Sewing Machine Slow Motion: How to Fix a Slow Sewing Machine

When you buy a sewing machine, you should always create a good checklist. This checklist helps you find problems, including reasons why your sewing machine is moving a little slow. With fast identification, you can solve the problem quickly and get that machine moving again.

Fixing a slow-moving sewing machine will depend on the brand. Each company makes their machines a little differently and while there are common problems the solutions do not always match up. Look in your owner’s manual to see if the brand you own has tips to help you

To find more sources and tips on how to fix your slow-moving sewing machine just continue to read our article. It has the general information you need to know about so you can fix your sewing machine yourself and save some money.

Why is My Sewing Machine Going So Slow?


There are many reasons why your sewing machine may be traveling at speeds a turtle could pass. The machine may have too much lint in one spot, or there are dirt and lint around the feed dogs. Then you can check your needle to see if it is bent or broken.

Or the speed control is set too low. For example, some Brother sewing machines have a speed controller that allows you to adjust how fast it will sew. You may have forgotten to move it up to a faster speed and it is set to low.

Then you may have picked up a bargain sewing machine oil or bought a cheaper alternative lubricant. The wrong sewing machine oil will be a cause for your sewing machine to slow down. You will have to clean your machine, remove the old oil, and replace it with the right one.

Also, check your belts as they may have been tightened too much or not tightened enough. Adjust your belt to speed your machine up. Plus, your machine may be too dirty or parts have bent or broken. There are more ways to slow a sewing machine down than you may think.

Very Slow Sewing Machine

Slow sewing machines are a fact of sewing life because most sewers are into creating their new project and are not mechanically inclined. That isn’t wrong, it is just that mentality means the important parts of a smooth-running sewing machine are often overlooked.

Besides the problems we already mentioned, you may not have the right presser foot on your machine, or your foot controller is not pressed all the way down or has some glitch that keeps it from being fully pressed. On top of that, the stitch length may be too short for the machine. These are all simple problems that can be fixed with slight adjustments and without going to your local repairman for help.

As technology improves, new devices are added to sewing machines and it is easy to forget that those devices need adjustments when you want to change speeds. Computerized sewing machines are notorious for having these easy to forget to adjust devices.

Then you may have left something engaged, like the bobbin winder, and that mistake slows your machine down. Also, you may have made the simple mistake of not making sure your power cord is not plugged in all the way. A loose connection will slow your machine down.

How to Fix a Slow Sewing Machine

This is why having a checklist is so important. You can go through your list of possible sources for the slowing of your sewing machine and get to the problem right away. Then all you have to do is apply the right solution and your machine will be back up to speed in no time.

  • 1. Stupid mistake fixes - we are not calling you stupid but it is how you feel when you discover they are the problem for your slow-moving machine. Move the speed controller to a faster setting, plug in the power cord better, lengthen your stitch size, switch off the bobbin winder and similar functions, push harder on your foot pedal, and so on.
  • 2. Common mistakes everyone makes - check for broken or bent needles, clean your machine, look for lint build up in your bobbin or feed dogs, use the right sewing machine oil, check your thread tension, tighten or loosen the belt, change presser feet, clean your machine and yes we said it twice to let you know how important it is to keep your machine clean.

Before going to your repairman, go through your checklist and see if the problem is something you can fix. This will save you a lot of embarrassment if you do.

Can I Slow My Sewing Machine?

Can-I-Slow -My-Sewing-Machine

On computerized machines it is possible. Many new models come with a switch that has multiple speed settings. This allows you more control over your sewing and helps you avoid sewing mistakes that come when you go too fast.

On non-computerized sewing machines, you may have to do a little more manual work. You can change the pulley and make it smaller. That will slow the speed of the machine down but that is a fix better left to a qualified repairman.

Or you need to change the height of your treadle as the higher it is the faster it will go. Plus, that extra height will make it very hard for you to use the treadle brake. The key to this issue will be for you to explore your non-computerized sewing machine to see what will work best for you.

You do not want to have a dirty machine so stopping the regular cleaning will not be a good solution. A qualified repairman will provide you with some more tips to help you slow your machine down.

How to Slow Sewing Machine Down

One way to slow your sewing speed down is to check your foot pedal. If it sews fast when you lightly press it, stop sewing and press the pedal further. If the sewing machine motor doesn't speed up but remains constant then you may have a pedal problem. Replacing the pedal will help you slow the speed of your machine.

Another option can be found in the stupid mistakes category. It is just like driving a car. You get in and press the gas pedal and your car zooms down the street at speeds you do not like. When you get behind the wheel of your sewing machine you press that foot pedal down like you do your gas pedal and off your sewing machine goes zooming through your fabric at speeds you do not like.

The other way would be to change the setting on your computerized sewing machine from high to slow. It is a simple fix which many people do not think about as they are thinking of more serious issues that may be wrong.

How to Slow Down Sewing Machine Foot Pedal


This is a job that you or your resident Mr. Fix it can do at home and without a lot of tools. In fact, all you should need will be a screwdriver. On some Singer sewing machines, there is a little place that has a + and a - sign with a small opening underneath those symbols.

All you need to do is use your screwdriver and move the dial in the - direction and you have slowed your foot pedal down. On those foot pedals that don't have this easy to use adjustment, you can take your screwdriver and open up the pedal.

Then using the same screwdriver re-adjust the contact points so less power is going to your machine. Once that is done, just reassemble the foot pedal and see if the adjustment worked or not. If not, just redo the process until you get the foot pedal going at the speed you want.

For more foot pedal help, you can read our article Fixing a sewing machine foot pedal.

How to Slow Down Sewing Machine Motor

This is a possibility and you may not want to do it yourself as it does involve some hands-on mechanical work. The first option you have is to change the pulley. Going from a larger pulley to a smaller one will slow your sewing machine motor.

Now, this option is used mainly on industrial sewing machines and may not work on your home version. Another option would be to buy a sewing machine speed controller. This device slows the motor speed while keeping the amps up so the motor does not overheat on you.

To find this device you should check with a sewing machine parts store or your local repairman. They will know what you are talking about and the repairman may be able to install it correctly for you.

Finally, you may not be able to slow your sewing machine motor down as it may only come with one speed and that speed may be the lowest you can get out of the motor. Check your manual to see what your sewing machine motor is configured for before trying any of the options already mentioned.

Sewing Machine Motor Runs But Nothing Moves


This is just about every sewer’s nightmare as they want to get sewing but nothing is happening except the machine’s motor is going as it should. The first thing to check is your bobbin area. You may have left the bobbin winder on and when that happens your machine will not sew or move except for the motor.

Switch that lever to the sew position and you should be good to go. Then, it may not be that simple of a problem. The bobbin gear may be defective,. worn out, or broken and that means a trip to the repairman. If you have a Touch N Sew sewing machine, they are complicated to repair and you should not do it yourself.

Also, check your hand wheels, both the large and the small, to make sure they are engaged properly. You will have to hold the larger wheel with one hand while you tighten the smaller one with the other.

Also, you need to check to see if a small thread got stuck in the wrong place. If it has, you need to remove it and give your machine a good cleaning. A dirty machine causes a lot of problems and it is the first source to check. Make sure to keep a cleaning schedule to help remind you of the last time you cleaned it.

How Can I Speed Up My Sewing Machine?

The first thing you need to do is clean your machine. You never know where dirt, lint, or loose threads get into and even a small piece can stop your expensive sewing machine from working fast.

Next, you should lubricate your sewing machine regularly and only use the approved sewing machine oil for your sewing machine. Check your manual to see what that is as different machines may use different types of sewing machine oil.

If you have a computerized sewing machine, check for the speed controller’s location. If you have one, move the switch to fast. It is a simple thing to do but you would be surprised at how many people do not think about this option.

Or adjust your foot pedal. It is easy and simple to do. Always go for the simple solutions first, that way they are eliminated and you can spare yourself a trip to the repairman.

Some Final Words

Slow-moving sewing machines happen for many reasons. The key is to have a checklist on hand to help you eliminate possible sources for the problem and speed up your repair time.

Also, keep a lubricating and cleaning schedule so you can exclude those options when your sewing machine slows down.

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