How To Fix Sewing Machine Stitches

Know the Problem

Sewing is a skill that requires a certain level of skill and understanding of the stitches that are being used. If the stitches are wrong, the end result will show it. Learning how to fix sewing machine stitches is an important part of becoming a competent sewer. Issues can range from stitches not being formed properly, to the needle hitting the stitching plate, to the tension being wrong. It takes practice and patience to learn how to fix mistakes, but with learning and repetition, it can be done.

Inspect the Machine

Checking the machine itself is a great first step in finding the problem. Make sure the needle is properly inserted and secure. Look at the needle plate and the feed dogs, and make sure they are clean and not damaged. Check the tension on the spool, and make sure that the thread is running smoothly. Make sure the bobbin is sitting properly and that the thread from the needle is joined to the thread from the bobbin.


The only way to figure out exactly what’s wrong with a stitch is to practice. Use different fabrics and needles to test out the stitches. After a few attempts, it might be clear what the issue is. Don’t get discouraged if the stitches aren’t perfect on the first try, and remember that everyone has to start from somewhere.

Change the Needle

If the stitches still look off, it might be worth changing the needle. Different needles are designed to work with different types of fabrics, so they might make all the difference. Take the time to figure out what type of needle is best for the project and make sure that it’s secure.

Check the Tension

The tension could be the issue if the stitches vary in width and length. The tension should be adjusted according to the type of fabric and thread that is being used. If the tension is too loose, the stitches will be too wide and wonky. If the tension is too tight, the stitches will be too small and tight.

Check the Pressure

The feed dogs might be the problem if there is an issue with the thread looping or binding. The pressure of the feed dogs should be adjusted if they are too tight or too loose. Too much pressure will make the fabric pucker, whereas too little pressure won’t pull the fabric through the machine.

Practice Different Stitches

Try out different types of stitches like zig zag, straight, and stretch stitches. Get a feel of how they all work differently and how they need to be adjusted accordingly. With enough practice, it should be easy to know how to fix sewing machine stitches.

Know When to Seek Help

Sometimes it might be impossible to figure out what the issue with the stitches is. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from someone who’s more experienced in sewing. They would be able to assess the situation and tell you why the stitches are off and how to fix it.

Check Your Tools

Make sure that the tools you’re using are in good condition. If the scissors or the seam ripper is blunt, then it can cause the fabric to fray or make it difficult to cut the threads accurately. Investing in the right tools makes a huge difference in the quality of the stitches.

What Fabrics to Choose

Different fabrics need different needles, threads, and tensions. Before starting a project, it’s important to make sure that the right tools and settings are used. Natural fibers such as cotton, linen, and silk need to be treated with extra care, as they can be easily damaged or stretched out of shape.

Understand the Thread

Take the time to understand the type of thread that’s being used. Different types of thread (cotton, polyester, and rayon) have different diameters and stretch differently. If the wrong type of thread is used, the stitches will not be as secure and the fabric might unravel.

Adjust the Pressure Foot

The pressure foot pressure should also be adjusted according to the type of fabric being used. If the pressure is too strong, it can cause the fabric to fold and pucker, whereas if it’s too light, it might be difficult to feed the fabric through the machine. It takes practice to get a feel of how these settings should be adjusted.

Adjust the Needle Position

Finally, make sure that the needle is positioned correctly. The needle should be centered when it’s in the middle of the stitch and should be adjusted according to the type of stitch that’s being created. If the needle position is off, the stitches will not form properly and will easily cause the fabric to come undone.

Read the Manual

Before attempting to fix sewing machine stitches, it’s important to have a good idea of how the machine works. It is essential to read the manual and get familiar with the safety measures that are required before starting the project. Understanding the different parts of the machine and the instructions will help diagnose any issues that occur.

Take Care of Your Seams

It’s also important to take care of the seams and stitches that have already been created. Make sure that the edges are finished, so the fabric will not fray, and that the seams are pressed correctly. Improper pressing can make the fabric wrinkled and difficult to work with.

Store the Machine Properly

If the machine is not being used, make sure to clean it thoroughly and store it correctly. Make sure that all the parts are oiled and that the machine is covered and kept away from dust. Taking care of the machine will keep it in good condition and extend its life.

Be Diligent

Finally, be diligent when it comes to caring for the machine and ensuring that the stitches are done correctly. Sewing requires focus and patience, and by taking the time to understand the basics, one can confidently fix sewing machine stitches.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

Leave a Comment