Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Sewing machine needles are designed to move in a zigzag motion back and forth on the fabric.

When you see your sewing machine needle stuck in down position or if it’s jammed, there are several possible reasons that caused it.

Just remember that it’s important that you be careful when doing anything with your sewing machine needle. It’s very delicate.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of those causes and how you can solve the problem by fixing your sewing machine needle when it’s stuck down.



Why is my sewing machine needle stuck?


Before we continue with solutions, let’s identify some of the possible reasons that caused your sewing machine needle to get stuck in down position in the first place:

  • Something got caught between the needle and the fabric, which may have caused it to get stuck.
  • The sewing machine was threaded in reverse so that instead of coming up from below, it went down into the fabric (this is a common mistake!)
  • There’s excess thread on top of your needle that needs to be trimmed off before you start sewing again.
  • The needle was inserted incorrectly into its holder, or the needle was not inserted all the way up.
  • The needle is bent, dull or broken.
  • The bobbin might be split.
  • The sewing machine might have a worn-out timing belt, which could cause the needle thread tension to change or break.
  • One of the most common causes is that you just need to oil your machine again! The oil is what keeps your motor running smoothly for years on end.
  • Your sewing machine needs maintenance and cleaning.
  • There might be lint or burrs on your bobbin or any other part of your machine.

Knowing this reasons, it’s important to be aware that there is no one solution that fixes all of this problems at once.

Each cause has a different solution. The solution of some of these problems are easy and obvious enough, so we’ll be tackling some of the the more complicated ones here.

Let’s discuss some of them.


Something Got Caught Between The Needle and the Fabric


Inspect if there’s anything stuck between the fabric and the needle. Remove it and try sewing again.

If it’s not possible to remove the object, you can turn your sewing machine off then on again… keep trying until all stitches are released from fabric.

In some cases, this is a sign of an old needle that has lost its sharpness or suppleness and needs replacing with a new one.


Sewing machine needle stuck in a down position on a fabric


If The Needle Was Inserted Incorrectly Into Its Holder, Or Is Not All The Way Up…

Then you might need to unscrew and remove your sewing machine foot pedal until only a small part of it remains attached to the sewing machine frame so that you can access everything inside better.

Then insert your needle back into place correctly and turn it clockwise to make sure it’s in tight enough.

Or if this doesn’t work for some reason then use pliers with rubber on them (or something else soft) so as not to scratch anything within your sewing machine and try turning counterclockwise instead of clockwise.


The Needle is Stuck in the Fabric


The needle may have gotten jammed or stuck in the fabric and if so, here are a few things you can do to solve this problem.

One of them is to disengage the sewing machine’s foot pedal so that it won’t sew any more stitches, then gently pull on the thread until you free up your needle.

Make sure not to tug too hard as this will break your needle easily.

If for some reason this step doesn’t work, try turning off power completely by flipping on your sewing machine’s switch OFF before removing all needles from their holders at once with caution–especially if they’re hot!

Lastly make sure when reinserting each individual needle into its holder that you don’t drop it down through where it would get lost.


Someone who's fixing a sewing maching thread that keeps breaking


If the fabric is not the culprit, you should check if the needle has gotten stuck and cannot move completely. You need to take a sharp object, like tweezers or pliers, and gently pry it out of its position.

Be careful not to break the sewing machine needle when doing so!

Removing the sewing machine needle by a magnet can also be very useful if the sewing machine needle broke after many failed attempts to retrieve it.

You can also try cleaning up the hole in which your sewing machine’s needle is inserted into by using an old toothbrush with some warm water on it.

Make sure that you dry off any excess moisture before clicking back in your sewing machine’s needle again into place (you don’t want anything else getting jammed).


The Bobbin Might Be Split or Cracked


If the bobbin is broken, it might cause the needle to get stuck.  It might be the case that a bobbin is not inserted properly or it’s been damaged in some way.

Check for split thread on your sewing machine and make sure that you clean up any excess lint with an old toothbrush before inserting new bobbins.

If there are no signs of spilt thread, then remove and reinsert the needle into place one more time to see if this helps remedy the problem; check again to ensure that all threads are in order afterwards!


A photo of the sewing machine needle part. The bobbin case is transparent.


A List of To-do’s When Your Sewing Machine Needle Is Stuck


Here’s a list of things you can do if your sewing machine needle is stuck for some other reason:

  • Check if your needle has been inserted in its holder properly.
  • Check if you’ve threaded your machine correctly.
  • Check if you’ve threaded the needle correctly.
  • Check if your needle is bent or broken. If so, replace, it immediately.
  • Check if your bobbin is broken in any way.
  • Oil your machine again, if applicable.
  • Clean your sewing machine, if applicable.




The sewing machine needle is a vulnerable part of your sewing machine. It’s prone to many problems and it’s also the cause of many common sewing machine problems.

While many of these common sewing machine problems are easily fixed, it can really be annoying and cause you to just throw your hands up in defeat if you don’t know what to do.

Hopefully this guide has helped you to get through the problem of your sewing machine needle stuck in down position.

Lighten up and happy sewing!



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