How to Fix a Jammed Sewing Machine
It happens from time to time.
You’re sewing away happily, perhaps hoping to get a project finished before your baby wakes up, or before you have to pick the kids up from school, or before midnight because you need to sleep!
You can just imagine how lovely the thing you are working on will be when it’s finished and you’re so nearly there.
Then the machine jams. Perhaps the thread breaks. You press the pedal again and it’s still jammed. It’s making an awful noise and it’s possibly chewing a hole in your sewing.
So what do you do?
What to Check When You Have a Jammed Sewing Machine
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First of all, gently turn the wheel to raise the needle and carefully remove the thing you were sewing. You might need to snip away at caught threads with a small pair of scissors. Remove all the bits of thread. If some of them are stuck, you will need to go straight to #2.
1. Rethread the sewing machine. Even if you are sure you have threaded it correctly, the thread might have got caught up somewhere, or it might not be in the right place between the tensions disks.
Also check your thread. If you are using cheap thread, this might be the problem. I would always recommend using Gutermann thread, although some of the cheaper bands might be alright to use. If you compare Gutermann thread with cheaper thread, the Gutermann thread is perfectly smooth and an even thickness all the way along. Cheaper threads are often uneven, with patches where they are thinner and others where they are a lot thicker. The thicker patches can result in the thread snagging and the thinner areas are more likely to snap, causing you problems.
Try again on a scrap piece of fabric. This may well have fixed the problem. If not, try the other things below.
2. When you bought your sewing machine, it probably came with a little screwdriver and a couple of brushes. You’re going to need those now!
If you don’t have them because you’ve lost them or you bought your sewing machine second hand and the previous owner lost them, don’t worry. You can use a small screwdriver and a small, clean, dry paint brush or make up brush.
Remove the plate, bobbin and its holder. Using the little brush gently remove all the fluff and bits of thread.
3. Take a look at the bobbin. Make sure that the thread is wound correctly and is not caught up, loose or tangled. Check that there are no thread ends protruding out of the holes in the top. If there are, cut them off. The best thing to do with bobbins is to have one for each colour of thread. I used to wind several different threads onto 3 or 4 bobbins and this caused me problems! Bobbins are not expensive; I bought this from Amazon which comes with its own case.
4. Replace the bobbin holder and the bobbin. Make sure that the bobbin turns in the right direction and that the thread is in the right place in the holder.
5. Check the needle. If it is even just slightly bent, replace it. If you are sewing with thick fabric, check that you are using the correct needle. If in doubt, swap it for another one!
6. Check that the stitch you have chosen is compatible with the foot and the fabric you are using.
7. Check the tension. Usually it will need to be on about 4, but you might need to adjust it for different types of fabric.
Hopefully that will fix your jammed sewing machine. If not, your sewing machine might need a trip to a repair person.
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