Why Does My Sewing Machine Stop Working Suddenly?

If your sewing machine has stopped working, don’t automatically rush off to the repair shop. You might be able to fix it yourself. There are several possible things that could be preventing your sewing machine from running. Take a look at the following possible causes and the solutions.

Your Motor is Overheated

This is the most likely culprit, especially if you’ve been doing a lot of sewing in the past hour or two. Most sewing machines have an automatic shutoff when they get too hot to prevent permanent damage to the motor. Wait 15 to 30 minutes for it to cool down and see if you can sew again.

Your Upper or Bottom Thread Has Snagged

It’s easy to get a knot in either the top or the bottom thread on your sewing machine, which can jam your sewing machine and prevent it from moving forward. See if you can find the knot and cut it off. Then, rethread your sewing machine and it should work again. This is a common problem if you’re using a thicker thread than usual or if you wound your bobbin by hand. To avoid the problem in the future, always use high quality thread.

Your Bobbin Winder Is Still Engaged

Your sewing machine won’t work if you forget to move the bobbin winder spool pin back to its original position after winding a bobbin. Just move it back and your sewing machine should start working again. Older sewing machines typically have an inner wheel on the handwheel that you loosen to wind a bobbin. It can come loose while you’re sewing and cause your sewing machine to stop working, too. Make sure the handwheel is tight and your sewing machine should work again.

Your Sewing Machine Cord Is Loose

If you leave your sewing machine out on a table for an extended period of time, the cord can come loose. Make sure that it is in all the way and this might fix your problem. Remember that there are two connection points. You have to plug the cord into the wall and into your sewing machine.

Your Sewing Machine Has a Broken Belt

This one is unlikely, but you can check by taking off the back plate of your sewing machine. If you aren’t confident about buying a new belt and putting it on yourself, you’ll have to have a repair shop do it for you.

Hopefully one of these solutions helps you get your sewing machine working again. If not, visit our page on Sewing Machine Troubleshooting for more information and ideas.


  • Lois Palmer


    My sewing machine just stops also. Overheated??? I wonder. I can come back in two hours and stuck in the same spot. Then another two hours and still stuck. Sometimes the next day. Surely even after two hours if it was overheating it would be cooled down. It will eventually start sewing right from where it stopped. No adjustments to anything. I have done numerous searches and found many people have the exact same problem but no one has really been able to tell what causes it. I hope a machine manufacture will read this and give us some more information.

    • Cara Stromness


      That’s frustrating, Lois. I wonder if there’s lint or something inside your machine that’s causing it to overheat. Maybe try unscrewing the shell and using some compressed air to clean everywhere.

      • Lois Palmer


        Fairly new machine. Doesn’t get a lot of use (Mostly because it stops sewing) A lot of people are having this problem according to what I have seen on the web. That doesn’t seem to be the problem. I also changed out my foot peddle. Didn’t help.

        • Cara Stromness


          I’d complain to the manufacturer. Maybe they can replace your machine or fix it.

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