Why Would a Sewing Machine Skip Stitches?

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Sewing machine troubleshooting can be relatively pain-free if you know what to look for. Usually each problem that occurs in sewing can be pinpointed to one of only a few causes. Knowing what to look for will help make your sewing project less stressful.

Bent or Dull Needle

  • A sewing machine needle that is bent, dull or otherwise damaged will cause skipped stitches. The needle must be able to take up the bobbin thread to form a stitch; a dull needle may not be able to do so. Change your needle to one that you know is new and sharp.

Wrong Needle

  • The wrong size needle or the wrong type of needle may cause skipped stitches. Heavy-duty or denim needles in a larger size (indicated by a larger number) are best for heavy fabrics; stretch or ballpoint needles are best for stretchy or knit fabrics. Smaller needles are indicated by smaller numbers; the middle-of-the-road needle size is 80/12, which would be used on medium-weight fabrics.

Wrong Thread Tension

  • Thread tension that is too tight may cause skipped stitches. Refer to your sewing machine's user manual for proper thread tension. Usually a higher number means higher tension.

Improper Threading

  • Improper threading is a common cause of many sewing problems, including skipped stitches. Take out the top and bobbin thread and re-thread the sewing machine completely. Refer to your user manual to ensure you are threading the machine correctly.

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