Why Is My Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches? Answers to Stitching Problems

Image of sewing stitches but Why Is My Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches?Sewing is a fun craft, especially if all the necessary accessories are cooperating. The art incorporates various attachments such as threads, needles, sewing machines, and fabrics. In all your projects, these accessories need to work together to give you the perfect seam. But sometimes, you will observe skipped stitches on your work. So, allow me to engage you on the concern, and answer the question, why is my sewing machine skipping stitches?

The primary reason for skipped needles is worn-out or old needles. Every stitch creates friction on the needle’s point, and repeated action leads to abrasion. So, gradually, the needle becomes dull and results in missed stitches. It also becomes vulnerable to breakage and bending and will not warrant good stitches. Besides that, if you use low-quality needles or use them with the incorrect fabric type, you will observe skipped stitches.

A wrongly installed needle will also lead to missed stitches and mess up your finish. Therefore, it would be best if you examine your needle before stitching. Also, if your machine needs a specific needle type and size, ensure that you get it. Sorting needle issues is the first step to saying goodbye to missed stitches.

For more guidelines and information concerning skipped stitches, please follow through this article.

How Do I Stop My Sewing Machine from Skipping Stitches?

  • Replace Old and Damaged Needles.

You can stop your sewing unit from missing stitches by getting a new needle. Sewing machine needles become dull after extended use, which makes them dull and bent. This needle state will easily result in missed stitches. Therefore, you can prevent frustration by always ensuring that you get a new needle for every new project. Also, you should replace a bent or broken needle immediately.

Additionally, a damaged needle will ultimately impair the sewing machine. So, always check the needle before working on the sewing unit.

  • Re-thread the Sewing Machine and Wind the Bobbin.

The sewing device is acting up because of incorrect threading. Thus, ensure that you position the thread correctly in the tension discs. Also, check the spool and set it in the right place.

In addition, if you have a poorly wound bobbin, expect skipped stitches. Hence, if your machine gives missed stitches, thread the bobbin tightly and reposition it rightly. Also, as you thread the machine and wind the bobbin, consider the thread quality. It plays a primary role and will mess up your stitches if you don’t get good quality.

  • Adjust the Tension Settings.

Tension settings may also contribute to missed stitches. If you have sorted every accessory, but the stitches are still off, look at the tension settings. To correct the issue: Adjust the tension function in small bits after every test sews.

You can check the sewing unit’s manual to get the most suitable settings for your material. In addition, if you work with a metal case bobbin case, it would help if you tweak its tension_simple turn the tiny screw on the case with a small flat head screwdriver.

  • Get a Compatible Needle for Your Fabric.

Since various fabrics have specific needle requirements, a mismatch will lead to missed stitches. You may have a brand new needle, but problems will still arise if it is not the correct one. For instance, sewing jerseys, ribbings, and spandex requires a ballpoint or stretch needle. So you would have a rough sewing time if you use another needle.

  • Get Expert Maintenance and Repairs.

Sometimes you have done everything possible to ensure that you have the right tools for the sewing project. You have also set the correct tensions and positioned every attachment correctly. But to no avail.

In such cases, consider getting an expert to examine the sewing machine.

What Are the Possible Causes of Skipped Stitches?

Missed stitches do not just happen_there are a few instances that will result in them. So, let us dive right into the possible causes for skipped stitches.

  • Thread Issues Such as Shredding Thread.

Shredding thread is a nightmare to any sewist. It makes your work untidy and leads to weak stitches. Not to mention, shredding thread will lead to missed stitches on your seam. Therefore, it is one of the occurrences to avoid at all costs. But, what causes it?

Your thread will shred if it does not suit your needle. More specifically, if the thread size does not fit into the needle’s eye comfortably, shredding is inevitable. Also, if you use a low-quality or old thread, it will break or shred as you sew. The friction involved during sewing requires you to mind this important accessory.

Therefore, invest in a good quality thread and thread it correctly. Also, ensure that you get a needle that accommodates the thread type and thickness. The thread should smoothly go through the needle’s eye. Furthermore, it will end up even, smooth, and knot-free. Therefore, it is worth it.

In other cases, the thread may be perfect, but you still find it shredding. Here, consider re-threading the machine. If you doubt how you did it the last time, take some time and thread it again.

  • The sewing Machine’s Speed.

A slower or faster speed than required will give you problems. Also, if the machine holds the material too loose or too tight, you may get skipped stitches. On top of that, the unit’s speed may also lead to thread shredding and broken needles. By now, we know that these resulting issues will increase missed stitches.

Therefore, patiently allow the unit to sew at its recommended pace. Ensure that you make speed adjustments when you observe an unnecessary speed increase or decrease. Also, check how you hold the fabric to ensure that your grip is not too tight or too loose.

In addition, you can place a table in front of the sewing machine and let the material fall on it to regulate tension. This exercise will help you make the correct conclusion on whether the unit is working at the correct speed.

  • You May Be Working With a Faulty Machine.

A faulty sewing unit will result in issues such as thread shredding and skipped stitches even if the thread, needle, and thread tension are in their proper condition. These problems are frequent when the machine is not clean as accumulated dust does not allow smooth sewing. Also, it will keep affecting the device’s functionality until you take action.

Therefore, if your machine is delivering skipped stitches, regular maintenance is no alternative. It is mandatory!

Proper maintenance within short intervals is prudent if you frequently use the unit. Also, if it is grimy, it will not deliver sufficient resistance. Therefore, issues will occur now and then. In addition, these maintenance schedules should include examining other machine parts because they should work together to offer perfect stitches.

So, after how long should you clean or go through a maintenance session?

Check how frequently you use the machine and what fabric types you work with often. This examination will help you develop the most suitable maintenance routine and schedule for the sewing device. For example, if you sew daily and work on stiff fabrics such as velvet, it would be best to service the unit more often.

  • You are Probably Over-stitching.

A simple, innocent act such as stitching too much on one spot will affect your stitches. Over stitching will eventually lead to broken or shred thread and missed stitches. Therefore, consider creating a schedule and stick with it.

Include breaks into your sewing routine and ensure that the sewing device gets enough breaks. Also, please avoid stitching fabric for an extended period and select the correct stitch type for your material.

  • Low Upper Thread Tension.

Low upper thread tension is a threat to your project’s success. It brings about loose stitches on the material’s base, and you should correct it as soon as you notice seam irregularities. Please note that you can only enjoy a smooth sewing process with the correct thread tension settings. Therefore, always check if the thread is too loose or too tight before you begin working.

Also, a low tension occurs because of the bobbin thread. If the bobbin thread tightens your upper thread, the upper thread’s tension will automatically become low. Thus, consider checking the bobbin thread for any inconsistencies.

Once you set the thread tension, continue with it as long as it is not too tight or too loose. Try turning the machine’s knob to get the correct upper thread tension. Move it from ½ to 1 and then test the stitches on scrap material.

In addition, follow the same process to lower the thread tension_turn the unit’s knob and move it from ½ to one lower number.


If the issue is with the bobbin thread pulling the upper thread too much, correct its tension. Tighten the upper thread and test your machine once more.

What Tension Should My Sewing Machine Be On?

Setting the correct tension on the sewing machine is as important as having the correct accessories sewing. A perfect sewing device tension is evident when you balance the bottom and top threads. It eliminates little loops on the fabric and evens out stitches on both sides. Therefore, you cannot afford to ignore checking the tension before you begin.

The dial settings usually range from zero to nine. Hence, a 4.5 reading will be a suitable default position for regular straight stitches. It also accommodates most fabrics and will serve you well on most sewing occasions. However, it would be best to consider a three to four tension setting range if you want to get a zig-zag stitch.

Wider stitches may pull the bobbin thread slightly to the top, which raises or bunches up the fabric. So, slacken off the tension to keep the fabric lying flat. This move will also loosen the top tension build-up slightly for topstitches.

NB: Tension settings vary from one sewing machine to another. Therefore, read the buyer’s manual carefully to get things right. It will help you to determine the correct setting for different fabrics and projects.

Also, the thread and fabric weight will affect the tension. Therefore, ensure that you match these accessories correctly to facilitate a smooth sewing session.

Why Does My Twin Needle Skip Stitches?

Twin needles are often useful in decorative stitching. They work well with woven fabrics, knit fabrics, decorative embroidery stitches, and jeans. In addition, they allow you to stitch two rows at a go while creating different decorative effects. Therefore, you cannot avoid them if you are a versatile sewist.

Additionally, the needles have different distances between each needle. This distance determines the decorative stitch’s appearance_whether it will be wide or narrow. Thus, you will need multiple twin needles if you want to deliver different designs in one piece.

Twin needles will also skip stitches if you do not make necessary preparations or settings. Let us check out some of the causes.

  • If the needle does not fit the fabric, missed stitches are an automatic result. This aspect mandates you to use different twin needles for various project parts. For instance, if you use a double stretch right needle for all fabrics, it will misbehave on some and skip stitches. Therefore, get the recommended twin needles for all the fabrics and stitches you want to sew.
  • Dull twin needles are also an obvious reason for missed stitches during sewing. Also, if the upper tension is too weak, you will see incomplete seams.
  • An incorrectly inserted needle will also contribute to skipped stitches. In such a case, re-thread and check whether the bobbin is full and in its correct position.
  • You need to factor in the distance between the twin needles and adjust correctly depending on the stitch. For instance, if the distance exceeds 4mm, consider working with a straight stitch mode.

On the other hand, it would be best to have a 4mm plus distance for a decorative or zig-zag mode. We have twin needles ranging from 6 to 8mm. So, you will always get the right accessory for the job.

NB: Working with the incorrect twin needle distance poses a threat to both the needle and the needle plate. As the needle consistently hits the plate, it will break. Also, a scratched plate, as a result, will further damage the material and leave puff on it.

You also need to be aware of tunneling when working with twin needles. A tunneling effect refers to the raising of the fabric between two stitch lines. And since the needles deliver two stitch lines, this issue is common among them.

You will handle this situation by trying to adjust the needle tension and stitch length. Then, test with scrap fabrics until you get your desired results. Alternatively, you can consider a stabilizer. So, place a tear-away or wash-away stabilizer under the material during stitching and remove it once you finish.

However, please ensure that you do not stretch the fabric as you remove the stabilizer.

What Do Skipped Stitches Look Like?

You can identify skipped stitches by checking the stitch row areas with an inconsistent or incomplete stitch design. In most cases, the region will have a bald spot.

How Will You Solve Stitch Loop Problems of a Sewing Machine?

Looped stitches are generally a result of improper tension. For example, say the loop is on the upper side; you can correct it by tightening the lower tension or loosening the upper one. On the flip side, if the loop is at the bottom, sort the issue by resetting the upper tension.

How Will You Regulate the Length of the Stitches If You Notice that the Stitches are Skipping on the Fabric While Sewing?

One of the ways of regulating the stitch length is by using the thumbscrew on the sewing machine. Lengthen the stitch by loosening the screw and moving the lever. Also, if you think that re-threading the machine will solve the issue, consider this a different scenario.

Most machine problems occur because of incorrect threading. However, in this scenario, consider focusing more on the needle. A bent needle leads to random skipped stitches. Also, if you tug the fabric too hard or the needle hits a pin, you will experience stitch issues. Therefore, relax when holding the material and let the feed dogs pull it in the machine’s sewing pace.

What Is the Cause of Fabric Does Not Move?

Have you ever been psyched up to sew but then the fabric is not moving? If yes, you know that it is quite overwhelming. The fabric needs to move for the machine to generate stitches. Therefore, if it does not move, you will not get any seams.

Let us look at some of the causes of a fabric that does not move.

  • A zero stitch length.

If you use your machine to make buttonholes, you may suffer from this problem. Because if you forgot to restore the settings from zero to two or three. With a zero setting, the fabric neither moves backward or forward. So, you can only get things right by readjusting to two or three.

  • The feed dogs may be down.

Projects such as sewing machine quilting require you to lower the feed dogs. It is custom to raise them back once you finish the job, but sometimes you may forget. So, if you notice that the fabric is not moving, check the feed dogs and lift them about ¼ inch above the plate. Then, feed the material again.

  • A lifted presser foot.

It is pretty common for sewists always to leave the presser foot down. As a result, the fabric does not move as the feed dogs have no reinforcement. Therefore, make it a custom to lower this attachment before you start sewing.

  • The thread tension is too tight.

A tight thread tension restricts free movement through the sewing device. Thus, the fabric does not feed correctly.

Handle the situation by loosening the thread tension.

  • When you sew multiple fabric layers at a go.

Most sewing units are not suitable for handling thick layer fabrics. Therefore, they jam and don’t feed the fabric when you insist on working with vinyl and faux leather materials.

Always consider sewing fewer at a time. However, it would be best to adopt a slower working pace if you must work with multiple layers.

  • Knotted threads.

Knots prevent the machine from feeding the material. If this is your current problem, examine the bobbin and re-thread the sewing unit. As soon as you remove these knots, the fabric should feed normally.

What are the Characteristics of a Good Stitch?

The stitch quality is measured with two metrics, the stitch width, and stitch depth. Stitch width is the distance between the outermost edges of the thread’s lateral placement. It also refers to the distance between the outermost seam juncture. On the other hand, stitch depth describes the distance between the lower and upper stitch surfaces.

In addition, a well-made seam should be free from bulk. It should evenly distribute itself for a flat and smooth appearance. Also, it should have an edge that suits the fabric type and weight.

Other characteristics of good stitches include:

  • They should be of the same length.
  • The stitches’ length should be proportionate to the fabric’s texture.
  • You will not complain of broken or skipped gaps when stitching.
  • The stitching should follow the intended line accurately and smoothly.
  • When you retrace the stitches, they should appear as one stitching line.
  • The stitches should appear similar on both the wrong and right sides of the material.
  • The stitching should also have no tangles.

Why Is My Zig Zag Stitch Straight?

A zig-zag stitch will come out straight if you incorrectly thread the lower thread. Such a mistake interferes with the tension on the lower thread_ it pulls through the fabric when the machine pulls the upper thread upwards.

You can resolve the problem by correctly installing the lower thread. Consider the following steps.

  • Turn off the sewing unit.
  • Remove the bobbin from its case.
  • Reinstall the bobbin in the case and allow the thread to unwind in the correct direction. Also, ensure that you use your left hand to hold the thread’s end. Then, use your right hand to get the bobbin in its case.

Sometimes, using the incorrect tension will affect your zig-zag stitches. Therefore, ensure that you adjust your sewing machine before you commence. The recommended setting is 4.5 as it is the general default settings on a 0 to 9 dial settings range.

In addition, the setting is also suitable for most fabrics. So, if your project involves wide stitches, such as the zig-zag style, ensure that you reset the tension as the process pulls the bobbin thread upwards.

Also, if the zig-zag stitch is not working, try the following before you do anything else.

  • Remove the bobbin plate. Use a screwdriver and uninstall the bobbin.
  • Clean out accumulated lint under the bobbin as it may cause the jam.
  • Finally, replace the bobbin and install the bobbin plate. Then, test your zig-zag stitches.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is There A Recommended Stitch Length To Avoid Missed Stitches?

The stitch length is how long the sewing unit sews every stitch. Therefore, to get the correct stitch length, examine your seam and fabric requirements. Some stitching styles require longer stitches than others, and you need to know how to adjust your machine for every project.

Stitch length ranges from zero to five. However, some sewing machines will have up to seven. So, you can only change the stitch length based on your machine’s capacity.

Also, a shorter stitch requires the machine to pull less fabric, while for a longer stitch, the sewing unit pulls more material.

  • How Do I Fix Stitch Problems?

A primary fix to stitch issues is investing in a good quality thread. Cheap threads will always present problems such as lint build-up and thread shredding. A good quality thread will make a significant difference in your work. Therefore, ensure that you balance between thread price and quality.

Additionally, correct threading will also help you avoid stitch problems. Take some time to ensure that the thread goes through the right places in the machine.

  • How Do I Thread My Sewing Machine Correctly?

One benefit of correct threading is that you will keep your thread from shredding. Thus, you will work uninterrupted as the thread will not break or ruin the fabric.

  • First, wind the bobbin thread, load it with the correct thread, and place the spool.
  • Wind the thread through the thread guide, pull it, and loop through the U-shaped guide. Then, twist it around the machine’s lever.
  • Pass the thread through the needle’s eye and pull some thread inch.
  • Finally, connect the bobbin and the top thread.

How Do I Cover Up Bad Stitches?

You can cover up bad stitches by making a riffly flower over them or hiding them with a ribbon or lace. You can also get a bow and sew it on top of the bad stitches.


Skipped stitches compromise your sewing project deliverables. They cause additional thread tension and may lead the needle to deflect away from the machine. Therefore, it is prudent to curb this problem before you make significant progress with your sewing project. But first, get to know the causes by asking,

Why Is My Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches?

Skipped stitches have various causes ranging from damaged needles, faulty and dirty sewing units, incorrect tension settings, and inconsistent sewing machine speed. Fortunately, these stitches issue is easy to identify and resolve. So you do not have to worry once the machine starts skipping stitches.

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