Easy DIY Tricks for Repairing a Sewing Machine at Home

Sewing like a pro does not come easy, and you may encounter several challenges while learning. It’s common to make mistakes in the beginning. A part of mastering sewing skills also involves learning how to troubleshoot common issues.

The most common issues faced by a novice or an expert seamstress while sewing includes broken needles, dreaded skipped stitch, thread bunching, etc. You can resolve most of these issues at your home with simple DIY solutions.

First, you should learn about the various common symptoms that indicate your sewing machine is not functioning properly. With simple hacks, you can easily fix the machine troubles and increase your machine sewing performance.

Basic Sewing Machine Repair Tips

The Thread is Bunching Under the Fabric

The thread bunching under the fabric is the common issue faced during sewing. The top of your fabric may have straight stitching, while underneath may have an intricate nest of threads.

The issue may be either due to the bobbin or the absence of any tension on the upper thread. To solve this issue, you need to elevate the presser foot lifter and then rethread the machine. This causes the opening of the tension mechanism for receiving the thread.

Now, elevate the take-up lever and needle to their highest position per your sewing machine’s manual. This ensures that you have the right tension.

Uneven Stitches or Skipped Stitches

You may experience uneven stitches or skipped stitches. This may be due to the bent, broken, or damaged sewing machine needle. In such cases, you need to replace your sewing machine needle as it may have worn out.

If you don’t handle the fabric properly whilst sewing, it may also result in improper stitching. This force-feeding of the fabric interferes with normal working. You can resolve this issue by handling the fabric easily without using any force.

Fabric Not Drawing to the Back After Sewing

It is a normal procedure to draw the fabric to the back after finishing the sewing for cutting the thread. However, the needle thread may break or pull out if the next stitch start’s length is lesser than needed.

To resolve this issue, you need to check the thread before beginning the sewing again. Ensure to keep this thread longer while cutting the thread after finishing the sewing. This helps in drawing the fabric to the back easily.

Thread is Either Too Heavy or Too Fine for the Needle

If your thread is either too fine or too heavy for the needle used for sewing, it may lead to the thread’s breaking.

The fine threads and needles are suitable for sewing fine fabrics, while thicker threads and needles are used for sewing heavy fabric material.

You should test thread and needle size by using it on a small fabric before using them for actual sewing.

Needle Keeps Breaking

If the needle of your sewing machine keeps breaking, it may be due to the needle’s incorrect size. The needles are usually sized from 8 to 18, depending on their usage. You should use the correct size of the needle as per the fabric used for sewing.

  • A needle of size 9 or 11 works great for lightweight and delicate fabrics like chiffon or silk.
  • A needle of size 14 is suitable for medium-weight fabrics like linen, flannel, and synthetic suedes.
  • A needle of size 16 or 18 is meant for heavy-weight fabrics like denim.

Thus, if you use a size 9 needle for working with heavy-weight fabrics, it would break the needle.

The Machine Makes Noise and Does Not Run Smoothly

When your sewing machine makes noise, it may be due to the threads being caught in the hook mechanism.

You can resolve this issue by clearing the threads that are entangled between the hook race and mechanism. Also, ensure to tighten any loose screw.

The Needle Gets Bent or Blunt

You should check if the needle of your sewing machine is bent or blunt.

To do so, you should keep the flat side of the needle on a needle plate and observe whether the clearance between the needle and the flat surface is consistent enough or not. If it is not consistent enough, you need to replace your needle.

If your thread starts breaking frequently and the needle is blunt or bent, you should use a new needle.

The Needle is Inserted Incorrectly

If your needle is not inserted correctly, it may lead to the frequent breaking of thread. You can fix this issue by inserting a new needle into the clamp by keeping its flat side away from you.

Whenever you need to remove the damaged needle, insert the new needle by pushing it up far inside the clamp and firmly tightening the clamp screw.

Feed Dog Stuffed with Lint

If your feed dog gets stuffed with lint, you should take an old toothbrush and clean out dust and lint clogging on the feed dog teeth.

Ensure to clean the lint once every month if you sew occasionally. However, if you clean daily, you should clean it at least thrice a week.

The Needle Thread Is Not Properly Threaded

If your needle thread is not properly threaded, you should check if it is properly guided through all the levers and hooks. If not, then guide it correctly so that it is threaded properly.

Needle Thread Tension Is Too Tight

As per the sewing fabric and layers of fabric, you need to adjust the thread tension dial.

If your needle thread tension is too tight, you can move the dial to a lower number for loosening the tension.

Tips for Avoiding Most Sewing Machine Mishaps

Do Regular Cleaning

You must do a regular and thorough cleaning of your sewing machine by wiping it down from top to bottom. Over time, the dust and lint get accumulated in the tension assembly and the bobbin area.

Thus, you should ensure to do regular and professional servicing of your sewing machine at regular intervals. You should clean at least once a week if you use it daily. If you use it weekly, then clean it at least once a month.

Do Rethreading of Your Machine

You should regularly check the bobbin, needle, and thread of your sewing machine for ensuring that all these components are working perfectly and installed in the right place.

It’s better to rethread your machine from time to time for ensuring its optimal performance.

Check Your Needle and Thread Regularly

It is imperative to use the right size and type of needle and thread. You should use a high-quality thread with a nice and smooth filament. Ensure to rotate your collection of spools and store the threads properly away from the humidity and direct sunlight.


Learning the simple hacks of repairing your sewing machine at home ensures that you often need not pay frequent visits to the mechanic. It helps you to continue your sewing work without any interruptions.

The easy-to-follow DIY fixes ensure that your sewing machine delivers excellent sewing performance always and serves you for a longer duration. You should learn these tricks and apply them to resolving the common issues faced while sewing.


Preksha is passionate about writing articles that will inspire readers to make better choices. You will find her eating desserts for lunch, dinner and any time of the day. Also, she is the chief playlist engineer for any road trip.

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