Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Jamming?

Last Update On: December 18, 2020 // Article Written By:

If you sew fabrics on a regular basis, then you know that sewing machines face a lot of problems. And one of the most dramatic issues of the sewing machine is that it keeps jamming.

It’s one of the most common problems that a sewing machine face. We have talked to a lot of sewers who have complained that their sewing machines keep getting jammed.

Since you’ve clicked on this article, it’s safe to assume that you’re asking yourself, “Why does my sewing machine keep jamming?” Well, we are here to answer that question and provide solutions to this problem.

So, let’s begin.

Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Jamming

Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Jamming?

While stitching fabric using your sewing machine sometimes gets jammed and the most likely cause of that is the small teeth that move under the fabric underneath the sewing machine’s needle.

These teeth are known as feed dogs. If you’re using feed dogs that are lower than average or if it contains any debris on it, then it’s highly likely that your sewing machine will get jammed.

The same problem could also take place if you use a presser foot that is too low. This will make it impossible for the fabric to go through the machine.

How to troubleshoot a sewing machine that keeps jamming?

You can check two things in order to determine the reason why your sewing machine keeps jamming. And they are as follows:

  1. Thread the machine properly. It may sound a bit obvious but most of the time we miss a step while threading if we aren’t careful. Make sure the thread has been placed correctly between the tension disks.
  2. Do the same for your bobbin. If the bobbin is not wound properly that could cause issues.

If the thread and the bobbin are properly placed, then check the tension. Keep the machine threaded and raise your pressure foot. Now pull the thread. If everything is alright, then the thread will flow smoothly.

If you feel the thread is giving too much resistance that will indicate that the machine is jammed.

What’s Causing Your Sewing Machine to Jam?

The sewing machine functions by running two separate threads through a piece of fabric. And that one of those threads comes from a spool and goes through a needle. And another one is pulled from a bobbin.

As the needle goes through the fabric, it takes the thread with it. And then it creates a loop with the thread, which locks the pieces of fabric together.

The problem here is that this mechanism is quite complex and it’s prone to errors. This is why it’s quite common for a sewing machine to get jammed, causing frustration to a lot of users.

Sometimes it’s hard to pin down the cause of the issue. However, we’re listing some of the most common causes of this problem. Those causes are given below:

Bog Standard Threads:

Your sewing machine is at risk of getting jammed if you buy cheap threads that have horrible quality. You have to be careful while shopping for threads. That’s because most of the threads in the market are made with cheap materials and they have poor quality.

These threads shed a large amount of lint. This lint gets into the various parts of the sewing machine, which in turn causes it to get jammed.

  • Incorrect Threading

Whenever some threads get tangled up, most users just blame the bobbin. But that’s not always the cause of it. If you don’t properly thread the machine, your machine won’t work accurately and it will be at a high risk of jamming.

Most tailors make the mistake of threading the sewing machine while having the pressure feet down. This makes the disks get tighter than usual and it prevents the thread from getting placed properly.

  • Clog in the System

It’s quite common to get lint or dust on your sewing machine. This occurs frequently if you’re dealing with a large amount of fabric. And most of us forget to thoroughly clean the machine and our workspace after finishing our projects.

This causes the machine to clog and that in turn makes the machine jam. You should remember the fact that jamming has severe consequences for your machine. Every time your sewing machine jams, it gets damaged in the process. And so, make sure you clean everything up after sewing.

  • Skipping Stitches

If you use the incorrect type of needle while sewing the fabric, the needle will skip stitches frequently. And that will cause the sewing machine to get jammed.

If you’re having to change the needle very often while sewing, that’s an indication that you’re using the wrong kind of needle for your task. So, please do your research regarding which type of needle you should be using.

Top 9 Solutions for Stopping Your Sewing Machine from Jamming

In our experience, there isn’t any single reason why your sewing machine keeps jamming. There can be a myriad of reasons behind such an event. You just have to solve this issue by a process of elimination.

And so, now we will discuss 10 solutions to this problem and you’ll have to figure out which one applies to you.

  1. The biggest reason for thread jam is operator error. We know that you might not want to hear this, but you’re probably holding onto the threads while sewing. You have to hold the threads while sewing and make sure you leave a bit of length while cutting the threads.
  2. Next, you have to rethread the top thread of your sewing machine. If the thread is not inside the tension discs, then it could lead to jamming. And so, try to rethread the top thread.
  3. If you’ve rethreaded your top thread, and it’s still not working, you should re-insert the bobbin. Pull the bobbin out completely and re-insert it into the machine.
  4. Next, you should try to use a new needle. You would be surprised to learn that just changing your needle can solve so many stitching related issues.
  5. Try your sewing machine on a plain and smooth fabric. This will help you determine whether or not your machine is working properly or not.
  6. If you’re still having issues with sewing, it’s time for you to clean the sewing machine especially the bobbin area. Remember, this is the biggest and most likely cause of this issue. Pull the bobbin out and then the case. After that take the metal part out and clean that area.
  7. So, you’ve cleaned your machine and it’s still jammed. What to do? Well, you could try buying a new thread and trying it out. Sometimes we buy the wrong type of thread and that can cause problems while sewing.
  8. Next, you should also try changing the bobbin. Your thread could get jammed if you’re using the incorrect type of bobbin. Let’s say your machine requires metal bobbins and you’re using a plastic one. That can sometimes cause issues. So double-check if you have the right bobbins for your sewing machine.
  9. If all else fails, it’s time to get professional help. If you’ve done the steps given above, then you’ve basically exhausted all of your options. And that could mean that the issue is serious and you cannot solve it at home. So, it’s time to get your sewing machine serviced and let the professionals do their thing.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why Does My Thread Keep Jamming?

If the tension of the thread gets too loose or too tight that could cause your thread to jam. So, you must manually adjust the thread’s tension. This could also happen if the needle size or the thread size is not compatible with the fabric.

Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Bunching?

Several factors could cause your sewing machine to bunch. And those reasons could be that you’re using a dull needle or you haven’t threaded the machine properly and so on. You can solve this problem by placing the bobbin properly.

How do I stop my sewing machine from bunching?

At first, change the needle in your sewing machine and then check to see if the bobbin is placed correctly. After that re-thread the top part of the machine.

Why does my thread keep getting caught in the bobbin?

This problem can occur if the thread tension of the bobbin is too tight. You can solve this issue by ensuring that the bobbin case remains in the bobbin holder properly.

What tension should I use for thick fabric?

As a general rule of thumb, you should keep the tension of your bobbin at 4 or 5 for sewing thick fabric. That’s because thicker fabric requires more tension than thin fabrics.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned-tailor, it’s highly likely that you’ll have to face your sewing machine getting jammed at one point or the other. Look, we know it can get really frustrating.

However, now you don’t have to ask yourself “Why does my sewing machine keep jamming?” By following the steps, we have mentioned above you can easily troubleshoot the reason behind the problem and solve the issue using the tips and tricks we have mentioned.

About Haven Erdman Website Author

About Haven Erdman

Hi there, this is Haven Erdman, the owner, and editor-in-chief of the “sewing associate” website. I am a full-time businessman who owns several sewing shops. I started my sewing journey from home when I was 19 years old. Apart from the businesses, I am a passionate writer who has featured in several fashion blogs. I love to share my experience in the industry with others through writing.

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