Sewing Machine Repair

Thrilled to Discover the World of Sewing Machine Repair? From Sears to Mobile Options

Do you want to hear that a sewing machine repair will never concern you? Unfortunately, we would have to lie. 

It will, more than once. 

While DIY sewing is happiness and creativity embodied, repairing a sewing machine at home is bottling up anger to avoid killing everyone around. 

You heard us. One day, you will cry with frustration because of a broken machine. 

You’ll scan countless methods to find the cure by yourself. Often unsuccessfully. 

Finally, burgundy-faced and covered with sweat, you’ll contact the first professional that pops up from your browser.

But worry not! We’re here at your—friendly and knowledgeable—service.

Not only can you fix a sewing machine at home and do it well. You can also contact professionals—and we can’t wait to share a few names.

Let’s begin with a relaxing video. The tutorial below introduces the most common sewing machine repair issues:

This YouTube video by Jack Creek Road is half an hour long. So if you feel you want to keep reading what we prepared for you and get back to it later, do it. 

In the following paragraphs of our handy guide, we’ll tackle two key questions:

    1. How to handle sewing machine repair at home?
    2. Where to get a sewing machine fixed?

Neither of them is less important. So do yourself a favor and study both departments thoroughly.

DIY fix sewing machine

Let’s do it chronologically.

You’re at the point when you brought to life all your sewing room ideas and couldn’t be happier. 

You learn to sew like crazy every day after work. Friends can’t take you out of your now-pinkish sewing basement. 

You spend all your free time polishing your skills and buying more and more sewings supplies.

And it works!

You are that girl (or guy)—creative, gifted, fulfilled!

You’re always working on conjuring up something super innovative. 

Will that parade of delight ever end?

By the way, if you really are this person, you’ll fancy these “50 Beginner-Friendly DIY Sewing Projects” by Morning Chores

Sewing machine repair guide
Image source: Morning Chores

We’ve got good news. Or bad ones, depending on how you view it.

A broken machine can unexpectedly pause the (pleasurable) madness you’re going through.

We want you back on track, so we researched the topic. 

A malfunction of your favorite sewing machine is not the end of the world!

Let us tell you how to find a DIY fix in the most typical situations of a kind. 

Sewing machine repair tips
Image source: Sew Way

Minor sewing machine repair at home

On The Free Library, we read that:

“Most everyday sewing machine problems are minor and easily repaired.”

It’s comforting that not every sewing issue needs a large-scale repair. Issues as minor as skipped stitches or needle breakage have a quick fix. Also, read more about sewing machine needles in this blog. 

Never forget to take care of your machine. We couldn’t stress it enough. 

What does it mean to provide impeccable maintenance to a sewing machine? It boils down to cleaning it regularly. 

Make sure you take power off before getting down to business.

First, take the frame apart, remove the dust, wipe the inside with a damp cloth (if the manual doesn’t forbid it). Then, read some general maintenance instructions on the Repair Cafe blog.

Get familiar with the inside of your machine. It will help you detect any imperfections that can show up in the future. 

Have a look at the table below. You’ll learn to diagnose and fix the most common minor problems caused by your machine. 


Fix Check also

Skipped stitches

The dull or bent needle causes uneven or inconsistent stitches as it cannot connect the upper thread with the bobbin thread. 

If this happens, simply replace the needle with a new one.

    1. If the problem persists, check if the thread and the needle are compatible. For example, finer-point needles (smaller numbers) work best with fine, lightweight thread (higher number). 
    2. The thread should fit in the groove that runs down the needle front where it’s cradled. It protects the thread during stitching. If the thread is too large or too small for the groove—change either the needle or the thread.

Tension troubles

Tension problems result in:

    • skipped stitches, 
    • gathered or puckered fabric, 
    • thread loops, or 
    • other malformed stitches;

The more modern your sewing machine, the easier it is to correct the knobs and buttons. 

Besides learning how to sew, study the relationship between the needle thread and the bobbin thread. These two form tension. 

Stitches form when the needle thread and bobbin thread lock together. The sewing fabric and thread should lie on the fabric surface without pulling or puckering it.


Disturbing noises coming from your machine may want to tell you something. 

    • a popping sound while the needle pierces the fabric means that the point is dull. Simply replace the needle to correct the problem.
    • a rattling sound means the machine needs oil. Read the manual for oiling instructions.

Noises are often an early sign there’s a problem. Clunking, grinding, and banging—as described by The Spruce Crafts—mean that your machine needs

    • cleaning, 
    • oiling, or even 
    • professional help;

You can also come across problems such as

    • broken thread,
    • bird’s nests (read “What Causes Bird Nests,” on the Superior Threads),
    • needle breakage,
    • puckering up,
    • improper stitch formation, and
    • no stitches forming at all; 

Read about all of them on The Free Library website (we mentioned it at the beginning of this paragraph). 

Fix sewing machine
Image source: May Chappell

For precise guidance, watch “Sewing Machine Tension Issues SOLVED” by EverythingEboni:

This tutorial gives you the total solution to one of the most common issues with sewing machine functioning—faulty tension. 

“Each sewing machine has some problems periodically: bunching thread, breaking needles or skipping stitches and others.”

—we read on Sew Way

It doesn’t mean you have to ask immediately, “Where can I get my sewing machine fixed?” and contact professional service as you’re standing. 

You can handle many of these minor issues effortlessly by yourself. Moreover, solutions to many of them are surprisingly simple. 

How to repair sewing machine at home by yourself
Image source: Sewing Optimizer

Speaking about simple solutions at hand—you don’t have to look far for the perfect way to enhance your fashion projects. 

Super Label Store thrives on offering aesthetically pleasing and innovative solutions. The brand also has an environment and the idea of sustainability at heart.

The list of customers is long:

    • clothing brands, 
    • fashion designers, 
    • textile fanatics,
    • sewists, 
    • the hospitality industry, 
    • importers, etc.;

Ordering custom hang tags, care labels, or woven labels has never been so simple for DIY crafters at home, even in small quantities. 

Consider tailoring your own different types of woven labels—your projects will benefit from this promising option. 

Custom care labels clothes 3

More challenging sewing machine repair at home

In the previous paragraph, we went through the easy part. We got to know some minor difficulties with sewing machines and ways to fix them. 

    • skipped stitches, 
    • threads bunching, breaking, and knotting, 
    • needles bent, 
    • or puckering of the sewing fabric

—these issues take little to fix.

Read about it also at Sew Way.

However, you may also face some more complex issues. 

While solving them may appear more demanding at first, it’s still doable in the privacy of your sewing machine table.  

Tips for repairing a sewing machine
Image source: Sewing Machine Club

Let’s have a look at some examples. 


What’s happening? What to do?

Sewing machine doesn’t start (doesn’t turn on)

First off, we understand how terrified you are. We would be as well! But wait before you turn the panic mode full on. 

Check these options:

    1. Power supply plug is removed from the outlet.
    2. Main power switch is turned off.
    3. Foot control pedal doesn’t work correctly or is damaged. 
    4. Bobbin winding shaft is moved towards a handwheel.
    5. Drive belt is broken.
    6. Sewing electric motor is damaged; it calls for repair or replacement.

Jammed sewing machine

Let’s say your machine does switch on, but suddenly, out of nowhere, it jams and stops. At this point, it’s advised to remove the fabric you were trying to sew.

Gently tug at the fabric and lift it slightly to snip at the sewing threads until you detach the fabric from the machine. 

Remove all the jammed threads before you try to sew again. Don’t forget to check the needle—in case it’s bent (which could also cause this problem), get rid of it and find a new one.

Sewing machine rattles

Find a few words about the solution to this matter, also on Sewing Machine Club.

We already mentioned sounds in the first part of this chapter, discussing minor sewing machine issues. These noises may mean your machine is on its way to a significant breakdown:

    • clunking, 
    • banging, and 
    • grinding noises, 

These sounds call for a thorough examination, as some critical parts of the machine may be jammed up or are rubbing against other parts.

Issues with a drive belt

These repairs may sound restricted only to professionals, but they don’t have to be. 

Follow the tutorial we share below to solve any drive belt issue. 

What can you do about noises before taking your machine to a professional service?

One elementary repair mechanism is tightening the screws of the sewing machine.

Loosening the screws used to join the various parts of the sewing machine may make it rattle unnecessarily. Tighten all the screws and bolts that you see. 

Yet, pay attention not to over-tighten the screws to avoid further problems.

Sewing machine how to repair
Image source: Sew Way

Learn from the tutorial published by Sew Way about a drive belt in sewing machines:

“How to Avoid Expensive Repair Your Sewing Machine! Sewing Machine Timing Belt” 

Preserve or fix sewing machine

While we were wondering how to repair sewing machine, a voice in the back of our heads was asking persistently: 

What about maintenance?

Sometimes it’s simpler to keep the best sewing machine you have (if it’s the only one, it’s still the best!) away from potential damage. 

It will stay good if you care about it.

Here’s how to provide your Target sewing machine, Baby Lock sewing machine, or other, with thoughtful conservation.

How to oil sewing machines at home
Image source: Design My Costume

    1. Allow the machine to rest

“Machines also need some rest, just like human beings. Give at least 30 minutes breaks to yourself and the machine after 3/4 hours of continuous stitching. Your continuous usage can make it overheat and dysfunctional.” 

—recommends Sewing Optimizer.

We wholly recognize your passion to the point of not being worried about your mind overheating. Yet, we do bother about the potential machine malfunction.

How to recognize the overheating? A burnt smell is its hallmark.

Overheating may occur when the fibers get trapped in the bobbin. Another cause is when you fail to oil the machine as often as it requires. 

There is another advantage to giving the machine a break after prolonged hours of sewing. It helps you watch the condition of your machine with a fresh eye and see any alterations.  

Sewing Machine Club also advises not to use one machine constantly:

“Sewing machines have a number of moving parts that can become hot when in use and can overheat if overworked or poorly maintained. If a sewing machine overheats, it will malfunction and could injure you or damage your project.”

Your machine will overheat in most cases because of a lack of or insufficient lubrication. 

The moving parts of sewing machines (also sewing machines for beginners) need lubricants to reduce friction and ease movement. 

When there’s no minimal “oily” help from the outside, friction becomes unbearable for these mechanical beings. Mind that even machines called “digital” still have mechanical “hearts” at their core. 

You’ll find more wise words about the sewing machine overheating and oiling in this article by Measure by the Yard

Sewing machine overheating
Image source: Measure by the Yard

      2. Clean and oil your sewing machine

We mentioned above that overheating may be a response to poor maintenance. 

It’s understandable that frequently cleaning and oiling your embroidery sewing machine, leather sewing machine, and others can prevent overheating. 

It will also ensure that all the parts won’t stick up. 

Keep in mind that some modern-day sewing machines don’t support regular oils. 

For them, you can use lotions or gels available on the market for greasing your sewing machine mechanisms. 

Before undoing your machine and pouring fluids into it, make sure you know what you’re doing. 

It’s best to follow the guidelines outlined in the sewing machine manual.

You can also check specialized websites like Design My Costume, where Jane Elizabeth explains “How to Oil Sewing Machines at Home? A Step by Step Guide.”

How to oil sewing machines
Image source: Design My Costume

      3. Changing of parts

Some most basic machines won’t have the option to change parts (for example, handheld sewing machine or some kids sewing machine.

On the other hand, every industrial sewing machine will have a massive selection of parts to replace. 

Periodic replacement of worn-out and old parts may prevent many minor problems and breakdowns. They may be “minor,” but the poor sewing that they lead to is on the “major” side.

Sewing machine problems and how to fix them
Image source: Pinterest

      4. Keep children away from sewing machine

This kind of machinery should not interest our curious kiddos (unless we’re talking about a kid’s sewing machine). 

Stay extra cautious while handling electrical devices, especially heavy and easy-to-turn-on sewing machines. 

Buttons, knobs, and colorful threads are fascinating to people of every age. Yet, people of every age can also end up having severe medical injuries if they’re not cautious enough.  

If your youngsters run around the house with their sewing room ideas, always switch off and unplug your sewing machine when you leave it alone.

      5. Dusting and covering 

A lot has been said about the dust. It’s an enormous, invisible enemy of various electrical devices.

The tiny particles of dust can cause severe mechanical damages. 

It’s one reason frequent cleaning is crucial to maintaining your sewing machine’s good condition and prolonging its life span. 

Dust tends to layer up inside every loophole of your sewing machine they find—routine dusting and cleaning are more than necessary.

Use the covering or a thick cloth to cover your sewing machine while it is resting. 

It will protect your machine from dust, water, or other unwanted liquids.

      6. Know when the time to call repair experts comes

Let’s face it—no one knows everything. You neither.

You can use the above tips to maintain or repair a sewing machine before a problem worsens. But you cannot fix everything—advises Sewing Optimizer

Know your limits and call for professionals if necessary. 

It’s time to call service if you tried every potential solution, yet your machine is not getting well. It means that there may be a problem with the engine or operating system.

Sewing machine service and repair
Image source: Sewing Is Cool

Sewing machine service and repair

Before we find out where and how to repair your machine professionally, let’s have a general view of the situation.

According to the Repair Cafe, that’s what licensed sewing machine specialists do when they repair sewing machines:

    1. Cleaning and lubricating the sewing machine
    2. Choosing the correct thread tension
    3. Adjusting and maintenance
    4. Fixing foot pedals
    5. Replacing coils and gears

As we mentioned before, you can do a lot of these things by yourself. 

Keep around tools such as 

    1. screwdrivers, 
    2. tweezers, 
    3. an emery cloth, and 
    4. sewing machine oil;

They will help to maintain and repair the machine when necessary.

If these tools and instructions don’t improve the functioning of your sewing machine, take it to professionals. The service team will take the machine apart and discover what’s wrong. 

According to Instructables, professional repair crew will take these steps:

Step 1: Removing Fluff and Dust

Many sewers say that we can extend the life and effectiveness of any machine with simple maintenance. That’s why the first thing to do is to remove all dust and fluff.

Between the feed dogs is a favorite place for this mess to collect. 

To make the cleaning enterprise effective and quick, remove

    • the needle, 
    • the foot, and 
    • the needle plate;

The latter is a plate beneath the foot with cut-outs through which the feed dogs protrude. One or two screws typically secure it. 

Pick all the fluff and dust out with:

    • a pin or a needle, 
    • a brush, and/or 
    • a vacuum cleaner crevice tool,
    • a can of compressed air, or 
    • simply blow with your mouth (keep in mind that you run the risk of blowing the fluff further into the mechanism);

Sewing machine maintenance
Image source: Online Clothing Study

Step 2: Checking the Bobbin

If you use a second-hand sewing machine, make sure that all the bobbins are of the right sort. 

There are several types, and they are all superficially similar, but if they’re the wrong ones, they may cause issues with the proper work or not work at all.

Step 3: Lubrication

Step 4: Checking the Tension

Step 5: Checking the Bobbin Winder

Step 6: Checking the Electrics

“On older machines, it will contain a rheostat, which is a variable resistance wired in series with the motor. Newer machines will more likely have an electronic speed control similar to a dimmer switch.”

Step 7: Checking the Timing

The description above regards a vintage machine, but most steps are the same in modern models.

According to the Repair Cafe authors, newer sewing machines are less repairable than older models.

“Sewing machines which have been produced before the 2000s have a higher repairability than the newer ones.”

In case of problems, vintage model owners are less likely to hand their machines to specialists. 

Main reasons? 

    1. technology was simpler back then, and 
    2. the internet is full of advice for the DIY repair of vintage sewing machines;

How to repair a sewing machine
Image source: Pinterest

Let’s say you decided to reach out for help. 

You’re now asking yourself:

Where can I get my sewing machine fixed?

There are two directions we’ll point out for you.

    1. Mobile sewing machine repairs
    2. Sears sewing machine repair

Check these US initiatives to find out the complete offer.