Why Does My Sewing Machine Skip Stitches?

If your sewing machine is skipping stitches, there is either an underlying problem in the way it is setup or with the fabric and notions you are using. Take a look at the following causes and solutions for skipped stitches on a sewing machine.

  • You Have a Dull Needle: When you have a dull sewing machine needle, sometimes it is not sharp enough to pierce your fabric all the way through, causing skipped stitches. Replace your needle and this should fix the problem. You should actually replace your needle after every sewing projects so it is always sharp.
  • Your Thread Tension Is Off: Thread tension is the cause of a lot of problems on your sewing machine, including skipped stitches. Adjust the upper thread tension so it is even with the bobbin thread tension. You can practice on a scrap piece of fabric until the tension is just right.
  • Your Machine Is Threaded Incorrectly: One of the first things you should try if your sewing machine is skipping stitches is rethread your machine and your bobbin, making sure the thread goes through the tension discs.
  • Your Bobbin Is in Backwards: In some of the older, front-loading bobbin sewing machines, it’s easy to insert the bobbin backwards. Sometimes the machine will still run, but it causes skipped stitched and other problems. Check to make sure your bobbin is in the case in the right direction — some machines have the thread clockwise while others have it counterclockwise. Check your manual if you’re unsure.
  • You’re Using Poor Quality Thread: Some thread breaks easily and stretches unevenly. This can cause skipped stitches on your fabric. Spend a few extra cents at the fabric store on good quality thread to avoid skipped stitches.
  • Your Fabric Is Too Thick: Your sewing machine can skip stitches if you’re trying to sew through too many layers or thick fabrics, like vinyl and faux leather. Try to slow down and use a longer stitch length to avoid the problem.

If you’re still having problems with skipped stitches after trying everything in this article, make an appointment with a sewing machine repair shop. There may be something malfunctioning inside your sewing machine or with the bobbin tension which is difficult to reset yourself.

Visit our Sewing Machine Troubleshooting Guide for more information.

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