Table of Contents

Sew It Works! Essential Guide to Sewing Machine Repair is an e-book in PDF form that you can download instantly for $19.95. It includes 10 chapters that walk you through the full spectrum of home sewing machine maintenance and repair, going into greater detail on many of the topics found in this website. To view the table of contents and see a list of problems addressed in the guide, click on one of the pages below

Page 1 of the Table of Contents Page 2 of Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Find Your Instruction Manual

A list of resources for obtaining free or low-cost instruction manuals for machines from over 20 manufacturers, including Bernina, Brother, Consew, Elna, Euro-Pro, Janome, Juki, Kenmore, Necchi, Pfaff, Reliable, Riccar, Sailrite, Sew Pro, Simplicity, Singer, Thompson, Toyota, Viking-Husqvarna, White, and Yamata. Also includes a list of websites for several discount sewing machine manual retailers.

Chapter 2: Parts of a Machine

A diagram and glossary to help you identify the parts of your machine as they are commonly described in Sew It Works! and many instruction manuals.

Chapter 3: Tools to Use

A photo glossary of the tools most frequently needed for sewing machine repairs and maintenance.

Chapter 4: Needle, Thread, and Fabric Guide

A surprising number of sewing machine problems start with the wrong choice of thread or needles for a project. This comprehensive overview helps you understand how different types of needles and thread impact your sewing, and provides a needle-thread-fabric matrix to help you select the best supplies for your project.

Chapter 5: Problem Solver

Over 35 pages of step-by-step instructions to help you diagnose and solve a wide array of sewing machine problems. This chapter helps you identify your problem based on the symptoms you see, smell, hear, or feel, then walks you through a variety of possible solutions, beginning with the easiest to fix first. That way, you don’t waste time on repairs you don’t need. Specific topics covered include:

  • bobbin winding problems
  • fabric not feeding correctly
  • fabric puckering or bunching
  • machine running slow
  • machine not running at all
  • machine smells and/or feels hot
  • machine stopping suddenly
  • machine not stopping
  • machine sewing backwards
  • needle breaking
  • needle hitting the needle/throat plate, bobbin, or shuttle
  • needle coming unthreaded
  • needle not moving
  • needle not picking up bottom thread
  • noises
  • stitching problems (bottom thread bunching/looping; threads pulling out easily; stitches looking wobbly or uneven; skipped stitches; machine making no stitches)
  • thread breaking (top thread and lower thread breaks)
  • thread jams

Chapter 6: Tension

An overview of how tension systems work plus ways to adjust tension mechanisms and solve the most common tension-related problems.

Chapter 7: Timing

Timing is one of the most feared sewing machine problems, but also one of the most over-diagnosed. This chapter opens with a simple test you can perform to verify whether you actually have a timing problem, followed by detailed instructions on how to adjust the timing for the hook, needle bar, and feed dog mechanisms on a variety of machines.

Chapter 8: Maintaining Your Machine

Tips and instructions on how to perform routine cleanings and deeper scrubs to keep your machine functioning at its peak.

Chapter 9: Ordering Parts

Guidance on how to order parts when something must be replaced, including links and contact information for several good parts distributors.

Chapter 10: For Further Learning

A list of helpful resources for diagnosing unique problems, learning more about sewing machine repair, or exploring the history of the sewing machine industry.