What Causes Skipped Stitches?

It’s quite frustrating to see your sewing machine skipping stitches. Well, it’s a common problem for most sewists. However, the most cumbersome part is to diagnose why it is happening!

But what causes skipped stitches? If your needle is not placed properly, the machine can skip stitches. However, there could be several reasons for the problem.

Keep reading as I take you through all the possible reasons and preventive measures for skipped stitches.

What Do Skipped Stitches Look Like?

Skipped stitches look like bald spots among a row of stitches. It’s the space where the thread and needle could not create a proper stitch pattern.

Causes Of Skipped Stitches: Make Sure To Check For These Issues

Here are a few reasons why your machine is skipping stitches:

Incorrect Needle Usage

You cannot use a single needle for all stitching work. There are various needles for different fabrics, techniques, and thread sizes.

For instance, your machine will skip stitches if you use a quilting sewing machine needle on jersey fabrics. The perfect needle for jersey fabric is a ballpoint needle. The ballpoint needle stretches fiber instead of piercing it, unlike a quilting needle.

Besides that, your needle size must be correct to avoid skipped stitches. If your needle is too small or too large for your thread, there’s a chance of skipped stitches. I suggest you rely on the thread manufacturer’s recommendation or the sewing machine manual to get a perfect stitching pattern.

The Needle Isn’t Seated Correctly

You might be using the correct needle, thread, and technique to stitch. Still, your sewing machine could be skipping stitches. It’s possible if the needle in the needle bar is not properly seated. Thus, before moving further, you should check whether the needle is correctly placed.

Ensure the needle is not rotated or fixed firmly to the top. Both situations can prevent the bobbin thread from correctly hooking with the top thread. So, to avoid skipped stitches, try to pull out the needle and reinsert it.

Sewing With A Damaged Needle Or The Same Needle For Too Long 

If you are working with materials that are thick, like leather or canvas, you need to change your sewing needle frequently. Your needle grows dull faster while sewing thicker materials. This can lead to skipped stitches easily.

Whether you are working on a medium-sized project or a short-term one, I recommend swapping the sewing needle out after 8 hours of sewing. Besides skipped stitches, sewing with a needle for too long can cause other problems too. It can’t pierce the fabric properly at times.

If you have a damaged needle, like a bent one, it may also lead to multiple issues in sewing. A bent needle might make the bobbin miss catching the thread. It happens because the needle is not perfectly aligned. Thus, skipped stitches are very common with bent needles.

The Machine Is Too Dirty

If your machine gets too dirty, it can malfunction. This can lead to skipped stitches, as dirt can hinder the function of the mechanics. Use the brush provided for cleaning your sewing machine regularly. It would reduce the chance of skipped stitches.

The Needle Bar Is Set Incorrectly

Skipped stitches will occur if the needle bar is placed too high or too low. If you haven’t adjusted it, the needle bar can loosen over time. It can also happen if the needle bar has been struck out of place. This takes place due to the needle hitting the needle plate or something too hard to penetrate.

The Timing On The Machine Is Off

Your machine’s timing can become out of sync at times. It means that the hook on the bobbin case that is assumed to capture the thread from the needle misses it. It happens either slightly too early or too late, resulting in skipped stitches because the stitch does not form.

This kind of situation takes place when the needle strikes the needle plate or some fabric the needle can’t easily penetrate. Things within the machine may become loose or jiggled over time, or there may be a problem with the circuit board in newer digital machines.

How To Prevent Skipped Stitches?

Skipped stitches are a disturbing issue. You should not ignore it as it might weaken the strength of your sewing. Since the problem is common, the solutions are easy. Here’s how to prevent skipped stitches.

Replacing The Bad Needle

If your needle is damaged, replacing it would be the ideal thing to do. Whether it has bent or grown dull, replacing it will stop skipped stitches. Pull out the needle and check what condition it is in and act accordingly.

Using The Correct Needle

While sewing, you have to use the correct needle for different fabrics. You cannot use the sharp all-purpose needle in everything. To prevent skipped stitches, follow the user’s guide provided with your sewing machine. You can also follow the guide below, which I recommend for a better understanding.

What Sewing Machine Needle to Use? (Sewing for Beginners)

Using Good Quality Thread

Threads are something that many neglect while sewing. If you are one of them and have faced skipped stitches, do change the thread quality. I changed my sewing thread and experienced a difference.

You must use low lint thread, which will also reduce the lint build-up in your machine.

Cleaning The Machine 

Another way to stop skipped stitches is to clean the machine regularly. Remove dirt and lint deposits so that it functions properly. At times, you can also remove the parts and clean them.

To do so, refer to the user manual. It will have instructions about how to remove the bobbin casing, needle, throat plate, and presser foot. You can access them properly and clean them.

Adjusting The Sewing Machine Tension

The final solution to prevent skipped stitches is adjusting the tension between the thread and needle. To do so, you can refer to your user manual, which contains every detail. However, if you are confused, I recommend you to follow the tutorial below.

Sewing Machine Thread Tension – Updated

Final Thoughts

You have investigated all the problems listed and tried the solutions to prevent skipped stitching. Still, your problem persists. In that case, you have to call a mechanic. Servicing your sewing machine will help you stop skipped stitches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my sewing machine skipping stitches on thick fabrics?

You might be using the wrong needle, which leads to skipped stitches on thick fabric. However, if the sewing machine tension is not adjusted, you might notice skipped stitches on thick fabrics.

Does incorrect threading cause skipped stitches?

Yes, incorrect threading can cause skipped stitches on any fabric. Before you start to stitch, check whether the machine is correctly threaded or not.

How do you prevent skipped stitches when knitting?

If you are using the wrong needle, your needle might bend or move upward while knitting. To prevent it from happening, use the ideal needle for the fabric you are using. Apart from that, check and see that the tension of your sewing machine is perfect for stitching

What kind of needle causes skipped stitches? When should I replace it

Skipped stitches are common if you are using a bent, dull, or nicked needle. There are times when you can’t trace the bend or dullness. It is better to change the needle frequently.

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