Why Is My Sewing Machine Getting Stuck? 8 Potential Causes and Fixes

Are you frustrated with your sewing machine constantly getting stuck? Why is my sewing machine getting stuck? is a common query among enthusiasts. This issue can be attributed to various factors that affect the smooth operation of your beloved machine.

From tangled threads to misaligned mechanisms, there are several potential culprits. In this guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of this problem, offering you insights and solutions to get your sewing projects back on track seamlessly.

Salient Points

  • Thread tension matters: Incorrect tension, whether too tight or too loose, can cause your sewing machine to get stuck.
  • Needle condition is crucial: Ensure you’re using the right needle size and type, and replace it if it’s bent or dull to avoid jams.
  • Bobbin troubles cause issues: Proper bobbin insertion and ensuring its good condition are essential to prevent stitching problems and machine jams.
  • Regular maintenance is a must: Keep your sewing machine clean and well-maintained to prevent lint buildup and ensure smooth operation.

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 Sewing Machine Getting Stuck Answered

Why Is My Sewing Machine Getting Stuck?

Sewing machines can sometimes encounter issues that cause them to get stuck. Understanding the common reasons behind this problem can help you troubleshoot and fix the issue. Here are some possible causes:

  • Thread Tension Issues: Incorrect thread tension can lead to the thread getting stuck. If the tension is too tight, the thread may break or get jammed.
  • Needle Problems: A bent or dull needle can cause the machine to get stuck. Ensure that you are using the right type and size of needle for your fabric.
  • Bobbin Troubles: If the bobbin is not inserted correctly or if it’s damaged, it can result in stitching problems and machine jamming.
  • Thread Quality: Low-quality or old thread can cause knots and snags, leading to the sewing machine getting stuck. Always use good-quality thread.
  • Machine Maintenance: Lack of regular cleaning and maintenance can result in lint buildup, affecting the smooth movement of machine parts.
  • Incorrect Machine Threading: Improper threading, missing a thread guide, or skipping a step in the threading process can cause the machine to jam.
  • Fabric Issues: Sewing through thick or sticky fabrics without adjusting the machine settings can lead to the machine getting stuck. Ensure your machine is set up correctly for the fabric you’re using.
  • Bobbin and Needle Compatibility: Using the wrong bobbin or needle for your sewing machine model can cause issues. Check your machine’s manual for the correct specifications.

Understanding these potential causes will help you identify and address the problem when your sewing machine gets stuck.

Why Is My Sewing Machine Getting Stuck

What to Do if Your Sewing Machine is Getting Stuck?

Now that we’ve identified potential causes for your sewing machine getting stuck, let’s explore some simple fixes you can try to resolve the issue:

  • Adjust Thread Tension: Check and adjust the thread tension according to your machine’s manual. If it’s too tight, loosen it, and if it’s too loose, tighten it.
  • Change the Needle: Replace the needle with a new, sharp one that is appropriate for your fabric. Make sure it is inserted correctly and facing the right way.
  • Inspect the Bobbin: Ensure the bobbin is inserted properly and isn’t damaged. If needed, wind a new bobbin with high-quality thread.
  • Upgrade Thread Quality: Switch to a better-quality thread to prevent knots and snags. Ensure the thread matches the fabric type and weight you are using.
  • Regular Machine Maintenance: Clean out any lint or debris, especially in the bobbin area and around the feed dogs. Oil the machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Check Machine Threading: Re-thread the machine, following the correct threading sequence in your manual. Ensure the thread passes through all the necessary guides.
  • Choose the Right Needle and Fabric: Use the correct needle for your fabric type and adjust the machine settings accordingly, especially when working with thick or sticky fabrics.
  • Bobbin and Needle Compatibility: Ensure you are using the right bobbin and needle for your specific sewing machine model. Consult your machine’s manual for the correct specifications.

Now let’s discuss these troubleshooting steps in more detail now.

Adjust Thread Tension:

Proper thread tension is crucial for smooth sewing. Incorrect tension can lead to thread breakage and machine jams. Here’s a step-by-step guide to adjusting thread tension:

  1. Refer to Your Manual: Consult your sewing machine manual to locate the thread tension dial. It is usually found on the front or top of the machine.
  2. Set the Tension to 0: Start by setting the tension dial to 0. This is the default or neutral position.
  3. Test Stitch on Scrap Fabric: Thread your machine and sew a few stitches on a piece of scrap fabric. Examine the stitches to determine if the tension needs adjustment.
  4. Adjust Gradually: If the stitches are too loose (loops on the top side), increase the tension by turning the dial slightly to a higher number. If the stitches are too tight (loops on the bottom side), decrease the tension by turning the dial to a lower number.
  5. Continue Testing: Repeat the test stitches until you achieve balanced tension. Ideally, the upper and lower threads should meet in the middle of the fabric.

Change the Needle:

A bent or dull needle can cause stitching problems and machine jams. Here’s how to change the needle:

  1. Turn Off the Machine: Ensure the sewing machine is turned off before attempting to change the needle.
  2. Raise the Needle Bar: Most machines have a lever or knob to raise the needle bar to its highest position.
  3. Loosen the Needle Clamp Screw: Use a screwdriver to loosen the needle clamp screw. Be cautious not to drop the screw.
  4. Remove the Old Needle: Slide the old needle out by pushing it up and away from you. Note the position of the flat side of the needle – it should match the marking on the needle holder.
  5. Insert the New Needle: Place the new needle into the needle holder with the flat side facing the back. Push the needle up as far as it will go.
  6. Tighten the Needle Clamp Screw: Use the screwdriver to tighten the needle clamp screw securely.
  7. Check Needle Position: Confirm that the needle is correctly positioned and aligned. Lower the presser foot and turn the handwheel to ensure the needle clears the presser foot without hitting it.

Inspect the Bobbin:

A properly inserted and undamaged bobbin is essential for smooth sewing. Here’s a step-by-step guide to inspecting the bobbin:

  1. Turn Off the Machine: Ensure the sewing machine is turned off before working with the bobbin.
  2. Remove the Bobbin Case: Open the bobbin compartment and take out the bobbin case. Refer to your manual if you are unsure how to do this.
  3. Examine the Bobbin: Check the bobbin for any visible damage, such as cracks or chips. If you find damage, replace the bobbin with a new one.
  4. Check Thread Wind: Ensure the thread is evenly wound on the bobbin. Uneven winding can cause tension issues and machine jams.
  5. Correct Insertion: Reinsert the bobbin into the bobbin case, following the directional arrows indicated in your manual. Make sure the thread is pulled through the tension slot.
  6. Test Sewing: Thread the machine and test sew on a scrap piece of fabric to ensure the bobbin is correctly inserted and functioning.

Upgrade Thread Quality:

Using high-quality thread is crucial for preventing knots and snags. Here’s a step-by-step guide to upgrading thread quality:

  1. Check Thread Condition: Inspect the thread you’re currently using. If it’s old, frayed, or of low quality, it may contribute to sewing issues.
  2. Select Quality Thread: Choose a reputable brand of sewing thread suitable for your fabric type. Look for threads labeled as suitable for your specific sewing machine.
  3. Replace the Thread: Remove the old thread from both the needle and the bobbin. Thread the machine with the new, high-quality thread.
  4. Adjust Tension if Needed: Since different threads may require slight tension adjustments, refer to the previous section on adjusting thread tension and make any necessary changes.
  5. Test Sewing: Sew a few stitches on a scrap piece of fabric to ensure the new thread is working smoothly without knots or snags.

Regular Machine Maintenance:

Proper maintenance is crucial to keep your sewing machine running smoothly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to regular machine maintenance:

  1. Turn Off and Unplug: Before performing any maintenance, make sure the sewing machine is turned off and unplugged from the power source.
  2. Remove the Needle and Presser Foot: Take out the needle and presser foot to provide better access to the machine’s internal components.
  3. Clean the Feed Dogs: Use a small brush or a vacuum with a nozzle attachment to remove lint and debris from the feed dogs. Ensure they move freely.
  4. Bobbin Area Cleaning: Remove the bobbin case and clean the area underneath it. Check for any leftover thread pieces and lint.
  5. Oil Moving Parts: Follow your machine’s manual to identify the points that require oiling. Apply a small amount of sewing machine oil to these points to ensure smooth movement.
  6. Check Belts and Gears: Inspect the belts and gears for any signs of wear or damage. Replace them if necessary.
  7. Reassemble the Machine: Once cleaning and oiling are complete, reassemble the machine by inserting a new needle and reattaching the presser foot.
  8. Test Sewing: Sew a few stitches on a scrap piece of fabric to ensure the machine is running smoothly after maintenance.

Check Machine Threading:

Proper threading is essential for the sewing machine to function correctly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to checking machine threading:

  1. Turn Off the Machine: Ensure the sewing machine is turned off before checking or adjusting the threading.
  2. Follow the Threading Guide: Refer to your machine’s manual to follow the correct threading sequence. Each machine may have a specific threading path.
  3. Remove Old Thread: If there is old thread on the machine, completely remove it from both the needle and the bobbin.
  4. Re-thread the Machine: Start by threading the needle, ensuring the thread passes through all the necessary guides. Then, thread the bobbin following the machine’s threading guide.
  5. Thread Tension Check: Double-check that the thread tension is correctly set, as discussed in the previous section.
  6. Test Sewing: Sew on a scrap piece of fabric to confirm that the machine is now properly threaded and sewing smoothly.

Choose the Right Needle and Fabric:

Selecting the correct needle for your fabric type is crucial for smooth sewing. Here’s a step-by-step guide to choosing the right needle and adjusting machine settings:

  1. Identify Fabric Type: Determine the type of fabric you are working with. Fabrics vary in thickness and texture, requiring different needles.
  2. Refer to Needle Chart: Consult your sewing machine manual or a needle size chart to find the recommended needle type and size for your fabric.
  3. Install the Correct Needle: Replace the current needle with the recommended one. Ensure it is securely in place and facing the correct direction.
  4. Adjust Machine Settings: Depending on the fabric thickness, you may need to adjust the machine settings, such as stitch length and tension. Refer to your manual for guidance.
  5. Test Sewing: Sew a sample on a scrap piece of the fabric to ensure the needle and machine settings are appropriate. Make adjustments as needed.

Bobbin and Needle Compatibility:

Using the right bobbin and needle for your sewing machine model is essential. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensuring bobbin and needle compatibility:

  1. Check Your Machine’s Manual: Refer to your sewing machine manual to identify the recommended bobbin type and size.
  2. Select the Correct Bobbin: Use the specified bobbin for your machine model. Ensure it is not damaged and is wound correctly with the appropriate thread.
  3. Needle Compatibility: Confirm the correct needle type and size for your machine by referring to the manual or needle chart.
  4. Replace with Recommended Needle: If needed, replace the needle with the recommended type and size. Ensure it is inserted correctly.
  5. Check for Proper Insertion: Confirm that the bobbin and needle are inserted following the machine’s guidelines. The bobbin should rotate smoothly in the bobbin case.
  6. Test Sewing: Sew a few stitches on a scrap piece of fabric to ensure that both the bobbin and needle are compatible and functioning correctly.

By addressing these issues, you should be able to resolve the problem of your sewing machine getting stuck and enjoy smooth, trouble-free sewing.

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, understanding why is my sewing machine getting stuck can save you both time and frustration in your crafting endeavors. By addressing the root causes, such as thread tension or needle issues, you can enjoy uninterrupted sewing sessions.

Remember, regular maintenance and proper usage are key to a smoothly running machine. So, the next time you encounter this snag, approach it with confidence, armed with the knowledge to troubleshoot effectively. Happy sewing!


  1. Design and implementation of a participatory ergonomics program for machine sewing tasks
  2. Experimental analysis of the sewing machine
  3. Modeling of industrial sewing machines and the balancing of thread requirement and thread supply
  4. Multi-objective robust design optimization of the mechanism in a sewing machine

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Fix a Sewing Machine That Keeps Jamming?

To troubleshoot a sewing machine that keeps jamming, it is important to address common reasons for the machine to get stuck. Identifying issues such as incorrect threading, a bent needle, or a tangled bobbin thread can help rectify the problem.

What Should I Do if My Sewing Machine Is Skipping Stitches?

If your sewing machine is skipping stitches, it may be due to sewing machine tension issues. Troubleshooting steps include checking the needle, thread, and tension settings, as well as cleaning and oiling the machine.

Why Is My Sewing Machine Making a Clunking Noise When I Sew?

When troubleshooting common sewing machine problems, one issue that may arise is a clunking noise during sewing. This can be caused by various factors, such as a misaligned needle or a problem with the machine’s timing.

Can Using the Wrong Type of Thread Cause My Sewing Machine to Get Stuck?

Using the wrong type of thread can potentially cause your sewing machine to get stuck. It is important to use the appropriate thread for your machine, and to also consider factors such as different needle sizes and how to prevent thread tangles.

What Should I Do if the Needle Keeps Breaking While I’m Sewing?

To troubleshoot sewing machine needle breakage, first ensure that the needle is the correct size and type for the fabric being used. Check for any bent or dull needles, and replace them as needed. Additionally, make sure the machine is properly threaded and that the tension is adjusted correctly. Taking these steps can help prevent needle breakage and ensure smooth sewing operations.

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