What Causes Skipped Stitches When Quilting?

You are excited to complete your long-awaited quilting project. You prepared your quilt sandwich and started the stitching process. But suddenly, your mood gets spoiled after seeing your stitches. 

You suddenly observe that your machine is skipping stitches. During your quilting process, your machine is not performing correctly. You can see that your stitches are not uniform. Your quilt is missing the stitches.

This problem is prevalent among fellow quilters. Mainly beginners quilters face this problem as they don’t prepare their machines correctly. If left unsolved, your quilt strength will decline in the absence of stitches.

Not only beginners but experienced quilters also face this problem sometimes. But they know the correct procedure and method to solve the pertaining issue. The solution is accessible in most cases.

Today, we will learn about the cause of stitch skipping and its solution. Anyone can quickly solve their problem using the below-mentioned methods. You will also learn the precaution, which you should take before quilting.

Let’s start. It’s time for some stitching. 

What Does Stitch Skipping Mean?

In the case of free-motion quilting, this phenomena usually occur. Stitch lock does not form when the needle carries the top thread into the quilt sandwich. This is called skipped stitches.

The needle creates a hold in the quilt sandwich when it pulls out. But the top threads also pull out of the hole. In this case, no stitching takes place. You will only get tiny holes inside the quilt.

This phenomenon can occur once or several times in a row. You can tolerate it once or twice, but the continuous occurrence is terrible. In a constant event, you need to start all over again.

Why Do You Skip Stitches While Quilting?

When you start the stitching process, a loop of threads forms behind the needle. The rotary hook grabs it. If anything obstructs the sewing needle from completing its task, it will skip the stitch.

Not only that, but when something stops a loop from forming, the stitch will skip.

Now, let’s learn about why stitches will not form.

1. Use of the wrong needle

If your needle size is wrong, it will affect your stitching process. If it is way too big than the fabric you are sewing, it will skip stitching. 

Also, if your needle size does not match with thread size, it will skip the stitch. A blunt or bent needle will also make you miss stitches.

The Solution

  • Step 1- Determine the kind of fabric you are sewing.
  • Step 2- Determine the type of thread you will be using.
  • Step 3- Ensure that your needle is bending-free.
  • Step 4- Make sure that your needle is tight enough.

2. Failure to thread the machine correctly.

It is a prevalent reason for stitch skipping. If you do not thread your machine well, it will skip the stitches. 

You need to make sure that your machine is well threaded. If it isn’t, then you will encounter problems.

The Solution:

  • Step 1- Before starting the threading procedure, you should read the machine manually. You should know very well how threading must be done.
  • Step 2- At the top spool, place your cotton. You can use the plastic disc to keep the spool in place.
  • Step 3- Pass your thread through the guide. Every machine has a guide for the thread.
  • Step 4- Pass the thread around the tension knob by pulling the thread downward.
  • Step 5- Pass the thread through the second guide provided in the machine.
  • Step 6- Bring your thread towards the needle. You should do it carefully.
  • Step 7- Now thread your bobbin. You should read the manual before doing it correctly. 

Now you can test whether your machine is creating any stitches or not. Testing is of utmost importance. 

3. You are using the wrong thread.

If your thread is of low quality, it will impact your stitches. If your yarn does not match the needle you are using; a problem will arise. You will miss a few stitches for sure.

The Solution– 

  • Step 1-Your thread size should always match with the type of needle you are using. It should also be compatible with the fabric you are using. The thread should be an excellent fit for your fabric.
  • Step 2- You need to make sure that your thread quality should be high. High quality will ensure that you don’t have any lint around the machine. Your yarn should be in perfect condition too.

4. Pressure foot issue

Pressure foot can also cause the stitch skipping issue. Some pressure feet don’t have the right surface area so it can cause stitch skipping. 

The Solution– 

  • Step 1- Increase the foot pressure as flapping can cause stitch skipping. To counter this, put more pressure. It will solve the problem.
  • Step 2- Use smaller measurements on the pressure foot according to the machine model. Some machines will work well at the default setting of 50 and others at 85.

5. Machine issue

Lubrication issues inside the machine can cause the problem. Due to low lubrication, your machine can create difficulties during free motion quilting. 

Due to low lubrication, it can stop in the middle. It can cause stitch skipping. Make sure that your machine is also clean. Don’t let it be unclean.

The Solution– 

  • Step 1– Oil your machine regularly. 
  • Step 2- Make sure to clean your machine and clear any debris. Make sure to dust your machine periodically.
  • Step 3- Make sure to conduct regular inspections of the machine.

6. Sewing Machine tension.

If you have tried everything and the problem is still not solved, check your machine tension. Wrong tension setting can impact your machine.

Check your bobbin tension, as it can also cause a problem.

The Solution– 

  • Step 1– Use a machine dial to calibrate the thread tension correctly. 
  • Step 2- Your bobbin thread can also cause the problem. So make sure that the bobbin tension is correct.

Prevention for Stitch Skipping

Now it’s time to learn some precautions, which we should take. Let’s have a look at them.

i. Change your needle regularly

Needles wear out from time to time. You need to make sure that your needle does not wear out while working. You should change your needle every 8 hours.

Keep extra sewing needles with you in case you need them.

ii. Take time to understand your project

Every project needs a different kind of needle and thread. You should take your time and make sure that you select the correct type of needle and thread. 

iii. Repair your machine when needed

You should inspect your machine often in case any damage happens to it. Make sure to repair any damage before starting any project. 

iv. Rethread your machine

Failing to thread your machine correctly can cause it to skip stitches. Read manuals if you need but make sure to incorporate them properly. If in any doubt, then rethread it accordingly.

v. Silicon spray use

Silicon spray can always come in handy. Make sure to spray your thread and fabric before working on it. 

vi. Following your machine manual

Machine manual should be your go-to guide if you have any confusion. It would help if you always referred to the manual when needed.


So far, we have seen all the possible reasons for stitch skipping. There are various reasons for this phenomenon, but generally, it is due to wrong threading. Make sure to thread your machine correctly.

If you miss the stitch once or twice, you can continue your stitching work. But if you are missing the stitches regularly, you need to redo all the work. The absence of enough stitches can weaken the quilt. 

I hope that you like the information provided here. Happy Quilting.

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