Sewing Machine Reverse Stitch Problem (Loose, Stuck…)

The reverse stitch feature is not universal. Some sewing machines can only sew forward and never can go back. This is a minor inconvenience except when your machine has the reverse stitch and it does not function correctly.

This is supposed to be a rare occurrence, but the reverse lever or push button can get stuck when a loose piece of thread of some lint gets inside and blocks the button’s operation. A good cleaning will help take care of that problem and keep it from happening again.

To learn more about the reverse stitch problem, just continue to read our article. It lists some of the issues you may face and some solutions to help you out. take a few minutes to see if these solutions will help you when your reverse stitch lever malfunctions.

Why is My Reverse Stitch Loose?


When you start to see loose stitches forming, there may be a problem with the mechanics of the machine. It is not a tension problem all the time and before you have your sewing machine taken apart, check the tension first. Always go to the simple sources before doing a major repair.

If it is not the tension then it is possibly the timing. If the timing goes out, the sewing machine will not sew as you have come to expect. The sewing machine is a very precise machine that needs all of its parts to act as they are designed.

When the timing goes out, those parts’ behavior can be off and mess up everything. Checking the timing is the realm of the qualified repairman. Then you may have the wrong needle or thread in your machine.

Not the wrong but the wrong needle and thread for the fabric you are working on. The thread should be the same in the bobbin or you may end up with uneven stitches, even when you are sewing in reverse. Finally, you may have forgotten to clean your sewing machine and a dirty machine will affect your stitch results.

Reverse Stitch Button Not Working


There are several good, legitimate reasons why this situation will arise. It is not necessarily the fault of a dirty machine but it can be one source, even though that may be a rare happening.

The worst news is that the lever or button has broken on you. When that happens the machine will not sew in reverse or will stay in reverse until you get it fixed. But there is even worse news when this situation arises.

It could be that the spring operating the lever got bent somehow. When that happens, you won’t be able to change direction. We call it worse news because it is a complicated repair and you will need the services of the repairman to get it done.

On newer sewing machines there is a feature called the automatic lockstitch. If you left that feature on or selected it to do a nice stitch pattern, the machine will not sew in reverse. You have to change your stitch selection to a regular stitch pattern in order to go in the opposite direction.

Finally, check your stitch length. If it is set to 0 you won’t be able to sew in either direction and if the length is too short you won’t be able to sew in reverse.

How to Fix Sewing Machine Stuck in Reverse


The first solution would be to check the machine and see if it is dirty and some grime, lint, or other obstruction has impeded the operation of your sewing machine. A good cleaning always helps this problem as well as every other problem your sewing machine may encounter.

Next, you need to check the spring on the backstitch or reverse lever. If it is broken, it needs to be replaced. If it is merely bent a little then you can try to have someone bend it back to its original shape. If it is bent a lot, then replace it as straightening it out may not solve the problem.

There is the possibility that some of the oil or grease used to lubricate your machine dried up a bit. If that is the case, simply take your handheld hairdryer and heat up the button or lever for a few minutes.

This should melt the oil or grease and the lever or button should come unstuck. Be forewarned, the hairdryer trick only works for older mechanical sewing machines. The newer machines have a complicated design and it is best to let the approved repairman handle the repair.

Janome Reverse Stitch Not Working


If the button makes a click but the feed dogs are not moving in reverse, then the problem will be a broken part inside the machine. Unfortunately, this is not something you can fix at home. You should go to a repairman with Janome training to make sure the repair is done right.

Then, if you are using a MyStyle 5072LE the oiling point labeled E in the manual often gets stuck with oil and lint, etc. The reason the E oiling point is highlighted here is that it is the oiling point for the reverse mechanism.

When it gets gummed up, a good cleaning is needed but you should use mineral spirits to get that oil off the mechanism and then replace it with new oil. For the 4623le the mechanism may just be jammed a little.

It happens and if you do not want to handle the repair yourself, take the machine to your repairman. But give it a go first since it just needs a little cleaning. There is a possibility that a part may be broken so sending it off to the repair shop may be more beneficial as the experts will see what is wrong and fix the problem.

Kenmore Reverse Stitch Not Working


You will find that many different brands of sewing machines have many problems in common. A machine not sewing in reverse is one of those problems all sewing machine shave at some time or other and one of the main culprits is that there is lint, etc., jamming the mechanism.

All you have to do is check your machine to see if it requires cleaning and if it is make sure to clean the reverse mechanism thoroughly. or you may have a broken gear. If that is the problem you have no choice but have to take the machine to a Kenmore experienced repairman.

One reason we get brand-specific is that those repairmen often have access to the detailed service manuals produced by each brand. They are published for repairman only. The brand-specific repairman has better information and can diagnosis the issue very quickly.

Also, check your stitch length and the stitch length controller. Something may have gone wrong there and if so, that may stop your Kenmore from sewing in reverse. The spring that helps control the reverse mechanism may be bent or broken as well. If so, call your trusted repairman to fix it.

Brother Sewing Machine Reverse Stitch not Working


This brand of sewing machine has several web pages listing potential problems when their sewing machines do not sew in reverse. One page says the standard items we have already talked about-- dirty area or lint under the stitch plate; the stitch length is too short; and the stitch pattern you selected doesn't allow for reverse stitching.

Their web pages also state that if these issues are not causing the problem, then you should take your machine to the nearest Brother-approved repairman and let them fix your sewing machine for you.

Another reason the reverse stitch function may not work is that you did not hold the reverse button down for the first 3 to 5 stitches. If the button is stuck, turn your machine off and then hold the button down for 3 to 5 seconds before turning the machine back on. Then test to see if the machine will go forward or not.

Another problem is that you will have to remove the bobbin and clean out that area if it is dirty. If the area is not dirty just re-install the bobbin and look for another source. If it is a mechanical problem, let the repairman deal with it.

Some Final Words

No matter which brand of sewing machine you have, the reverse feature will have common problems. If you look for the simple, common problems first, then your repair may only take a short time and you can get back to sewing quicker.

If the simple solutions do not take care of the issue, then you will need to take your machine into the repair shop and let them fix it for you. The experts may cost a little money but at least you can sew again.

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