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One of the most frustrating things when sewing is having trouble with your sewing machine. Many times I’ve been sewing away only to find out that the machine wasn’t actually stitching. Or I’ve been so excited to sew a new dress but couldn’t seem to get my machine to sew. After much trial and error, I’ve found some simple things to check before giving up.

What should I check when my sewing machine is not stitching? Here are 8 things that I would check on my sewing machine.

  1. Power supply
  2. Power switch
  3. Needle
  4. Bobbin winder position
  5. Bobbin
  6. Threading
  7. Tension
  8. Presser Foot

But what if you’re having trouble spotting the problem? Let’s take a look at each of these potential problems in more detail.

What If My Machine Isn’t Responding?

  1. Is your machine plugged in? This may sound too simple but I’ve had times when the only thing I needed to do was to plug it in.
  2. If your machine is plugged in, check to be sure that the supply cord is attached to the machine. I’ve found that my cord comes loose or unattached very easily.
  3. Is the air vent blocked? If your machine isn’t getting airflow, it may cause your machine to not work correctly. My air vent is located on the bottom edge on the left side. Check your owner’s manual if you have trouble finding where your air vent is located. Make sure that a pile of material isn’t blocking the vent.
  4. Lastly, if your machine has a power switch or light switch, make sure that it is turned on. Believe it or not, this can be easy to forget to do.

What If My Machine Runs But Doesn’t Stitch?

If this is the case, you probably have a needle or bobbin problem. But there are a couple other things you can check too.

Check the Needle

  • Is there something wrong with the needle? Is it bent or dull? Change your needle and see if that does the trick.
  • Is your needle long enough? Does the needle go down far enough to go through the fabric?
  • Is your needle inserted correctly? Is the flat part facing the back? Is the needle going all the way up in the needle clamp? Is the needle clamp screwed securely?
  • Is the needle still threaded? The needle needs to be threaded when it’s at it’s highest point. Otherwise, the thread will come out of the eye of the needle when you begin to sew.
  • Is the needle the right size for the fabric that you are sewing?

Check the Bobbin

  • Check that the bobbin is threaded correctly. If you are not sure how to thread your bobbin, check in your owner’s manual. Your manual should have a diagram or picture to show you how to do it.
  • Is your bobbin inserted in the bobbin case properly?
  • Is your bobbin case inserted correctly?
  • Make sure that there is thread in your bobbin. This is the #1 thing that I face when I sew. I’m so happy sewing away but then I find out that I’m not really sewing at all. The thread in my bobbin has run out! So then it’s back to square one.

Check Your Bobbin Winding Spindle

The bobbin winding spindle needs to be pushed to the left after your bobbin has been filled. If not, your machine will not stitch.

What Causes a Sewing Machine to Skip Stitches?

I have run into problems with skipped stitches especially when I’ve been trying to sew synthetics or knits. Switching to a ballpoint sewing needle seems to be the solution most of the time. Keep your sharp needles for woven fabrics.

Are you pulling the fabric as you sew? Just let the material be feed through the machine. Tugging can cause problems such as skipped stitches or even broken needles.