Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Slowing Down?

While the maximum sewing speed per minute might differ in sewing machines, you can still be rest assured to get the job done when your machine is in perfect condition. However, there are scenarios where your sewing machine lost its pace and begins to slow down. This situation makes you unable to complete your project at the estimated time which can be frustrating. 

If you have been a victim of this situation, you might be wondering what might have been the cause. While there is no general answer to why your machine has been suddenly slowing down, there are different factors that might possibly be the cause, and fixing them up can return your sewing machine back to its perfect and you can happily complete your project. 

Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Slowing Down?

The most common cause of a slow machine is when it gets jammed or is not properly lubricated. This can also happen when your machine speed control has been mistakenly set so low and it can be mechanical faults, mechanical faults, and worn-out parts. Below are the other causes that can make your machine run slow. 

I. Dirt

When your machine is not constantly cleaned, it attracts and stored dust particles and pieces of thread. When this dirt gets accumulated in the moving part of your sewing machine, it produces increased friction and slows down the sewing machine.

This can be fixed and prevented by making sure your machine gets cleaned regularly. Properly remove the dirt and thread pieces when you notice that they’ve been piling up in a moving part of your sewing machine.

II. Lubrication and Oil

Your sewing machine is constructed with multiple mechanical parts, and they require constant lubrication. When not properly lubricated, these machine parts which were constructed to rub against each other lost their proper functionality as their movement gets obstructed by friction. 

The main purpose of the lubricant is to prevent friction and ensure your machine operates properly. If you noticed your machine has been slowing down because it’s not well lubricated, you should provide enough lubricant for it as instructed by the machine’s instructional manual to return the machine back to its normal speed. 

It is also important to structure how you oil your sewing machine based on how often it’s being used and the type of fabrics you’ve been sewing. If the machine is being used every day, it is advisable to oil it weekly, if it’s being used about 5 to 10 times a month, you should oil it monthly.

However, if the usage is less than 5 times a month, it can be oiled every 3-4 months. You might also want to provide the machine with regular oiling if you constantly work on heavy fabrics. 

III. Jamming

When your sewing machine gets jammed, it might stop working permanently or begins to run slow. Inspect the wheel, bobbin, bobbin case, and other regions the thread passes through.

You should properly check and ensure the thread doesn’t get stuck and it does not obstruct the moving parts from functioning properly. For confirmation that the thread is not jamming the machine, you can do the spooling all over again.

IV. Motor

A faulty motor can also be the cause of your machine running slow. You can easily confirm if your sewing machine motor is working perfectly through the pedal as it controls the motor. By applying pressure on the pedal you get to inspect your machine speed. Press down the pedal totally to check the machine’s maximum speed. 

To confirm if the motor is working perfectly, you should attempt to wind a bobbin by applying full pressure on the pedal. If the bobbin runs sluggishly, the machine motor might be faulty. It is also possible that the pedal has the fault and not the motor which is why you should troubleshoot using a different pedal.

If the bobbin still doesn’t run fast after changing the pedal, then you can be assured that the motor is faulty. In this situation, you can consult a technician to service your machine or you can just replace the motor with a new one. 

V. Switch

Sometimes, your machine running slow might not be the effect of your machine being faulty which is why you should inspect your machine and check if it comes with a speed control switch. Top sewing machine brands like Brother, Singer, and Janome have manufactured machine models that are equipped with speed control speed to adjust the machine speed to the user’s preference and to compliment the user’s project. 

If your sewing machine is one of these models, it might have been running low because the speed control switch has been accidentally adjusted to a slow speed. You can easily fix this by adjusting the speed back to normal using the switch. 

In a scenario where you readjust the speed and the machine continues to run slow, the speed switch may be faulty. You may have to consult a technician to inspect and fix the switch and you can totally replace it. 

VI. Tension

To achieve the perfect seam for your project, you can constantly adjust the thread tension during the sewing process. You tend to increase the thread tension when the seam is loose and reduce the tension when the seam is too tight. 

Increasing the machine tension can be the cause of your machine running slow, when you realize your machine is not as fast as it should be, you should check out the thread tension settings to lower the tension settings to restore your sewing machine speed.

VII. Drive Belt

When the sewing machine’s drive belt starts experiencing issues, it can make the machine run slow. Constant use and ageing loosen the drive belt gradually. When the drive belt becomes loose, it weakens the transmission between the motor and the balance wheel and reduces the machine’s speed.

If your machine suddenly begins to run slow, inspect the drive belt to ensure it still remains tight, the drive belt should be replaced if it is worn out or loose to return your machine back to top speed.

VIII. Presser Foot

The primary purpose of the presser foot is to apply pressure to your fabric and ensure it stays in place during the sewing process. This applied pressure can also possibly affect the speed of your machine. When the pressure becomes extremely high, your machine begins to run slow as a result of the increased friction between the fabric and the presser foot. 

You can easily discover if the pressure foot pressure is too high when it starts to squeeze your fabric inward. This can be fixed by reducing the pressure foot pressure. You can do this by turning the pressure screw counterclockwise. This screw is located directly above the presser foot.


A slow sewing machine will do you no good. It makes your sewing machine frustrating and unfruitful which is why it is important to pay attention to your sewing machine and knows what the cause might be.

By following this article, you will discover that your sewing machine runs slowly due to dirt, jamming, and when it is not well lubricated. Constant maintenance of your machine will prevent these and ensure your machine operates at top speed.