How to Fix Common Sewing Machine Problems

It seems inevitable to have more than a few glitches when sewing. One way we learn about the parts of a machine is by having to remedy sewing related problems yourself.

In fact many of the mistakes we make in sewing can be prevented with regular maintenance. But for those setbacks, a proper knowledge of your sewing machine will save time troubleshooting and fixing the problem."


1. Thread Issues

Thread bunding

A common misconception with bunching thread underneath the fabric is that there is something wrong with the bobbin. However, when tangling does occur under the fabric, more often than not, there is a problem with the upper threading.

Check if the sewing machine was threaded properly and rethread it using your instruction manual as your guide.

Be sure to thread it with the pressure foot up to retain the sewing tension needed.

Thread breakage

Poor quality thread is more susceptible to breakage because they shed more and knot easily.

Your thread can also break because of any lint stuck in the thread path or the bobbin system so it is imperative you clean these areas every before and after use.

Also check for any protruding or sharp parts that can snag the thread.

2. Tension Problems

Each machine has an adjustable level of tension. These come in the form of a dial and will loosen usually when turned to the left and tighten when turned to the right.

Your top tension will vary with the type of fabric you use and you’ll find yourself constantly adjusting it to fit your desired project.

Upper tension can be too tight at times causing the fabric to bunch up and at times for the thread to break.

Adjust your tension via dial and test your machine on fabric scraps before pursuing your main project.

What tension problems look like

3. Needle complications

Needle breakage

Your needle has a lifespan and that usually ends after a rigorous project.

Experts advise to change your needle after using to keep your sewing hassle-free.

Also, needles break when they are incompatible with the fabric. Specialized needles will only go through specific threads that they are made for thus, universal needles may not always be the best choice depending on your fabric.

Uneven stitchees

When your stitches are skipping and have an uneven pattern, your needle may either be damaged or the wrong type.

Make sure you choose the right needle size for the density of your fabric; sizes 9 to 11 for lightweight fabrics like chiffon and silk; size 14 for medium weight fabrics like linen and flannel; and sizes 16-18 for heavyweight fabrics like denim.



Most of the complications of your sewing machine can be easily be remedied with the right know-how of parts.

Be meticulous with your maintenance to prevent any problems later on. Care for your machine and clean it regularly while keeping it free from dust and lint.

But when the going gets rough and the machine starts to grind and bang around, it may be time to get a professional to repair it.

Try oiling it but don’t be too eager to tighten/ loosen any bolts that may compromise the machine’s timing.

Keep vigilant and you’ll be able to troubleshoot anything that could lead to a future predicament.

Caring for Your Sewing Machine


A broken needle halts the whole project

Every needle worker’s nightmare is having their fabric stuck midway of a crucial project or the aching snap of a needle in between threads. Of course there are ways to prevent these horrific scenarios from happening (ever again). Preventive maintenance is the key to keeping your sewing machine running smoothly and even quietly. Usually, an odd noise much like a grinding sound is a manifestation of a mechanical problem. Of course with computerized machines, there is a higher risk of a short circuited mother board. But for the basics, here are a few steps to keep your sewing experience a more pleasurable one.

1. Prevent unwanted impurities

Dust and grime can easily enter the inner workings of your beloved machine and can inflict heavy damage over time. It is then vital for every owner to have a cover whether it is a soft wrapping or a hard casing every time the sewing machine is not in use. Also keep the storage and work area spic and span to lessen the chances of dirt trapped within its nuts and bolts.


A cover prevents dust from entering crevices in your machine

 2. Clean your machine regularly

Apart from keeping your sewing machine safe from dust, it is also important to actually clean the contraption. Many experts advise to clean after every use or depending on how often you use the machine. First make sure that the bobbin system is free from any leftover lint from fabrics. These can accumulate and jam the machine after prolonged use. Use a can of compressed air to blow out the lint.

  • Be sure you angle properly so that the lint doesn’t blow further into the machine. A distance of 4 inches from the bobbin is recommended to prevent the formation of moisture.
  • Don’t blow into the machine either. Your breath has enough moisture at one puff to corrode the inside.

Another necessary step in clearing up the crevices of the machine is with a piece of muslin cloth. A dab of sewing machine oil on the cloth is enough to clean between tension disks, race hooks (if removable), and other areas that need oiling. Use a small brush for dusting the feed dog and the around the bobbin system.


Clean crevices with a dab of sewing machine oil on muslin cloth

3. Keep an eye out for your needle

The reason that needles bend and break is because they are either:

  • The wrong type of needle for the project

There are different types of needles compatible with the threads of certain fabrics. Thinner needles are needed to glide through lightweight threads like lace or silk while thicker and sharper needles are required for heavyweight natural fibers such as linen and wool.

  • Have been overused

Seasoned needle workers will recommend changing your needle after every project to prevent them from bending or breaking which can cause worse damage to the fabric.


Make sure you use the right type of needle for your fabric

 4. Use the right bobbin

Wind your bobbin correctly making sure the thread is snugly placed. Any loose or rogue thread can get stuck in the bobbin system and ruin an idealistic project or worse, harm your machine. Also use a bobbin compatible to your machine or one under the same brand that is recommended for your unit’s model. Not all bobbins are universal.


A bit of effort goes a long way. Your sewing machine is your responsibility so it is up to you to keep it running like new with just a few steps before and after use. Oiling, cleaning and protecting your machine from any damage is all part of preventive maintenance. And the better you care for your machine, the less likely it will end up in the repair shop.

  • Note: Always unplug any electrical sewing machines after use, especially with computerized versions as this may lead to some short circuits in the motherboard.


Best Review of the Janome 2212 Sewing Machine

Brief introduction to the review !

When I started sewing, I was overwhelmed with the options at hand.

I had started with a hand-me-down mechanical Singer that predated my existence. But because I wanted to get with the times and take on bigger projects that demanded heavier fabrics. So in my search, I came across computerized models under Singer and Brother that intimidated me with their multiple features.

Although I was tempted by those same features, I decided to choose something more basic like the Janome 2212 Sewing Machine.

Even owners will attest to its effectiveness as seen on Janome sewing machine reviews online and have recommended it to both amateurs and experts.

Janome 2212 Sewing Machine

FEATURES of the Janome 2212 Sewing Machine

  • Has an easy turn dial for pattern selection
  • Built-in with 12 stitches and 4-step button holes to choose from
  • Comes with a dial for stitch width and length adjustment
  • Includes a drop feed for ease of motion when sewing and quilting
  • Features a front loading bobbin system with a push-pull bobbin winder
  • Carries two retractable vertical spools, a free arm and a folding carry handle
  • Installed with a snap on presser foot system, thread cutter and incandescent lamp
  • Compatible with universal needles and a number of branded needles

PROS and CONS of the Janome 2212 Sewing Machine

  • What I Like
  • What I Don't Like

1. Basic operation sewing machine

2. Versatility in projects

3. Easy to spot and clear thread jams

4. Portable and affordable


The Janome 2212 Sewing Machine is the ideal model for all types of sewing aficionados, but is the best recommended machine for amateurs and entry level sewers.

With 12 built-in stitches and 4-step button holes, the model can take on a range of projects from basic sewing to free motion quilting and even decorative stitching.

All in all, the Janome 2212 Sewing Machine is recommended as a go-to apparatus for basic sewing needs. However, advanced sewers may want to consider something with more features to take on more complex projects.