Why Is My Sewing Machine Jamming: 4 Reasons

The answer to why is my sewing machine jamming reveals four potential reasons. We’ll discuss them in more detail and also how you can troubleshoot your machine. Additionally, we’ll teach you how to fix these issues. 

Do you also experience the sewing machine freezing? We discussed a guide on how to unfreeze a sewing machine. Please check our solution to help your device work again.

Why Is My Sewing Machine Jamming


Why Is My Sewing Machine Jamming And How To Fix It


Worn down sewing machine

Know how to service your sewing machine to keep your device from getting worn down and dirty. If the sewing machine accumulates lint, rust, or damages on its parts, it won’t work smoothly and may eventually jam. Therefore, it’s best to slow down its deterioration by keeping it clean and dry to avoid debris buildup or rusting.


Needle issues

Your sewing machine might be jamming because of the needle. It might get stuck or lost within the device, which, of course, affects the unit’s mechanism. When you’re replacing the sewing machine needle, make sure that it won’t get lost within the machine or you’ve installed the new one tightly.


Stuck top thread

A common reason the sewing machine jams is when the top thread gets stuck because the unit is not threaded correctly. It should be easy to identify and fix because you only need to take off the spool and cut off the affected part. Then, tug the thread and take it out of the guide where it might got stuck.


Tricky fabric

Does the sewing machine jam, but only with some fabrics? For example, canvas, denim, leather, or upholstery can be challenging for the sewing machine. Therefore, the sewing machine should be equipped to handle these projects or expect that the needle or presser foot won’t work and the device will jam.


How Do You Fix A Sewing Machine That Keeps Jamming?

  1. Check the thread and rethread your sewing machine to ensure that it goes through the right paths
  2. Check and replace the needle to ensure that it’s not bent or lost
  3. Remove the bobbin, holder, and plate, and brush them gently with a paintbrush to remove the lint and thread buildup
  4. Rewound the bobbin if the thread got tangled and cut off the thread ends that may be protruding on the bobbin
  5. Ensure that your sewing machine setup, including tension and the stitch, are compatible with your project

Why Does My Bobbin Keep Jamming Up?

  • Learn how to install the bobbin correctly because it will cause issues similar to a badly guided top thread 
  • The bobbin on your sewing machine should have enough space in its compartment to keep it from jamming up. 
  • Use the right amount of bobbin thread since a limited length will cause it to get reeled
  • The bobbin tension is crucial to keep the machine working smoothly, so experiment with it until it’s not too tight or too loose.

What Causes A Sewing Machine To Lock Up?

The most common reason a sewing machine gets locked is if thread bunches up in the shuttle race. Therefore, you can prevent a sewing machine from being locked up by maintaining the shuttle race free of lint and debris since they can keep the needle from hooking the thread. If the needle can’t hook the thread, it can get jammed, and the thread will bunch up in the shuttle race. 


How to fix a locked sewing machine

  1. Always check and clean the shuttle race to remove lint and debris in it
  2. If the machine is locked up because of the bunching thread, work the needle out of the shuttle race via the handwheel
  3. Remove the needle from the clamp manually if you can’t work it up and out of the shuttle race
  4. Pull the fabric and remove the bunched thread out of the shuttle race
  5. If the thread keeps bunching up even after cleaning the shuttle race, adjust the needle timing
  6. Consult a technician to synchronize the shuttle hook with the needle using tools 
  7. The technician has special tools to position the needle and loosen the shuttle drive gear set screws to adjust and it, so the needle and shuttle hook get synchronized 

What Tension Should My Sewing Machine Be On?

The tension on your sewing machine is adjustable, and you need to experiment with it according to various situations. For example, if the needle thread is visible underneath the material, the bobbin thread tension can be too strong, and the needle thread tension is too weak. On the other hand, you might see the bobbin thread at the top of the fabric because the needle thread tension is too strong or the bobbin thread is too weak.

You can also check our tutorial on how to replace the tension assembly on a sewing machine for fixing tension-related issues. 



Was this article helpful? To recap why is my sewing machine jamming, it might be from a dirty and worn down machine, issues on the needle, bad threading, or challenging fabric. It should be easy to fix these parts and unjam the machine. 

If you still have any more questions, leave us a comment below or browse our blog for more troubleshooting techniques for the sewing machine.

Leave a Comment