Sewing Machine Noise Reduction: 6 Ways to Make It Quieter

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Sewing has become a bit of a nice hobby these days. It used to be all the rage, back when clothes weren’t so readily available to all and when you made a lot of things by hand to use around the house.

These days, I sometimes get weird looks when I admit I like to sew. Hell, even people who do it as a job get weird looks.

So, while I do love it, it’s kind of hard to talk to people about it, without seeming old-fashioned and that, I will admit, kind of dampens my enthusiasm. But not as much as the damned noise.

You know that noise that pops up almost when you’re at your best? When you feel truly inspired and like you’re creating your masterpiece?

sewing machine noise reduction

I was making this elaborate, colorful wallet for a friend who hates the idea of using a regular one. I was in the zone, creating something marvelous and beautiful.

Then it became noisy and I lost my train of thought. The project might as well have gone up in flames, considering how ruined it was.

Does this, at all, sound familiar to you? Has it happened to you as well?

Do you just hate the idea of this happening to something you’re working on and you want to prevent it at all costs? You could even just be curious as to why there’s noise coming from your machine or how to prevent it, if possible.

Let me give you some advice on all of that in order to hopefully make sure you can identify and fix any and all potential problems.

What’s Causing Sewing Machine Noise and How to Reduce It

Now, let's be clear, this only works if you have a standard or close to a standard sewing machine, like one of these. Something completely non-standard or customized will most likely have a different set of issues and solutions.

In general, however, you should be able to apply all of these steps in finding where the noise from your machine is coming from and how to reduce it.

1. Balance is Key

It might seem like a no-brainer but you’d be shocked at how often someone can forget this. When you’re deciding where to place your sewing machine, the fact it needs to be balanced is an overlooked factor that often causes a lot of noise.

In essence, you’re looking to place it somewhere that is:

  • Very flat- Even a tiny bump could cause irregularities and make the machine function in a way that makes it unbearably loud.
  • Very smooth, but not slippery- A delicate balance to find. You want somewhere that has a texture that won’t jostle the machine as it runs but still allow it to be firmly in place.
  • Can be altered to fit your needs- You need to also plan for any future changes or additions you need to make, in order to ensure it keeps running well. A surface that's too delicate, for example, won't be a good option.

Not being balanced gives the sewing machine some bit of trouble. It tends to work at odd angles that, while they may seem insignificant to us, can be an issue over time.

Such a delicate and complex mechanism tends to need every bit of precision it can muster in order to function at its peak. Plus, you want to avoid the noise of it not working right.

2. Move Your Sewing Machine

If you think you’ve placed the machine poorly, then move it. There’s no shame in making a mistake, but you have to do your best to fix it.

A very crucial thing to consider when relocating is what material you will be placing the machine on. Let me explain.

Some materials are much better suited to absorbing vibrations and noise than others. How well they do is crucial to deciding where your machine needs to be placed.

reduce sewing machine noise

For example, plastic is an extremely poor choice. It tends to not only do poorly at the task, it downright makes things worse, since it’s a fake material not designed in the slightest for this kind of duty.

Wood, on the other hand, is a very good choice, for the exact opposite reasons. It’s a natural material that’s amazing at absorbing noise and vibrations. Not ideal or perfect, admittedly, but leagues better than plastic.

To illustrate how much of a chore it is to pick out where to place your sewing machine, be aware that they make special tables for just that. Here is an example of a very high-quality one.

3. Locate the Noise

Knowing is half the battle, as they say. In this case, it’s not only true but it might even be understated.

Examining your machine closely, in several states, is the best way to ensure you’ve found the problem and have an idea of what you’re dealing with. In general, observe it when:

  • It’s turned off completely- This way you get a good baseline and can even determine if any problems stick out as being noticeable despite the machine not being in motion. If you do notice anything, then it’s a safe bet that might be the cause of your racket.
  • It’s working, but at a slow pace- Just letting it run lightly is a good way to measure if any parts are overstressed. Gears, in particular, will still make any problems about them evident, if it’s come to that, even while they’re working slowly.
  • It's working at full blast- You want to really give it a solid go if you haven't noticed anything amiss during the last 2 times. This will force any and all breaks to be evident, but be advised it's not good to do this method of checking for more than a minute or two at once.
  • check
    When it’s stopped after being used- Usually, there’s a bit of a window where you can spot any oddities you might have missed previously, during this period. It’s also the best way to confirm anything you saw during the other 3 steps.

Often times, the problems can be simple to fix, like gears needing oiling or a needle needing replacement. However, if you don't notice any causes for concern despite the alarming noise, then you might want to consider a repair shop or seeing if it falls under your warranty.

4. Control Your Speed of Sewing

It’s easy to overlook the foot pedal and definitely easy to get carried away with it. You get caught up in the thrill of creating something and you just sort of keep pressing it, as you work, not wanting to really divert your attention to anything else.

That’s where potential problems and noise could come in. The foot pedal is sensitive.

sewing machine noise

Generally, it’s recommended that you try to press your foot down on it with gradually increasing intensity. It’s not advisable to go for a dead sprint, so to speak, right away.

The noise you’re hearing might just be a result of you forcing the pedal too far, too fast. Ease up and let it gradually get up to the speed you want to work at.

If this solves your problem, you know what to do from now on. Making sure to treat the pedal with care will take you a long way.

5. Regular and Thorough Maintenance

This one might seem very obvious, but it’s not. Sewing is something you get lost in and do for a fairly long period of time, every time.

However, this does impact the general state of the machine itself quite dramatically, as prolonged, repeated and intense use will wear anything down. That’s why following these steps as often as possible is going to extend the lifespan of your sewing machine by a good few months, if not years:

  1. Disassemble the machine as much as you can
  2. Dust all the parts
  3. Oil and lubricate all the moving mechanisms
  4. Check for any fractures or misalignment
  5. Replace any parts that seem worn
  6. Put it back together slowly and carefully

To be clear, it’s not necessary to clean the machine and apply maintenance every day. But an hour of your time per week can give many more hours than that of your machine functioning at peak performance, without any noise.

6. Get a Specialized Mat

If all else fails, maybe getting something specifically designed to deal with noise produced by a sewing machine will do the trick. It exists as a product for a reason, after all.

These kinds of pads are tailor-made for the purpose of absorbing both the vibration and the noise a sewing machine can produce. That way, they not only allow for much quieter sewing, but the machine itself is more stable which is a major benefit overall.

Final Word: On Sewing Machine Noise Reduction

As you just plainly saw, there are many ways for you to get rid of the noise your sewing machine is making. Applying them all should be easy enough and it will save you a lot of grief and time.

If all else fails and you aren’t able to repair it or get it replaced under warranty, consider an upgrade. Some older machines are just unavoidably loud.