11 Fixes for Your Biggest Janome Sewing Machine Problems

Learning your way around a sewing machine can take time, and even experienced sewers can have a few technical blunders. Here are some of the most common issues sewers can run into on their Janome machine, and how to fix them so you can get back to your project ASAP.

Good to Know: Most of these problems and solutions are applicable to all brands of machines, so even if you don’t have a Janome these may help.

Problem 1: There Are Three Threads at the Presser Foot

If you’re seeing three threads at the presser foot instead of two, your machine is still in the middle of a stitch and the “third” thread is not actually a third thread at all — it’s the bobbin and needle threads looping, trying to form a stitch that you’ve interrupted.

Solution: Check the take-up lever (the metal hook that moves up and down at the top of the machine directly above the presser foot area) is in the highest position, then lift your presser foot. Raise the take-up lever manually by turning your handwheel toward you and “finishing” the stitch. Your fabric and threads should pull out of the machine with ease now, as you are at the end of a stitch cycle.

Problem 2: The Fabric Isn’t Moving

Most of the time, when your fabric isn’t moving it’s because you’re trying to sew with the presser foot still in the upright position. The feed dogs can’t pull the fabric through the machine without the foot down on top of them. When they try, it causes the machine to make a loud sound and the thread jams around the fabric, making a big mess.

Solution A: Simply unclog the jam, remove any excess threads on the fabric and inside the machine, then start again.

If your fabric isn’t moving and the machine is making the normal sewing-like sounds, check to see if the machine is threaded correctly. If it’s threaded correctly (and the presser foot is down on top of the feed dogs), it’s likely your machine is set to the “free-motion” or “darning” set, which disables the feed dogs.

Solution B: Refer to your manual for instructions on how to change the machine back to regular sewing, which will engage the feed dogs so they can pull the fabric through the machine properly.

Problem 3: The Machine Comes Unthreaded

This happens all the time with new sewers, and it could be because of a few different issues. For starters, your threads could be too short, or they weren’t under the presser foot upon starting to sew. This would allow the thread to be pulled out of the needle as the machine sews.

Solution A: Make sure the threads from the bobbin and the eye of the needle are 3-4″ long, under the presser foot and hanging back behind the machine.

Another reason this could be happening is because you finished your sewing mid-stitch and the take-up lever is not in the highest (finished) position. When that happens, the machine tries to finish the stitch when you start sewing, sometimes unthreading the needle because it’s in the middle of the stitch’s cycle.

Solution B: When you finish sewing, before you pick up your presser foot to pull out your project, always check to make sure your take-up lever is in the top position. If it isn’t, turn the handwheel toward you and finish the stitch until the take-up lever is as high as it will go. Then pick up the presser foot and pull your project from the machine.

Problem 4: You Have Loose and Loopy Stitches

A probable culprit: the thread has fallen out of the take-up lever, which can happen if the machine is jammed.

Solution A: Check if the machine is threaded properly, both into the tension discs and the take-up lever. If not, re-thread the machine properly and try again.

Your bobbin tension could also be off and causing this problem. If the thread from the bobbin isn’t going into the tension area on the bobbin casing or in the drop-in bobbin tension area, then loose and loopy stitches can happen.

Solution B: Rethread the bobbin, making sure the thread is properly inserted into the tension areas.

A third spot to check is to see if your tension discs are on to the wrong setting on the machine.

Solution C: The tension dial on the machine should be set to the middle “automatic” setting on the machine. Refer to your manual for the suggested setting if you’re unsure what the automatic setting is.

Problem 5: The Thread Is Really Tight

This can be a pesky problem because it can create an uneven stitch. It’s likely that when threading your machine, you accidentally threaded the spool through the bobbin winding tension at the top of the machine.

Solution A: Double-check that your machine is threaded properly. If everything’s correct and you’re still having these issues, try the troubleshoot below.

The other possible issue is that the tension is set incorrectly. Most of the time the machine sews best on the “automatic” setting, but many new sewers think they need to move this dial a lot. The reality is you can totally leave it alone on this basic setting.

Solution B: Refer to your manual for instructions on how to set the tension at the “automatic” setting, then try the stitch again.

Problem 6: Your Machine Is Skipping Stitches

If this is happening — and resulting in an uneven-looking stitch — your needle may be dull.

Solution: Put in a new, sharp needle. As always, make sure the needle is the correct type and size for your fabric.

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48 Responses to “11 Fixes for Your Biggest Janome Sewing Machine Problems”
  1. Valerie McCaffrey
    Valerie McCaffrey

    I like my Janome HD50f. I haven’t used it for a while and it is saying “5P” or “SP” where I need to select the stich. I seem to have threaded it okay and it sews okay when I try to do it manually. Please HELP

  2. Valerie

    My machine seems to be working well but it is saying 5P or SP and will not allow me to choose a stich or
    work the machine. What do I do?

  3. Kay

    I inherited a Janome Memory Craft 11000. The start/stop button will not work. I have disconnected the foot pedal but still doesn’t function. Can you help me?

  4. V Kay Weeks
    V Kay Weeks

    I inherited a Janome Memory Craft 11000. The start/stop button will not work. I have disconnected the foot pedal but still doesn’t function. Can you help me?

  5. Lorna

    My Janome 9700 is making clanging noises—sounds like metal on metal. It sews quietly for a while then the noise starts and after some sewing will subside again. It sees well— just this noise. Any advice?,

  6. Gillian

    Wheel on right of my dxl503 is jammed and the needle cannot be raised. Attempting to sew results in the “lo” symbol as though the machine has tried to ride over thick fabric. This seems to be mechanical rather than computerised. Any ideas please?

  7. Annie

    My new Janome Skyline S5 will no longer wind bobbins tightly. I have used the alternate thread holder to wind bobbins. It worked perfectly once, but won’t do it again. Any suggestions?

    • Nicole

      Make sure you are threading it correctly to wind the bobbin. You should hear two little clicks/pops when you thread it. There is a great video on YouTube that demonstrates this. Just search how to wind a bobbin on a Skyline. Good luck!

  8. Catherine

    My Memory Craft 6500’s display won’t go on anymore. It stitches all the different stitches, I just can’t see any details.

  9. Joan Bozman
    Joan Bozman

    I cannot get the tension to correct on my Memory Craft 10000. It is way to tight coming from the bobbin area.

    • Brad

      If you are talking that is is to tight on the bottom of your material that is a top tension issue. Bad stitching bottom of material is controlled by your top tension.

  10. Jacklyn S. Justus
    Jacklyn S. Justus

    My Janome My Excel 4123 is making three parallel stitches rather than a single stitch. It has a pattern for three parallel stitches, but I don’t have it dialed to that pattern. I tried using the zig zag pattern and it did the three parallel stitches with that pattern also.

  11. Les and Pam Frampton
    Les and Pam Frampton

    My new machine while using zig-zag option, machine skips stitches regardless of length or width chosen. Machine has been cleaned, new needle, and same thread. It has gotten worst, 3-5 good zig-zag stitches then 2-5 straight stitches, then 1-2 zigzag, then 2-5 straight. Very sparadic. Help please.

    • Wanda Martens
      Wanda Martens

      My Janome Memory Craft 4800 recently had the bobbin winder replaced, now I can’t get the machine to disengage out of Bobbin Winding into regular sewing.

  12. Henry

    Problem with my wife’s Janome RX 18S -Fabric is feeding only backwoods no matter in which position
    /spring loaded/ Reverse Stitch Button is

    • Lynn

      Henry, did you figure out how to switch your wife’s Janome back to going forward? Mine is also only going backwards and cannot get it to go forwards

  13. Barbara alsop
    Barbara alsop

    I am free motion quilting for about 1-2 minutes and then my thread breaks . I have cleaned it getting out the fuzzies, changed my needle and even the thread in both the bobbin and on top has been changed. Is it time to take it it in for service? I have a Janome Magnolia 7330. I have had it for 1 1/2 yrs.

    • Nancy

      My Janome 7330 Machine the thread keeps coming off the tension guide- or screw or thread guide. Whatever it’s called. UCD retgresded seceral tines. Adjusted tension. Checked it’s got the holder, placed on thread holder right way. Was working great. Then all of a sudden after 5 months starting falling off. Any help?

  14. Wendy Fincken
    Wendy Fincken

    What happens when you’re in the middle of sewing and let go of the foot pedal to stop but the machine keeps going and starts to go even faster until you unplug it? I have changed needles, a new bobbin, cleaned out the bobbin bin, threaded new thread etc and it was good each try then after about 50 stitches out goes batty again. What do I do?

    • Brad Schwarze
      Brad Schwarze

      It sounds like your foot control has worn out. Or a wire inside has become loose and is touching the other wire.

    • Elisabeth Schroeder
      Elisabeth Schroeder

      My friends Janome Memory Craft 6500 has been in the shop for 2 months. It keeps running after the pedal stops. The shop says It’s not the pedal something in the machine. Do you have any idea? I would like to get myh machine back. thank you.

      • Sue Willows
        Sue Willows

        My janometxl 607. Sews perfectly but the numbers and letters will not sew correctly

        • Judy Andrews
          Judy Andrews

          I have the same problem changed the foot pedal but it did not solve the problem . it you know how to fix it please send to my e-mail address

  15. Jill Kane
    Jill Kane

    My machine JanomeDC 2101 is racing.It sews without pressure on foot pedal.The symbol Fc appears in the window.The manual says that indicates that there is intermittent current.I have changed power points and no difference.What do I do?Also should the machine be oiled.I can’t find any information about it

    • Wendy Fincken
      Wendy Fincken

      What happens when you’re in the middle of sewing and let go of the foot pedal to stop but the machine keeps going and starts to go even faster until you unplug it? I have changed needles, a new bobbin, cleaned out the bobbin bin, threaded new thread etc and it was good each try then after about 50 stitches out goes batty again. What do I do?

      • Janice

        This happens to me on my Janome DC2050. The pedal slips and gets stuck under the bottom of my sewing table. I just give it a gentle ‘kick’ to unstick it. If this is the problem then maybe you could try placing some non-slip matting under the pedal.

  16. Lynda Murgi
    Lynda Murgi

    This is my first Janome and I really like the way it sews. I am having a problem with the stop motion knob on the hand wheel. It will not move like it is frozen. Can you please help?

  17. Lynda Murgi
    Lynda Murgi

    I can not turn the stop motion knob, the part inside the hand wheel, to turn a bobbin. I’m not sure how to remedy this problem!

  18. Claire Narbonne
    Claire Narbonne

    I have been sewing since the age of six. I am now 71. My issues with threading problems are not due to inexperience. This is my first, and probably last, Janome. The machine no longer knots/cuts the thread. The thread continually hops out of the take-up lever. This has never occurred cured with my Singer and White machines. My 6500 is a challenge every time. Very disappointed 😞.

    • Rhonda

      I have a mc6500 and never had any problems with the machine like you mentioned. I love mine! It’s a work horse. In fact I have the 6300,2-6500 ,6600 and the newer one 6700. Live all of them!

      • Mary

        I have the same problem! The thread must be jumping out of the take up lever. I have noticed if I use cheap polyester thread, it’s floppy or droopy enough (or for some other mysterious reason)to stay on the hook. If I use a nice expensive, cotton thread…well, it just doesn’t stay on the lever’s hook for long. Very frustrating.

    • Patti Traviglia
      Patti Traviglia

      I cannot get my new Janome 4120 to pick up the bobbin thread…Yes, my bobbin wonder spindle is back in correct position. HELP!

      • Tina

        My needle is hitting my bobbin housing as well. Please help. I’ve only had my memory craft P a few months and all I every seem to do is trouble shot. I just keep having bobbin issues.

    • Lavonna

      When I stop sewing the needle thread goes back down and I either have to manually pull it out or I get a couple loops in the underside. I have read manual and retreaded over and over. Time consuming. Tension is fine. Stitches are good. Love my 4120 QDC except for this one thing. I am always cutting excess thread where I begin a stitch. Help appreciated.


      I have the same problem. The bobbin housing fell apart and I thought that I put it together properly, but the needle stops when it reaches the metal part of the bobbin housing.