Gammill Longarm Troubleshooting

Gammill longarm quilting machines are synonymous with professional, quality quilting. A longarm quilting machine is slightly similar to a sewing machine, but with longarm quilting you use a longarm quilting machine instead of a sewing machine which can have multiple functions. These Gammill longarm quilting machines load the top, middle and back of a garment into the machine’s metal frame and sews these three layers all at once. The Gammill longarm quilting machine makes quilting possible whilst the layers of fabric stay in place. But for such a complicated process to take place, the Gammill longarm quilting machine has to do a lot and it more often than not needs to be troubleshooted is order to stay as efficient as possible. A Gammill longarm quilting machine is composed of a sewing machine head (with a needle and bobbin mechanism), fabric rollers, a worktable (which is very large and can be as long as 12 feet) to accommodate massively sized quilts. And a very heavy-duty metal frame.

Table of Contents

When The Needle Is Damaged Or Bent

A home sewing machine is designed to press together two layers of fabric using the presser foot and feed dog whilst the needle and bobbin thread interlock over these fabrics. The Gammill longarm quilting machine however is designed to press together and sew over multiple layers whilst the machine is moving (quilting.) This exposes the Gammill quilting machine’s needle to a lot of force, causing it to bend or get damaged in the process. The needle on the Gammill is very strong to say the least.

To Troubleshoot This

  • You should always replace the quilting machine’s needle, usually once or twice a day if you want to continue quilting.
  • If the needle strikes a hard object, the very tip of the needle can become damaged or burred such that it shreds the fabric, in which case you would also need to change it.
  • Even a slightly bent needle can be the cause of too many skipped stitches.

When The Needle Isn’t Positioned Properly

This is an issue that is also caused by the force that the Gammill longarm quilting machine’s needle is put through. This can shift the needle from its correct positioning. This issue can also cause the Gammill longarm quilting machine to skip stitches as the machine is quilting.

To Troubleshoot This

  • Make sure that the needle is positioned properly to the needle bar. Such that when you stand in front of your Gammill longarm quilting machine the needle’s eye is directly facing you.
  • Also make sure that the needle is installed all the way through to the needle stop in the needle bar.
  • You can sometimes rotate your needle slightly to the left or slightly to the right in order to adjust your needle for a more accurate thread loop pick up from the hook point.

When Tension Is Unbalanced

This issue can cause problems like stitch puckering and bunching up, or reduce the stitch quality to a poor one. Therefore it is very important that the tension from your needle’s thread and the other from your bobbin thread is balanced and even.

To Troubleshoot This

  • Before you balance the tension of the needle thread, you need to make sure that the bobbin thread’s tension is adjusted correctly.

When The Needle Thread Breaks

This issue can be caused by numerous other factors like the top and bottom tension not being properly balanced such that thread is broken when one side tugs and over powers another. In order to use a quilting machine like the Gammill longarm quilting machine the thread has to be very strong to counter the tension from the needle and the moving parts of the machine when quilting. Likewise the needle also needs to be strong enough to pierce through the multiple layers of quilt material without bending or breaking in the process. You, as the Gammill longarm quilting machine user should not hesitate at any point during the quilting process.

To Troubleshoot This

  • Again make sure that both the top and bottom tension are evenly distributed.
  • You are advised to use only quality threads, preferably not made of cotton because it has a tendency to dry rotcand so it is very brittle and breaks quite easily.
  • You should only use the recommended types of needles. You can find this information in your Gammill longarm quilting machine’s user manual.
  • Always move quickly so that your stitches do not overlap one another and build up (or nest onto one another.)
  • Immediately after starting the quilting machine, begin to move quickly as well. Because sewing in one place for an extended period of time will cause the thread to break.

When Motor Isn’t Running

The Gammill longarm quilting machine uses electrical power to run its motor, if this part of the quilting machine doesn’t work then no other part will work correctly as well. But it can be something as simple as not turning on the power or a loose cord that causes this problem.

To Troubleshoot This

  • Turn the quilting machine on by using the switch located at the back of the power pod.
  • Make sure that the power cord is plugged in tightly to the power outlet, the quilting machine needs 220V to work as intended. But on a wall power source the Gammill longarm quilting machine can take as little as 110V.
  • If everything is plugged in as it should and the motor still is not running then it would help to seek for advice from an accredited Gammill longarm quilting machine technician.


The Gammill longarm quilting machine is a powerhouse. It has an industrial build quality which makes it stronger than standard sewing machines. But it is not to be looked at as a sewing machine because it is not, no. Even when troubleshooting some of its problems you can tell that this isn’t a standard that a typical sewing machine could compete with. And that makes all the difference with the Gammill longarm quilting machine.