Want to troubleshoot a sewing machine skipping stitches? Here are some easy tips for getting back on track.
A stitch in time saves nine, But a stitch out of line is a waste of time.
Take a bit of liberty with an old proverb and put the art of sewing into perspective. When your machine skips stitches it is really frustrating and a waste of time as you fiddle and fuss over trying to get things right. There is nothing worse than the thread that breaks as you turn that vital corner or the foot that jams just as you are about to race along the seam of a new garment.
Having a checklist to troubleshoot the problem is a wonderful resource to fall back on.
It’s the next best thing to a machine mechanic in your own home.
What should you look for first?
Troubleshooting a Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches
- Check your needle. If they are bent, blunt or broken you may have found the cause of the problem. Even if it looks ok, try replacing the needle in case the damage is not easily visible.
- Check you inserted the needle correctly. The flat side should be set at the back.
- Check the size and type of needle is correct for the type of fabric you are sewing. (Read guide to machine needle sizes and uses.)
- Have you threaded the machine correctly? If you are a new sewer then consult your manual to double check everything is correct. If you are an experienced sewer and have threaded your machine a million times, just undo everything and do a quick re-thread.
- Could a tiny piece of thread be jammed in the needle plate or bobbin housing?
- Are you using good quality thread or is your thread snapping easily? I find that particularly when sewing difficult fabrics like lycra, a good quality thread makes all the difference.
- Check the tension of the machine and try some different options on a scrap of fabric to get the right tension for the fabric you are using.
- Check your own tension. Are you feeling tense about this garment? Sometimes in our anxiety to get the job done we pull the fabric and cause unnecessary tension.
- Let the feed dogs do the work of feeding the fabric through the machine. Don’t push or pull.
- Look at the throat plate on your machines and check for any nicks that might be snagging the thread.
- If none of these suggestions are working and you still have a sewing machine skipping stitches then it may be time to take your machine for a service. Just make sure it is skipping stitches on all types of fabrics and not just one.
Why not make a copy of this handy little checklist and slip it into your machine handbook. It could be the best little timesaver you have readily available to stitch in time and save nine.