Jackie's Sewing Service

Longarm Machine Quilting, Custom Quilts and Sewing Services

Jackie's Sewing Service - Longarm Machine Quilting, Custom Quilts and Sewing Services

Common Sewing Machine Problems and Simple Solutions

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YOU Can Fix Many Sewing / Stitching Problems!



You can fix Common Sewing Machine Problems Yourself. Problems like improper threading, machine or thread jams, tension issues and thread breaking are easy to fix. After working with Student machines for many years, I’ve become fairly good at working on machines even though, I don’t have the actual skill to repair something.  If it is a threading, tension, or bobbin problem, I can generally fix that.  Here are some ideas to try if you are having sewing machine problems and your machine is not working properly for you.

Check your Machine Operating Manual for proper threading of top thread and bobbin when you have sewing machine problems.

Improper threading is probably the number one problem of poor stitch quality.  Check this before you do anything else!  If you no longer can find your operator’s manual,  I am 99.99% sure, you could google your sewing machine make/model and find the entire operator’s manual and print it out.  At least you’ll find the proper threading directions /images for your machine if you feel you may not be threading the top or bobbin correctly.

Here are some solutions to common problems you can correct yourself:


1)  One of the most common reasons for jamming occurs when you do not pull the threads loose from the bobbin area before you start sewing again.

The top thread always gets tangled in the bobbin area and then you start sewing again and the machine jams.  Check to make sure both top and bobbin thread are loose from the bobbin area and pull freely each time before you sewing again.

2) The second most common problem of jamming is incorrect top or bobbin threading.

Things to check:

Poor Quality Stitches?

1)  Is the machine threaded correctly?

Machines are even particular about which way the thread comes off the spool – from the top or bottom of the spool…

2)  You cannot properly thread the top with the presser foot down.

The thread cannot get engaged in the tension discs, (which pulls the thread through correctly), because the discs are closed when the presser foot is down the thread doesn’t get seated in the discs and then the tension discs cannot do their job.  Be sure to make sure the presser foot is up when threading.  Also, as a second precaution, I always hold the thread lightly just where it comes off the spool with your right fingers while gently pulling at the thread near the needle after you have threaded it.  This pulls the thread into the tnesion discs.   If the thread is not properly seated into the tension discs, it may sew okay for a short ways, but then the thread comes out and causes a jam.

3) Is the bobbin placed in the bobbin race correctly?

The bobbin thread almost always comes off the bobbin in a clockwise direction.  So, when you pull on the thread when it is placed and seated in the bobbin race, the bobbin would spin clockwise.  This is not always true, however, as mine comes off counterclockwise.  You might try changing the way the bobbin is seated in the bobbin race, if #1 and #2 above doesn’t work for you.

4)  Lint build-up in bobbin area?

Another problem, could conceivably be a lint buildup in the bobbin area.  If you can get under /behind your bobbin to see if there is a lot of lint.  Fabric and thread make a lot of lint – a lot!  And, it can be cleaned out with a little brush and that mighty help if that is part of this problem.


Tension Problems?

The tension is normally set at 4, but tension problems do not usually cause jams, it just causes the top or bottom thread to not sew correctly and is too loose or too tight.  So, if the machine is not sewing properly ALWAYS rethread and check the things I said above BEFORE messing with your tension.

Tension is a tug of war.  If you see loops on the bottom side of your sewing, the bobbin tension is winning the tug.  If the loops are on the top, the top tension is too tight.  Try going very small incremental changes in tension to 3 or 5 and seeing if that helps.

Needle Size-Type and Thread Size-Type and Tension

The more common problem where tension will usually come into play is if the thread size and needle size do not work together.  Threads come in different fibers and sizes for a large variety of uses.  If you have a heavy thread and a small needle, you will run into problems.  If you have a large needle and a small thread, it won’t pull through properly.  Also, different types of thread may need a looser or tighter tension to sew properly.

Cheap thread causes a lot of lint and has a lot of little nubs on it.  These nubs cause the thread to be unable to flow through the thread pathway of your machine as easily as it should.    Check your thread to see if is “nubby”.  It is quite obvious.  If that is what you are using, consider using better quality thread.


Superior Threads


I use and sell SUPERIOR THREADS and you can purchase them through me at a savings.




Visit this link – https://www.superiorthreads.com/reference-guides/ – they show a great reference guide for best results with types of thread, the best type of bobbin thread to use, needle size, tension settings.  I highly recommend Masterpiece Thread on the top and using Bottom Line in the bobbin with a size 75/11 Quilting Needle for great results in piecing quilts.

Contact me if you would like to purchase Masterpiece Thread or any other thread you see.  Masterpiece is available at Crivitz, but in the Iron Mountain area.

Have your machine cleaned / maintained by a professional sewing machine repair person at least once a year!

Here are a few places that do repairs and sales of new machines in Iron Mountain or within 1 – 1 1/2 hours from Iron Mountain.

Yearly Professional Maintenance!

*Rick Downtown Sew &  Vac  (906) 774-8931 at Iron Mountain, MI

*Al Karen’s Quilt Corner  (715) 477-2603 at Eagle River, WI

I have never dealt with the following sewing machine shops, but nonetheless, there are more choices:

Julie’s (920) 965-0680 at Green Bay, WI

Quality Sew & Vac  (906) 786-4772 at Escanaba, MI

Tebear Sewing Center  (906) 786-6431 at Escanaba, MI


If you do not in my locale, do a Google search for Sewing Machine Sales and/or Service near you and you’ll find someone.


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