Save My Sewing Machine!

December 6, 2008 @ 5:33 pm | Filed under:

UPDATE: Well, I guess it isn’t all the way broken. I went back and messed with it some more, and broke the needle, and after I replaced it I changed back to the regular foot, and now it’s working again. Maybe Karen (who commented below) had the right idea—the needle was bent or something? I’ll try again with the walking foot another day. This was enough excitement for one afternoon. 😉

All right, you sewing types. I’ve just messed up my machine somehow. It’s a 12-year-old Brother XR-29, decidedly non-fancy. I just put on a walking foot—first time I’ve ever changed the foot. It worked all right for a couple of practice seams, but all of a sudden the needle seemed to get stuck. I tried turning the manual knob on the side of the machine toward me but the needle would only go so far and no farther. I took out the bobbin case and then removed the removable parts that are what the bobbin slides into. (I don’t know the right names for anything and I can’t find the manual. 12 years!)

OK, so looking into the area where the bobbin goes, I can see a curved piece of metal that moves when I turn the knob/wheel on the side of the machine, the one that makes the needle go up and down. And I can see that the needle is now hitting that curved metal piece. There’s a scraped-shiny part on the curved metal piece where you can tell the needle has been scraping across it. But now it’s like the position of the needle (maybe?) has shifted ever so slightly, so that instead of merely scraping along that curved metal piece, it’s hitting the metal and therefore can’t go any farther.

Does any of this gibberish make sense to anyone? What the heck did I do?? More to the point, how do I undo it?

    Related Posts


9 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Karen@Candiddiversions says:

    I had a similar problem once, though I am by no means an accomplished “sew-er”. It turned out my needle was ever so slightly bent and I replaced it.

  2. Sarah N. says:

    Have you tried looking online for a downloadable (is that a word?)manual? I found one for my 1960s era Singer machine.

  3. Toni says:

    When did it last have a tune up? I know my Mom takes hers in at least once a year for one.

  4. Michele Quigley says:


    Changing the needle was definitely the best idea. If it was me I would take all the thread out, blow it out with air, replace the needle and then re-thread the whole thing. This almost always cures the problem.

    Did you know you should change to a new needle frequently? At least with every new project but with bigger ones you might need to do it several times. I didn’t know that for years of sewing but once I learned it and started doing it, my sewing frustrations decreased dramatically.

  5. Michele Quigley says:

    Oh and yes, DO get it tuned up if it hasn’t been done in a while (if ever). They will clean and oil it well and get it in tip top shape. Any vacuum/sewing type place can do it.

  6. Soutenus says:

    I have found these comments to be ever so helpful! I hope your machine is back up and running perfectly!
    Blessings, ya’ll!

  7. Andrea Ross says:

    Argh! Melissa! A machine that’s on the fritz is Sooooo Frustrating! I’ve been there a million times and I’m sending you good sewing-machine vibes.

    The things I’ve learned can help are changing the needle, dusting my always-dirty bobbin compartment, re-threading (looking at the threading diagram, because sometimes I just arbitrarily do something backwords in my haste), making sure the spool of thread is not too close to anything or too far from the machine. I’ve learned that playing with tension is extremely dangerous — but will often do this as a last resort.

    Hope it all works out!

  8. michelle waters says:

    Yes, I was once told any time you’re having a problem, first replace the needle. That’s usually about 95% of the problems…

    Hope it’s still working!

  9. Susan says:

    Caught your comment at and thought I’d pop in and wish WonderBoy a


    Hope he had a great day!