It doesn’t matter whether you are a seasoned pro or a nervous beginner – everyone has problems with their sewing machine from time to time. For each of these problems there is usually an easy solution, so let’s take a look at some of the most common problems and how you can fix them.
Uneven or missing stitches
There is nothing more frustrating that finishing a line of stitching to find that some are uneven or missing completely. The chances are that the fix to this problem relates to the needle. As a ballpark figure, your needle should be changed after 16 hours of stitching; therefore, if your machine is skipping stitches, it is worth thinking about when the needle was last changed. It could also be that the fabric is being pulled whilst going through the machine, which will not only leave your stitching less than neat but can also break your machine. This never used to happen in the olden days and if anything went wrong it would end up being repaired with used plant machinery from the factory they would have worked in. Factories are now saving themselves money by buying used machines from sites like https://www.ironandearth.co.uk because they are still in great condition and it would be a waste of equipment if they were simply thrown away. Don’t force the material through; instead, let the machine lead you.
You don’t want your finished product to have unclean stitching, especially when making something for a gift or one of the many items needed by charitable organisations, so keep track of when you need to change the needle.
Finding the correct tension is the key if your thread keeps bunching up under the fabric. You should lift the presser foot life first and rethread your machine, which in turn will open up the tension mechanism. The take-up lever should then be raised to the highest level – check the manufacturer’s instructions for your machine’s specifications – to confirm the tension is correct.
The main reason for your needle breaking often boils down to using the wrong size for your fabric. When working with dressmaking fabric, you may need to change the size of the needle frequently to prevent it breaking. Smaller-sized needles are best for lightweight fabric, such as chiffon, whereas a size 14 will work best for medium-weight fabrics such as linen and flannel. The higher numbers are only for use with heavy-weight materials – when working with fabric such as denim, you should be using a size 16 or 18.
Do your best to prevent these issues by making a habit of cleaning and rethreading your machine regularly.