Troubleshooting Why Does Bernina Sewing Machine Keep Jamming

Are you tired of the frustrating interruptions while stitching your creative masterpieces? If you’ve been asking yourself, Why does Bernina sewing machine keep jamming? – you’re not alone. Picture this: You’re immersed in the rhythm of crafting, and suddenly, a jam disrupts your flow. We understand the exasperation, and there’s more to it than just a glitch.

In this exploration, we’ll delve into the common hitches that befall Bernina machines. Get ready to uncover the secrets behind the jams and discover how a few tweaks can transform your sewing experience. Let’s unravel the mysteries and stitch seamlessly again.

Salient Points

  • Ensure proper thread tension for your fabric to prevent jams caused by uneven tension.
  • Use the correct needle size and replace it regularly to avoid sewing machine jams.
  • Regularly clean your machine, especially the bobbin area, to prevent lint buildup and disruptions.
  • Pay attention to proper threading, lubrication, and presser foot installation for a jam-free sewing experience.

What Is a Sewing Machine and How Does It Work?

A sewing machine is a versatile tool designed to stitch fabric together with precision and efficiency. It revolutionized the art of stitching, making it more accessible and time-saving compared to hand sewing. The fundamental components of a sewing machine include a needle, thread, and a bobbin.

The needle is a crucial element that penetrates the fabric, creating stitches in a specific pattern. The bobbin, a small spool of thread, works in conjunction with the needle to lock the stitches in place. The thread tension, which can be adjusted, ensures that the stitches are neither too loose nor too tight.

How a sewing machine works involves a series of coordinated movements. As the operator presses the foot pedal or activates the electric motor, the machine engages the needle. The needle moves up and down, creating a stitch as it passes through the fabric.

Simultaneously, the bobbin releases thread to form the underside of the stitch, securing the fabric layers together. Feed dogs, small metal teeth beneath the needle, advance the fabric at a consistent pace, allowing for even stitching. The combination of these components and movements results in a fast and efficient sewing process.

To illustrate, consider the example of creating a straight stitch. As the operator guides the fabric through the machine, the needle punctures the material, and the feed dogs move it forward. The bobbin releases thread, intertwining with the needle thread to form a neat and uniform straight stitch. This process can be adapted for various stitching patterns, providing versatility for different sewing projects. Understanding the mechanics of a sewing machine enables users to harness its capabilities for a wide range of creative and practical applications.

Tackling Sewing Machine Jams | Why Does Bernina Sewing Machine Keep Jamming

Why Does Bernina Sewing Machine Keep Jamming?

If you’re facing issues with your Bernina sewing machine constantly jamming, various factors could be causing this frustration. Identifying the root causes will help you troubleshoot and get back to smooth sewing.

  1. Thread Tension Issues:
    • Uneven thread tension can lead to jams.
  2. Incorrect Needle Size:
    • Using the wrong needle size may cause jams.
  3. Bobbin Problems:
    • Incorrectly wound bobbins or poorly inserted bobbins can jam the machine.
  4. Dirty Machine:
    • Accumulated lint and debris in the machine can disrupt smooth sewing.
  5. Needle Issues:
    • A bent or dull needle can cause jams.
    • Replace the needle regularly and ensure it’s the correct type.
  6. Thread Quality:
    • Poor-quality or old thread may lead to jams.
  7. Machine Not Lubricated:
    • Lack of lubrication can cause increased friction and jamming.
  8. Incorrect Threading:
    • Improper threading can result in jams.
  9. Fabric Issues:
    • Thick or uneven fabrics may contribute to jams.
  10. Presser Foot Problems:
    • A damaged or improperly installed presser foot can cause jams.

Identifying and addressing these common causes should help you troubleshoot the jamming issue with your Bernina sewing machine.

Why Does Bernina Sewing Machine Keep Jamming

How to Fix a Bernina Sewing Machine that Keeps Jamming?

Now that we’ve identified the potential causes of your Bernina sewing machine jamming, let’s explore practical solutions to address these issues and get your sewing back on track.

  1. Adjust Thread Tension:
    • Ensure proper tension settings based on your fabric.
    • Experiment with different tension levels until the stitches are balanced.
  2. Use Correct Needle Size:
    • Consult your machine’s manual for the recommended needle size.
    • Change the needle to the correct size for the fabric you’re working with.
  3. Bobbin Maintenance:
    • Wind bobbins evenly and insert them correctly.
    • Clean the bobbin area regularly to prevent lint buildup.
  4. Regular Machine Cleaning:
    • Remove lint and debris from the machine, especially around the bobbin area.
    • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and maintenance.
  5. Replace Needles Regularly:
    • Change the needle if it’s bent or dull.
    • Use the right type of needle for your sewing project.
  6. Quality Thread:
    • Invest in good-quality thread suitable for your fabric.
    • Replace old or weak thread to prevent breakage and jams.
  7. Lubricate the Machine:
    • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for machine lubrication.
    • Ensure the moving parts are well-lubricated to reduce friction.
  8. Double-Check Threading:
    • Refer to the machine manual for the correct threading path.
    • Make sure the thread is properly seated in the tension discs.
  9. Choose Appropriate Fabric:
    • Select a needle and thread suitable for the thickness and type of fabric.
    • Consider using a walking foot for challenging fabrics.
  10. Inspect Presser Foot:
    • Examine the presser foot for damage.
    • Ensure it’s securely attached and aligned properly with the feed dogs.

Now let’s discuss these fixes in more detail.

Adjust Thread Tension

Uneven thread tension is a common culprit behind sewing machine jams. Properly adjusting the tension is essential for achieving balanced stitches. Here’s a step-by-step guide to address this issue:

  1. Identify the Correct Tension Setting:
    • Refer to your machine’s manual to determine the recommended thread tension setting for your specific fabric.
    • Different fabrics may require different tension levels, so it’s essential to match the setting accordingly.
  2. Thread the Machine Correctly:
    • Ensure that the machine is threaded properly, following the threading path as specified in the manual.
    • Make sure the thread is seated correctly in the tension discs.
  3. Test on Scrap Fabric:
    • Cut a small piece of scrap fabric similar to what you’ll be sewing.
    • Sew a few test stitches to observe the tension and make necessary adjustments.
  4. Adjust the Tension Dial:
    • If the stitches appear too tight or too loose, use the tension dial to make gradual adjustments.
    • Test the stitches after each adjustment until you achieve the desired tension.
  5. Check Upper and Lower Tension:
    • Ensure that both the upper and lower thread tensions are balanced.
    • Imbalances can lead to jams and poor stitch quality.
  6. Regularly Reassess Tension:
    • Tension requirements may vary with different fabrics and projects.
    • Continuously check and adjust the tension as needed during your sewing sessions.

Use Correct Needle Size

Using the wrong needle size can lead to jams and compromised stitch quality. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure you’re using the correct needle:

  1. Consult the Machine Manual:
    • Refer to your sewing machine’s manual for the recommended needle size based on the fabric you’re using.
    • The manual provides valuable information on compatible needle types for different projects.
  2. Inspect the Current Needle:
    • Remove the current needle and inspect it for any signs of damage, bending, or dullness.
    • If the needle shows any of these signs, it’s crucial to replace it.
  3. Select the Appropriate Needle Type:
    • Choose a needle type that suits the fabric you’re working with. For example, use a ballpoint needle for knits and a universal needle for general sewing.
    • Select a needle size appropriate for the fabric thickness.
  4. Install the Needle Correctly:
    • Insert the needle with the flat side facing the back or as specified in your machine’s manual.
    • Ensure the needle is fully seated and tightened securely.
  5. Test on Scrap Fabric:
    • Sew a few test stitches on scrap fabric to ensure the needle is creating clean and even stitches.
    • Adjust the needle size if necessary based on the test results.

Ensure Bobbin Maintenance

Bobbin-related issues can often lead to sewing machine jams. Follow these steps to ensure your bobbin is in good condition and properly inserted:

  1. Wind the Bobbin Correctly:
    • Place the thread spool on the spool pin and pass the thread through the bobbin winding tension disc.
    • Engage the bobbin winding mechanism as per your machine’s manual and start winding the bobbin evenly.
  2. Insert the Bobbin Properly:
    • Check your machine’s manual for the correct bobbin insertion method.
    • Ensure the bobbin rotates counterclockwise when pulled by the thread.
  3. Check Bobbin Tension:
    • Verify that the bobbin tension is correctly adjusted. Most bobbins have a small screw for tension adjustment.
    • Ensure the bobbin tension matches the upper thread tension for balanced stitches.
  4. Inspect Bobbin for Debris:
    • Regularly clean the bobbin case for lint or tangled thread.
    • Remove any debris that could affect the smooth rotation of the bobbin.
  5. Use Quality Bobbins:
    • Choose bobbins that are recommended for your Singer sewing machine.
    • Using low-quality or incorrect bobbins may lead to jamming issues.

Clean Machine Regularly

A clean machine is essential for preventing jams caused by accumulated lint and debris. Follow these steps to maintain a clean sewing machine:

  1. Power Off the Machine:
    • Before cleaning, turn off and unplug your sewing machine to ensure safety.
  2. Remove the Needle and Presser Foot:
    • Take out the needle and presser foot to access the bobbin area easily.
    • Some machines have a removable bobbin case that should be taken out for thorough cleaning.
  3. Use a Small Brush:
    • Use a small brush, often provided with sewing machines, to gently remove lint and debris.
    • Pay special attention to the feed dogs, bobbin case, and tension discs.
  4. Compressed Air:
    • If available, use compressed air to blow away stubborn lint in hard-to-reach areas.
    • Hold the machine in a way that prevents debris from blowing further into the machine.
  5. Reassemble and Test:
    • Reassemble the machine components, ensuring they are properly secured.
    • Sew a few test stitches on scrap fabric to confirm that the machine is running smoothly.
  6. Regular Maintenance Schedule:
    • Establish a regular cleaning schedule based on your sewing frequency.
    • Clean the machine after completing each project or at least once a month for regular use.

Replace Needles Optimally

A bent or dull needle can contribute to sewing machine jams. Follow these steps to ensure your needle is in optimal condition:

  1. Regularly Inspect the Needle:
    • Check the needle for any signs of damage, bending, or dullness before starting a new project.
    • If the needle shows any issues, replace it promptly.
  2. Choose the Right Needle Type:
    • Different fabrics require different needle types. Refer to your machine’s manual for recommendations.
    • For example, use a ballpoint needle for knits and a sharp needle for woven fabrics.
  3. Match Needle Size to Fabric Thickness:
    • Ensure the needle size is appropriate for the thickness of the fabric you are working with.
    • A thicker fabric requires a larger needle size to prevent jams.
  4. Insert the Needle Correctly:
    • Insert the needle with the flat side facing the back or as specified in your machine’s manual.
    • Ensure the needle is fully seated and tightened securely.
  5. Replace Needles Regularly:
    • Needles can become dull over time, affecting stitch quality and potentially causing jams.
    • Replace the needle after every 8-10 hours of sewing or after completing a significant project.

Use Quality Thread

The quality of thread used in your sewing machine can significantly impact its performance. Follow these steps to ensure you’re using suitable thread:

  1. Choose High-Quality Thread:
    • Invest in good-quality thread that is appropriate for your fabric.
    • Lower-quality or old thread may break easily and contribute to jams.
  2. Check Thread Compatibility:
    • Ensure the thread you’re using is suitable for your sewing machine.
    • Some machines may have specific thread requirements or work better with certain thread types.
  3. Thread Tension Considerations:
    • Inconsistent thread thickness may affect tension, leading to jams.
    • Choose a thread that matches the weight and type recommended for your project.
  4. Store Thread Properly:
    • Store thread in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
    • Avoid using thread that has been exposed to excessive humidity or has become brittle.
  5. Replace Old or Weak Thread:
    • Over time, thread can weaken and lose elasticity.
    • Replace old or weak thread to prevent breakage during sewing.

Lubricate Sewing Machine

Lack of lubrication can lead to increased friction in the machine, causing jams. Here’s how to ensure your Bernina sewing machine is properly lubricated:

  1. Consult the Manual:
    • Refer to your sewing machine’s manual for specific instructions on lubrication.
    • Identify the points that require lubrication, such as gears and moving parts.
  2. Use the Right Lubricant:
    • Choose a high-quality sewing machine oil or lubricant recommended by the manufacturer.
    • Avoid using household oils, as they may attract more dust and debris.
  3. Identify Lubrication Points:
    • Locate the areas specified for lubrication in your machine’s manual.
    • Common points include the shuttle race, connecting rods, and other moving parts.
  4. Apply Lubricant Sparingly:
    • Apply small amounts of lubricant to the designated points.
    • Excess oil can attract dust and lint, contributing to sewing machine issues.
  5. Operate the Machine:
    • After lubricating, run the machine at a slow speed to allow the oil to distribute evenly.
    • Wipe away any excess oil to prevent it from transferring onto fabric.
  6. Regular Lubrication Schedule:
    • Establish a regular schedule for machine lubrication based on your usage frequency.
    • Frequent sewing may require more regular lubrication.

Double-Check Threading

Improper threading is a common cause of sewing machine jams. Follow these steps to ensure your Bernina sewing machine is threaded correctly:

  1. Refer to the Manual:
    • Always consult your sewing machine’s manual for the correct threading path.
    • Each machine may have a specific threading sequence that must be followed.
  2. Raise the Presser Foot:
    • Before threading, lift the presser foot to release tension on the thread.
    • This ensures proper seating of the thread in the tension discs.
  3. Thread in the Correct Order:
    • Follow the threading sequence outlined in the manual.
    • Typically, the thread passes through various guides, the tension discs, and the needle.
  4. Check for Snags or Tangles:
    • Inspect the thread for any snags or tangles as you thread the machine.
    • Remove any obstructions that could impede smooth threading.
  5. Insert the Needle Properly:
    • Ensure the needle is inserted correctly with the flat side facing the back.
    • Tighten the needle securely to prevent it from loosening during sewing.
  6. Pull the Thread Towards the Back:
    • After threading, pull the thread towards the back of the machine.
    • This ensures the thread is engaged properly in the tension discs.
  7. Test Stitches on Scrap Fabric:
    • Sew a few test stitches on scrap fabric to ensure the machine is threaded correctly.
    • Check for any irregularities or issues with the stitches.

Choose Appropriate Fabric

The type and thickness of the fabric can impact the performance of your sewing machine. Follow these steps to address potential fabric-related issues:

  1. Choose the Right Needle and Thread:
    • Select a needle and thread that are appropriate for the fabric you’re working with.
    • Refer to your machine’s manual for recommendations based on fabric types.
  2. Adjust Stitch Length and Tension:
    • For thick fabrics, consider adjusting the stitch length and tension settings.
    • Experiment on scrap fabric to find the optimal settings for your specific project.
  3. Use the Correct Presser Foot:
    • Some fabrics may require a specific presser foot for optimal results.
    • Invest in specialty presser feet designed for fabrics like denim or leather.
  4. Consider a Walking Foot:
    • When working with multiple layers or challenging fabrics, a walking foot can help feed the fabric evenly.
    • This reduces the likelihood of jams, especially when dealing with thick or slippery materials.
  5. Support Heavy Fabrics:
    • When sewing heavy fabrics, provide support to prevent them from pulling down and causing uneven stitches.
    • Use additional tools like fabric clips or pins to secure layers in place.
  6. Test on Scrap Fabric:
    • Before starting your actual project, sew a sample on a scrap piece of the same fabric.
    • This allows you to identify and address any issues before working on the main project.

Inspect Presser Foot

A damaged or improperly installed presser foot can contribute to sewing machine jams. Follow these steps to inspect and address presser foot issues:

  1. Turn off the Machine:
    • Ensure the sewing machine is turned off and unplugged before inspecting the presser foot.
  2. Remove the Presser Foot:
    • If possible, remove the presser foot according to your machine’s manual.
    • Clean any accumulated lint or debris around the presser foot area.
  3. Inspect for Damage:
    • Examine the presser foot for any visible damage, such as bent or broken parts.
    • If damaged, replace the presser foot with a new one compatible with your machine.
  4. Ensure Proper Installation:
    • Reinstall the presser foot according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
    • Confirm that it is securely attached and aligned with the feed dogs.
  5. Check Presser Foot Height:
    • Adjust the presser foot height if your machine allows it.
    • The presser foot should exert enough pressure to hold the fabric in place without causing excessive resistance.
  6. Test on Scrap Fabric:
    • Sew a few test stitches on scrap fabric to ensure the presser foot is functioning correctly.
    • Look for any issues with fabric feeding or uneven stitching.

By systematically addressing these solutions, you can significantly reduce or eliminate the jamming issues in your Bernina sewing machine, allowing for smoother and more enjoyable sewing experiences.

When to Seek Professional Help?

If the issue of jamming persists despite attempts to troubleshoot, professional assistance may be necessary for a problem-free performance and prevention of further complications. Troubleshooting common sewing machine problems and understanding different sewing machine parts and functions are essential in resolving issues like jamming.

Seeking professional help can provide an expert evaluation of the problem and ensure proper repairs or adjustments are made. Additionally, seeking professional help provides an opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of your Bernina sewing machine. Technicians can explain different parts and functions, educating users on proper maintenance techniques to prevent future issues.

Overall, if troubleshooting efforts fail to resolve persistent jamming issues with your Bernina sewing machine, consulting a professional is recommended for accurate diagnosis and effective repairs.

If interested you can read about why does Elna sewing machine keeps skipping stitches here.

Bernina Sewing Machine Maintenance Tips

Here are some practical tips to keep your Bernina sewing machine in top shape:

  • Cleanliness is Key:
    • Dust and lint buildup can affect your machine’s performance. Regularly clean the bobbin area, feed dogs, and needle plate using a small brush or a handheld vacuum.
  • Change Needles Regularly:
    • Dull or bent needles can lead to stitching issues and damage your fabric. Change the needle after every project or if you notice any signs of wear.
  • Oil the Machine:
    • Lubricate your machine regularly using sewing machine oil. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on oiling intervals. A well-lubricated machine ensures smooth operation.
  • Thread Tension Adjustment:
    • Correct thread tension is crucial for balanced stitches. Regularly check and adjust the tension according to the fabric you’re working with.
  • Use Quality Thread:
    • Low-quality thread can cause lint buildup and break more easily. Invest in good-quality thread to enhance the overall performance of your machine.
  • Proper Storage:
    • Cover your sewing machine when not in use to prevent dust accumulation. Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Check and Tighten Screws:
    • Periodically check for any loose screws or bolts. Tighten them gently to ensure the stability of your machine during operation.
  • Bobbin Care:
    • Ensure the bobbin is wound correctly to prevent jams. Clean the bobbin case and area regularly. Use the right type of bobbin for your machine.
  • Follow the Manual:
    • Always refer to your sewing machine manual for specific maintenance instructions. It provides valuable insights into the care and upkeep of your machine.
  • Professional Servicing:
    • If you encounter persistent issues or noises, consider taking your machine to a professional for a thorough servicing. A trained technician can identify and address underlying problems.

By following these simple yet crucial maintenance tips, you can ensure that your Bernina sewing machine remains in optimal condition, providing you with reliable and precise stitching for years to come.


In conclusion of why does Bernina sewing machine keep jamming, we discussed that understanding the reasons behind a jamming Bernina sewing machine is the key to uninterrupted sewing pleasure. By identifying and addressing issues like incorrect threading, bent needles, and insufficient lubrication, you can ensure your Bernina runs smoothly for years to come.

Empowered with troubleshooting insights and preventive measures, you can confidently tackle sewing challenges and unleash your creativity without the annoyance of jams. Let this guide be your go-to resource in navigating the intricacies of Bernina sewing machine operation and maintenance. Embrace the joy of hassle-free sewing and experience the true potential of your Bernina machine as you craft beautiful projects with ease and precision.


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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent my Bernina sewing machine from jamming in the first place?

To prevent jamming in a Bernina sewing machine, it is crucial to implement preventive measures and maintenance techniques. These include regular cleaning, lubrication of moving parts, proper tension adjustment, and using high-quality thread. By following these practices, one can ensure smooth and uninterrupted sewing operations.

Are there any specific types of fabric that are more likely to cause jamming in a Bernina sewing machine?

Specific fabric types can contribute to jamming in a Bernina sewing machine. Troubleshooting steps can help identify the issue, such as using the correct needle size and type for the fabric, adjusting tension settings, and ensuring proper thread and bobbin placement.

Can using an incorrect bobbin size or type cause jamming in a Bernina sewing machine?

Using an incorrect bobbin size or type can cause jamming in a Bernina sewing machine. It may lead to improper bobbin tension, resulting in thread entanglement and needle breakage. Additionally, using the wrong needle size can exacerbate these issues.

What are some common mistakes sewers make that can lead to jamming in a Bernina sewing machine?

Common sewing mistakes can lead to jamming in a Bernina sewing machine. Troubleshooting tips include checking needle size and type, proper threading, tension adjustment, fabric selection, and regular maintenance for smooth operation and prevention of jams.

Are there any troubleshooting steps I can take if my Bernina sewing machine keeps jamming, but I’ve already checked for thread tangles and cleaned and oiled it regularly?

To troubleshoot a Bernina sewing machine that keeps jamming despite regular maintenance, first ensure the needle is correctly inserted and not bent. Next, check the tension settings, stitch length, and thread type to address common causes of jamming.

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