Why is My Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches?

Sewing is a wonderful and rewarding hobby, allowing you to create beautiful garments and home decor items. However, encountering issues with your sewing machine can be frustrating, especially when it starts skipping stitches. If you’re wondering why your sewing machine is skipping stitches, this article will explore the possible causes and provide solutions to fix the problem.

Understanding the issue: Why stitches are skipped

Before we dive into the solutions, it’s important to understand why stitches are skipped in the first place. There are several potential causes for this issue, and it’s essential to identify the specific reason to effectively address it.

Common Causes of Stitch Skipping

  1. Dull or damaged needle: A dull or damaged needle is one of the most common reasons for skipped stitches. When the needle is no longer sharp, it struggles to pierce through the fabric properly, resulting in skipped stitches.
  2. Incorrect needle size: Using the wrong needle size for your fabric can also lead to skipped stitches. If the needle is too large or too small for the fabric thickness, it won’t create adequate tension, causing the stitches to be skipped.
  3. Incorrect threading: Incorrect threading of the sewing machine can disrupt the stitch formation. Ensure that the thread is properly threaded through the machine, including the tension discs, guides, and the needle.
  4. Tension issues: Improper tension settings can cause skipped stitches. If the tension is too tight or too loose, the stitches may not form properly, resulting in skipped stitches.
  5. Sewing machine maintenance: A poorly maintained sewing machine can contribute to skipped stitches. Buildup of lint, dust, or debris in the bobbin area or the needle assembly can interfere with the stitching process.
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Troubleshooting and Solutions

Now that we have a better understanding of the causes, let’s explore the solutions to fix the problem of skipped stitches.

  1. Change the needle: Start by replacing the needle with a new one. Ensure you choose the correct needle type and size for your fabric. A fresh needle will have a sharp point, allowing it to penetrate the fabric smoothly and create even stitches.
  2. Use the correct needle size: Double-check that you are using the appropriate needle size for your fabric. Refer to the sewing machine manual or consult a needle size chart to determine the right needle for the fabric weight.
  3. Check the threading: Review the threading process of your sewing machine. Make sure the thread is correctly passed through all the necessary components, including the tension discs and the needle. Correct any threading mistakes to ensure smooth stitching.
  4. Adjust the tension: Test the tension settings on your sewing machine. Gradually adjust the tension dial while observing the stitch formation. Find the optimal tension where the stitches are balanced and not skipping. Remember to make minor adjustments and test the stitches on a scrap piece of fabric before starting a new project.
  5. Regular maintenance: Keep your sewing machine in good working condition by performing regular maintenance. Clean the bobbin area, remove lint and debris, and oil the machine as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Proper maintenance will help prevent issues like skipped stitches.

Tips for preventing skipped stitches

  • Use high-quality, sharp needles suitable for your fabric type.
  • Replace the needle after every project or approximately every 8-10 hours of sewing.
  • Use the appropriate needle size for your fabric thickness.
  • Thread the machine correctly, following the manual’s instructions.
  • Check the tension before starting a new project.
  • Clean and oil your sewing machine regularly to ensure smooth operation.
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Dealing with a sewing machine that skips stitches can be frustrating, but understanding the underlying causes and implementing the right solutions can help resolve the problem. By ensuring you have the correct needle, proper threading, and appropriate tension, you can enjoy uninterrupted stitching and produce flawless projects.


How often should I change my sewing machine needle?

It is recommended to change the needle after every project or approximately every 8-10 hours of sewing.

What should I do if adjusting the tension doesn’t solve the problem?

If adjusting the tension doesn’t resolve the issue, try changing the needle to eliminate any potential needle-related problems.

Can using the wrong thread cause skipped stitches?

Yes, using the wrong thread can contribute to skipped stitches. Ensure you’re using the appropriate thread weight for your fabric.

Is it necessary to oil my sewing machine?

Yes, regular oiling of your sewing machine is necessary to keep it running smoothly. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended oiling schedule.

How can I avoid breaking needles while sewing?

To avoid breaking needles, ensure you’re using the correct needle type and size for your fabric. Avoid forcing the fabric through the machine and sew at a moderate speed.

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