Sewing machines can break from time to time, especially if they are used quite frequently in a commercial environment or even at home. In most cases, frequently used parts such as the bobbin case, bobbin winder, tension disks, balance wheel, the reverse lever will have problems that can be fixed easily.
Is It Worth Repairing A Sewing Machine?
A sewing machine can serve you for many years without breaking down to a state that it’s unusable or unrepairable. Most of the fragile or potentially problematic components are easy to fix making it worthwhile to repair your machine and continue using it until you need to buy a newer model.
Why Repair A Broken Sewing Machine?
You may be experiencing problems with your old or even new sewing machine and wondering if it’s even worth it to have it repaired at all. Well, sewing machines are not cheap, especially the more advanced newer models that can even double up as embroidery machines.
At the same time, it has always been expected that a typical sewing machine should last for many years if well taken care of and repaired. It is for this reason that you will find old antique machines that are still working decades after their manufacturers stopped making them.
There are common problems that may make your sewing machine malfunction or unusable that are easy to repair either at home or in a repair shop near you. Knowing what is wrong with your machine will help you understand how to fix it and how to prevent future breakdowns. In that regard, here are some of the most common problems you might encounter with any modern or old sewing machine and how they can be prevented or rectified.
Ask any experienced tailor or designer about a common problem they experience with their sewing machine and a good number will start with the bobbin. Due to their placement, design, and the type of job they do, bobbins (especially the bobbin casing) will malfunction from time to time and make your sewing machine unusable.
If there is a problem with the bobbin compartment or thread, you will often end up with incomplete stitches, uneven stitches, bunched up thread, or a bent/broken needle in the worst case. A problem with the bobbin case may also cause the machine to make loud grinding noises.
How to Repair a Sewing Machine?
- Bobbin Problems
In most cases, a problem with the bobbin has something to do with either the bobbin itself or the bobbin case. This is usually a simple repair job that you can handle on your own if you are familiar with the inner workings of the bobbin. Start by examining the bobbin itself and check if it’s the right type, size and if it was threaded properly. Also, check if the bobbin is properly fitted and thread is in the bobbin casing.
If the bobbin is looking good and you are still experiencing problems, then you can go ahead and remove the bobbin casing and check if it is bent or missing some parts. A bent bobbin casing will cause all manner of problems with any sewing machine so be sure to do a thorough examination. You can choose to have the bobbin casing repaired or replaced if it has any physical damage to prevent future problems.
While at it, you might also want to check the entire bobbin compartment for any signs of wear or physical damage. This is usually a complex repair job and should be done by a professional with the right tools and expertise. Luckily, there are readily available replacement parts for bobbin compartments for most sewing machines.
It’s always good to clean up any debris and grease that may have accumulated in the bobbin compartment to prevent future problems. Use a piece of cloth and some liquid alcohol to wipe that area clean from time to time. Also, ensure that you are using the recommended bobbin for your sewing machine and that you wind it properly to prevent recurrent problems with the bobbin in general.
- Electrical Problems
Modern sewing machines have some electrical components that may fail or malfunction due to a short circuiting, worn out or corroded copper wires, blown fuses, damaged power cords, etc. Such problems will manifest themselves in different ways such as the power button not working, light indicators not turning on or the machine not turning on. However, electrical problems are the easiest to repair if diagnosed well. You can do the repairs yourself if you know your way around electrical components or have a professional do it for you.
- Problems with The Needle and Threading Components
If you are experiencing problems with the threading mechanism, then you should have the bobbin, spool pin, take up levers, tension controllers, and thread guides checked. Some of the components in the sewing machine’s threading mechanism can break and need to be replaced. For instance, it’s very common to find a machine with a broken spool pin or tension control knob because of how these two components are used.
Repairing the threading components on a sewing machine can be done at a repair shop or home quite easily. To prevent damage, you should ensure that you always thread your machine properly, use the right size needle, and protect the fragile components from physical damage. Also, ensure that you disengage the needle when you are not sewing and replace any bent needle to avoid causing more damage to these components.
- Stuck/ Stiff Hand Wheel
Sometimes, you may find that the handwheel is stuck in one position or too stiff. This usually happens if the internal bearings are clogged with grease or debris. You can have this repaired or open the machine head and see where the handwheel is stuck. For preventive maintenance, it’s always good to oil the internal components from time to time and remove any accumulated grease.
Here are other common but easily repairable sewing machine problems:
- Bent needles
- Damaged needle plates
- Sewing machine stuck on reverse sewing or refusing to sew in reverse
- Broken presser foots
As you can see, all these problems can be fixed with relative ease if diagnosed properly and in good time. With proper care and good preventive maintenance, any good sewing machine can serve you past its warranty period.
How to prevent Electrical problems in a sewing machine
- Make sure that the sewing machine power source is surge protected.
- Use the recommended power cord.
- Do not let moisture or liquids spill on the electrical components.
- Watch out for rats, roaches, and other animals that may damage the electrical wiring in the workshop.
- Perform preventive maintenance at regular intervals) check the power connections, fuses, and other components for signs of physical damage or corrosion).
- Make sure that all the light indicators are working properly. If one of the indicators has suddenly dimmed or died, it could be a sign of a bigger electrical fault that needs to be fixed.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix A Sewing Machine?
Generally, minor repair jobs for a modern or old sewing machine could cost anything from $50 to $150 depending on the components that need to be replaced or repaired. More expensive sewing and embroidery machines may attract fees in the range of $200 to $300, especially if they are any major components that need replacing.
Are Old Sewing Machines Better Than New Ones?
Older sewing machines are generally more robust and tend to last long. This is because of the way they are built and how they operate. However, high-quality modern sewing machines can last as long as their older antique siblings if well maintained. Also note that you might find it harder to find replacement parts for old sewing machines as compared to newer models.