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Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Jamming?

There’s nothing more frustrating than having your sewing machine jam. You gather all the fabric, thread, needles and other items you need to make a great project. You are excited to sit down at the sewing machine and this happens…

Sewing Machine Keeps Jamming

And the moment you press down on the foot pedal, nothing happens but a whirling sound.You may also see the sewing machine do a few stitches before the thread becomes tangled up on the other side of the fabric. Before you throw it out the window, grab a cup of coffee and read along. I promise you will gain your sanity back. 😉

Here are several reasons why you may have a jammed sewing machine on your hands.

Reason #1: No Tension on the Upper Thread

The bobbin isn’t to blame! This is a common misconception when seeing a bunch of thread in a tangled mess underneath the fabric. The problem actually has to do with the tension of the upper thread. Basically, the sewing machine doesn’t have enough upper tension to pull the thread up through the fabric.

When this situation occurs, it is best to re-thread the needle according to the manufacturer’s instructions for your sewing machine with the presser foot lifted up.

Reason #2: There is a Clog Somewhere on Your Machine

Lint and dust can get into your machine while you are sewing dozens of different projects. If you don’t take the time to periodically clean out the gunk, then it starts to build up and gets jammed into the working mechanisms on your sewing machine. You will have to turn off the machine, un-thread it, and give it a good cleaning to remove the lint.

Make sure to brush the lint out or blow it out from the bobbin area with canned air. In addition to getting rid of the built-up lint and dust, you also need to oil the metal machine parts. Cleaning and oiling your machine should be done at least once a month unless you use it more often. Then give your sewing machine an oiling and a cleaning once a week.

Reason #3: The Needle is Broken or Bent

Sewing machines can also jam if there is a problem with the needle. It could be bent or broken, preventing the thread from going through the fabric. Check your seeing machine needle to see if there are any problems with it. If the needle looks fine but it still continues to cause problems, you could be using the wrong type or size needle for the stitch pattern. Also check to make sure you are inserting it the right way.

Reason #4: Feed Dogs are not Properly Moving the Fabric Through the Machine

Fabric jamming in your machine may be caused by the feed dogs. The feed dogs are those tiny teeth along the sewing machine underneath the presser foot as those teeth pull the fabric through when the needle is making stitches.

Lint or debris in the feed dog area can jam the mechanisms preventing them to move. Cleaning out the lint and dirt can free the jam. Then make sure the feed dog is in the raised position so that it can grip the fabric.

Another problem might involve the presser foot being too low against the feed dogs as the fabric isn’t able to move through the machine. Lift the presser foot and make adjustments based on the type of sewing machine that you have to ensure the presser foot is not sitting too low.

Reason #5: Poor Quality Thread May Have Knots or Break Too Much

You get what you pay for when it comes to sewing thread. Buying bargain basement thread may seem like a smart idea for your budget, but the thread can cause a range of different problems with your sewing machine.

Poor quality thread sheds a lot of lint that can get into the working parts of your machine and cause it to jam. The thread may also have tiny knots that can cause jamming when trying to be forced through the fabric. Poor quality thread can also break more often.

Get better quality thread if you have checked the machine, needle, feed dogs, presser foot, and thread tension and can’t find any problems. You will see a world of difference with your sewing machine as it will run better and your projects will look fantastic because you used quality thread.

Brother CS6000i Keeps Jamming: Help!

Brother CS6000i has been my favorite budget friendly machine and I have been recommending this great starter model to beginner seamstress that I teach in class.

However, any good machine has it’s slight bugbears so if you have the Brother CS6000i and experiencing thread jams, this is how to fix it. Please watch the video below.


You can check out my Troubleshooting page for more sewing hacks and quick guides.

24 thoughts on “Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Jamming?”

  1. When I’m sewing the back of the material where all the thread is keeps knotting . I tried re-threading the whole machine including the bobbin.

  2. Josephine mulenga

    Thankyou so much
    Do you have second handmachines to donate.l make facial masks for free to give to the poor to wear during this covid.

  3. I am having trouble with my thread getting stuck in the bobbin area. Everything is threaded properly, the needle comes down, the hook catches the thread but then can only move forward about 1/4 of the way. The thread is getting stuck at this point somewhere. Sometimes, the hook continues for it’s full rotation but the thread stops at the bottom of the bobbin and doesnt complete the rotation. I’ve disassembled, cleaned and oiled the machine which is brand new (was a Christmas gift and I only started using it this week) I have absolutely no idea what may be causing this. It’s a singer machine. Thank you for your time.

  4. My sewing machine is brand new, just arrived and got it out the box today. Which of these is most likely to be the issue?

  5. my needle won’t budge. I’ve removed the bobbin turned power off an on, still won’t budge
    cleaned out some lint in the bobbin area, no luck

  6. Oh my goodness, your advice was the light at the end of my tunnel! Your advice worked! Thank you sooooo much! I’m so looking forward to a sewing project during our shelter in place staycation. XO

  7. I have a singer sewing machine 6180 and it keeps getting jammed and not picking up the bobbin thread. I have cleaned it and oiled it changed the needle and thread.could you please help me.my email is mohinderdhami1950@icloud.com waiting for your reply thanks

  8. Jeanette McCormack

    My Singer 7470 just keeps jamming up the moment I turn it on. It will only show in the window the stich type and etc when the needle is actually in the fabric but the minute I try to sew it jams again ?? I am at my wits end. Have made sure threaded correctly and bobbin is running smoothly just won’t sew?

  9. Hello. What is going on when my machine isn’t cutting the thread and when I pull my sewing (I have to pull) out from under the foot, there are 3 threads attached to my sewing (2 from the upper spool — one that gets pulled down and wrapped on itself for some reason — and one from the bobbin). Any idea what’s going on and how to fix this?

    Thank you!

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  12. I have a Singer Confidence sewing machine. It gets jammed up . I have checked all the options of why it would do that and they all come out nothing. What is wrong with it? I had it serviced a few months ago for this problem and it seemed to have fixed it, but after using it a couple of times it started to do it again.

  13. With your help, I figured out why my machine was jamming! Your step by step instructions and calmness helped me hem four pants of pants tonight. I haven’t touched my Brother machine in over a year. I’m glad I didn’t throw it out and pay the dry cleaners!

    Thank you!!!

  14. Hi, my thread isn’t jamming – it’s coming out of the top needle. So it appears that the top thread is too tight. I’ve rethreaded several times and I see that after running it a bit, it gets stuck in the channel of the thread tension module. Changing the tension nob makes no difference. The only thing I can do is pull it out and rethread the top every time. Any idea what’s going on? Is the thread just bad quality? It’s a brand new machine.

    1. I’m having the same exact problem but I made my sister get me the quality thread….. I don’t know what to do : (

    2. If the thread is getting stuck in the thread tension module, and you are using a Brother CS6000i, I would begin by making sure that your thread is entering this module correctly— I know it sounds obvious, but I have occasionally run my thread through the wrong plastic slot of the machine when threading it, and that might cause this problem. On the other hand, there is also the possibility that your tensioner is jamming the thread for some reason. It might have become bent somehow, for example. If this is the case, you probably won’t be able to figure out the problem without taking the machine apart or bringing it in for servicing. Changing the thread tension knob should make SOME difference in how the machine operates! If it does not, then there is a disconnect between the knob and the tensioner itself. My guess, anyway, three years too late, sorry.

  15. Thank you so much for this video. I was certain something was wrong with my Brother sewing machine until I found this video and followed your instruction. This is my first experience with a computerized sewing machine. Obviously everything has to be set up perfectly. My problem was not having my needle in the correct position while threading it! All is perfect now. I did as you suggested as well… and made a note in my book to go through these steps if it happens again. Again… thank you!!

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