Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Stopping? Causes and Fixes

Are you experiencing frustrating interruptions while sewing? Why does my sewing machine keep stopping is a common query among sewing enthusiasts. This issue can stem from various factors, including thread tension, needle condition, or even an improperly wound bobbin.

Understanding the underlying causes is crucial for a seamless sewing experience. In this guide, we’ll delve into the reasons behind these interruptions, providing you with actionable solutions to ensure uninterrupted creativity.

Salient Points

  • Incorrect thread tension can cause the sewing machine to stop; ensure proper tension adjustments for smooth stitching.
  • Check for bobbin-related issues, such as improperly wound or empty bobbins, as they can lead to interruptions in sewing.
  • A bent or dull needle may cause the machine to stop; regularly replace needles to maintain optimal sewing performance.
  • Thread jams or snags in the machine’s mechanism can halt its operation; clear any obstructions and rethread the machine to avoid interruptions.

What Is a Sewing Machine and How Does It Work?

A sewing machine is a versatile device designed to simplify and enhance the process of stitching fabrics together, revolutionizing the way clothes and other textile items are created. At its core, a sewing machine operates by using a needle to penetrate the fabric, creating a series of interlocking stitches with thread. This process is powered by a motor, which drives the needle up and down, facilitating the smooth movement of fabric through the machine.

The basic components of a sewing machine include the needle, thread, bobbin, and feed dogs. The needle plays a crucial role as it pierces through the fabric, creating a hole for the thread to pass through. The thread, typically made of cotton or synthetic materials, forms the stitches that hold the fabric together. The bobbin holds the lower thread and is placed beneath the sewing machine, working in coordination with the upper thread to create a secure stitch.

Feed dogs are small, tooth-like mechanisms that move the fabric forward and backward under the needle. This ensures a consistent and even stitch length. The tension in the threads is crucial for a well-balanced stitch, and sewing machines are equipped with tension adjustment knobs to achieve the desired result.

Additionally, sewing machines often come with various stitches and settings to accommodate different fabric types and sewing styles. For instance, a straight stitch is commonly used for basic sewing, while zigzag stitches are employed for finishing edges or sewing stretchy fabrics.

In summary, a sewing machine simplifies the complex task of stitching by automating the process through the use of a needle, thread, bobbin, and feed dogs. The coordinated action of these components, driven by a motor, allows for the efficient creation of stitches, making sewing more accessible and efficient for individuals of all skill levels.

Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Stopping Answered

Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Stopping?

Your sewing machine may be stopping for several reasons:

  1. Thread Issues: Incorrect threading, tangled thread, or using low-quality thread can lead to frequent stops. Ensure the thread is properly threaded according to the machine’s manual.
  2. Bobbin Problems: A poorly wound or incorrectly inserted bobbin can cause the machine to stop. Make sure the bobbin is inserted correctly and wound evenly.
  3. Needle Issues: A bent or dull needle can cause the machine to stop. Replace the needle if it’s damaged or has been in use for an extended period.
  4. Tension Troubles: Incorrect tension settings for the thread and fabric being used can result in frequent stops. Adjust the tension according to the machine’s manual.
  5. Feed Dogs Jammed: If the feed dogs (the teeth that move the fabric) are jammed or clogged, it can cause the machine to stop. Clean them and ensure they move freely.
  6. Machine Maintenance: Lack of regular cleaning and maintenance can lead to various issues, including frequent stopping. Clean and oil your machine as recommended in the manual.
  7. Improper Needle Size: Using the wrong needle size for the fabric can lead to issues. Ensure you’re using an appropriate needle for the material you’re sewing.
  8. Foot Pedal Problems: If the foot pedal is faulty or not functioning properly, it can cause the machine to stop. Check for any loose connections or damage.
  9. Thread Tension Discs: Dust and lint buildup between the tension discs can affect thread tension and lead to stops. Clean them regularly.
  10. Electrical Issues: Faulty wiring or power supply problems can cause the machine to stop abruptly. Check the power source and connections.

By addressing these potential issues, you can troubleshoot and resolve why your sewing machine keeps stopping. If problems persist, consult the manufacturer’s manual or seek professional assistance.

Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Stopping

What to Do if Your Sewing Machine Keeps Stopping?

Encountering frequent interruptions while using your sewing machine can be frustrating. Understanding why your sewing machine keeps stopping and implementing the right solutions is essential for a smooth and uninterrupted sewing experience. Here are some practical steps to troubleshoot and address this common issue.

Incorrect Threading

One common cause for a sewing machine to stop unexpectedly is improper threading of the machine’s needle and bobbin. Incorrect threading can lead to a variety of issues, including thread breakage and machine malfunctions. To troubleshoot thread breakage, it is important to identify and rectify common threading mistakes.

One common threading mistake is failing to properly guide the thread through the tension discs. The tension discs help regulate the tension of the thread while sewing. If the thread is not properly seated between the tension discs, it can result in inconsistent tension, leading to thread breakage.

To avoid this, ensure that the thread is threaded correctly through the tension discs, following the machine’s threading diagram.

Another common mistake is not properly threading the needle. The thread should pass through the needle from front to back, with the needle’s eye facing towards the front of the machine. If the thread is not properly threaded through the needle, it can cause the thread to break or the needle to become unthreaded during sewing.

Bobbin Issues

Bobbin issues can often be the cause of a sewing machine unexpectedly stopping. When the bobbin is not functioning properly, it can lead to frustration and delays in your sewing projects. To help you troubleshoot and address these issues, here are some common bobbin problems and their solutions:

  • Bobbin tension adjustment: Incorrect tension can cause the bobbin thread to be too loose or too tight, resulting in uneven stitches or thread breakage. Adjust the tension by tightening or loosening the bobbin tension screw until the stitches are balanced.
  • Bobbin thread snags: If the bobbin thread keeps snagging or getting caught, it can cause the machine to stop. Check for any rough edges or burrs on the bobbin case or bobbin itself. Smooth them out using a fine-grit sandpaper or replace the bobbin if necessary.
  • Bobbin not winding properly: If the bobbin is not winding evenly or consistently, it can lead to thread jams and machine stoppages. Ensure that the bobbin is seated correctly on the winding spindle and that the thread is winding smoothly. Adjust the tension on the bobbin winding mechanism if needed.
  • Incorrect bobbin size: Using the wrong size bobbin can cause issues with the machine’s performance. Refer to your sewing machine manual to determine the correct bobbin size for your machine and replace it if necessary.
  • Bobbin thread running out: When the bobbin thread runs out, the machine will stop automatically. Always check the bobbin thread before starting a new sewing project and replace it if needed to avoid interruptions.

Tension Problems

Tension problems in a sewing machine can cause it to stop unexpectedly, disrupting the sewing process. Understanding and resolving these tension problems is crucial in maintaining a smooth and uninterrupted sewing experience.

Bobbin Thread Too Tight

The issue of excessively tight bobbin thread causing sewing machine stoppages can be attributed to incorrect tension settings. When the bobbin tension is too tight, it can result in the thread not feeding properly, leading to stitches that are too tight or puckered fabric.

To troubleshoot and resolve bobbin thread tension problems, consider the following:

  • Check the bobbin case: Ensure that the bobbin case is clean and free from lint or debris that may be affecting the tension.
  • Adjust the bobbin tension: Use a small screwdriver to adjust the tension screw on the bobbin case, turning it clockwise to increase tension and counterclockwise to decrease tension.
  • Test with different thread weights: Experiment with different thread weights to find the optimal tension for your sewing project.
  • Use the correct bobbin type: Ensure that you are using the correct bobbin type for your machine and thread.
  • Seek professional help: If you are unable to resolve the tension issue on your own, consider taking your machine to a professional for servicing and adjustment.

Needle Tension Adjustment

To address tension problems, the next aspect to consider is adjusting the needle tension. Proper needle tension is crucial for achieving optimal stitch quality. When the needle tension is too tight, it can cause the thread to break or create uneven stitches. On the other hand, if the needle tension is too loose, the stitches may appear loose and sloppy.

To adjust the needle tension, refer to your sewing machine’s manual for specific instructions, as the process may vary depending on the model. Generally, you can adjust the tension by turning a dial or knob located on the machine. It’s important to make small adjustments and test the stitches after each adjustment to find the perfect tension setting for your project.

Next, we will discuss common needle problems and how to troubleshoot them.

Needle Problems

One common issue that can cause a sewing machine to stop is a malfunctioning needle. A needle problem can disrupt the smooth operation of the machine and lead to frustration for the user.

Here are some needle problems that may be causing your sewing machine to stop:

  • Broken thread: A broken thread can occur if the needle is not properly threaded or if the tension is too tight. When the thread breaks, the machine will automatically stop to prevent further damage.
  • Needle breakage: If the needle breaks while sewing, it can cause the machine to stop. This can happen due to various reasons, such as using the wrong needle size for the fabric or sewing at a high speed.
  • Bent or dull needle: A bent or dull needle can cause the machine to stop as it fails to penetrate the fabric properly. It is essential to replace the needle regularly to ensure smooth sewing.
  • Incorrect needle insertion: If the needle is not inserted correctly, it can lead to machine stoppages. The needle should be inserted with the flat side facing the back and fully inserted into the needle clamp.
  • Wrong needle type: Using the wrong needle type for the fabric being sewn can cause the machine to stop. Different fabrics require different needle types, such as ballpoint needles for knits and sharp needles for woven fabrics.

Jammed or Tangled Thread

Continuing the discussion from needle problems, a common issue that can cause a sewing machine to stop is the presence of jammed or tangled thread. Thread jam prevention is crucial to ensuring smooth sewing operations. To prevent thread jams, it is essential to use the correct thread for the fabric being sewn and ensure that the thread is properly wound onto the bobbin. The tension settings must also be adjusted appropriately, as incorrect tension can lead to tangled thread.

When troubleshooting thread tangles, it is important to first check the threading of the machine. Ensure that the thread is correctly threaded through all the necessary guides and tension disks. Next, examine the bobbin area for any lint or debris that may be causing the thread to snag. If necessary, clean the bobbin case and remove any accumulated lint.

If the thread continues to tangle, it may be helpful to change the needle. A dull or bent needle can cause the thread to catch and tangle. Additionally, using a needle that is too small or too large for the fabric can also lead to thread issues.

By following these thread jam prevention techniques and troubleshooting steps, you can minimize the occurrence of jammed or tangled thread and keep your sewing machine running smoothly.

Transitioning to the next section about a dirty or clogged machine, let’s explore how this issue can also cause a sewing machine to stop.

Dirty or Clogged Machine

To address the issue of a dirty or clogged sewing machine, it is important to consider maintenance and cleaning as the first step. Accumulated lint, dust, and debris can obstruct the smooth operation of the machine, leading to frequent stops. To ensure the smooth operation of your sewing machine, follow these maintenance practices:

  • Clean the machine regularly using a soft brush, removing lint, dust, and debris from the bobbin case, feed dogs, and needle area.
  • Use a lint brush or compressed air to clean hard-to-reach areas.
  • Lubricate the machine according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to keep the moving parts running smoothly.
  • Check and replace the needle regularly to avoid skipped stitches or fabric damage.
  • Follow the troubleshooting guide provided by the manufacturer to address any specific issues you may encounter.

By maintaining and cleaning your sewing machine regularly, you can minimize the chances of it stopping due to dirt or clogs.

Now let’s move on to the next section about dealing with a blocked needle or bobbin.

Blocked Needle or Bobbin

The sewing machine’s needle or bobbin can become blocked due to dirt or clogs. When this happens, it can cause the machine to stop working properly or even completely halt its operation. Sewing machine troubleshooting often involves addressing common sewing machine issues such as a blocked needle or bobbin. To understand this problem better, let’s take a look at the following table:

Possible CausesSolutions
Dirt or lint buildupClean the needle and bobbin area using a small brush or compressed air. Remove any visible debris.
Thread tanglesGently remove the tangled thread using a pair of tweezers or seam ripper.
Incorrect needle size or typeEnsure that the needle is the correct size and type for the fabric being used. Replace if necessary.

Lack of Lubrication

A common issue that can cause a sewing machine to stop working is a lack of lubrication, resulting in a dirty or clogged machine. Proper lubrication is essential for the smooth operation of the machine’s moving parts.

Here are some lubrication techniques and troubleshooting tips to address this problem:

  • Regularly oil the machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Use high-quality sewing machine oil to ensure optimal performance.
  • Clean the machine regularly to remove any accumulated lint or debris.
  • Pay special attention to the bobbin area and needle bar, as these are common areas for dirt buildup.

If the machine continues to stop, consult the user manual or contact a professional technician for further assistance.

Faulty Foot Pedal

One possible cause for the frequent interruptions of a sewing machine could be a faulty foot pedal. The foot pedal is an essential component of a sewing machine that controls the speed and movement of the machine. When the foot pedal malfunctions, it can lead to issues such as the machine stopping unexpectedly or running at inconsistent speeds.

To troubleshoot foot pedal problems, it is important to first check the connection between the foot pedal and the sewing machine. Ensure that the foot pedal is securely plugged in and that there are no loose connections or damaged wires. If the connection is fine, then the issue may lie within the foot pedal itself.

Common foot pedal problems include worn-out internal components, such as the potentiometer or the carbon brushes. These components can wear out over time due to regular use, causing the foot pedal to become less responsive or completely unresponsive. In such cases, the foot pedal may need to be replaced or repaired by a professional technician.

To summarize, a faulty foot pedal can be a potential cause for the frequent interruptions of a sewing machine. Troubleshooting the foot pedal involves checking the connection and inspecting for common foot pedal problems. If necessary, seek professional assistance for repair or replacement.

Common Foot Pedal ProblemsTroubleshooting
Unresponsive foot pedalCheck connection and replace or repair if necessary
Inconsistent speed controlCheck internal components and replace or repair if necessary
Loose or damaged wiresCheck connection and repair or replace if necessary

Power Supply Issues

Another possible culprit for the frequent interruptions of a sewing machine could be inadequate power supply. Insufficient power can cause the machine to stop unexpectedly, resulting in frustration and delays in completing sewing projects.

Here are five common power supply issues that can affect the performance of a sewing machine:

  • Damaged power cord: A frayed or broken power cord can disrupt the flow of electricity to the machine, causing it to stop abruptly. Regularly inspect the power cord for any signs of wear and tear and replace it if necessary.
  • Loose connections: Loose connections between the power cord and the machine can lead to intermittent power supply. Ensure that the power cord is securely plugged into both the machine and the power outlet to maintain a consistent power flow.
  • Power surge: Sudden power surges can overload the sewing machine and cause it to shut down. To protect the machine from power surges, consider using a surge protector or unplugging it during storms or electrical disturbances.
  • Inadequate power source: Using a power outlet that cannot provide enough power for the sewing machine can lead to frequent stops. Check the machine’s power requirements and make sure the outlet can meet those needs.
  • Faulty power switch: A malfunctioning power switch can cause the sewing machine to turn off unexpectedly. If the machine consistently stops when the power switch is touched, it may need to be replaced.


The frequent interruptions of a sewing machine may also be attributed to the issue of overheating due to prolonged use. Overheating is a common problem in sewing machines and can be caused by various factors such as inadequate ventilation, excessive sewing speed, or a buildup of lint and debris in the machine.

To prevent overheating and ensure the smooth operation of your sewing machine, regular maintenance is essential. Here are some tips for troubleshooting sewing machine overheating:

IssuePossible CauseSolution
Machine shuts down or slows downInadequate ventilationPlace the machine in a well-ventilated area and ensure that the air vents are not blocked
Machine gets hot to touchExcessive sewing speedAdjust the sewing speed to a moderate level
Machine makes strange noisesBuildup of lint and debrisClean the machine regularly, especially the bobbin area and feed dogs

By following these maintenance tips, you can minimize the risk of overheating and prolong the lifespan of your sewing machine. However, if the problem persists, it may indicate a mechanical malfunction, which will be discussed in the next section.

In the subsequent section, we will explore common mechanical malfunctions that can cause your sewing machine to stop unexpectedly.

Mechanical Malfunctions

Common causes of a sewing machine unexpectedly stopping are mechanical malfunctions, which can arise from a variety of issues. When experiencing such issues, it is important to identify the source of the problem and address it promptly. Here are some common mechanical malfunctions that may cause your sewing machine to stop:

  • Thread jam: A common issue occurs when the thread gets tangled or caught in the machine. This can cause the machine to seize up and stop functioning.
  • Bent needle: A bent needle can cause the machine to stop working properly. It may not be able to pick up the bobbin thread or create proper stitches.
  • Loose or broken parts: If any parts of the sewing machine are loose or broken, they can interfere with the machine’s operation, leading to unexpected stoppages.
  • Mechanical noise: Unusual noises coming from the machine can indicate a mechanical malfunction. This can be caused by worn-out gears, belts, or other components.
  • Stitch length adjustment: Incorrect stitch length adjustment can cause the machine to stop. If the stitch length is set too low or too high, the machine may not be able to continue sewing.

Addressing mechanical malfunctions promptly can help prevent further damage to your sewing machine and ensure smooth and uninterrupted sewing sessions. If you are unsure how to fix the issue yourself, it is recommended to consult a professional technician for assistance.

Troubleshooting Common Sewing Machine Issues

Sewing machines are essential tools for crafting and repairing clothes, but like any device, they can encounter problems. Below, we’ll discuss common sewing machine issues and how to troubleshoot them.

ProblemPossible CauseSolution
Machine Not StartingCheck if the power cord is plugged in properly. Ensure the power switch is on. If still an issue, examine the fuse in the plug.Replace the fuse or try a different power outlet. If the problem persists, consult a professional.
Uneven StitchesThe needle may be bent or dull. Incorrect threading or tension issues can also cause this.Replace the needle regularly and ensure proper threading. Adjust the thread tension according to the machine manual.
Thread Bunching UnderneathIncorrect bobbin threading or tension settings are common culprits.Rethread the bobbin, ensuring it follows the machine guidelines. Adjust the bobbin tension if necessary.
Breaking NeedlesIncorrect needle size for the fabric or a bent needle can cause breakage.Use the appropriate needle size for the fabric being sewn. Replace bent or damaged needles promptly.
Machine JammingAccumulated lint or debris in the bobbin area may be causing the jam.Clean the bobbin area regularly, removing lint and debris. Ensure the machine is properly lubricated as per the manual.
Skipping StitchesA dull or bent needle, incorrect thread tension, or improper threading can lead to skipped stitches.Replace the needle, check and adjust thread tension, and ensure correct threading following the machine manual.

Remember, regular maintenance and proper usage significantly contribute to a sewing machine’s longevity and performance. If issues persist, consult the machine’s manual or seek professional help.

Maintenance Tips for Sewing Machines

Here are some practical tips to help you maintain your sewing machine:

  1. Clean the Machine Regularly:
    • Lint buildup is a common issue. Use a small brush or a vacuum attachment to remove lint from the bobbin area and around the feed dogs.
    • Wipe down the exterior with a soft, lint-free cloth to prevent dust accumulation.
  2. Change Needles Frequently:
    • Replace the needle after 8-10 hours of sewing or when switching to a new fabric type.
    • A dull or bent needle can lead to uneven stitches and potential damage to the machine.
  3. Oil Moving Parts:
    • Lubricate your machine as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Typically, every 8-10 hours of sewing.
    • Use a small amount of sewing machine oil on designated areas to reduce friction and prevent wear.
  4. Check Tension Regularly:
    • Ensure the thread tension is balanced. Incorrect tension can result in loose or tight stitches.
    • Refer to your machine’s manual to adjust the tension settings correctly.
  5. Keep Bobbin Area Clean:
    • Remove the bobbin and bobbin case regularly to clean any accumulated dust or lint.
    • A clean bobbin area prevents thread jams and ensures smooth stitching.
  6. Inspect and Replace Belts:
    • Check the belts for signs of wear or damage.
    • Replace worn-out belts promptly to maintain consistent speed and prevent motor strain.
  7. Store Properly:
    • When not in use, cover your sewing machine to protect it from dust.
    • Store it in a cool, dry place to prevent rusting of metal parts.
  8. Follow the Manual:
    • Always refer to your sewing machine’s manual for specific maintenance instructions.
    • Manufacturers provide guidelines tailored to the machine’s model and design.

Regular maintenance ensures that your sewing machine remains in optimal condition, providing you with reliable and high-quality stitching for years to come.

If interested you can read how many watts is a stitching machine here. Moreover, you can read the power rating of a sewing machine motor here.


In conclusion, addressing the question, Why does my sewing machine keep stopping? involves a systematic approach. By examining thread quality, needle compatibility, and bobbin winding techniques, you can overcome this common hurdle in the sewing process.

Regular maintenance and proper troubleshooting will keep your machine running smoothly, allowing you to focus on your creative projects without the frustration of constant interruptions. Remember, a well-maintained sewing machine is the key to unlocking your full creative potential.


  1. Ergonomics issues among sewing machine operators in the textile manufacturing industry in Botswana
  2. Experimental determination of the law of vibration of the improved jet mechanism of the sewing machine
  3. The Effect of Throat Plate Design on. Sewing Damage on an Overlock Sewing Machine
  4. Work stress of women in sewing machine operation

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Prevent My Sewing Machine From Overheating?

To prevent sewing machine overheating and maintain optimal temperature, ensure proper ventilation, clean and oil the machine regularly, use the correct needle and thread for the fabric, avoid running the machine continuously for long periods, and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance.

What Should I Do if My Sewing Machine Keeps Stopping Even Though I Have Correctly Threaded It?

If your sewing machine keeps stopping despite proper threading, troubleshooting tips can help. Check for common sewing machine problems like tangled thread, bent needles, or a full bobbin. Seek professional repair if necessary.

What Are Some Common Signs of a Faulty Foot Pedal?

Common signs of a faulty foot pedal in sewing machines include intermittent or inconsistent power, unresponsiveness to pressure, or excessive heat. Troubleshooting the foot pedal can help resolve sewing machine power issues and ensure smooth operation.

How Can I Troubleshoot Power Supply Issues With My Sewing Machine?

To troubleshoot power supply issues with a sewing machine, start by checking the power cord and outlet for any damage. Next, ensure that the foot pedal is functioning properly and that the bobbin tension is adjusted correctly. Additionally, cleaning and lubricating the machine can help resolve any mechanical issues.

What Are Some Mechanical Malfunctions That Can Cause a Sewing Machine to Stop?

Common causes of thread jams and tension issues can lead to a sewing machine stopping. Mechanical malfunctions such as a jammed bobbin, tangled thread, or a misaligned needle can also cause the machine to stop.

Leave a Comment