might need scissors. Remove the thread spool, then clear the upper thread path of any broken thread.
- Remove any remaining thread fragments from the needle plate gently.
- Turn the handwheel to confirm that the needle can now rise and fall.
- The presser foot should be raised to its highest setting.
- Rethread the machine next. In accordance with the instructions in your sewing machine’s owner’s manual, insert the spool onto its pin and follow the upper thread path. (If you’ve lost the manual, try searching for a YouTube tutorial for your specific model of the sewing machine.
- Make sure the thread is inserted into the needle in the correct direction after you have finished following the thread path. From one model of sewing machine to another, this can change.
- Lastly, pull the lower thread up with the needle as you bring it down and back up using the handwheel.
Bobbin Not Spinning
While issues with the lower thread are less frequent, they can occasionally result from the bobbin not spinning, which can jam your sewing machine. This happens for a couple of different reasons:
- You might have chosen the incorrect bobbin case or bobbin size. As a result, the lower thread may not unspool properly or the bobbin may become too loose or tight. Find the right kind of bobbin for your model by consulting your owner’s manual to solve this.
- The lower thread can occasionally get caught in a scratch or ding on the bobbin case, and in extreme cases, it can even stop the bobbin from turning. Even if your model is newer, check it just in case. You frequently see this on older machines. Replace the damaged bobbin case or bobbin, which is typically available for less than $10, to fix your machine.
- An incorrectly wound bobbin is the most frequent reason you encounter for the lower thread to jam the machine. If the bobbin was not pushed firmly onto the winding pin, this could occur. Instead of inserting the bobbin into your machine and attempting to sew, you should unwind the thread on the bobbin if it appears wonky, too loose, or unevenly wound.
Handwheel Not Turning
Any sewing machine’s handwheel should be able to turn easily. Therefore, if you are having trouble turning the handwheel, there is a problem. The sewing machine may become stuck for a variety of reasons, in which case a handwheel becomes challenging to turn.
- You need to check whether the needle or the fabric has got stuck in the machine
- Instead of tangling up in the middle, the thread should be introduced smoothly from beginning to end. If the tangled thread was the root of the problem, you will need to completely rethread the machine.
- When you’ve tried both of the aforementioned solutions and the handwheel still won’t move, it’s time to call a professional to have the machine serviced.
The needle may freeze, the handwheel may not turn, and the machine may jam up due to a dirty sewing machine. This occurs as a result of the machine’s delicate moving parts over time accumulating bits of lint, dust, and grease inside of them.
Ideally, you should make it a habit to quickly clean your sewing machine after each stitch. You can also keep a log to serve as a reminder to do a thorough cleaning on a regular basis. If your machine needs routine maintenance, you might even want to take it to a shop once or twice a year.
To clean a clogged sewing machine:
- Unplug the device and turn it off. Yes, this does turn off your machine’s nice light, but it also keeps your fingers from getting stitched through! When cleaning, you can always set your phone’s flashlight on a nearby surface if you need more light.
- If your machine has a detachable bobbin case, remove the bobbin and case by opening the bobbin area. Dust and lint should be removed from this area using a small, soft paintbrush.
- Following the needle removal, take out the needle plate with the small flathead screwdriver that was included with your machine. Dust this area underneath once more with care.
- To remove dirt, pass a length of tightly wound thread through the tension discs while holding it between your hands.
- Use a soft cloth to clean the machine’s exterior.
- Reassemble everything and, just to be safe, use a new needle!
Don’t try to vacuum the dust out of your machine, as a piece of advice. If your manual doesn’t specifically state to do so, never apply oil. And never, ever use any kind of cleaning agent on your device!
A broken or bent needle that prevents the thread from piercing the fabric may cause your machine to stop working abruptly.
Put an end to your sewing attempt and carefully inspect the needle for any signs of breakage or deformities. Get a new needle installed now if you notice anything.
Make sure the needle you’re using is the appropriate size and type for both your machine and your project. All that jamming could, after all, be caused by a simple case of using a defective needle.
Wrong Needle Size
The wrong kind of sewing machine needle can cause your sewing machine to jam up. Sewing machine needles come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
You must first choose a needle brand and size that are suitable for your machine. Not every needle can be used with every machine. To learn what kind of needles to use, consult your manual.
Second, you must match the needle’s type and size to the particular fabric you intend to sew on. A sharp, narrow needle is needed to sew fine, tightly woven fabric. The needle size can be increased for looser fabrics. The best needle for knit fabric is a ballpoint needle that won’t snag.
The incorrect needle can result in lopsided or loose stitches. Your sewing machine may become obstructed by a needle that is stuck in the fabric.
Find out what kind of needle goes with your fabric the best before you start a new project. then purchase that needle along with the fabric.
The first thing to check is whether the needle is properly positioned if it suddenly becomes impervious to movement and won’t move an inch. There are usually two reasons why needles refuse to move mid-sewing:
- The clutch might have gotten disconnected
- You might have a broken driver’s belt
- Wrong size of the needle is in use
- You would discover that the sewing machine isn’t even in its sewing mode if the clutch were the issue. Make sure the hand wheel is still free by doing this. Push the bobbin winder on the left side of your machine after that. The machine will return to its bobbin winder mode after you do this, and the needle won’t cause you any more trouble.
- If the drive belt is broken, you might need to replace it.
- Try a bigger or smaller needle as per the thickness of the fabric
Feed Dogs Stuck
The feed dogs in your sewing machine keep the fabric moving beneath the needle, but if they become stuck, it may jam and become unresponsive.
The feed dogs, if you’ve never noticed them, resemble tiny triangular teeth inserted into the needle plate. As you stitch, they can advance or retract the fabric.
Several common issues can make your feed dogs jam up:
- Feed dogs may become frozen if there is lint or dirt underneath the needle plate. Your machine needs to be cleaned to fix this issue.
- The stitch length may cause your sewing machine problems. The feed dogs won’t move if the stitch length is set on your machine to an absurdly short value. You sometimes need a “0” stitch length for sewing buttons, but make sure you return the settings to normal to allow the feed dogs to move again.
- Your feed dogs occasionally don’t get along with delicate, slick fabrics. You can alter the force the presser foot applies to resolve this problem. A stiffener made of fine fabric is another option.
- For freehand sewing, some sewing machines have movable feed dogs that slide under the needle plate. Try raising the needle and presser foot first, then try raising the feed dogs again if they get stuck in this lowered position.
Quite a few times you may have put your foot on the pedal to start sewing, and the thread would keep breaking. When you are trying to stitch something quickly, it is incredibly frustrating to have the thread break repeatedly.
Thread breakage can have other causes and solutions if the machine threading is not the cause of the jamming issue.
- The issue could be brought on by poor threading issues. That machine’s top thread needs to be rethreaded. The obstruction is the cause of the machine’s malfunction. For example, the laser cord or spool may hold its thread incorrectly and restrict movement.
- Consider using needles with bigger eyes. When using small needles, the threads occasionally may break. The machine’s movement causes the tiny needle eyes to keep breaking under the shifting thread tension.
Presser Foot Position
If the presser foot is still stuck in the down position, you cannot place the fabric underneath. Because you can’t sew in this position, the presser foot sticking up is a bigger problem.
- If the presser foot is still stuck downward, it is your fault that the lever broke. You must contact professionals if the presser foot’s lever breaks. In addition, if the old presser foot is no longer functional, you can decide to purchase a brand-new one.
- Because of damaged gears in your machine or dirt and debris lodged close to the foot, the presser foot may continue to be stuck upward. This circumstance may also be brought on by the machine being in its bobbin mode. However, if you’ve looked for all three conditions but haven’t found anything, you’ll need expert assistance to fix the problem.
Seized stitching occurs when the machine becomes stuck while attempting to sew or begins to make small, tight stitches that pucker the fabric. The sewing machine may become jammed as a result of this.
There are two common causes of seized stitching. First, you might have a thread that is greasy or dirty and is prone to tangling or catching in the fabric. Replace the thread in this instance, then begin again.
Second, you might need to change the upper thread’s tension. A specific amount of tension on the upper thread is ideal for each type of fabric. By adjusting the tension, the machine might be able to make even, smooth stitches without seizing up.
This issue, where the machine struggles to easily take in the fabric, is one that beginners frequently encounter. You needn’t worry if the sewing machine breaks down or fails to feed the fabric. Follow the given options to troubleshoot this problem:
- Raise and calibrate the dog feeds to a reasonable height to start sewing again
- If you sew buttonholes frequently, keeping the stitch length at zero is preferable to changing it to two or three.
- If the previous undertaking involved quilting, raise the feed dogs a few inches above the plate and begin again.
- Prior to beginning to sew, make sure the foot pedal is raised. The feed dogs will be able to hold that fabric while you feed.
- Additionally problematic can be excessive thread tension. In order to refeed your fabric, make it loose enough.
- If there are entangled threads, make sure to rethread the machine
Stuck at the Maximum Speed
The best method for sewing intricate parts is not to sew them quickly. It is crucial that you have total control over the sewing machine’s operation speed because of this. If full speed is the only speed it knows, you must ensure that it is fixed. Here are some of the probable issues and their solutions:
- You will experience issues with the machine’s speed if the motor is having issues. The speed is often affected by damaged motors, which you cannot repair on your own or without expert help.
- Additionally, issues with your foot pedal may cause the vehicle to accelerate rapidly. Examine your foot pedal to see if anything is stuck there causing it to move more quickly. To make sure that it resumes performing its normal function, clean out the dirt and debris from it as well.
How to Prevent Sewing Machine Jamming?
See the top five ways to avoid a sewing machine jam right here!
- Maintain regular machine cleanings. Every time you sew, quickly dust off the lint to avoid a buildup of dirt that might later cause your machine to malfunction.
- Make sure the presser foot is raised before you start threading your machine carefully.
- When beginning a new sewing project, use a fresh needle.
- According to the type of fabric you plan to use, match the needle’s type and size. Make sure the thread is compatible with the fabric and fits the needle easily.
- Before you start sewing, check the stitch length, tension, and other settings, and make any necessary adjustments.
Final Thoughts: Sewing Machine Keeps Jamming
Common issues like improper threading, incorrect tension settings, a broken needle, or the wrong kind of thread can cause sewing machines to jam and refuse to sew. A machine may become clogged with dirt, which will stop moving important components and cause a jam. A sewing machine can jam for any number of reasons, even minor ones like the feed dogs getting stuck.
Hopefully, one (or more) of these fifteen explanations provides the answer to your question. Now is the time to use these tips to unclog your jammed sewing machine.