Sewing Machine Will Only Sew in Reverse – How & Way Out

Sewing machines are a great invention that has come a long way. They have different features that can make your sewing easier. 

However, sometimes they can malfunction and stop sewing in the desired direction. Every sewing machine is made to go in a forward and reverse direction in order to get sewing done. 

But what happens if your sewing machine is only sewing reverse? In this article, we are going to discuss why your sewing machine is only sewing in reverse and how to fix them if they stop sewing in the desired direction.

Sewing Machine Will Only Sew in Reverse – How & Way Out

Reverse sewing is an important feature that was added to sewing machines decades ago. However, you do not want all your sewing done in reverse. There are specific reasons that could cause your machine to be stuck in reverse.

1. The feed dogs are clogged

Your feed dogs may become jammed as a result of thread, lint, and dust getting lodged in them. 

When this occurs, you may occasionally be unable to stitch forward but can still sew backwards. Your feed dogs may become stuck going the wrong way if there is thread and lint around. 

Regularly cleaning your sewing machine will help you to remedy this issue, and you should also pay attention to your feed dogs and bobbin case.

2. The backstitch lever is broken 

Although the backstitch lever is sturdy, it might break and cause your machine to become stuck in reverse. 

The backstitch lever’s spring is also susceptible to bending. To solve this problem, you’d have to take the machine to an expert machine repair technician.

3. The backstitch lever is jammed

Your sewing machine might not be able to sew in forward if a stray thread has managed to get inside and coil around the backstitch lever. 

Lint and thread can clog your reverse stitching mechanism, though this is quite uncommon. Open the sewing machine panel and check whether it is thread, lint, or dust-free to cure this issue.

4. Selected a buttonhole stitch 

Buttonhole stitches basically start in reverse. If you are not creating a buttonhole stitch, ensure that your machine is not set to a buttonhole stitch.

5. The computer software is malfunctioning 

Nowaday, most sewing machines have an inbuilt computer that controls the operation of the machine digitally. 

And just like most computers, computerized sewing machines have their own operating system and they can also encounter software glitches. 

To fix this problem, you can turn it off and switch it on again. And if this doesn’t work, you will have to reset it to its factory settings.  And if the problem still persists, take it to a software engineer or to the manufacturer to have it fixed.

6. Your reverse lever has gotten stuck

When sewing, there is a lever you can push down to make it sew in reverse and if you are done with the reverse sewing, you turn it off. 

Like any other machine, your sewing machine eventually has to be lubricated. It’s possible for the component of your reverse lever to become stuck and stop functioning properly when a portion begins to dry out and seize up. 

If your machine is not lubricated the reverse lever is most likely unable to instruct your machine to change directions if it can no longer pop back up as usual. You will need to take the sewing machine’s back shell off to inspect the lever and make sure it is greased and securely fastened. Lubricate it if not. Take it to a qualified technician if the issue still continues.

Can Sewing Machines Get Locked In Reverse?

Sometimes, sewing machines might become stuck in the reverse position when I say “locked in reverse” what I mean is that the machine won’t start again until you turn it back on by pulling the cord from the power source or pressing the start button on the control panel.

However, it’s typically a straightforward issue that you can probably handle. Make sure your machine has regular maintenance and lubrication to prevent becoming stuck in reverse. 

Your machine’s likelihood of becoming stuck in reverse is reduced if it receives routine maintenance to maintain its functioning properly.

A few tips:

  • First check that the machine isn’t stuck in reverse with this method:
  • Pull the cord from the power source for 15 seconds and start the machine again.
  • Make sure your machine is well lubricated.
  • Read the manual before setting it.

How To Fix a Sewing Machine That Sews In Reverse

Machines are often used to make small repairs on clothing or to make alterations. Because of this, it is not unusual for a sewing machine to sew in reverse. 

If this happens, you may not be able to finish the project you were working on, or you may have to do more work to fix it than needed.

If your sewing machine starts sewing in the opposite direction, don’t panic. There are a few things that you can do to fix the situation. In order to fix a sewing machine that sews in reverse, you first have to determine the cause. 

There are a few common causes, but the most common is a broken needle drive gear. There are a few things you can do to try and fix a sewing machine that sews in reverse. 

Here are some methods you can use to fix a machine that sews backwards:

– Re-fix the spring 

Spring is always included with new sewing machines with the inner reverse button mechanism. 

It is common for the spring to disengage. To fix it, open the machine’s panel and reattach the spring correctly. 

– Change the spring

If the spring is extremely corroded or cracked, it may occasionally be necessary to replace it entirely. 

A worn-out or corroded spring is the cause of almost all issues with the reverse button on a sewing machine, whether it be new or vintage.

The spring in the sewing machine has a shorter lifespan than the majority of the other metallic parts, thus it eventually needs to be replaced. 

If you’re fortunate or attentive, you might hear it shatter or creak as it ages or just as the reverse button stops functioning.

– Lubricate the inner components

A sewing machine’s reverse button, like any other mechanical device, may eventually become stuck due to dust and excessive friction. 

To reduce friction in the moving parts, all you have to do in this situation is open the sewing machine’s head up and add a little additional grease or oil. 

Greasing or oiling your reverse button/lever and gears won’t be a problem if you follow the instructions in your machine’s service manual.

– Cleaning and de-greasing the machine

The sewing machine’s mechanical parts may have gathered dust and grease over time.  Your sewing machine can be stuck in reverse because there is too much grease or dust on the buttons. 

The sewing machine should be cleaned and degreased. Spend some time cleaning the device from the inside out, paying particular attention to the areas around the buttons and internal parts that are covered in grease, dust, and gum. 

If the sewing machine has been left unused for a while, this is very crucial. If the sewing machine’s reverse button becomes stuck as a result of grease and dust buildup, doing this will almost probably fix it.


Sewing machines can be very complicated sometimes, to ensure that it does not give you issues and problems, make sure you follow necessary precautions.