SINGER MX231 Common Problems and Troubleshooting

If you own a SINGER MX231 sewing machine, you’re equipped with a versatile tool for various sewing projects. From delicate fabrics to heavy denim, the MX231 offers an array of stitches and adjustable settings to meet your sewing needs.

In this article, we’ll delve into common problems that may arise while using the SINGER MX231 and provide troubleshooting solutions tailored to this specific model.

SINGER MX231 Overview

The SINGER MX231 sewing machine is a remarkable tool that combines functionality and versatility. It’s designed to accommodate a wide range of fabrics, offering both basic and decorative stitches, including stretch stitches. This allows you to tackle projects involving anything from sheer materials to stretch knit to denim and more. You have the flexibility to adjust stitch width and length to achieve your desired results.

Product Details and Features

Product Dimensions7.4″D x 15.2″W x 10.9″H
Item Weight11.79 Pounds
Power SourceAc/Dc
Is ElectricYes


  • 97 Stitch Applications for any Fabric or Project
  • 5.7″ sewing space (needle to tower) and 4.2″ height
  • Built-In Needle Threader
  • Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure to allow Adjustments for Very Heavy or Very Fine Fabrics
  • Adjustable Stitch Length and Width
  • Quick and Easy Threading with a Built-In Needle Threader
  • Front Load Bobbin that is Easy to Wind and Insert
  • Included Components: Presser Feet/Pedal/Bobbins

Additional Information:

  • Product Dimensions: 15.16 x 7.35 x 10.9 inches
  • Item Weight: 11.79 pounds
  • Manufacturer: SINGER
  • ASIN: B082DYYR7J
  • Country of Origin: Vietnam
  • Item model number: MX231

Care Instructions

The SINGER MX231 sewing machine requires no assembly and doesn’t need batteries. It’s ready to use once you receive it. However, it’s important to follow proper care instructions to ensure the longevity of your machine.

  • Assembly Required: No
  • Number of Pieces: 1
  • Batteries Required: No
  • Included Components: Presser Feet/Pedal/Bobbins

Causes of Common Problems with the SINGER MX231

As versatile as the SINGER MX231 sewing machine is, it’s not immune to a few common issues that users might encounter. Let’s explore these issues and provide step-by-step troubleshooting solutions:

1. Thread Tension Imbalance

Description: Uneven stitching, loose threads, or puckering fabric.

Cause: Incorrect thread tension settings.


  1. Ensure the presser foot is up before threading.
  2. Thread the machine following the threading path indicated in the manual.
  3. Set the tension dial to the recommended setting for your fabric.

2. Bobbin Thread Jam

Description: Bobbin thread getting tangled or jamming during sewing.

Cause: Incorrect bobbin insertion or tension issues.


  1. Turn off the machine and remove the needle.
  2. Remove the bobbin case and reinsert the bobbin, ensuring it’s correctly threaded.
  3. Check the bobbin tension and adjust it if necessary.

3. Skipped Stitches

Description: Intermittent stitches being skipped during sewing.

Cause: Dull needle, incorrect threading, or incorrect stitch settings.


  1. Replace the needle with a new one suitable for your fabric.
  2. Rethread the machine, following the correct threading sequence.
  3. Check and adjust the stitch length and width settings.

4. Jammed Bobbin Winder

Description: Bobbin winder not winding thread onto the bobbin properly.

Cause: Incorrect bobbin winder setup or threading.


  1. Turn off the machine and unplug it.
  2. Ensure the bobbin winder spindle is pushed to the right for winding.
  3. Thread the bobbin winder properly and engage the winder by pressing on the handwheel.

5. Machine Jamming or Not Moving Fabric

Description: The machine is stuck, or the fabric isn’t moving forward during sewing.

Cause: Incorrect presser foot pressure or tangled threads.


  1. Check the presser foot pressure and adjust it according to the fabric thickness.
  2. Turn off the machine and clear any tangled threads or fabric from the feed dogs.
  3. Rethread the machine and resume sewing.

6. Uneven Stitching Length

Description: Stitches of varying lengths, resulting in an inconsistent appearance.

Cause: Incorrect stitch length setting or tension issues.


  1. Check and adjust the stitch length setting to the desired length.
  2. Ensure the thread tension is properly balanced for even stitching.

7. Needle Breakage

Description: Needles breaking frequently during sewing.

Cause: Using the wrong needle size, incorrect needle insertion, or sewing through thick layers.


  1. Select the appropriate needle size and type for your fabric.
  2. Insert the needle with the flat side facing the back of the machine.
  3. When sewing thick layers, use the appropriate presser foot and reduce the machine speed.

8. Noisy Operation

Description: Excessive noise or unusual sounds while sewing.

Cause: Loose parts, incorrect threading, or debris in the machine.


  1. Turn off the machine and inspect for loose parts or components.
  2. Rethread the machine, ensuring proper threading paths.
  3. Remove any accumulated debris from the bobbin area and feed dogs.

9. Bobbin Thread Not Catching

Description: The upper thread stitches properly, but the bobbin thread doesn’t create stitches.

Cause: Incorrect bobbin insertion, bobbin tension issues, or bobbin winding problems.


  1. Check that the bobbin is inserted correctly and threaded properly.
  2. Adjust the bobbin tension if the thread is too loose or too tight.
  3. Rewind the bobbin, ensuring it’s wound evenly and without thread tangles.

10. Fabric Puckering

Description: Fabric bunching or puckering while sewing.

Cause: Incorrect tension settings, using the wrong presser foot, or incorrect feeding.


  1. Adjust the upper thread tension and bobbin tension for the fabric being used.
  2. Use the appropriate presser foot for the fabric type to prevent dragging or pushing.
  3. Ensure the fabric is smoothly guided through the feed dogs without excessive pulling.

11. Thread Bunching Underneath Fabric

Description: The upper thread creates loops or bunches on the underside of the fabric.

Cause: Incorrect threading, bobbin tension issues, or lint buildup.


  1. Rethread the machine, following the correct threading sequence.
  2. Adjust the bobbin tension if loops are forming on the underside.
  3. Clean the bobbin area and feed dogs of any accumulated lint or debris.

12. Stitch Irregularities in Zigzag Stitches

Description: Zigzag stitches show uneven spacing or inconsistency.

Cause: Incorrect needle position, incorrect width setting, or mechanical issues.


  1. Ensure the needle is centered and positioned correctly for zigzag stitching.
  2. Adjust the stitch width to achieve the desired spacing between stitches.
  3. If the issue persists, consider lubricating the machine’s moving parts or seeking professional maintenance.

13. Fabric Not Feeding Smoothly

Description: The fabric doesn’t move forward smoothly while sewing.

Cause: Feed dogs are lowered, incorrect pressure foot pressure, or fabric caught in the feed dogs.


  1. Ensure the feed dogs are engaged by flipping the feed dog switch.
  2. Adjust the presser foot pressure to match the fabric thickness.
  3. Remove any fabric caught in the feed dogs and reposition the fabric for smooth feeding.

14. Needle Threader Malfunction

Description: The built-in needle threader fails to work properly.

Cause: Misalignment, dirt, or damage to the needle threader mechanism.


  1. Ensure the needle threader is properly aligned with the needle eye.
  2. Gently clean the needle threader mechanism from any dirt or debris.
  3. If the problem persists, manually thread the needle or seek professional repair.

15. Stitches Skipping in Stretch Fabrics

Description: Stitches are skipped or uneven when sewing stretch fabrics.

Cause: Incorrect needle type, incorrect tension, or fabric not properly stabilized.


  1. Use a ballpoint or stretch needle designed for knit fabrics.
  2. Adjust the thread tension for optimal stitch formation on stretch materials.
  3. Place stabilizer or tissue paper beneath the fabric to prevent it from stretching excessively while sewing.

16. Needle Keeps Breaking

Description: The needle frequently breaks during sewing.

Cause: Incorrect needle size for the fabric, bent needle, or sewing over pins.


  1. Ensure you’re using the correct needle size and type for your fabric.
  2. Inspect the needle for any signs of bending or damage and replace if necessary.
  3. Avoid sewing over pins, as they can cause the needle to break.

17. Uneven Buttonholes

Description: Buttonholes show uneven stitching or sizing.

Cause: Incorrect buttonhole settings, fabric shifting, or machine calibration.


  1. Calibrate the buttonhole foot according to the machine’s instructions.
  2. Stabilize the fabric properly to prevent shifting during buttonhole creation.
  3. Check and adjust the buttonhole settings for stitch length and width as needed.

18. Motor Runs but Needle Doesn’t Move

Description: The machine’s motor runs, but the needle doesn’t move during sewing.

Cause: Loose or disengaged drive belt, mechanical obstruction, or motor issues.


  1. Check if the drive belt is properly engaged and not loose or disconnected.
  2. Examine the needle and feed dogs area for any obstructions or jammed fabric.
  3. If the issue persists, consider professional repair for potential motor or mechanical problems.

19. Bobbin Thread Keeps Breaking

Description: The bobbin thread repeatedly breaks while sewing.

Cause: Tangled or unevenly wound bobbin, incorrect threading, or tension issues.


  1. Ensure the bobbin is wound evenly and smoothly without tangles.
  2. Rethread the bobbin following the correct threading path.
  3. Check and adjust the bobbin tension to prevent thread breakage.

20. Feed Dogs Not Moving Fabric

Description: The feed dogs are not advancing the fabric during sewing.

Cause: Lowered feed dogs, disconnected feed dog mechanism, or mechanical issues.


  1. Make sure the feed dogs are raised by flipping the feed dog switch.
  2. Inspect the feed dog mechanism for any disconnections or issues.
  3. If the problem persists, consider seeking professional repair for mechanical problems.

21. Thread Keeps Breaking

Description: The thread keeps breaking during sewing.

Cause: Incorrect threading, rough needle eye, or tension issues.


  1. Rethread the machine carefully, following the correct threading path.
  2. Inspect the needle eye for any rough spots that could be causing the thread to fray.
  3. Check and adjust the thread tension for optimal sewing conditions.

22. Thread Nesting Under Fabric

Description: Excess thread accumulates underneath the fabric, creating nests of tangled thread.

Cause: Incorrect bobbin threading, tension issues, or improper fabric handling.


  1. Check the bobbin threading to ensure it follows the correct path.
  2. Adjust the bobbin tension if necessary to prevent excess thread buildup.
  3. Hold onto the thread tails when beginning to sew to prevent thread nests.

23. Uneven Presser Foot Pressure

Description: Uneven pressure exerted by the presser foot on the fabric.

Cause: Improper presser foot adjustment, bent presser foot, or fabric thickness variation.


  1. Adjust the presser foot pressure according to the fabric type and thickness.
  2. Inspect the presser foot for any bending or damage; replace if needed.
  3. Stabilize fabric layers evenly to avoid pressure inconsistencies.

24. Needle Not Picking Up Bobbin Thread

Description: The needle fails to catch the bobbin thread, resulting in no stitches forming.

Cause: Incorrect bobbin insertion, needle not positioned correctly, or timing issues.


  1. Check that the bobbin is inserted correctly and threaded properly.
  2. Ensure the needle is inserted correctly with the flat side facing the back.
  3. If the problem persists, consider professional repair for potential timing adjustments.

25. Stitches Pulling or Gathering Fabric

Description: Stitches pull or gather the fabric, causing distortion.

Cause: Incorrect tension settings, fabric not properly guided, or incorrect stitch type.


  1. Adjust the thread tension to match the fabric type and desired stitch outcome.
  2. Ensure the fabric is guided smoothly through the machine to prevent distortion.
  3. Select the appropriate stitch type for the fabric and purpose of the sewing.

SINGER MX231 Sewing Machine User Reviews

Positive Reviews from SINGER MX231 Users

Users of the SINGER MX231 sewing machine have reported various positive experiences with the machine, highlighting the following aspects:

  • Smooth Stitching Performance: Some users were satisfied with the consistent and smooth stitching performance of the SINGER MX231, even on a variety of fabrics.
  • Easy to Use: Many users found the machine to be user-friendly and straightforward, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced sewers.
  • Wide Range of Stitches: Users appreciated the wide selection of stitch applications available, allowing them to explore various creative sewing projects.
  • Good Value for Money: Positive feedback often mentioned the affordable price of the machine relative to its features and performance.
  • Lightweight and Portable: The machine’s lightweight design and compact size were noted as advantageous for easy storage and transportation.

These positive experiences highlight the machine’s versatility, ease of use, and value for money, making it a popular choice among sewers.

Negative User Reviews of the SINGER MX231

While many users had positive experiences with the SINGER MX231 sewing machine, there were some negative feedback and concerns reported by users as well:

  • Thread Breakage: Some users experienced issues with thread breakage during sewing, which could be frustrating and interrupt the sewing process.
  • Complex Needle Threading: Negative feedback mentioned difficulties in understanding and using the built-in needle threading mechanism.
  • Limited Manual: Users found that the machine’s instruction manual was not included in the package, causing confusion and difficulties for beginners.
  • Bobbin Problems: A few users reported issues with bobbin threading, tension, or jamming, affecting the overall sewing experience.
  • Stitch Quality on Stretch Fabrics: Negative experiences included challenges in achieving consistent stitch quality on stretchy fabrics.

These concerns underscore the importance of thorough understanding and practice when using the machine, and they point out areas where improvements could enhance the user experience.

Based on user reviews available on, the majority of users were satisfied with the SINGER MX231 sewing machine, giving it an average rating of 4.0 out of 5 stars. Positive feedback often highlights the machine’s versatility, ease of use, and affordable price.

However, there were some challenges reported, particularly for beginners, related to the manual, threading mechanisms, and stitching quality on certain fabrics. It’s important to note that user experiences may vary, and taking time to familiarize oneself with the machine’s features and troubleshooting steps can contribute to a more satisfying sewing experience.

SINGER MX231 Sewing Machine Manual

The operating instructions and manual for the SINGER MX231 sewing machine can be accessed on the manufacturer’s official website. For comprehensive guidance on setup, usage, maintenance, and troubleshooting, users are encouraged to visit the official SINGER website and download the manual. Having access to the manual can provide valuable insights into making the most of the machine’s features and addressing common issues.

SINGER MX231 Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I thread the SINGER MX231 sewing machine?

To thread the SINGER MX231 sewing machine, follow the threading guide provided in the machine’s manual. Typically, the process involves guiding the thread through specific points, including the tension discs, needle, and bobbin area. Refer to the manual’s detailed instructions for proper threading.

2. Why is my thread breaking frequently?

Thread breakage can occur due to various reasons, such as incorrect threading, tension issues, or using a worn-out needle. Ensure that the machine is correctly threaded, adjust the tension according to the fabric, and replace the needle if it’s dull or damaged.

3. How can I prevent fabric from bunching or tangling underneath?

Fabric bunching under the needle can result from improper threading, incorrect tension settings, or insufficient fabric guiding. Double-check the threading, adjust the tension as needed, and hold onto the thread tails at the beginning of sewing to prevent tangling. Ensure smooth fabric guiding as you sew.

4. Can I sew stretch fabrics with the SINGER MX231?

Yes, the SINGER MX231 sewing machine is designed to handle a variety of fabrics, including stretch materials. To sew stretch fabrics successfully, use an appropriate stretch needle, adjust the thread tension, and stabilize the fabric as needed to prevent unwanted stretching or distortion.

5. How do I troubleshoot stitch irregularities?

If you notice irregular stitches, check the needle for damage and replace if necessary. Adjust the stitch settings, ensuring that the stitch length and width are appropriate for your fabric. Also, make sure the fabric is guided smoothly while sewing to prevent stitching issues.


When encountering any issues with your SINGER MX231 sewing machine, it’s advisable to refer to the manual provided by the manufacturer. In cases where the manual doesn’t address your concern, or if you need additional assistance, consider reaching out to customer service or visiting a service center. Proper troubleshooting and maintenance practices, along with understanding the machine’s features, can contribute to a more enjoyable sewing experience with the SINGER MX231.

SINGER M2100 Common Problems

SINGER M3500 Common Problems

SINGER X5004HD Common Problems

Leave a Comment