Sewing Machine Clunking Noise- How to Fix

Sewing machine clunking noise
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A sewing machine is a machine that is used to sew fabric and materials together using a thread. They were invented during the first Industrial Revolution to evade manual sewing work for textile companies. The first sewing machine was generally considered to have been the work of Thomas Saint in 1790, a sewing machine that greatly improved the productivity of the textile industry.

We have simple sewing machines designed for sewing individual items while using a single stitch type at a time. We also have a modern sewing machine, in which stitching is automatic so that the fabric easily glides in and out of the machine simply without problems. First-generation sewing machines were driven constantly by turning a handle or with a foot treadle mechanism. Currently, we have Electrically-powered sewing machines.

Different types of Stitches

Sewing machine Different types of Stitches

1. Chain stitch

Chain stitch was used by the first generation sewing machines and has two disadvantages which are:

  • The stitch does not lock itself by any chance the thread breaks at any point or it fails to tie at both ends, the whole stitching comes out.
  • The direction of sewing cannot be changed much from one stitch to the next, or the stitching process fails. Stitching direction cannot be changed from one direction to the other and also the stitching process may fail.

2. Lockstitch

lock-stitch is formed using a boat shuttle as used in early domestic machines or by utilizing a rotating hook which is usually used by modern machines. It is the commonly used method used by household sewing machines and most industrial sewing machines which use a single thread.

3. Zoje industrial overlocker

Zoje industrial overlocker

It is also called the serger stitch, which can be formed using two to four threads, two needles, and two loopers. Overlock sewing machines are usually equipped with knives that trim the edge immediately in front of the stitch formation. The Household and industrial Serger machines are commonly used for garment seams in stretchy fabrics or for garment seams where the fabric is light enough that the seam does not need to be pressed open, and for protecting edges against raveling. Machines with 4 threads are commonly used. Machines with more than 5 threads usually make a chain stitch and an overlock stitch to form a safety stitch.

4. Cover stitch

Cover stitch example

This type of stitch is usually formed by two or more needles and one or two loopers. Cover stitch can be formed anywhere in the material being sewn. One looper uses the thread under the material to form a bottom cover-stitch against the needle thread. An additional loop above the material forms a top stitch at the same time hence forming parallel rows. Cover stitch crosses needle threads with looper threads like the overlock stitcher. It is widely used in garment construction

5. Zigzag stitch

Zigzag stitch example

A zigzag stitch is the same as a lockstitch. It uses a back-and-forth stitching method used where a straight stitch cannot be used, for example in preventing raveling of fabric, in stitching stretchable fabrics, and in temporarily joining two workpieces.

In a zig-zag stitch, the back and forth motion are controlled by a cam. When the cam rotates, a fingerlike follower, connected to the needle bar, also rides along with the cam and tracks its indentations. Not all sewing machines have this hardware hence they can’t produce a zigzag stitch, but they have shank-driven attachments which enable them to do so.

6. Feed mechanisms

Besides the motion of needles and the looper, the sewing material must move to involve a different part of the material. This motion is known as a feed. Sewing machines have many ways of feeding material like in forming stitches which include:

7. Drop feed

This feed mechanism is used by almost all household machines and involves a mechanism under the sewing surface of the machine. As the needle is withdrawn from the material being sewn, a set like feed dogs is pushed up through slots in the machine surface, then dragged horizontally past the needle. The dogs grip the material, and a presser foot is used to keep the material in contact with the dogs. Within the end of their horizontal motion, the dogs have lowered again and returned to their original position as the needle makes its next pass through the material.

8. Differential feed

Differential feed is a bit different from drop feed with two independent sets of dogs whereby one is before and one after the needle. When they change their relative motions the dog sets can be used to stretch or compress the material in the vicinity of the needle. This is useful when sewing stretchy material and is used by overlock machines.

9. Needle feed

This feeding mechanism is used only in industrial machines and moves the material while the needle is still in the material. The needle IS the primary feeding force. Some rock the axis of needle motion back and forth while others keep the axis vertical while moving it forward and back. In both cases, there is no feeding action.

10. Walking foot

It is also known as Vintage Davis vertical feed; it replaces the stationary presser foot with one that moves along with whatever other feeding mechanisms it has. When a walking foot moves, it shifts the workpiece along with it. Used for sewing heavy materials where needle feed is inadequate, for spongy materials, and sewing many layers together where a drop feed will cause the lower layers to shift out of position with the upper layers.

11. Puller feed

A few household machines and industrial machines are set up with an auxiliary Puller feed which acts by gripping the material being sewn and reliability is usually not possible with other feeds. Puller feeds are built directly into the basic sewing machine. Their action must be done by the needle and feed action built into the machine to avoid vandalizing the machine. Pullers are limited to straight seams. Pulling feeds are very useful when making large heavy items like tents or truck canvas.

12. Manual feed

The manual feeding mechanism is used primarily in freehand sewing, quilting, and shoemaking. The stitch length and direction are controlled by the motion of the material being sewn. Some form of stabilizing material is used with fabric to aid in moving the material around. Some household machines can use manual feed by disengaging the drop feeding. Some industrial machines cannot be used for manual feed without removing the feed dogs.

Why your sewer could be making noise

  • When you have a new needle that is appropriate in size and type and you do not have to rethread it. Expect some clunking noise.
  • There may be noise from not getting your thread in the take-up lever while threading
  • If the needle is blunt.
  • If Dust has accumulated in the bobbin case area.
  • If a bobbin designed specifically for this machine has not been used
  • If the wrong presser foot is being used.

How to Keep Sewing Machine Silent

  • Make Sure the Machine is Well-Balanced.
  • Invest in Some Anti-Vibration Pads.
  • Locate the Noise’s Source.
  • Use a Thick Table.
  • Reduce Your Sewing Speed.
  • Perform Regular Maintenance.
  • Change the Needle If Needed.
  • Purchase a Quieter Sewing Machine.


So if you hear that loud clunk sound doesn’t be afraid, just get the opportunity to get to know your machine and trust yourself and clean it, rethread and try again. Sewing machines use different needles specialized for their needs and to the character of the material being sewn and if the needle is not correct there may be a problem.

Sewing machines have tension discs with tension regulators. If the stitch is not well, the most likely cause is a tension problem. In conclusion, if you follow the above guidelines your sewing machine will no longer produce that noise it produces.

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