Why Is My Brother Sewing Machine Not Working? Causes and Fixes

Is your trusty Brother sewing machine suddenly acting up? It can be frustrating when your go-to tool hits a snag. Why is my Brother sewing machine not working? is a common query among crafters and DIY enthusiasts. Before you start to worry, let’s delve into some possible solutions.

From troubleshooting common issues to maintenance tips, we’ve got you covered. Understanding the underlying reasons for the glitch is the first step towards a seamless sewing experience.

Salient Points

  • Ensure the machine is plugged in, power is available, and basic elements like the bobbin and needle are in good condition.
  • Use high-quality thread, properly thread the tension discs, and adjust tension to prevent stitching issues.
  • Keep the machine clean from lint, lubricate as instructed, and inspect components like the bobbin case for optimal performance.
  • Choose the right stitch for your project, adjust settings accordingly, and consider fabric-specific adjustments to avoid complications.

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 Is My Brother Sewing Machine Not Working Answered

Why Is My Brother Sewing Machine Not Working?

If you’re facing issues with your Brother sewing machine, fret not! Let’s troubleshoot common problems step by step to get it back in action.

  1. Power Supply:
    • Ensure the machine is properly plugged in.
    • Check if the power outlet is functioning by testing it with another device.
  2. Bobbin and Needle:
    • Verify if the bobbin is correctly threaded. Incorrect threading can cause jams.
    • Examine the needle for any bends or damage. Replace if necessary.
  3. Thread Tension:
    • Incorrect thread tension can lead to various issues.
    • Make sure the thread is properly seated in the tension discs. Adjust if needed.
  4. Thread Quality:
    • Low-quality or old thread can cause problems.
    • Use high-quality thread and ensure it’s suitable for your fabric.
  5. Machine Cleaning:
    • Over time, lint and dust can accumulate.
    • Regularly clean the bobbin area and around the feed dogs to prevent clogs.
  6. Machine Lubrication:
    • Lack of lubrication can cause the machine to seize.
    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to lubricate the necessary parts.
  7. Bobbin Case Inspection:
    • Inspect the bobbin case for any damage or foreign objects.
    • Clean it carefully and make sure it’s properly seated.
  8. Needle Position:
    • Ensure the needle is correctly inserted and positioned.
    • If unsure, refer to the machine’s manual for the proper needle installation.
  9. Stitch Selection:
    • Verify that you’ve selected the appropriate stitch type for your project.
    • Some stitches may require specific adjustments, so consult the manual.
  10. Foot Pressure:
    • Incorrect foot pressure can affect the fabric feed.
    • Adjust the presser foot pressure according to the fabric being used.
  11. Check for Jams:
    • Carefully inspect for any thread jams in the bobbin area.
    • Gently remove any tangled threads to ensure smooth operation.
Why Is My Brother Sewing Machine Not Working

What to Do if Your Brother Sewing Machine is Not Working?

Facing issues with your Brother sewing machine can be frustrating, but fear not—there are simple steps you can take to troubleshoot and resolve common problems. Whether it’s stitching irregularities or unexpected errors, a few systematic checks can often bring your machine back to smooth operation. Let’s explore what to do if your Brother sewing machine is not working as expected.

Power Supply Issues

Power supply issues can often be the culprit behind a malfunctioning sewing machine. Understanding common power issues and troubleshooting tips can help resolve the problem.

One common power issue is a loose power cord connection. Ensure that the power cord is securely plugged into both the sewing machine and the power outlet. A loose connection can cause intermittent power supply, leading to the machine not working properly.

Another power supply issue could be a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. Check the fuse box or circuit breaker panel to see if any fuses have blown or circuits have been tripped. If so, replace the fuse or reset the circuit breaker.

Additionally, power surges can cause damage to the sewing machine’s electrical components. Using a surge protector can help prevent power surges from affecting the machine.

Lastly, make sure that the power outlet itself is functioning correctly. Plug in another device to see if it works. If not, there may be an issue with the outlet that requires professional attention.

Thread Tension Problems

Thread tension problems can greatly impact the functionality of a Brother sewing machine. Proper thread tension is crucial for achieving well-formed stitches and preventing thread breakage or bunching.

When troubleshooting thread tension issues, consider the following:

  • Incorrect thread tension adjustment: Improperly adjusted thread tension can cause various problems. If the upper thread is too tight, it can pull the fabric, causing puckering or broken threads. Conversely, if the upper thread is too loose, the stitches may appear sloppy or uneven. Ensure the thread tension is set correctly according to the machine’s manual.
  • Dirty or worn tension discs: Over time, dust, lint, or debris can accumulate in the tension discs, affecting their ability to apply consistent pressure on the thread. Clean the tension discs regularly and replace them if they are worn.
  • Incorrect threading: Incorrect threading of the upper thread can lead to tension issues. Make sure the thread is properly guided through all the necessary thread guides, tension discs, and the tension dial.
  • Incompatible thread and needle combination: Using the wrong thread or needle size for your fabric can cause tension problems. Ensure that the thread weight and needle size are appropriate for the fabric you are working with.

Jammed or Tangled Thread

One common issue that can cause frustration when using a Brother sewing machine is when the thread becomes jammed or tangled. This can occur for a variety of reasons, such as incorrect threading, using the wrong type or weight of thread, or a problem with the bobbin. When faced with a jammed or tangled thread, there are several troubleshooting tips to consider.

First, check that the machine is properly threaded. Make sure the thread is securely in the tension discs and that it follows the correct path through the machine. Additionally, ensure that the bobbin is correctly wound and inserted into the bobbin case.

If the thread continues to jam or tangle, try using a different type or weight of thread. Some machines are more sensitive to certain types of thread, so experimenting with different options may resolve the issue.

Another common cause of thread jams is lint or debris in the machine. Regularly clean the machine, especially the bobbin area, to prevent buildup that can interfere with the thread’s smooth flow.

Needle-Related Problems

When it comes to needle-related problems with your Brother sewing machine, there are a few common issues you may encounter.

Bent Needle Causes

To address the issue of needle-related problems that may be causing your Brother sewing machine to not work, it is important to understand the potential causes of a bent needle. A bent needle can lead to various issues that affect the performance of your sewing machine.

Here are some common causes of a bent needle:

  • Incorrect needle insertion: If the needle is not inserted properly or is not aligned with the needle clamp, it can cause it to bend during sewing.
  • Sewing through thick fabrics: Trying to sew through heavy or multiple layers of fabric with a regular needle can cause it to bend due to the excessive pressure.
  • Hitting pins or other objects: Accidentally hitting pins, metal fasteners, or other objects while sewing can cause the needle to bend or break.
  • Sewing at high speeds: Sewing at high speeds without proper needle support or using a needle that is not suitable for high-speed sewing can result in a bent needle.

To prevent bent needle issues, ensure proper needle insertion, use appropriate needles for different fabrics, remove pins before sewing, and avoid sewing at excessive speeds. Regularly inspect your needle for any signs of bending or damage and replace it if necessary.

Incorrect Needle Insertion

Improper needle insertion can lead to needle-related problems that may cause your Brother sewing machine to not work as intended. To avoid such issues, it is essential to learn proper needle insertion techniques.

When inserting the needle, ensure that it is fully seated in the needle clamp and that the flat side of the needle faces the back. If the needle is not inserted correctly, it can result in skipped stitches, thread breakage, or even damage to the machine.

Troubleshooting needle problems begins with checking the needle insertion. If you are experiencing stitching issues or the machine is not functioning correctly, start by removing and reinserting the needle, ensuring it is properly aligned.

Taking the time to learn and apply correct needle insertion techniques can help prevent needle-related problems and keep your Brother sewing machine working smoothly.

Needle Not Picking Thread

One common needle-related problem that may cause your Brother sewing machine to not work properly is a failure of the needle to pick up the thread. This issue can be frustrating, but with some troubleshooting tips, you can quickly get your machine back up and running.

Here are some possible reasons why your needle may not be picking up the thread:

  • The needle may be bent or dull, preventing it from properly catching the thread.
  • The needle may not be inserted correctly, leading to a misalignment with the thread.
  • The needle may be too small for the thread you are using, causing it to slip through the fabric without picking up the thread.
  • The needle may be threaded incorrectly, resulting in a failure to catch the thread.

Bobbin-Related Issues

A common issue that can cause a Brother sewing machine to not work properly is a lack of a properly inserted bobbin. The bobbin is an essential component in the sewing process as it holds the lower thread that interacts with the needle thread. If the bobbin is not inserted correctly or if there are issues with its tension, it can result in sewing machine malfunctions.

One common bobbin-related issue is bobbin tension. If the bobbin tension is too loose or too tight, it can affect the quality of the stitches and cause thread bunching or tangling. To troubleshoot this problem, ensure that the bobbin is properly wound and inserted into the bobbin case. Adjusting the bobbin tension screw, located on the bobbin case, can help achieve the desired tension.

Another bobbin-related issue is problems with the bobbin case. Sometimes, the bobbin case may become damaged or worn out, causing the bobbin to not rotate smoothly. This can lead to thread jams or irregular stitches. In such cases, it is recommended to replace the bobbin case with a new one.

Incorrect Stitch Selection

The incorrect selection of stitches may be the reason why your Brother sewing machine is not working. When choosing the wrong stitch, it can lead to various issues that prevent the machine from functioning properly. Here are some common problems that may arise:

  • Choosing the wrong stitch for the fabric can result in uneven or skipped stitches, causing the fabric to pucker or fray.
  • Incorrect machine settings, such as using a zigzag stitch instead of a straight stitch, can affect the overall quality and appearance of the sewing project.
  • Selecting a decorative stitch on a heavy or thick fabric can cause the machine to struggle and potentially break needles or damage the fabric.
  • Using a stretch stitch on non-stretchy fabrics can cause the fabric to become distorted or stretched out of shape.

To ensure your Brother sewing machine operates smoothly, always refer to the machine’s manual for the appropriate stitch selection based on the fabric and desired outcome.

Sewing Machine Not Properly Threaded

To resolve the issue of a Brother sewing machine not working, it is crucial to ensure that the machine is threaded correctly. Threading errors are a common cause of sewing machine malfunctions, but with the right troubleshooting techniques, they can be easily resolved. Here are four key points to consider when it comes to threading your Brother sewing machine:

  • Thread Path: Ensure that the thread is following the correct path through the machine. Refer to the machine’s manual for the correct thread path, making sure the thread passes through all the necessary guides, tension discs, and thread take-up lever.
  • Bobbin Winding: Make sure that the bobbin is correctly wound and inserted into the machine. Check that the bobbin is placed in the bobbin case with the thread feeding in the correct direction and that the case is properly inserted into the machine.
  • Tension Adjustment: Check the tension settings on your machine. Improper tension can cause stitching issues. Adjust the tension as necessary, following the guidelines in the machine’s manual.
  • Needle Position: Ensure that the needle is inserted correctly and securely into the machine. Make sure it is in the highest position and properly aligned with the needle clamp.

Faulty Foot Pedal or Control Panel

A potential reason for a Brother sewing machine not working could be a malfunctioning foot pedal or control panel. The foot pedal and control panel are crucial components of the machine, as they allow the user to control the speed and functionality of the sewing machine. If either of these elements is faulty, it can lead to various issues and prevent the machine from functioning properly.

To troubleshoot whether the foot pedal or control panel is causing the problem, you can perform a few checks. Firstly, ensure that the foot pedal is properly connected to the machine. Check for any loose or damaged cables that may be affecting the connection. Secondly, inspect the control panel for any visible signs of damage or wear. If any buttons or knobs appear to be stuck or unresponsive, it may indicate a problem with the control panel.

To further assist you in identifying and resolving issues related to a faulty foot pedal or control panel, refer to the table below:

IssuePossible CauseSolution
Foot pedal not workingLoose cable connectionCheck and secure cable connections
Unresponsive control panelDamaged buttons or knobsContact Brother customer support for repairs or replacement

If the troubleshooting steps do not resolve the issue, it is advisable to seek professional assistance in repairing your sewing machine. A certified technician will be able to diagnose the problem accurately and provide the necessary repairs or replacements to restore your Brother sewing machine to full functionality.

Motor or Belt Problems

The functionality of a Brother sewing machine can be compromised by motor or belt problems, which can hinder its overall performance. If you are experiencing issues with your Brother sewing machine, it is important to troubleshoot the motor and belt to identify the problem.

Here are some common motor troubleshooting steps to help you diagnose the issue:

  • Check the power supply: Ensure that the sewing machine is properly plugged in and receiving power.
  • Inspect the motor connections: Look for loose or damaged wires that may be affecting the motor’s performance.
  • Clean and lubricate the motor: Over time, dust and debris can accumulate in the motor, causing it to work inefficiently. Regular cleaning and lubrication can help improve its performance.
  • Seek professional help: If you are unable to identify or fix the motor problem on your own, it is recommended to consult a professional technician.

In addition to motor troubleshooting, belt problems can also affect the sewing machine’s performance. If you notice any issues with the belt, such as slipping, fraying, or breakage, it may be time to replace it. Refer to the manufacturer’s belt replacement guide for step-by-step instructions on how to replace the belt.

Next, we will discuss the impact of lack of regular maintenance on the Brother sewing machine’s functionality.

Lack of Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential for ensuring the optimal functionality of a Brother sewing machine. Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to various issues, including a lack of lubrication and the build-up of dust and debris.

One common problem that arises from a lack of regular maintenance is the machine not working smoothly or making strange noises. This can be caused by the lack of lubrication on the moving parts of the machine, such as the needle bar, presser foot, and bobbin case. Without proper lubrication, these parts can become stiff and cause the machine to jam or skip stitches.

Another issue that can arise from a lack of regular maintenance is the build-up of dust and debris in the machine. Over time, dust and lint can accumulate in the bobbin area and on the feed dogs, which can affect the machine’s ability to feed the fabric smoothly. This can result in uneven stitches or the fabric not being properly guided through the machine.

To prevent these issues, it is important to regularly clean and lubricate the Brother sewing machine. This can be done by removing the needle plate and bobbin case to clean out any dust and lint, as well as applying a few drops of sewing machine oil to the designated lubrication points.

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, when faced with the question, Why is my Brother sewing machine not working? don’t panic. Remember, routine maintenance and proper handling are crucial for the longevity of your machine. By following our troubleshooting tips and seeking professional help when needed, you can keep your Brother sewing machine in top-notch condition.

With a little care, your trusty tool will continue to be the backbone of your creative projects for years to come. So, don’t let minor setbacks deter you – get back to crafting with confidence!


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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use My Brother Sewing Machine With Any Type of Power Supply?

Yes, Brother sewing machines are designed to be compatible with a specific power supply. Using alternate power supplies can lead to malfunctions. Troubleshooting common issues with Brother sewing machines is recommended to resolve any power-related problems.

How Can I Adjust the Thread Tension on My Brother Sewing Machine?

To adjust the thread tension on a Brother sewing machine, refer to the machine’s user manual for specific instructions. Troubleshooting sewing machine problems, such as improper tension, often involves adjusting the bobbin tension and ensuring proper threading.

What Should I Do if the Thread Keeps Jamming or Tangling in My Brother Sewing Machine?

To troubleshoot common issues with a Brother sewing machine, ensure that the thread is properly inserted and that the tension is adjusted correctly. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and oiling, can also help maintain good working condition.

How Often Should I Change the Needle in My Brother Sewing Machine?

To ensure optimal performance of your Brother sewing machine, it is important to regularly change the needle. Signs that indicate a needle change is needed include skipped stitches, thread breakage, or difficulty in fabric penetration. Troubleshoot common issues with your machine by following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

How Do I Properly Wind and Insert the Bobbin in My Brother Sewing Machine?

To properly wind and insert the bobbin in a Brother sewing machine, follow these steps: 1) Ensure the bobbin is correctly threaded. 2) Wind the bobbin evenly and tightly. 3) Insert the bobbin into the bobbin case, making sure it rotates freely. Troubleshooting common bobbin problems may require checking for tangled threads or adjusting tension settings.

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