How Come My Sewing Machine Won’t Stitch? | Expert Solutions

Are you experiencing frustration with your sewing machine’s reluctance to stitch? You’re not alone. Discovering How Come My Sewing Machine Won’t Stitch can be a puzzling ordeal, leaving you at a loss for where to begin troubleshooting. But fear not! With a dash of patience and a sprinkle of know-how, you’ll unravel the mystery behind this common issue.

From tangled threads to bobbin malfunctions, we’ll navigate through the potential culprits together. So, whether you’re a seasoned seamstress or a novice needle wielder, let’s delve into the world of sewing machine diagnostics and stitch up a solution that leaves you feeling empowered and ready to create.

Salient Points

  • Threading issues, such as incorrect threading, can cause a sewing machine to not stitch properly.
  • Using the correct needle size is important to prevent needle threader difficulties and ensure proper stitch quality.
  • Tension issues, including loose or tight tension, can result in uneven stitch formation or thread breakage.
  • Bobbin issues, such as tangles or improper tension, can also affect stitch formation and require adjustments or replacements.

What is a Sewing Machine and How Does It Work?

A sewing machine is a device used to stitch fabric and other materials together with thread. It consists of several key components that work together to create stitches.

The main parts of a sewing machine include the needle, bobbin, presser foot, feed dog, thread tension, and stitch selector. The needle is responsible for piercing the fabric, while the bobbin holds the lower thread. The presser foot holds the fabric in place, and the feed dog helps move the fabric along as stitches are formed. The thread tension ensures that the stitches are tight and even, and the stitch selector allows you to choose different types of stitches.

How it works: When you start sewing, you first need to thread the machine. This involves placing a spool of thread on the machine and threading it through various guides until it reaches the needle. The bobbin also needs to be inserted and threaded properly.

Once the machine is threaded, you can place the fabric under the presser foot and lower the foot to hold it in place. As you press the foot pedal or turn on the machine, the needle moves up and down, piercing the fabric and creating stitches.

As the needle moves, the feed dog pulls the fabric through, allowing the thread from the needle and the thread from the bobbin to interlock and form stitches. The thread tension ensures that the stitches are neither too loose nor too tight.

By adjusting the stitch selector, you can choose different types of stitches, such as straight stitch, zigzag stitch, or decorative stitches.

For example, if you’re sewing a straight seam on a piece of fabric, you would select the straight stitch on the machine, align the fabric under the needle, and start sewing. The machine will create even, straight stitches along the seam.

In summary, a sewing machine works by using a needle to create stitches in fabric, with the help of thread from both the needle and the bobbin, controlled tension, and adjustable stitch settings. It’s a versatile tool that can be used for a wide range of sewing projects, from simple repairs to intricate designs.

How Come My Sewing Machine Won't Stitch in 2023? Discover Solutions

How Come My Sewing Machine Won’t Stitch?

When your sewing machine refuses to stitch, it can be frustrating, especially if you’re in the middle of a project. Several factors can contribute to this issue. Let’s explore some common reasons why your sewing machine might not be stitching properly:

  1. Improper threading: If the thread isn’t correctly threaded through the machine, it can lead to stitching problems.
  2. Bobbin issues: Problems with the bobbin, such as incorrect insertion or tension, can disrupt the stitching process.
  3. Needle problems: Damaged or bent needles can cause stitching irregularities.
  4. Machine maintenance: Lack of regular cleaning and maintenance can affect stitching performance.
  5. Thread quality: Poor-quality thread can break easily, leading to stitching problems.
  6. Incorrect needle size: Using the wrong needle size for the fabric can result in stitching issues.
  7. Machine settings: Incorrect machine settings, such as stitch length or tension, can impact stitching quality.
  8. Fabric choice: Certain types of fabric may require special machine settings or needles for optimal stitching.
  9. Bobbin tension: Incorrect bobbin tension can cause stitching problems.
  10. Feed dog issues: Malfunctioning or incorrectly adjusted feed dogs can affect stitching consistency.
How Come My Sewing Machine Won't Stitch

How to Fix a Sewing Machine that Won’t Stitch?

If your sewing machine isn’t stitching properly, there are several fixes you can try to resolve the issue and get back to your project smoothly. Let’s explore some solutions to common stitching problems:

  • Proper threading: Ensure that the thread is correctly threaded through the machine following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Bobbin troubleshooting: Check the bobbin for correct insertion and adjust the tension if necessary. Make sure you’re using the right bobbin for your machine.
  • Needle maintenance: Replace damaged or bent needles with new ones of the correct size and type for your fabric.
  • Regular maintenance: Clean and oil your sewing machine regularly as per the manufacturer’s guidelines to keep it in optimal condition.
  • Thread quality: Use high-quality thread suitable for your fabric to prevent breakage during stitching.
  • Needle size: Choose the appropriate needle size for your fabric to ensure smooth stitching.
  • Machine adjustments: Experiment with different machine settings such as stitch length and tension until you find the right combination for your project.
  • Fabric considerations: Select the correct machine settings and needles based on the type of fabric you’re working with to achieve the best stitching results.
  • Bobbin tension adjustment: If the bobbin tension is off, adjust it carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Feed dog alignment: Check the feed dogs for any obstructions or misalignment and adjust them as needed to ensure smooth fabric feeding during stitching.

Let’s discuss these fixes in detail now.

Proper Threading:

Threading your sewing machine correctly is crucial for smooth stitching. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Turn off the machine: Before threading, ensure your sewing machine is turned off to prevent any accidents.
  2. Raise the presser foot: Lift the presser foot lever to release the tension discs.
  3. Thread the spool: Place your thread spool on the spool pin and secure it with the spool holder.
  4. Guide the thread: Follow the threading path as indicated by your machine’s manual. Typically, you’ll need to bring the thread through various guides and tension discs.
  5. Thread the needle: Thread the needle from front to back, ensuring the thread passes through the needle’s eye.
  6. Lower the presser foot: Lower the presser foot to engage the tension discs.
  7. Test the threading: Hold onto the thread end and manually turn the handwheel towards you to lower the needle into the bobbin area. Pull the thread gently to ensure it’s properly engaged with the tension discs.

Bobbin Troubleshooting:

Dealing with bobbin issues requires attention to detail. Here’s how to troubleshoot:

  1. Access the bobbin area: Open the bobbin case or cover to access the bobbin.
  2. Check bobbin insertion: Ensure the bobbin is inserted correctly according to your machine’s instructions. The thread should unwind in the correct direction.
  3. Inspect bobbin tension: If your machine allows for bobbin tension adjustment, check if it’s set correctly. Consult your manual for the appropriate tension settings.
  4. Clean the bobbin area: Remove any dust or lint from the bobbin area using a small brush or compressed air. Buildup can affect bobbin performance.
  5. Replace the bobbin: If the bobbin is damaged or worn out, replace it with a new one compatible with your machine.

Needle Maintenance:

Maintaining your needle is essential for smooth stitching. Here’s how to ensure your needle is in good condition:

  1. Select the right needle: Choose a needle appropriate for your fabric type and weight. Consult your manual or needle packaging for guidance.
  2. Insert the needle correctly: Insert the needle into the needle clamp with the flat side facing the back or as per your machine’s instructions.
  3. Check for damage: Inspect the needle for any bends, burrs, or dull points. Even slight damage can affect stitching quality.
  4. Replace the needle: If the needle is damaged or has been used for an extended period, replace it with a new one. Use a needle of the appropriate size and type for your project.
  5. Ensure proper needle positioning: Make sure the needle is fully inserted and tightened in the needle clamp to prevent it from becoming loose during stitching.

Regular Maintenance:

Regular maintenance of your sewing machine keeps it in optimal condition for stitching. Follow these steps:

  1. Cleaning: Use a small brush or a lint brush to remove dust, lint, and debris from the machine’s exterior and interior, including the bobbin area, feed dogs, and needle plate. Ensure the machine is unplugged before cleaning.
  2. Oiling: Apply a drop of sewing machine oil to designated oiling points as indicated in your machine’s manual. This lubricates the moving parts and reduces friction for smoother operation. Avoid over-oiling, as it can attract more lint and dirt.
  3. Inspect for damage: Periodically check for any signs of wear or damage, such as loose screws, cracked parts, or frayed cords. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.
  4. Test stitches: After cleaning and oiling, test stitch on a scrap piece of fabric to ensure the machine is stitching smoothly and there are no unusual noises or skipped stitches. Make any necessary adjustments before resuming your project.

Thread Quality:

Using high-quality thread is essential for reliable stitching results. Here’s what to consider:

  1. Choose the right thread: Select thread appropriate for your fabric type and weight. Cotton, polyester, silk, and specialty threads are available for various sewing projects.
  2. Inspect the thread: Before using, check the thread for any knots, tangles, or imperfections that could cause breakage or uneven stitching. If you notice any issues, discard the thread and use a new spool.
  3. Thread tension: Ensure the thread is correctly threaded through the machine’s tension discs and guides. Improper tension can lead to thread breakage or loose stitches. Follow your machine’s manual for proper threading techniques.
  4. Storage: Store thread away from direct sunlight, heat, and humidity to prevent deterioration. Keep spools organized and untangled to maintain thread quality.

Needle Size:

Using the correct needle size is essential for stitching quality and fabric preservation. Follow these steps:

  1. Identify fabric type: Determine the type and weight of the fabric you’re sewing. Fabrics vary in thickness and density, requiring different needle sizes for optimal results.
  2. Select needle size: Choose a needle size suitable for your fabric type. Needles are available in various sizes, ranging from fine for lightweight fabrics to heavy-duty for thick materials.
  3. Refer to needle chart: Consult a needle size chart or your machine’s manual to determine the appropriate needle size for your fabric. The chart typically lists needle sizes based on fabric type and weight.
  4. Replace needles: Change needles regularly, especially when switching between fabric types or after prolonged use. Dull or damaged needles can cause skipped stitches, fabric snags, or uneven stitching.

Machine Adjustments:

Making proper adjustments to your sewing machine settings ensures optimal stitching. Here’s what to do:

  1. Refer to the manual: Consult your sewing machine manual to understand the various settings and their functions. Familiarize yourself with terms such as stitch length, stitch width, and tension.
  2. Experiment with settings: Test different combinations of stitch length, width, and tension on scrap fabric to find the right settings for your project. Start with the default settings recommended for your fabric type.
  3. Fine-tune tension: Adjust the tension dial gradually, observing how it affects the stitch appearance. Tighten the tension for tighter stitches and loosen it for looser stitches. Keep track of the adjustments made for future reference.
  4. Check stitch quality: Stitch a few lines on scrap fabric and inspect the results. Look for even stitch formation, balanced tension, and no puckering or loose threads. Make further adjustments as needed until you achieve the desired stitch quality.

Fabric Considerations:

Different fabrics require specific machine settings and needles for optimal stitching. Here’s what to consider:

  1. Fabric type: Identify the type of fabric you’re working with, such as cotton, denim, silk, or knit. Each fabric has unique characteristics that affect stitching, including thickness, stretchiness, and weave.
  2. Machine settings: Refer to your sewing machine manual or online resources for recommended settings for different fabric types. Adjust stitch length, tension, and needle type accordingly to accommodate the fabric’s properties.
  3. Needle selection: Choose a needle suitable for the fabric’s weight and composition. Use a ballpoint or stretch needle for knit fabrics, and a sharp or denim needle for heavyweight materials like denim or canvas.
  4. Test on scraps: Before sewing on your actual project, test stitch on a scrap piece of the same fabric to ensure the settings and needle are appropriate. Adjust as needed based on the test results before sewing the actual seams.

Bobbin Tension Adjustment:

Proper bobbin tension is crucial for balanced stitching. Here’s how to adjust it:

  1. Identify bobbin tension screw: Locate the bobbin tension screw on your sewing machine. It’s usually located on the bobbin case or shuttle.
  2. Test current tension: Stitch a few lines on scrap fabric using your current bobbin tension setting. Evaluate the stitch quality and tension balance.
  3. Adjust tension screw: To increase tension, turn the screw clockwise; to decrease tension, turn it counterclockwise. Make small adjustments, about 1/8 of a turn at a time.
  4. Test stitches again: Stitch another line on scrap fabric after each adjustment to assess the stitch quality. Continue adjusting the tension until you achieve balanced stitches with no loops or puckering.
  5. Keep track of adjustments: Note down the number of turns made to the tension screw for future reference. This helps maintain consistency when working on similar fabrics or projects.

Feed Dog Alignment:

The feed dogs are crucial components of a sewing machine that help move the fabric smoothly during stitching. Here’s how to ensure they’re aligned properly:

  1. Locate the feed dogs: The feed dogs are metal teeth located beneath the needle plate. They move back and forth to guide the fabric through the machine during stitching.
  2. Check for obstructions: Before adjusting the feed dog alignment, inspect them for any lint, debris, or fabric fibers that may be obstructing their movement. Use a small brush or compressed air to clean them thoroughly.
  3. Access the feed dog adjustment: Depending on your sewing machine model, you may need to remove the needle plate or access a specific adjustment mechanism to align the feed dogs.
  4. Align the feed dogs: Use a screwdriver or the designated adjustment tool to align the feed dogs parallel to the needle plate. This ensures they grip the fabric evenly for smooth feeding during stitching.
  5. Test the alignment: After making adjustments, manually rotate the handwheel to move the feed dogs up and down. Observe their movement to ensure they’re aligned correctly and moving smoothly.
  6. Stitch on scrap fabric: Stitch a few lines on a scrap piece of fabric to test the feed dog alignment. The fabric should feed smoothly without puckering or uneven stitching.
  7. Make further adjustments if needed: If you notice any issues with fabric feeding or stitching quality, revisit the feed dog alignment and make additional adjustments as necessary.
  8. Regular maintenance: Periodically check the feed dog alignment during routine machine maintenance to ensure optimal performance. Clean the feed dogs and surrounding area regularly to prevent buildup that could affect their movement.

Troubleshooting Common Sewing Machine Issues

When using sewing machines, encountering issues can disrupt production and cause frustration. Here’s a guide to troubleshooting common problems:

IssuePossible CauseSolution
Thread BreakageIncorrect tension settings.– Adjust the tension discs according to the thread type.
Dull needle or wrong needle size.– Replace the needle with the correct type and size.
Thread quality issues.– Use high-quality thread suitable for the material.
Uneven StitchesIncorrect tension settings.– Re-adjust the tension for balanced stitches.
Dirty or damaged feed dogs.– Clean or replace feed dogs as necessary.
Worn or bent needle.Replace the needle with a new one.
Machine JammingThread buildup in the bobbin area.– Clean the bobbin area regularly to prevent buildup.
Incorrect needle insertion.– Ensure the needle is inserted correctly and tightened.
Machine misalignment.– Consult a technician to realign the machine parts.
Skipped StitchesImproper needle threading.– Rethread the needle following the correct path.
Incorrect needle size for the fabric.– Use a needle appropriate for the fabric thickness.
Machine timing issues.– Have a professional adjust the timing if necessary.
Fabric PuckeringIncorrect tension settings.– Adjust the tension for smoother fabric feed.
Incorrect presser foot pressure.– Adjust the presser foot pressure according to fabric.
Dull or damaged needle.– Replace the needle regularly to prevent puckering.

Remember, regular maintenance and cleaning can prevent many of these issues. If problems persist, consult the machine manual or seek assistance from a qualified technician.

Sewing Machine Maintenance Tips

Maintaining an sewing machine is crucial for ensuring smooth operation and longevity of the equipment. Here are some maintenance tips to keep your machine running efficiently:

  • Clean regularly: Dust and debris can accumulate, affecting the machine’s performance. Use a brush or compressed air to remove dirt from the machine’s exterior and interior components.
  • Oil moving parts: Lubricate moving parts regularly as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. This includes the needle bar, presser foot lever, and bobbin case. Proper lubrication reduces friction and prevents wear and tear.
  • Check tension regularly: Incorrect thread tension can result in uneven stitches or thread breakage. Ensure the tension discs are clean and adjust the tension according to the fabric being sewn.
  • Inspect needles: Worn or bent needles can damage the fabric and affect stitch quality. Replace needles regularly, especially after sewing heavy materials or if needles become dull.
  • Keep the workspace clean: A clutter-free workspace reduces the risk of accidents and allows for efficient operation. Dispose of fabric scraps and thread waste regularly.
  • Monitor belt tension: The drive belt transfers power from the motor to the sewing mechanism. Check the belt tension periodically and adjust it if it’s too loose or too tight to ensure smooth operation.
  • Calibrate machine settings: Periodically check and adjust stitch length and speed settings to suit the sewing project. Improper settings can result in poor stitch quality or fabric damage.
  • Schedule professional maintenance: While regular maintenance can prevent many issues, it’s also essential to have the machine serviced by a professional periodically. They can identify and address any underlying problems.


In the world of sewing, the question of how come my sewing machine won’t stitch may have vexed you in the past, but with our guidance, you’re now equipped to sew through the challenges with ease. Remember, a well-maintained and correctly adjusted sewing machine is your key to sewing success. Keep our expert tips in mind, and you’ll be creating beautiful stitches and flawless projects in no time.

So, don’t let sewing machine snags hold you back – unravel the issue, make those necessary adjustments, and sew on confidently, leaving your stitching woes behind.


  1. Sewing dynamics: part I: measuring sewing machine forces at high speeds
  2. Ergonomics issues among sewing machine operators in the textile manufacturing industry in Botswana
  3. Experimental determination of the law of vibration of the improved jet mechanism of the sewing machine
  4. The Effect of Throat Plate Design on. Sewing Damage on an Overlock Sewing Machine

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know if My Sewing Machine Is Not Threaded Correctly?

To determine if a sewing machine is not threaded correctly, first ensure that the thread is properly positioned in the tension disks and that the needle is threaded through the needle eye. Refer to the machine’s manual for specific instructions and troubleshooting tips.

What Are the Consequences of Using the Incorrect Needle Size in My Sewing Machine?

Using the incorrect needle size in a sewing machine can have consequences such as poor stitch quality, skipped stitches, or damaged fabric. Troubleshooting thread tension may be necessary to address these issues.

How Can I Identify Tension Issues in My Sewing Machine?

Identifying tension issues in a sewing machine involves troubleshooting and adjusting tension settings. By inspecting the thread and fabric, checking the bobbin, and experimenting with different tension settings, one can resolve stitching problems and achieve optimal sewing results.

What Are Some Common Bobbin Problems That Can Affect the Stitching of My Sewing Machine?

Common bobbin problems that can affect the stitching of a sewing machine include incorrect bobbin tension and thread jamming. These issues can lead to uneven stitches, skipped stitches, or no stitching at all.

How Do I Determine if My Sewing Machine Has a Dirty or Damaged Needle?

To determine if your sewing machine has a dirty or damaged needle, inspect the needle closely for any visible dirt or debris. Additionally, check for any bent or broken parts. Regularly cleaning and replacing needles is essential for optimal stitching performance.

Leave a Comment