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Troubleshooting a Sewing Machine

How annoying. You are halfway through a project when your sewing machine starts playing up or even worse, stops and plays dead. Very often itís a simple problem that could have been avoided with some Basic Sewing Machine Maintenance other times it could just that the kids have got to the machine without you realising and have messed with the tensioner!

Skipped Stitches

If you sewing machine is sewing fine and then starts to skip stitches itís probably due to a worn or bent needle.

The machines needle is very fine and itís easily bent when pulling in fabric but more often it gets bent by hitting a pin.

If you are having to change needles quite often then make sure you are allowing the feed dog to move the fabric through the machine and you are not pulling it.

Knotted or Breaking Thread

Firstly make sure you are using a good quality thread. Cheap threads may seem like a bargain but they give off excessive lint, have loosely bound fibres and will easily knot.

Check your sewing machine is threaded correctly. If you are unsure completely de-thread it and redo it as per your manufacturers instructions.† Remember to thread your machine with the presser foot up.

Make sure the bobbin is correctly threaded. Make sure the bobbin is in the bobbin case and the right way round for your machine.

See if your bobbin is worn. The plastics ones can wear after a lot of use and wobble in the case which messes up your tension as youíre sewing.


Watch out for kids playing with your machine as your back is turned. All those knobsComputer Technology Articles, dials and pedals are irresistible to a child.

If your machine is not in use then I would suggest keeping it locked away. Not only so they canít play with it but it wouldnít take much for a child to turn on the power and run a stitch across their hand.

Tension Adjustment

Adjusting the tension varies by machine so you really need to look at your manufacturers handbook and see how itís done. As a rule though turning the adjustment to the left slackens the tension and turning to the right tightens the tension.

Regular Maintenance

Itís very easy to get so enthralled in your sewing projects that your forget Basic Sewing Machine Maintenance and before long you start to have problems. Believe me when I say itís so much cheaper to do a few basics checks at the end of your sewing project than fork out your hard earned cash for a service agent to repair your sewing machine.

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Iain has been repairing sewing machines for 25 years. For more tips visit Sewing
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