How To Fix A Thread Jam On A Sewing Machine?

If you own a sewing machine, a thread jam is one of the most common problems you’re likely to face while using it. Luckily, you don’t have to press the panic button just yet. I’ve had thread jam issues on my sewing machine before, and I’ll be sharing how I easily fix mine in this article.

How to fix thread jams on a sewing machine?

fix thread jams on a sewing machine

Gently pull off the fabric you tried sewing on your machine and proceed to remove the jammed thread. To remove the jammed thread, you may have to take off some parts of your machine like the bobbin and throat plate. Ensure you take off enough parts to enable you to remove all of the jammed thread in your sewing machine. Inspect the machine to see that nothing is out of place then fix back any machine parts you took off and the machine should be good to use again.

Thread jams don’t just happen, there’s probably an issue with your threading and while you can fix your jammed thread real quick, you need to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Hence, there is a need to identify the possible causes of the thread jam in your sewing machine.

Fixing a Jammed Sewing Machine

Once your sewing machine is jammed, it is important to approach the situation with caution and a cool head. What you want to do at that moment is access the machine to see if there’s anything wrong with the setup. Is your sewing machine well set to accommodate the type of sewing you’re trying to do? Whether you’re doing a zigzag or free-motion quilting, different sewing types will require you to set up your machine in a certain way.

You should also check your needle and ensure it isn’t bent, the slightest of bends can cause a thread jam in your machine. Other parts that needs checking include thread type, holder, and tension. Lastly, check your sewing machine’s settings to ensure you have the correct presser foot.

Once you’re sure everything is as it should be, the next step is to rethread your sewing machine. This time, make sure the machine’s presser foot is facing upwards to open the tension discs effectively. This way, the thread falls between the opened tension discs allowing you to get the right tension when you start sewing. Tension problems that could create thread catapillar or big thread knots on your project can be avoided when you thread with the presser foot facing up.

Once you have threaded your sewing machine and refixed all the parts you pulled out while trying to get it fixed, your machine should be ready to use again.

Common Reasons why Sewing Machines Jam

A jammed sewing machine will slow you down when you’re trying to finish a project quickly. It could get even more frustrating when it happens often. It is, therefore, important that you identify the problems that can cause a thread jam so you can fix it quickly and prevent future occurrence. Below are the most common causes of thread jams on sewing machines.

  • A Clog in Your Sewing Machine: As you sew different clothes, chances are that dust and lint can get into your machine. Unless you regularly take out the time to clean the gunk accumulation in your machine, lint and dirt can jam your sewing machine’s working mechanism. You can clean out the lint in your sewing machine with canned air or simply brush it off. You would want to focus on the bobbin area as this is where most of the gunk accumulates in. If you use your machine regularly, you should look to clean and oil its parts frequently. Even if you don’t regularly sew, a monthly clean up and oiling will do you and your sewing machine a world of good.
  • Lack of Tension on the Upper Thread: When big thread knots appear at the back of the project, most people erroneously believe this is a problem caused by the bobbin. In truth, it’s all about the upper thread’s tension. A lack of tension on the upper thread means your sewing machine is unable to pull the thread through the fabric. This problem can be solved by rethreading the machine with the presser foot facing upwards.

sewing machine Broken Needle

  • The Needle May be Broken: Sewing machines could be jammed if the needle is broken or bent. When the needle is ruined, the thread is unable to go through the fabric. After 10 hours of stitching, you should look to replace your needle as it’s probably too weak to stay on. The minute you suspect that your needle is bent or broken, you should stop working immediately and replace it. If you do replace your needle and the problem persist, it could be that you’re using the wrong needle size or you haven’t fixed it properly. Hence, you should doublecheck to see that you’re using the right needle size or reattach it if it wasn’t properly fixed.
  • Problem With the Feed Dog: The feed dogs are tinny teeth located under the presser foot. They help pull your fabric through as the needle makes stitches. When there is dirt in the feed dog, the sewing machine’s mechanism is affected as the feed dog’s movement is obstructed. To fix this problem, simply clean out the dirt on the feed dog and ensure it is raised upwards to enable it to hold the fabric properly. Another issue that could arise from the feed dog is when it is unable to move the fabric because it’s held too tightly. To fix this problem, you need to reduce the amount of pressure on your machine’s presser foot.
  • Quality of Thread: It is true that we all could use a good bargain sometimes, but the quality of thread you use in your sewing machine should never be compromised. Low-quality thread brings several problems that you would want to avoid. They could bring in lint into your machine and as I earlier mentioned, lint can jam your machine’s mechanism. Also, low-quality threads can easily break or form little knots that could cause problems as you begin to sew. It is, therefore, important to always buy top quality threads to ensure you don’t encounter a thread jam while trying to work on an important project.

When I can’t fix my Machine

It is true that the information on this article can walk you through fixing your sewing machine when it’s jammed, but there’s always that little chance that you’re unable to fix it no matter how religiously you follow the instructions. In that case, you need to step away from your sewing machine to avoid inflicting more damage as you mishandle it. The best option at this point is to call a professional to come to fix your machine.

I understand that this might not sit well with you as you’re trying to find a quick resolution that won’t cost you money. Yet, you have to consider the fact that forcing things can do real damage to your machine and cause you to pay far more to repair or replace.

Related Questions

Do I need a professional to fix my sewing machine?

Do I need a professional to fix my sewing machine?

If the problem is minor, there’s no reason why you can’t fix the sewing machine on your own. That said, certain problems are beyond oiling or cleaning, and in that case, you will need the services of a professional.

How often should I service my sewing machine?

servicing sewing machine

You can do personal servicing on your own once every month if you use your machine once every week. If your machine takes on a lot of projects in a week, you may want to oil and clean it every two weeks. However, you should always look to hire a professional to service your machine once every year.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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