Why Does My Sewing Machine Needle Keep Breaking?

You’re probably reading this article because you are tired of your needle breaking on your sewing machine, and you can’t figure out why it is happening. There are several reasons why your sewing machine needle may be breaking. Consider the following reasons:

  • Your Sewing Machine Is Threaded Incorrectly: If your thread does not line up through the tension and thread guides properly, it can tighten up as you sew. This can pull on the eye of the needle and cause it to break. A poorly threaded sewing machine is one of the most common reason for breaking a needle.
  • Your Thread Is Not on the Spool Pin Securely: You can’t just stick the thread on the spool pin and start sewing — you have to attach the stopper securely, but with enough give for the thread to spin freely. Some sewing machines are very sensitive to this set up, and the spool pin can throw off the tension. Your sewing machine needle can break if the thread tension is off because it cannot be pulled through the eye of the needle properly.
  • You’re Using the Wrong Needle Type: Certain fabrics require certain types of needles. For instance, ball point needles may break if you try to sew on a thick material like corduroy. If you don’t usually have an issue with your needle breaking, consider using a different type of needle to solve the problem.
  • Your Needle Is Not Inserted Correctly: There is a little screw that holds the needle in place as you sew. If the needle is not inserted all the way, it can break while you sew because it goes down too deep into the bobbin.
  • Your Needle Is Bent or Damaged: Over time, your sewing machine needle can bend and get damaged. Some sewing machine needles also have natural flaws that happen during manufacturing. This means that you will occasionally come across a needle that is bent or damaged before you insert it in your machine. Bent and damaged needles will break when they hit the sole plate or catch in the bobbin.
  • There is Lint Accumulation in Your Bobbin: If you haven’t taken your bobbin casing out of your machine in a while, there may be a build-up of lint. If you have too much lint in there, the needle may jam into it and break.
  • You’ve Been Sewing Over Pins: If you leave the pins in your sewing project, you might hit a pin when you sew. A lot of the time this will result in a broken needle, or simply damage it over time. You should always remove the pins as you sew anyway, because it’s dangerous (think needle in the eye).
  • Your Needle Is Out of Position: If your needle breaks every time you insert a new one, use the handwheel to slowly bring the needle down to see if it is hitting the sole plate or the presser foot. You can manually adjust the position of the needle by changing the width setting so that it is not hitting anything. This is a common problem when using a presser foot other than the standard one.
If you have checked for all of the problems listed above, it may be time to take your sewing machine into the repair shop. You may need to have the alignment manually reset, especially if your machine has been dropped, jostled, etc.
Visit our article on Sewing Machine Troubleshooting for more information.

2 Comments to "Why Does My Sewing Machine Needle Keep Breaking?"

  1. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    05/2013 - 3:49 AM | Permalink

    After having cleaned the bobbin case and feed area my sewing machine needle is hitting the sole plate and breaking, and you suggest, it is probably out of position.The guide says to adjust the needle by using the width setting, where is this located? My machine is a Singer 359.
    Many thanks,

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