Your Shamed Machines

First of all, let’s just stay straight up that we do love our machines. They help us create wonderful projects, they’re always there to stitch out the next design, and they keep us creative. But anyone who has sat and worked with a machine for too long knows that after awhile all those quirks and odd behaviors start to look suspiciously like a personality. Like an odd little robot pet, these machines seem to have a mind of their own. And they aim to misbehave.

After my post yesterday about machine shaming and my subsequent sharing on facebook, you guys decided your misbehaving machines needed a little public shaming too. Just so they know we’re on to them. You sent in all kinds of photos and comments, and I just had to share some them here for all of us to enjoy.

*EDIT – More shamed machines added for your enjoyment!*

So know this machines. You have been warned. Just cut it out already…

machine shaming

“I reject your tension settings and substitute my own!”

“Objects sewn are not as they appeared in the magazine.”


“Oh…you wanted me to catch the bobbin thread? But the bird nest under the needle plate looks beautiful! It keeps me warm.”

“I like to behave like demon in front of my owner but like a little angel as soon as you take me in to be repaired.”


“I demand a regular lubrication/oiling. And will then stain the next project at a random moment.”


“I though you wanted inconsistent thread tension throughout your project!”


“Oh I’m sorry, I completely forgot to tell you I’m out of bobbin thread…3000 stitches ago.”


“I love it when my bobbin thread shows on top of the pretty design!”


“I like to mess up on commission projects. Especially when there is a deadline. I thrive on my owner’s stress.”


“Super Solvy is my favorite snack! OM NOM NOM.”


“I pretend to be a bird and make huge nests under your projects.”


“I make horrible loud noises only when the baby is sleeping in the next room.”


“I love not cutting the thread when I change colors!”

“I like to fool you and tell you that you have enough clearance around the hoop.”


“I like to stop stitching at odd and totally unrelated times to keep my owner guessing.”

“I reset my thread tension the minute you put me away.”


“I love eating metallic thread and always will manage to do so, no matter how hard you try keeping me from doing it.”

“Oh, you wanted me to stitch there? Over here looked like a much better spot.”


“I broke the last needle only after the store had closed and the project I was working on had to go out the next day.”

“I break the thread the moment my owner leaves the room.”

Want to join in? Remember, machine shaming isn’t just for embroidery machines! Sewing machines, sergers, quilting machines… all can be shamed. Post on our facebook page or share a photo in our flickr group and let your machine know you’re on to its tricks.

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55 Responses to “Your Shamed Machines”

  1. 1
    Sharon Vogel says:

    My machine’s name is Emily…EM for short and she is definitely a DIVA! She is only a few months old, so maybe I should forgive her for infantile behavior, but really! Breaking a needle, a new needle mind you, without having to go through heavy fabric or design or me even being near the hoop is a little too much to take. And thread breakage…how many different ways can I set that thread up there to help you out may I ask? I’m sure we will learn to get along and I am big on praise when things go well, so my machine, I think I’ll keep her!

  2. 2
    Annie says:

    my main machine is called Daisy…because some days he go’s and some days he don’t

  3. 3
    Elfie B. says:

    Is it just me, or are the Janome machines overrepresented here? Hmmmm…

    • Robin says:

      I thought the same thing! I ALSO have a Janome……

    • It does seem to be very biased towards janome. I wonder if all these people have been
      Told about the importance of the right needle size for the right thread as this is one of the main causes of thread shredding. Just an observation that may help. Schmetz has some great free info on their site for this.

    • Carol says:

      Funny. I have two Janomes and also an Artistic Longarm made by Janome. I love all of mine. 🙂

  4. 4
    laura-ann says:

    my machine USED to love the i can knit the thread inside me game till i got sewer’s aid. now it’s addicted to the stuff and will NOT work without it! Oh and that new thread holder system – the wonder thread guide VERTICAL SPOOL-PIN ADAPTER is also required … yup, it’s my machine crack system!

    HOWEVER… it’s motto still is “Bobbin thread is running out” 50 stitches after the bobbin has run out… because it’s just more fun that way!

  5. 5
    jean says:

    LOVE THIS!!!! It cracked me up… out loud!!!!! So true… so true…

  6. 6

    Silly me, I thought it was just MY machine that was possessed. 😉

  7. 7
    Denise Root says:

    So I am not the only one with a machine with a mind of it’s own? That makes me feel better. First I thought it was beginner error, now I know it’s not. It is showing it’s independence! Too bad we can’t beat them into shape! LOL

  8. 8
    Evelyn says:

    I think it’s funny to not work right after I get home from the Dr. Then I get a fun car ride back to the Dr. (45 minutes) and work fine there!

  9. 9
    Linda Blakita says:

    For the thread breakage, have your machine checked. I kept trying everything only to find out that my needle shank was out of whack. It just needed an adjustment. Do I have to tell you how many needles I threw away thinking that was the problem? I just sew so much, I guess it can get out of alignment. I had just had it serviced in January. Good thing it was “no charge.” It will sew fine, but only break during embroidery.

  10. 10
    Sparrow says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but my Singer 401a, Grayson, and I get along fantastically. I never have to adjust the tension, she’s never broken a needle, and the only time the bobbin runs out is when I’ve made a stupid mistake and have to undo that seam anyways… Then again, she’s well passed her teenage years and pushing 60, so maybe it’s that whole age = wisdom thing? (Either that, or I should knock on wood right about now.)

    • martha sherwood says:

      My singer 15 turned 112 this year and she’s never done any of these things other than get cantankerous when I bend a needle sewing through four layers of heavyweight denim.

    • Lizzy says:

      I also love my 401 Singer but lately it has been making bird nests with the top thread shows underneath. I don’t know what to do next. I have cleaned the machine, changed the needle, etc. Any suggestions.

  11. 11
    Karin says:

    Oh man, this thread literally had me in stitches! I can SEW relate – to each & every one of ’em! A tip for this poster (“I like to stop stitching at odd and totally unrelated times to keep my owner guessing.”) Get a new foot pedal. yup…ask me how I know that, after several trips to the doc & a few hundred (several hundred, but who’s counting?) dollars wasted on professional tech efforts to trouble shoot.

  12. 12
    Kelly Jackson says:

    I’ve had a wonderful laugh! Thank you….those are too funny. Most of us are not digitizers or master sewing machine mechanics so we are lost in the mystery of what to do next….I think the machines know that.


  13. 13

    I feel so much better now!

  14. 14
    Sandy says:

    I have a machine that I have had for 38 years with no problems. I bought a new Juki because they were going out of business and I got a great deal and got a ton of extra feet and accessories. But EVERY time I try to use it the thread breaks. I take it in and it works for them. I bring it home and the thread breaks. I love my Juki serger but this straight stitcher hates me.

  15. 15
    Debra says:

    I call my Brother PE 5000PRW sewing machine Baby ,And also before I start sewing I say a prayer for God to guide my sewing ,and it helps.I love my sewing machine.I have had very few problems with it.I have broke a few needles working on the crib bupper pad.Sewing on the ties on it.But other wise she works just fine.I have had her for 3 yrs now .And have made a lot of projects in her.I make my own curtians,cloth dolls,doll clothes,quilts,and mended clothes.I realy don’t think I will buy a embodery machine there too much for my budget.

  16. 16
    Jennifer says:

    I don’t complain about my machines because I have more than one in the sewing room and I can’t afford to have a ‘strike’ against management. They talk to each other, ya know?

  17. 17
    Sandy says:

    So my machine is not the only one who likes to throw some white bobbin thread up on top of the design, but only if its one that has taken a LONG time to run and is almost done! Then it likes to toss some white bobbin thread on top just for fun and giggles… running super and all is fine… It waits till I am 45 minutes into a design and poof! Thank heaven for those touch up pens! :O)

    Agree with others, misery loves company tee hee, nice to know others machines are naughty as well :O)

  18. 18
    Bev says:

    Oh dear, you are all so funny but so close to the bone! Thank you for my laughter today!! I can relate to all of this. What a crazy hobby we have picked? But I love the comarderie! Thank you all who posted and for the Urban Thread Team for making it possible. I think the sign featured in the newsletter that led me here says it all!! :-))

  19. 19
    Kimberly says:

    I laughed so hard I started crying! It’s nice to know my machine isn’t the only one with a mind of it’s own. I even have arguments with mine! (Yeah, I need help!) :0

  20. 20
    Jean Paternoster says:

    My machine decides to continue sewing several stitches after my foot is well away from the pedal. It was very frustrating when I was sewing the hated zips in. My husband took the foot pedal apart and we found a few dog hairs in there. Hope the problem is solved!!

  21. 21
    Toddie says:

    I LOVE all these! I talk, scream, whisper and cry over my machine, and it does all this stuff you all are talking about. I also have two machines, but I feel since one is Viking and one Janome, they don’t know each other’s languages so can’t talk behind my back!

  22. 22
    ande says:

    This was very helpful! I have a lower end Brother, which is prone to the “I’ll screw up the minute you turn your back” syndrome. It also loves Solvy do much that I now only use the thick plastic kind no matter what I’m stitching. Otherwise it builds up on the needle and causes the thread to jam.

    Sometimes I suspect many of our problems are the plastic parts in the bobbin area. They could be getting too hot during use and deforming slightly, causing screwups. If you have problems occurring later in the stitching, maybe try pausing it for a few minutes to cool off and see if it helps.

    The Brother is an excellent sewing machine, I’m very pleased with that part. But it does tend to build up a lot of lint which always finds its way under a contact lens, so I can’t wear them while using the machine. I de-lint the bobbin area between every thread change and haven’t gotten thread nests since. That can also be caused by thread tension issues.

    If you’re running out of thread make sure you are using the clear plastic bobbins. I’ve found that when I use the metal ones, it either can’t see the thread running out or it weighs too much for the sensor (I don’t know how my machine works). I like metal bobbins better but often have problems with them. They may be adding to the hot plastic parts problem too.

    I was kinda looking at upgrading to a Janome, maybe not now. Couldn’t tell what the others were though so checking reviews is a must. I’ve had excellent performance with my White, Brother, and Singer non-embroidery machines, but the guy who runs the Bernina shop is pretty cute, and speaks Crafter, so I might pick a Bernina…

  23. 23
    ande says:

    Oops, comment faerie, please correct my typo “do” to “so”

    Also, the solvy stuff I use all the time is the non-woven stuff that you buy by the yard, the white stuff. I can’t remember its name. Looks like interfacing.

  24. 24
    Diane says:

    Just hilarious! And it’s all true!

  25. 25
    Katherine says:

    @ande: Please do check out the Berninas! I’m on my third and have loved all of them! The first one was just a basic sewing machine for me to decide if I was really going to stick with sewing and then I upgraded twice to add more features. Both of the sewing/embroidery combo machines I have had have been terrific (I gave my second machine to my mother in law, and kept the very first one as a small machine I could take places or sew on while the big one is stitching designs out). I love how they can handle anything I throw at them and when I want to sit down and sew, they just work!

    The only mechanical/technical issue I have ever really had was when my Artisa 630 needed to have the bobbin casing tension adjusted not long after I first got it. But that could have been caused by me dropping it (I am guilty of having butterfingers on occasion). Either way, I took it to the dealer, they fixed in it in just a few minutes, didn’t charge me a dime and it never gave me another problem.

  26. 26
    Mavis says:

    I can relate to all of them, although not funny at the time. these comments had me in stitches.

  27. 27
    DeeLyn says:

    These are funny because we can relate! My machine must have been secretly reading your site because it has performed ALL of the above with such enthusiasm that the owner of the store where it came from swore that there was no way that he sold a machine that behaved so poorly. No kidding!! After about 20 shop visits and two losses (hide and seek??), machine is finally working. Shhh, don’t tell it I said that….

  28. 28
    JackieC says:

    I never thought about it before, but the language thing could be the problem. Seems the more I use my Janome the less cooperative my Pffaff becomes. Lately it has taken to turning on, but as soon as you touch the footpedal it turns itself off. Have checked the outlet and changed the backup battery but still can’t figure out the cause. It must be because they can’t communicate lol.

  29. 29
    Donna says:

    I think these are wonderful! Really cracked me up, they are sooo true!!

  30. 30
    Megann-N-TNC says:

    Just a word of warning…..These machines are connected to the internet…they know what we are saying about them…The communicate with each other,,,,.I love my machine she is SEW much better then the other one I had…My 1st machine was a Machine from Helloooooooo,,,,I don’t think it was all her fault tho…I’ sure part was operator error but she ate so many of my projects…..My new machine stitches purrrrrs like a kitten…

  31. 31
    Nvr2L8 says:

    Who knew the Babylock Ellisimo Gold would actually eat gold…? And not just gold, all metallic threads are nibbled to bits, leaving the tiniest little wisp of regular thread – and no amount of force feeding or number of needle changes can satisfy her ravenous appetite. Everything else has been great. Love the camera function! Can scan my embroidery surface in the hoop and it pops into the background of the touchscreen. Super handy for stitching to dark fabric so I can see what thread color changes look like as I make them in the editor. Also, great for making slight position changes when I want to rotate to get the image parallel to a hem or seam. The basting stitch feature allows me to hold everything in place when I want to avoid hooping.

    • Ellen says:

      I just got a brand new Ellisimo Gold 2 and while it sews like a champ on anything I give it, it has refused to behave when I try to embroider. At first it made it to about 50 stitches and then last night it made it to 1000 stitches and I thought I had it made. Nope. removed and reinserted bobbin, brand new thread, brand new needle. Same issue. so very sad. I have a project for a friend I have to complete. I’ll have to drag out on old Viking Diamond machine and work on that I suppose. Maybe good think I haven’t sold it yet…..
      and so…to the dealer I will go…..

  32. 32
    Suzy says:

    Suzy’s machine here, I like to tell her the bobbin is empty about a third of the way through because I love to hear the little bell sound I make every time the machine stops and starts. I laugh every time it drives her up the wall cos she just put a new bobbin in.

  33. 33
    Paige says:

    Don’t you know ALL embroidery machines, no matter what brand, behave this way? My Brother likes to wrap thread around the spool pin, make bird nests, and reposition designs for me. It has a mind of its own.

  34. 34
    Trishy says:

    Oh, I’m so relieved! LOL It seems all machines have their personal ghost inside. And I thought it was only mine … along with my user errors! My Pfaff Creative 4.0 has done a lot of the above mentioned. The latest “creation” was an amazingly huge nest under the plate due to tension problems. The design was almost finished (embroidery on organza) and suddenly the machine would embroider in place without travelling. Immediately, I pushed the stop button, but by that time the nest was already so big, it completely filled out the space under the plate. I had used a brand new 200 m thread spool: about 20 m for the design, the rest more or less for the nest! :O So, for about 25 min, my machine was stashing more thread away, than it was actually embroidering with and all the while not giving me the slightest hint of what was happening “behind the scenes”. Why doesn’t the machine have a sensor for THAT?!

  35. 35

    […] Sewing Machine Shaming (you, know, like the dog shaming meme). […]

  36. 36
    Lisa says:

    Ima put an angel’s halo above my ancient Elna…
    I have no tolerance for misbehaving machines and cannibalize them immediately. Elnas must sense this psychopathy yet behave beautifully with no signs of stress…

  37. 37
    Mary says:

    My 40 year old Elna works like a charm. It’s a very basic machine though…no fancy stitching.

  38. 38
    Saraphina says:

    I call my machine Fergus. As in “For fuck’s sake, Fergus!”

    Next time he acts up, he too shall be shamed! Because yes, he will zigzag anything but fleece. The stuff I make my commission blankets out of….*SIGH*

  39. 39
    Anna says:

    My machine is currently alternating between loose messy stitches on the underside (so you can’t see it until you’ve sewn a few inches) and thread so tight that it snaps…on the same tension setting! Pretty sure it’s possessed.

  40. 40
    Becky says:

    I have two brothers and they each seem to have their quirks at times. What causes the machine to reposition a design and how do you keep it from happening?

  41. 41
    knitbunnie says:

    As a solitary sewer, I had no idea that this was “life” for other embroidery machine owners. My Babylock Ellegante is the bane of my existence! I could list all the problems we have, the love/hate relationship complete with bird’s nests, broken needles, skipped stitches, lock-ups, and oh-the-bobbin miseries, but those and more have all ready been mentioned. It’s good to know I am not alone!!!

  42. 42
    Ellen says:

    Hi all.
    I see this is an old posting… but I will give it a shot.
    There are a lot of Janome machines I see but I also see a goodly number of Viking machines although not as many.
    I just got a brand new Ellisimo gold 2 and it loves to let me start sewing out a design and then shred the thread about 1000 stitches in. and again… and again…. brand new…. so sad….so sad…..

  43. 43

    […] shaming photos online and now come the sewing machine shaming photos. We find these all hilarious! Niamh from Urban Threads started this with her first funny […]

  44. 44
    LR4KSU says:

    You should’ve bought a Brother Quattro 3. I don’t have any of those issues.

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