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How to Stop a Sewing Machine from Skipping Stitches

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Do you know how to stop a sewing machine from skipping stitches? Even when following the manual to properly setup the sewing machine and bobbin, it still feels like skipping stitches is an unsolved mystery. 

Whether it is decorative topstitch or straight stitch to join the seam, any number of skipped stitches simply ruins the whole garment. There are multiple reasons that sewing machine start skipping stitches, so lets dive into the problem.

How do you stop a sewing machine from skipping stitches? In order to stop a sewing machine from skipping stitches, replace an old and dull sewing needle, use the correct needle size and select quality thread. Lastly, adjust the sewing machine tension on the top and bottom depending on the type of fabric you are using.

Skipping stitches is a common issue that every sewing machine faces. If the machine resolves on its own after a couple of stitches, then the issue is not that big. 

However, the issue shouldn’t be ignored as it lowers the strength and integrity of the stitching. The reason why a sewing machine is skipping stitches could be an issue in the machine or a result of other causes. 

In this article, you will understand the common causes of skipped stitches on a sewing machine and how it can be fixed using simple adjustments. Answered below are frequently asked questions about why sewing machines skip stitches and the best way to fix each type of issue.

Sewing machine skipping stitches and shredding thread

If your sewing machine is shredding thread and skipping stitches, the solution is to change the sewing needle. A skipped stitch is generally due to a worn out or old needle. 

There is some friction positioned on the needlepoint at a single point with repeated action. As a result, the needle encounter abrasion and skipped stitches occur due to dull needles thereby impacting performance.

A sewing machine skips stitches and shreds thread due to:

Generally, sewing machine needles can become dull after about 7 hours of continuous sewing. Dull and old needles can make stitches skip quite easily. 

If you replace the sewing needle, make sure the needle is pushed all the way in before tightening the screw. Improper replacement not only affects stitch skip, but also damages the sewing machine. 

Sewing machine not stitching properly

A sewing machine may not stitch properly due to several reasons. Some of the causes can be fixed while other issues might need professional help. 

Let’s take a look at some causes for a sewing machine not stitching properly:

  • Needle: Whenever you are sewing a new project, select the needle as per the textile fabrication. For instance, a ballpoint or stretch needle is right for sewing knit such as ribbing, jersey, and spandex. It is best not to the used old, worn out, and dull needles when sewing. This can result in skipped stitches. Also, replace the sewing needle if exceeds 7 hours of sewing. When putting the needle into the sewing machine, ensure the needle is pushed all the way in and not too low. A lowered needle can also skip stitches and harm the sewing machine.
  • Bobbin: Make sure the bobbin is positioned correctly and tightly threaded. A poorly wound bobbin thread can also cause skipped stitching. Use good quality thread for getting neat stitches, and if you have adjustable tension feature on the bobbin case use it wisely.
  • Rethreading: A majority of the time, a machine skipping stitches is due to inappropriate threading. Rethreading the sewing machine helps in solving this issue. Ensure the tension disk thread and the spool are appropriately positioned in the sewing machine.
  • Tension settings: If any of the above is not fixing the issue, skipped stitches could caused by improper tension settings. Alter the tension dial in increments gradually by testing the stitching on scraps of fabric. Check the machine manual for the right tension setting as per the fabric and tweak the tension of the bobbin thread by turning the screw on the bobbin case.

Start by double checking the sewing machine condition from top to bottom and make a checklist to identify where the problem is coming from. In the rare circumstance that none of the above helps the skipped stitching, then you may need a machine tune-up by a professional.

How to solve stitches loop problems of a sewing machine?

Loop stitches result from improper tension. For an upper side loop, the top tension has to be loosened or the lower tension has to be tightened. For an underside loop, adjust the upper tension only.

Solve looping problems in stitches by:

  • Adjusting the upper and lower tension
  • Thread the lower and upper thread correctly.
  • Ensure the needle is of the right quality and matches correctly with the thread and fabric.
  • Looping can also occur due to improper bobbin placement in the bobbin case. Check the sewing machine manual.
  • Dirt or lint might be a reason for tension between discs. Check the manual to carefully eliminate this debris.

Why is my needle skipping stitches?

A needle can skip stitches due to several reasons such as being worn out, dull, bent, or inappropriate type for the sewn fabric. 

The most common cause of needle skipping stitches is in issue with the sewing machine needle. If you see it slightly bent or developed a dull point overtime, it is time to replace with a brand new needle.

Some causes why your needle is skipping stitches are:

  • Incorrect insertion of the needle in the needle bar
  • Too small of needle for the thread, or thread and needle mismatch
  • Bent or blunt needle
  • The needle is too short for the sewing machine
  • For a zipper foot, the foot edge is far off the needle.
  • Incorrect threading of the needle
  • Too light of pressure
  • The hole of the needle in the throat plate is quite large
  • Too tight upper tension compared to lower tension
  • Bobbin thread and upper thread are mismatched

Skipped stitches with walking foot

Sometimes using a walking foot to sew knit or woven fabric helps to sew neatly. However, you may also experience skipped stitches with it. 

A walking foot can cause skipped stitches due to the larger opening of the foot or inappropriate foot pressure.

Some of the causes of skipped stitches with the walking foot:

  • Use the right walking foot for the fabric sewn. It presses the fabric down appropriately and avoids the fabric getting dragged down and up with the needle
  • A larger opening in the walking foot is less efficient in its sewing job
  • Employ zigzag stitch together with a straight stitch
  • Use Teflon walking foot for coated and foiled materials
  • Provide sufficient pressure to sustain the fabric below the needle.

Solution of skipped stitches

Depending on the reasons for skipped sewing machine stitches, there are various solutions to apply. 

Skipped stitches can be avoided by taking small measures and by doing some minor adjustments in the sewing machine. If you do not solve this issue, it may damage your sewing machine for a long term.

Fixing skipped stitches

  • Change the needle and match it with the sewn fabric.
  • The needle should be properly mounted in the needle bar. The needle should not be too low and should be of the right size for the thread.
  • The tension disk thread and spool should be positioned appropriately.
  • Threading should be suitably tight in the bobbin and the bobbin should be placed correctly in the case.
  • The bobbin should be rightly wound with thread of good quality.
  • Replace dull, bent, and worn-out needles.
  • The thread and needle should be the right match with the fabrication.
  • Sewing machine tension settings should be adjusted accordingly.
How to stop sewing machine from skipping stitches

Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches: Final Thoughts

In order to stop a sewing machine from skipping stitches, there are many areas that you need to investigate to find the solution. When the machine starts skipping any type of stitches, start by checking the condition of the sewing needle. 

Visually identify if the sewing needle point is dull and bent. Also, if it is sewn over 7 hours then it is time to replace to a new sewing needle. 

When putting a new needle into the machine, make sure to push the needle all the way in before tightening the screw. A lower needle position may create skipping stitches and also harm the sewing machine.

Next, re-thread the sewing machine and also rewind the bobbin correctly. Double check that the thread is in the tension disk and the spool is placed correctly on the sewing machine. 

Sometimes, poorly wound bobbin causes skipping stitches.

If you are still experiencing skipped stitches, look to adjust the tension setting on the machine. Start with small increments and review the sewing machine manual for recommended tension settings for specific fabrications that you are working on. 

Lastly, always select the correct needle and quality thread for the chosen fabric. Whether it is delicately woven fabric or stretchy knit fabric, swap the all-purpose needle to a special ballpoint or silk needle for best results and to avoid skipped stitching.  

It not difficult to solve the problem why the sewing machine is skipping stitches. From needle to tension setting, there are elements that you need to double check to make sure everything is correctly placed and replaced. 

However, if everything is set accordingly and the issue still persists, then a professional sewing machine tune-up is the next step.

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