Sewing Machine Tips

Here are 10 of the most common trouble areas of a sewing machine. If after trying these fixes, please contact any one of our expert staff members for assistance.

  1. Change the Needle - Needles are the easiest and cheapest part of a sewing machine to change yet is makes up 50% of a seam. Without a new needle a sewing machine can not work correctly. End of discussion.
  2. Clean the Machine - Sewing machines need weekly if not daily removable of lint and fluff from underneath the throat plate. First, remove the throat plate and bobbin case to expose areas that lint gathers. Using a brush or a Q-tip, remove all visible lint and dust bunnies. If the machine requires oil, add a drop of oil after cleaning. Do not use canned air.
  3. Check the Top Threading - If there are huge loops on the back of the fabric, the problem is that the top thread is not in the tension disks. Be sure to thread the machine with PURPOSE. No wimpy threading! Start with the presser foot is the UP POSITION. Firmly seat the thread in each groove and guide of the machine. If the machine is not threaded correctly it will not sew.
  4. Quality Thread - Sewing machines like good thread. How can you tell if thread is good? Thread that is from Grandma's sewing box from the 1950's is old. Thread that is 2/$1.00 is not great thread. Purchase thread from a quilt store or a store that sells sewing machines to be sure it is quality thread. Sewing machines can run on low quality thread, but remember, thread makes up the other 50% of the seam. Are you sure it's going to hold together after a few washings? Don't take the chance. Always use good quality thread. Your sewing machine will thank you and you will have less headaches.
  5. Bobbin Thread Not in the Bobbin Tension - The bobbin too has its own tension. If the bobbin thread is not in the its tension, the stitch will look unbalanced. Be sure the bobbin thread "clicks" into bobbin tension.
  6. Not Having Your Machine Cleaned Annually - Just like cars, sewing machines need regular tune-ups. Having a local sewing machine center professionally clean your sewing machine will help with many troublesome issues. Sewing machine technicians know how to keep all those moving parts perfectly aligned for precision stitching. If you want your sewing machine to last, have it serviced on an annual basis.
  7. Wrong Bobbin - With so many different brands of sewing machines all taking a difference size of bobbin, it is easy to accidentally be using the wrong size. Just because a bobbin is plastic does not mean it will fit your sewing machine. If you are unsure if you are using the right size of bobbins for your machine, take the sewing machine to a local sewing machine service center. They will be happy to confirm that you are using the correct size. If you have not had your machine serviced within the last year or two, have them service it while it is there.
  8. Needle Not High Enough - Sounds simple but not getting the needle all the way up into position will make stitches not form correctly. This problem is often hard to spot. Loosen the needle screw and gently lift the needle up. Another way to check is by using the built-in needle threader. If the needle threader does not line up with the needle's eye, the needle is not high enough.
  9. Needle Too Small for Thread - Thicker thread must go through a bigger needle. A needle's groove down the front of the needle must fit the thread size. Small needles and thick thread are a bad combination.
  10. Nicks in the Throat Plate - Check the sewing machine's throat plate opening for needle strikes or small rough nicks. If you have been breaking needles lately, there may be small burrs on the throat plate. Thread can get caught on these rough areas which leads to thread breaks or uneven stitching. A sewing machine technician can usually file these rough spots out.
    These ten troubleshooting suggestions usually can fix the common sewing machine problems. Beyond these simple fixes it might be time to call a professional. Our sewing machine service technicians are trained to spot common problems. They see sick machines every day. If your sewing machine has reached the end of its life, say a short prayer and than get to go shopping for a NEW sewing machine! Check out a variety of sewing machine and embroidery machine videos on the website to find which features are a must-have on your next sewing machine.

With so many disposable products and electronics in the world, why does a sewing machine need to be serviced? Why not just throw it out with the rest of the items and buy a new one? Toasters, irons, hair dryers, cake mixers, cell phones, TVs, and headphones are just a few items we use daily but do not have them serviced. When they die or start to wear out, off to the recycling center they go. No one thinks twice about taking it to a repair shop. Just put it on the list and pick up a new one next time you are out. Sewing machines are different. They like to be serviced. Actually they LOVE to be serviced. You will LOVE them more when they come back from being serviced.

But why? A sewing machine is like no other “appliance” in our home. I have yet to find another item in our home that has the same needs as a sewing machine. And when it comes to service, a sewing machine really needs service on an annual basis to continue working at the level it was originally designed to work. Sewing machines need service because we feed them thread, fabric and batting that all cause lint. A linty sewing machine absorbs all the oil and lubricate within the machine. And without lubrication, moving parts…well, don’t move. End of story. If you want a sewing machine to keep moving, you must keep in oiled and cared for on a regular basis. A sewing machine is more like a vehicle we drive. Without proper maintenance on a regular schedule it is just a matter of time before it breaks down.

A sewing machines is like two separate machines that must come together at the exact point for a stitch to form. Any change from either side will mess up the entire process. Two parts of a sewing machine? Yes. The top part of a sewing machine drives the needle and top thread through the machine. And the bottom part that catches the top thread in the bobbin, is an entirely different set of moving parts and precision alignment. The slightest distance off and you are in a SKIP STITCHING and THREAD BREAKING horror story. But, ask anyone who regularly has their sewing machines serviced if they pull out their hair very often and their story is a lot different. Yes, there will be days that things will go wrong. With so many moving parts, it is inevitable service issues will arise.

Sewing machines that are carried for on a regular basis are SO much easier to fix than those that have been neglected. It means the difference between a “quick fix” and “we are waiting for parts to arrive”. No one likes to hear that! Heirloom Creations’ service technicians will tell you any day of the week that sewing machines that are serviced annually are much easier to diagnosis, fix and return them to their owner in a timely manor. Keep your local sewing machine technicians on your good side… have your sewing machines serviced annually.