DIY: Fix a Broken Sewing Machine
Through my recent experience of dealing with what seemed like a problematic sewing machine, I want to help others who may be having similar problems with their machines. It can be frustrating to have a sewing machine that one minute is working fine and the next minute about as useful as a pile of plastic and scrap metal. It is a Singer Ingenuity, that I purchased used but according to the owner, in great running condition. I got it home and tried it out and it seemed to work just fine. After that it sat for a few months (typical me) until I was working on a particular craft and I needed it. I dusted it off, plugged it in and start sewing. It started out running fine, but not for long.
In my case, it was one kind of big problem and then many smaller ones to follow which turned out to be more me than the machine. Luckily, I was able to figure it out and didn't have to actually take it in but I purchased this machine used so I should have already taken it in to begin with to make sure everything was in running order. It is definitely going to the shop soon for a check up.
Below are the problems I encountered, and what I did to fix each problem. I have to admit it really wasn't the sewing machine that was causing most the problems, I was causing the problems because I wasn't doing things the correctly. Sometimes that's all it takes for the machine to seem broken. . I am still learning how everything works with this particular machine, it seems very finicky but on top of that, I haven't used a sewing machine in years!
Locked Up Sewing Machine
So I was sewing along and all the sudden I hear a loud "clunk", three beeps and then a humming sound and the needle had stopped moving. It was positioned almost all the way down. I gently pushed the foot pedal again and nothing, just a loud hum. It seemed it may have been something below in the bobbin area but the first thing I did was turn the hand wheel both forward and backward slightly and somehow that loosened it and it became unstuck! I didn't know what happened, but I was happy that I had apparently fixed the problem so I started sewing again. About one minute of perfect stitches later, I hear the loud "clunk", three beeps and a humming sound with the needle not moving. So, I turn the hand wheel again, but with no luck. It was completely stuck this time.
After I saw it was not going to budge, I wanted to look under where the bobbin was but since the needle was stuck close to the bobbin case, I had to take it out in order to get under where the bobbin was. I took the bobbin out and everything was fine there, no tangles and everything was in place. Put the bobbin back in and examined the needle, it was fine. I checked the instruction manual for the sewing machine and looked for solutions online but any solutions I found were not the solution to this problem. I knew I had to take the cover off.
I finally took the cover off and while looking inside the machine at all the moving parts, I turned the hand wheel forward and backwards like before when I unlocked it the first time. Right off, I noticed that the "thread take up" was not in it's normal position. It was positioned back, inside the motor. stuck somehow. I carefully worked with it, while turning the hand wheel at times and eventually freed it and got it back to it's normal position which freed the sewing machine again. I still didn't know if it was truly fixed but I went ahead and re-threaded the machine and to my surprise, it was working fine but I went ahead and left the cover off, just so that I could see how things worked inside during the sewing process.
Looking inside this machine, I was completely amazed by all of its moving parts! I realized how important it is for all of these things to work in sync and just how easy it may be to knock it off balance. I also understand much better now why it is important to keep sewing machines oiled and why that helps them to run better. Although, the machine was sewing okay since the thread take up was freed, I felt apprehensive because I knew something had to be going on for that to happen in the first place so I proceeded with caution.
Bobbin Wouldn't Wind Correctly
As I was sitting there sewing and thinking about how glad I was that the machine was not locked up anymore, I knew the bobbin would need to be wound with new thread soon. After sewing for a bit, I stopped and took the bobbin out and put it on the bobbin winder shaft to wind some more thread onto it. I did everything I did before except when I was winding it this time the thread was very messy and loose around the bobbin. When I did it before, the thread wound onto the bobbin very neat. I tried it a couple more times but it was still messy, I became discouraged because it wasn't working right and I was wasting so much thread. I eventually figured out that I did not thread the bobbin correctly...Duh! I felt so silly. Instead of putting the thread around the the guides so it would have the proper tension to wind correctly, I was winding it straight from the spool. Not a good way to do it.. at all! Once I threaded it correctly, it worked great again. The bobbin was neatly full.
Machine Is Going But Needle Won't Move
So, glad that I had the bobbin full again and after re-threading the needle and all that jazz, I was ready to start sewing again. I got my material in place, put the pressure foot down, went to push the foot petal and NOTHING- the needle would NOT move! The machine was going, and everything was moving internally but the needle and feeder were not moving at all. I took the pressure foot up and back down again, re-adjusted things, tinkered with the hand wheel but it just would NOT move. I was about ready to pull my hair out and then it occurred to me that after I was finished winding the bobbin, I did not move the bobbin winder shaft back to it's normal position, which was back to the left. Problem fixed but my nerves were frayed. It was time to retire the machine for the day.
Thread Kept Breaking and Coming Out of the Needle
The next day, being cautiously optimistic, I sat down at the machine to sew. Everything was threaded and ready to go. I started to sew and everything seemed to be going fine until I checked my work and there was no stitch, even though the needle was moving. I saw that the thread had come out of the needle and I also noticed some thread was tangled around in the bobbin area. I didn't know what happened but I re-threaded the needle and bobbin and told myself I needed to pay more attention. I really thought it was just a fluke until soon after, I noticed there was no thread in the needle again! It was then that I realized the thread was breaking and there was a problem somewhere. I finally figured out that I had it threaded wrong, It was a minor detail but it was enough to cause the thread to break. I also noticed this particular metal part I was running the thread around needed to be up and it was pushed down. In the manual, it did not indicate it was supposed to be in that down position so I tightened the screw and the metal part stayed in place. So I re-threaded the needle and everything seemed to work fine from there.
Finally.... I Think It's Going to be OK
After this couple of days, I wondered if it was meant for me to sew with this machine. After those initial problems, it seems to be doing okay but I still do not know exactly why the thread take up got stuck inside the machine. For safe measure, I'm going to take it to a sewing machine shop. I still feel like something is not quite right.
I learned that when it comes to sewing machines (at least this one) if you have anything out of place, it's not going to work properly. You really have to pay attention to the details and do everything the correct way. I think these things could happen with any sewing machine, so I hope that this hub is helpful for others.
If your machine isn't working properly, check the small stuff first. It may not be anything major, sometimes it's just a matter of having it properly threaded or pushing a lever to the left or right. If you purchased a used machine, it is a smart move to go and get it checked out before you start sewing with it to make sure everything is in good running condition. I should have done that first thing but better late than never, I guess. I am going to update this hub after I take my sewing machine in and learn if there were any problems.