How to Troubleshoot a Sewing Machine That Won't Stitch

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A step-by-step checklist can help determine why a sewing machine won't stitch.
A step-by-step checklist can help determine why a sewing machine won't stitch. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Sewing machines are sophisticated marvels of modern machinery that ultimately made the task of sewing quick and easy. In the event that the sewing machine won’t stitch, there are several areas of troubleshooting to check before calling an expensive technician.

Check the upper thread bobbin to ensure it has not run out of the thread. If the thread has run out, replace it with a new spool and re-thread the machine.

Check the presser foot to ensure it is down and holding the fabric with the feed dogs. If the presser foot is up, place it down by moving the lever in back of the presser foot to the “down” position.

Ensure that the bobbin winder is not in the winding position. Every sewing machine model has a different way of doing this, however the most common method on modern sewing machines is to slide the upper thread bobbin to the left until a click is heard.

Ensure that the correct presser foot is on the machine. If the wrong presser foot is used, the needle may be hitting the presser foot rendering it unable to stitch. If this is the case, use your manual to order a presser foot appropriate for the sewing machine model.

Ensure the sewing needle is secured in its shaft. This is done by grasping the needle by its length and testing to ensure it is not loose or falling out. If it is, on most models you can re-attach the needle by loosening the screw that holds the needle in its shaft, re-positioning the needle and then tightening the screw.

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