My Sewing Machine Keeps Jamming – 3 tips how to stop thread jam and cotton lock for beginner sewer

– It’s frustrating, right? You’ve just figured out
how to thread the machine, filled your bobbin, got it all going, you start to sew, and it just turns into a big, ugly mess. All the threads are jammed up. They’re all knotted, or they disappear, or just, it’s a disaster. So, you re-thread it, put it all through, think you fixed it, and
it just keeps happening. I know, it’s so frustrating. If we haven’t met yet,
my name is Evelyn Wood, and I help new sewers just like you learn the art of dress making. Now, in this video, I’m going to show you the top three things that
all new sewers can do to help stop thread jamming, so you
can get on with your sewing. (bright orchestral music) My first tip for new sewers to avoid cotton lock and thread
jamming is to actually leave a longer length on your threads. Let me show you. You need a decent amount of
length from your threads here, both your bobbin and your top thread. I see a lot of students cut them off down here, for example, and then they start sewing, and these are too short. As your machine starts turning around, it actually draws those threads back through, into itself, in which then, if you find that your needle thread falls out all the time,
this is probably why. So, you want to make sure
that you pull these out, and leave a good, at least 15 centimeters of length in those tails. Even if your thread cutter cuts them off at a certain length, just give yourself a little bit longer, longer
is better to start with. My second tip to stop
and avoid thread jamming, is to actually hold onto these
tails when you start sewing. So, as I was mentioning, those threads are drawn back into itself
as you begin to sew, if you put a little pressure on these and hold them, it will stop them from tangling up as you begin to sew. As you start sewing, getting in the habit of just putting your finger down here, to put a little pressure on it, as you begin to sew, is
a good habit to get into. My number three tip to
avoid thread jamming and cotton lock, is to actually not start sewing right at the
very edge of your fabric. A lot of new sewers will
actually put their fabric right on the edge, and
the needle will then go down right onto the very,
very tippy edge of the fabric, and that will actually cause the needle to pull down fabric with it. And that can cause all sorts of knotting, and all sorts of jamming. So, what you want to do, start about five mil, or even one or two centimeters would be fine when you’re just learning. Start there, go forward
your two or three stitches, and then, reverse back past
where you started from, so it actually sews up those fabric edges, and then continue to go forward. Because the fabric would
have already locked itself into the fabric, and then you won’t get any knots as you get close to that edge. So those are my top three pieces of advice for all new sewers. They’re the things that I find most commonly not done, and is the reason why most people get that horrible, dreaded cotton lock or thread jamming. So, I hope this video has given you a little advice in your sewing, and you might be able to now avoid those horrible cotton locks and thread jamming that is just so disruptive to your sewing. It is my aim to help you create
your own fabulous fashion, and I hope that I’ve helped
you a little bit today. Now, if you liked this video, do give me a thumbs up, and please leave me a comment below, and tell me which one of these tips
you didn’t know about, or that has helped you the most. And if you’re new to sewing, grab my free five day crash
course to learn to sew. It’s full of tips and tricks on how to use your machine, how to sew fabric, what all the parts are, and you’ll even get to make your first project. So, head onto my website
at evelynwood.com.au, and you can enroll in that
free course there now. So, thanks again for watching, and I will see you in the next video. Bye. (engine roars) We’ll just wait for that plane. Noisy planes. The planes are frustrating. That’s what’s frustrating. All these noise. Don’t they know that I’m trying to film?

Bernard Jenkins


  1. If it were not for you..I was going to lose my #$%^'ing mind!!
    Thank you 😖😲🤗😆

  2. Thank you for this video! Everything you listed made a whole bunch of sense! Going to try the holding the "thread tails" tip! my sewing machine was acting up for the first time in a while and these tips could possibly be my solutions <3

  3. I'm literally one month old into sewing and realised I'm too near the edge. But like Ex-law Enforcement, my bobbin also gets jammed but my machine is brand new so definitely don't need cleaning as yet.

  4. Tip# 4: manually put your needle down before you start sewing (if you dont have a fancy machine that does this for you) to help keep the threads from slipping out or knotting up. 🙂

  5. I saw on U-Tubes a lady who began to sew a piece of white cloth before sewing the real piece! She continue to sew.

  6. I have been guilty of each of those three things at different times. I will definitely be more aware of those tips from now on! Thank you 😊

  7. I think my dad taught me these when I started sewing. I did not even realize them until I watched this. I'm not sure I knew about holding the threads as you start.

  8. Hi. Great tips.
    I'm a newbie quilter. In the quilting world, saving thread is a huge issue, because of the volume of piecing and quilting. Most quilters use "beginners and enders" i.e. a small scrap piece of fabric, A couple of cm long.
    Start your sewing with a "beginner", then introduce your project into the needle. Sew as noirmal.
    Instead of finishing your stitching line with a couple of reverse stitches and pulling out 15cm of wasted thread, introduce the scrap again.

    The ender stays in the machine, and becomes the beginner for your next piece of sewing.
    No wasted thread, no nested threads and fabric.

  9. Thanks for the vid, everything was fine sewing for 7 hours then I changed the thread then it was jamming, so I put a new needle in, took ages to pick up the the thread from below, then it broke 3 needles grrrrrrr

  10. Thanks again from a newbie. You just explained what happened to me on Friday. Now I’ll know better! 😊

  11. this very help me thank you – my favorite tip is holding end of thread and i learn from other video start with your needle down

  12. Great video. I am a quilter so I use leaders and enders which means a piece of fabric is always in the machine

  13. I am far from a new sewer, as I’ve been sewing for 60 years. However, my machine keeps jamming. I already know all of your beginner tips, have retreaded the machine on top and bottom and gave it a good cleaning . Any other ideas?

  14. Not a little advice… It's 100 percent great and useful for me.. I like your smile sister.. Very positive.. Lots of love from Tamilnadu India ..💕💕💕💕💕💕💕

  15. Hi I really love watching you videos. Do you have a video on all the different feet for your machine.

  16. Another tip I've learned from trial and error has to do with the thread spools. I seem to get a more even feed of thread when I have it coming from a tall accessory thread stand, placed BEHIND my machine. Sorta like the way industrial machines are. Some spools are wound straight around the spool, some are wound in a spiral fashion. It's not all the same, and can lead to variation in how the thread twists and pulls off the spool. If there is any jerking or uneven feeding of thread from the spool, or if it gets looped under the spool, or there are little unseen burrs on the edge of the spool, or whatever, that translates to uneven spurts of tension, which leads to inconsistent formation of loops for the hook to catch (down under in the scary bobbin cave), which leads to a snarly mess. I like using my swanky homemade thread stand.

  17. Jamming is what happens to me. I think I shall,attempt sewing again.

  18. Thank you for telling me to lengthen my thread so it doesn't bunch up at the beginning of sewing. Invaluable.

  19. I've been pulling my hair out for the last 2 hours and am going to have to cut new pieces of fabric because of chewed up fabric. The thread kept coming out if the needle etc. If only I had watched this before I started! Given up for tonight as far too frustrated! Will give it ago again using all 3 tips!! Thanks.


  21. Hi, I just discovered your videos. This is the second one I’ve watched and your tips are very helpful because every time I sew, I get threads knotting up. And now I know why and what to do. Two 👍🏼👍🏼

  22. I’m very much new to sewing. These tips were helpful but they don’t apply to the problem I have. When sewing a straight line, I’m fine. However, it’s when I’m using the zig zag stitch that my thread will jam. This happens when I’ve already sewn inches along the seams. Do you have any tips or advice for this?

  23. You’re so helpful!!! I always started at the very edge!!!!

  24. Thankyou thankyou thankyou. So happy to of found the help I needed AND a new creator to watch! <3 Much love

  25. How is it that in 7th grade’s Home Economics class I can sew a pillow and an apron without issues, but at 45 yrs old I can’t manage to see a few squares together to make a quilt without wanting to slit my throat with the seem ripper? I’ve tried all 3 of your recommendations, but unfortunately it’s definitely gotta be operator error at this point! And to think I took up sewing due to being a relaxing and enjoyable hobby! Smh…

  26. #3 was the most helpful!!!! Thank you!!!! Was going out of my mind. Probably didn’t help that I’m also a bit sleep deprived. 😉🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

  27. First off I was threading the bloody thing wrong. And starting at the very edge of the fabric! Soooo extremely helpful! Thank you!!

  28. I have to add that your video was very helpful.. Have been sewing many years and it wasn't until I got a new machine a couple of years ago that I have had so many thread jams. Your tip to lengthen and hold the threads is spot on – that has cured most of my jamming problems. However it still wants to jam up going over bulkier areas (seam intersections, etc). And then also the thread gets cut. Maybe I need to consider a heavier duty machine??? Thanks

  29. It's nearly 11 o'clock at night. I've foolishly decided to teach myself to sew by making my daughters Mary Poppins costume (just the skirt) and it's due tomorrow for the play! Total life saver. Thank you thank you!!and thank heavens for YouTube!!! Just a simple skirt my butt, grumble grumble…

  30. can you please do a video of how to take off the top part of your machine where you loop the thread through the metal wing

  31. Holding both threads fixed my machine. I am going on mysecond week owning a machine, and though my work looks like Godzilla-made, I am pleased as punch. Thank you..you gave the solution after about 35 lessons…

  32. Replacing my needle and oiling up the machine did the trick for me!

  33. My thread entangles when working with water soluble fabric stabiliser only. Can you please help me?

  34. Absolutely all.of these helped me. How ever I'm having a horrible problem on my bobbin double and triple threading and causing my cloth to jam.

  35. When I do my reverse stitch the main thread more often than not would get jammed in the bobbin compartment below. I will try these steps on my next project. Im thinking maybe my threads were too short and I wasn't holding on to them because I had to rethread a few times as well because my thread would come loose. Thanks so much for the tips 🙂

  36. Spot on! This is just whats exactly been happening to me! Thank goodness ma'am! You're heaven sent!

  37. Hello to you. In terms of backwarding the thread when locking it, did you use the reverse thing on the sewing machine? Thanks.

  38. What if your machine doesn't do backstitching? How can you prevent it? Is it okay to start sewing when there is no fabric under the needle?

  39. great tips on preventing jamming. I have the notorious Brother cs-6000, so these tips might just be the ticket. thx.

  40. Wow! Thank you so much! I am sa glad I found your video. Very helpful!

  41. I just thank God for you. I purchased 2 sewing machines and returned them both because I couldn't master them. However, the desire to sew was still in my heart. So two nights ago, I decided to watch sewing videos. I came across one of your videos and became motivated all over again. So I purchased another machine (Singer Simple 337) and began to use it. Once I finally got a hold of somewhat mastering a straight line stitch my machine kept jamming. Here I am now watching your video. My problem was starting my sewing on the edge of the fabric and not holding the strings before I began.
    I hope I can meet you in person one day soon! I've subscribed and set my notifications for all of your videos! Thanks for your help!

  42. Not a beginner but I still found this a helpful reminder of how to avoid a very very frustrating experience! Thanks a bunch!

  43. I’m new to sewing and my top thread keeps breaking and coming out of the needle! Any ideas???

  44. Very helpful especially the part about not beginning right at the edge. I didn't realize I was doing that.

  45. My worst succession of jams was when there was a build-up of fluff in my machine's bobbin race. It eventually drove me to revisit the instruction manual. About half the troubleshooting tips were "XYZ is usually caused by fluff in the bobbin race"!

  46. Was about to toss my machine in complete frustration. I had heard of none of these tips. Thank you so much. Off to check out your website.

  47. Been using sewing machines for years. Keep getting thread jam. Tried re-winding my bobbin thread. Tried re-threading over and over. Tried long tails (Even extra long!) Whilst holding them. Tried changing my needle. Staring in the middle of the fabric. Changing fabric. My machine has been cleaned out countless times in the last 3 days. I can't sew a thing and am going to go insane. 😫

  48. This has helped me. I have been pulling my hair out. I will try these techniques ASAP.

  49. Your tips are great, been seeing quite soon time another tip I use is a scrap of material under the pressure foot move the item up to touch the scrap an that took care of the thread knotting.

  50. Amazing & Thankyou I didn't know any of your Marvellous tips!. Marlene in Australia

  51. I knew but I haven't sewn in years…longer tail (thought mine was long enough but likely wasn't) AND pressure on the tails. I do that with certain projects. Taught hubby to do that (sewing his own martial arts patches). Didn't do it today and gave up.

  52. Thank you, I honestly didn't know any of these tips, I'm going to try them next time I use my machine. I had given up on it because it kept jamming.

  53. And sometimes the needle misses the hook and needs to be adjusted down. This can occur when a bent needle hits hard. Usually you can see if a new needle isn't going down far enough, then you need to adjust it slightly with tools.

  54. The manual handle on the right will not turn towards me. It will only turn away from me. I’ve taken it apart but can’t get the front off and don’t know what is jammed. It’s a singer 1507. Can you help at all??

  55. OMG, It really worked, Bought a machine to make curtains
    for a camper. Started jamming. I did what she said and it really worked. Thanks, almost turned the machine in. first time ever sewed.

  56. Wish I knew your sewing tips 50 years ago, but of course you weren't yet born! Better late than never!

  57. THANK YOU i'm going to try this, almost dopped out sewing because of the thread breaking .


    I’ve had the bobbin thread out and retread the machine 200x


  59. I'm use to a late 1800 sewing machine but it broke. This singer 5560 was driving me nuts. I finley figured out why mine keep locking up. Above the neadle at the neadle housing there is a guide you have to place the thread behind it before going down the neadle. 3 days of being aggravated and it was something simple. Now I'm back in business…good video by the way.

  60. I love you soooo much!!! Thank you for this! This why i keep doing that mistake! Thank you for teaching this!

  61. Brand new to sewing and my top thread is tangling in the bobbin area. Will try these 3 tricks as I wasn't doing any of them. Short Tails, not holding and starting on the edge!!! Guilty!!

  62. Do you (or anyone reading this) have a video about tension? I don't know when I should have it looser or tighter.

  63. Thank you so much! I was so confused as to what was causing the jamming and this fixed my problems!

  64. I'm learning to make underwear, I don't know how to adjust the machine, if I use zigzag, as I have to adjust the machine so that the stitch is the right one, my bovine son gets tangled, I haven't managed to finish a bra that I'm doing. I want to learn how to set my machine. Thank you

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