Needle Bar Damage From Over-tightening

Having serviced a few sewing machines with needle bar damage, I thought it would be a good idea to give our blog readers a little tip that will save them some money. Don’t over-tighten the needle bar clamp screw, especially when there isn’t a needle in the clamp.

Sewing Machine Needle Bar with Clamp and NeedleDo you know what a needle bar clamp is? A needle bar clamp is the part of the needle bar that holds the sewing machine needle in place. In the image on the right, the needle bar clamp has been colored orange. There are essentially two parts to the needle bar clamp; the clamp body, and the clamp screw. The clamp body wraps around the needle bar, and the clamp screw tightens the clamp to hold the needle.

On Janome sewing machines, if the needle bar clamp is over-tightened, the metal “wall” that is on the right side of the needle can actually bend. If you have a needle in the needle clamp when this happens, it will be really hard to change the needle. If you didn’t have a needle in the needle bar clamp when the bar was damaged, you’ll never get another needle in that bar again.

On Bernina sewing machines, if you over-tighten the needle clamp, the tip of the clamp screw can break and/or the clamp body can break. I’ve seen this happen many times, but Bernina machines no longer come with needle clamp screws that can be tightened with a screwdriver, so it’s not as big of a problem as it used to be.

If your needle bar or needle clamp needs to be replaced, I can replace it easily, but depending on the specific machine, it could cost upwards of $100.00. I know you’d rather be spending your money on fabric or something else! Be gentle when tightening the needle bar clamp, and please avoid using a screwdriver. No matter what it says in your owner’s manual, a screwdriver makes it much easier to over-tighten the needle bar clamp.