Have you heard never to ‘needle a seamstress’? Well, it is true. Anyone who sews regularly will testify to the irritation caused when a sewing machine needle keeps breaking, interrupting the sewing process.
Sewing Machine Needle Keeps Breaking
It usually happens when you are racing down a seam at the rate of knots. Suddenly you hear a crunch and the awful snapping sound as the needle breaks. Your dream of being a formula one racing driver ends and you realize you have to get to the bottom of this problem.
What is happening when the sewing machine needle keeps breaking? It is time for a reality check and to find out how the breaking point happened.
There are just a few easy steps to check why your machine needle is breaking.
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TIP #1: BENT NEEDLE
Check the needle is not bent and hitting the edge of the foot. Even if the needle looks straight, I recommended you replace it anyway. The bend may be slight and not visible to the naked eye.
TIP #2: NEEDLE POSITION
Check the needle position – Is it to the left or the right? Were you zig-zagging previously perhaps and need to put it back on a straight stitch? Gently hand turn the flywheel on the side and see if the needle is hitting the side of the foot. Adjust the stitch width if it is hitting the foot side.
TIP #3: NEEDLE SIZE
Is your needle the correct size for the fabric you chose? Check and adjust if necessary – it will make all the difference. (Read my guide to needle sizes).
Heavier fabrics, in particular, will need thicker needles so they don’t bend or break when going in. Here are some suggested needle sizes for you.
|FABRIC WEIGHT||SEWING NEEDLE SIZE|
|Very Fine||8/60, 9/65, 10/70|
TIP #4: NEEDLE TYPE
Is your needle the correct type for the fabric you are sewing? There are specialty needles for different types of fabrics such as leather and demin. (Read types of sewing machine needles.) There are also specialty needles for quilting which are designed to sew through heavier layers. Many of these heavier needles are made from reinforced metals.
|FABRIC TYPE||SEWING NEEDLE TYPE|
TIP #5: NEEDLE CLAMP
The needle clamp has a screw to the side and sometimes it can come loose. Check and tighten if need be. Mine comes loose regularly from the vibration of the machine.
TIP #6: DON’T PULL
Relax as you sew and ease the fabric along. Pulling causes rough tension and may snap the thread which is going to break a needle or two. Everything is a chain reaction.
TIP #7: BOBBIN TYPE
Check your bobbin is the correct one for your machine. Bobbins can be metal or plastic and lightly different sizes. Check it is compatible with the brand of your machine.
TIP #8: BOBBIN POSITION
Check your bobbin is set in the casing correctly. The needle may be hitting something it shouldn’t.
TIP #9: NEEDLE INSERTION
Make sure that you inserted the needle correctly into the needle shaft with the flat side to the back and screwed it in properly if it was a needle replacement.
TIP #10: CLEANING
Check for fluff, stray threads or any obstructions in the bobbin case. (How to clean a sewing machine)
Now you are ready for that ‘point break’ moment and with your checklist in hand you will be able to tackle any problems that cause your sewing needle to break. You can sew with confidence knowing you can resolve all “sewing machine needle keeps breaking” issues.