When the Sewing Machine Gods Hate You: What To Do When Your Sewing Machine Breaks

I’m going to disclaimer this whole article by saying that I am in no way a qualified expert (I didn’t even do D&T at GCSE level) I’m speaking here from experience alone and take no responsibility for what happens to your machine 🙂 Oh, and I should also say that these instructions are based on my experiences of MY machine- which is a fairly uncomplicated model- and so you may have to use your own initiative when dealing with your own machine.

my baby sewing machine...

So… as you may or may not have noticed from the last post (no, not the Vera Lynn one- the one before that…) I had a little problem with my sewing machine that required me to don a Rosie the Riveter style headscarf and pick up a screwdriver- okay, so it was a tiny screwdriver- but I still got to look all cool and DIY-y (spellcheck is hating me now) 😉

Four hours of cleaning things and jiggling things and generally trying to work out what the hell was going on later and my sewing machine decided I’d worked hard enough to deserve a reward… and so started working again… I think… I haven’t actually tried changing the bobbin yet (I know it’s going to break again when I do that) but I’m kind of happy for the moment.

So (because for some reason I think that fiddling around with a broken machine for a few hours and getting it to slightly/kind of work gives me the credibility and experience to write this article…) here is the guide of what to do when the sewing machine gods hate you:

  1. Take foot up and remove material.
  2. Ascertain what part of your machine is broken
  3. Stare at part and try to work out what is wrong (yeah, sounding really professional here)
  4. Remove bobbin and thread
  5. Re-thread and… re-bobbin (?!) machine
  6. Try machine again
  7. If machine works then be happy… if machine still does not work then carry on to next step
  8. If British, make cup of tea. Biscuit optional.
  10. Check the ‘troubleshooting’ page of your machine’s instructions manual- check the general parts of the instructions as well to make sure that you’re actually using it right!
  11. If problem is with needle/bobbin area get screwdriver and remove relevant panel (trickier than it sounds- especially when you don’t have a short-handled screwdriver)
  12. Clean out bobbin area (try removing bobbin wheel) and replace bobbin.
  13. Try it again.
  14. If it’s still broken then check out these articles and try wiggling things about in the relevant places: http://home.howstuffworks.com/sewing-machine1.htm or http://materialmama.wordpress.com/2007/02/06/how-a-bobbin-works-and-some-free-pattern-ideas/
  15.  If it’s not the bobbin area check whether it’s A) an electrical problem or B) something else (my expertise shining through once again)
  16. If it’s an electrical problem then you’re kind of screwed and unless you’re trained in those areas or know someone who is you’ll have to take it a proper scary repair person (should read: proper scary EXPENSIVE repair person)
  17. If it’s something else then try google-ing and employing relevantly talented family members/friends to come and look and wiggle things for you- if that fails then you’re on your own.
  18. If proper scary EXPENSIVE repair person can’t fix it then you’re screwed… sorry guys, just being honest there 😛

Remember, always employ common sense when dealing with these things and try to get a second opinion from whoever you have around- even if they’re not an expert, fresh eyes can often help spot something that you’ve just overlooked.

Further Reading:




Best of luck 😀



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