Why Is Your Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches? A Comprehensive Guide!

Several factors that contribute to skipped stitches, include using the wrong needle size, a dirty machine, a poorly wound bobbin, and timing issues. By conducting regular maintenance, such as cleaning and oiling the machine, you can prevent and address these issues effectively. If you are still experiencing skipped stitches, it’s essential to troubleshoot the issue with a professional.

To have detailed reasons and solutions for why is your sewing machine skipping stitches, go through the whole article. Find out what to do if you have a sewing machine that consistently skips stitches. 

For Which Reasons Sewing Machine Could Skip Stitches? 

A sewing machine may skip stitches due to various reasons. If you are experiencing skipped stitches, it’s important to diagnose the issue properly to avoid frustration and ensure trouble-free sewing. Some of the most common causes include:

Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches
Incorrect Needle Size 

Using the wrong needle size for the fabricChoose the appropriate needle size for the fabric
Incorrect Threading 
Improper threading of the machine componentsRe-thread the machine following the manual
Bobbin CaseDirty or clogged bobbin caseClean the bobbin case
Dirty Machine 
Accumulation of dust, lint, and debris in the machineClean the machine regularly and remove debris
Poorly Wound Bobbin Bobbin not correctly wound or insertedProperly wind and insert the bobbin into the machine
Incompatible Thread And Needle Thread is too thick or heavy for the needleUse the correct thread type and size that matches the needle
Machine Timing Needle and bobbin hook misalignRegular professional maintenance and timely adjustments


If you have examined and verified the appropriate adjustment of your sewing machine, the issue may lie with the needle itself. If it is not adjusted properly, this can cause the bobbin to skip stitches and lead to a lot of frustration and wasted time. The following are some common reasons why your needle might be causing problems:

  • Needle too close to the surface of the fabric
  • Needle too far from the surface of the fabric
  • Needle is not in the center of the fabric
  • Needle too close to the edge of the fabric

Needle sharpness is another factor that influences sewing quality. When sewing thick fabrics like denim, fleece, and upholstery materials like leather or vinyl, you should use a sharper needle to ensure better penetration into these dense fabrics so that there is less risk of snagging and breaking threads during the stitching process.

Bent Needle: 

When the needle is bent, it can misalign with the bobbin, causing the bobbin thread to miss catching the needle thread. It can result in incorrect stitch formation and loose stitch. Also, a bent needle puts extra stress on the thread, leading to thread breakage. 

It can cause further skipped stitches as the machine tries to sew without a continuous thread. a bent needle can disrupt thread tension also.

To prevent skipped stitches caused by a bent needle, regularly check for any signs of bending or damage. Avoid pulling or tugging on the fabric while sewing to reduce the risk of needle bending. Keeping a straight and properly functioning needle is crucial for smooth and accurate stitching.

Incorrect Needle Size: 

Using an incorrect needle for the fabric being sewn can result in stitches being skipped. It is important to select the appropriate needle type and size that matches the specific fabric. When the needle thread relations are not properly set, it directly impacts the size of the loops on the back of the fabric. 

A prevalent reason for a sewing machine skipping stitches is an issue with the sewing machine needle. The needle might be slightly bent, dull, or not the right size for the fabric being worked on. 

Additionally, using a needle that is either too large or too small for the thread being used can lead to skipped stitches, thread breaks, and tension problems. If the needle is bent, it can cause the bobbin to miss catching the thread, as it is no longer properly aligned. 

Incorrect Threading: 

If your machine is skipping stitches, it’s likely the result of incorrect threading. You can check your threading by pulling the bobbin case holder out and observing where the thread comes from. 

If it comes from above instead of below, you have an upper tension problem and will need to re-thread your machine accordingly.

You also want to make sure that all threads are threaded correctly through their respective guides. For example, if you’re using a zig-zag stitch on top but want to use a straight stitch underneath, make sure both threads are going through their correct guides before attaching them to the hook or bobbin case holder!

Bobbin Case:

The bobbin case is the housing for your machine’s bobbin. If it’s dirty or damaged, it can cause skipping stitches.

To clean a bobbin case:

  • Unplug the sewing machine and turn off the power at the wall outlet.
  • Open the cover of the sewing machine by loosening its screws with an Allen wrench or screwdriver. Lift up on a latch to release it from its housing and set it aside until you’re done cleaning inside your sewing machine cabinet and re-installation is complete.
  • Remove any bobbins from their respective holders located above or below each spool pinion shaft in order to expose all four spool pins as well as remove any tangled thread around them; brush off lint buildup with a soft paintbrush if necessary (being careful not to scratch plastic surfaces). Clean away dust surrounding these parts by blowing compressed air into these areas from both sides of their casing and brushing away dust with a soft cloth afterward if necessary (being careful not to scratch plastic surfaces).

Dirty Machine: 

A sewing machine that becomes too dirty and accumulates dust, lint, or debris can lead to various mechanical issues, including difficulty in moving parts. This can ultimately result in skipped stitches and other stitching problems.

Thoroughly cleaning the feed dogs, bobbin area, and other parts of the machine will help prevent build-up. This build-up can cause mechanical issues and impact stitch quality.

Regular cleaning, along with other maintenance tasks like changing needles and oiling is essential for keeping your sewing machine in optimal working condition. and it will help you achieve consistent, skip-free stitches.

Poorly Wound Bobbin: 

A poorly wound bobbin can contribute to skipped stitches. When the bobbin is not correctly wound, it can cause uneven tension in the lower thread, leading to stitching issues. Ensuring that the bobbin is wound properly and inserted correctly into the bobbin case is essential for smooth and even stitching.

Additionally, the quality of the thread used in sewing is crucial for achieving nice and even stitches. High-quality thread with consistent thickness and minimal fraying reduces the chances of tension problems and thread breakage, resulting in better stitch quality.

Incompatible Thread And Needle: 

Skipped stitches in a sewing machine can result from using an incompatible thread and needle combination. When the thread is too thick or heavy for the needle, it can strain the needle and cause thread breakage. 

Additionally, an incompatible thread may not flow smoothly through the tension discs, causing tension issues and further skipped stitches. The thread and needle may not work together smoothly, causing the thread to tangle and knot. 

To prevent this, always use the correct thread type and size that matches the needle. And try to refer to the sewing machine’s manual for guidance on thread and needle compatibility.

Machine Timing: 

Machine timing issues can cause sewing machines to skip stitches. Machine timing refers to the synchronization of the needle and bobbin hook, ensuring they meet at the right moment to form stitches. When the timing is off, the needle and bobbin hook may misalign, leading to the needle failing to catch the bobbin thread consistently. 

Moreover, incorrect timing can cause incomplete or uneven stitch formation, leading to further skipped stitches. Additionally, timing problems can disrupt the thread tension mechanism. That can cause uneven tension and contribute to skipped stitches. 

To prevent this issue, regular professional maintenance and timely adjustments to the machine’s timing are crucial for smooth and precise stitching.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Why Is My Sewing Machine Making a Knocking Noise?

The knocking noise in your sewing machine is likely due to poorly lubricated parts. Another possible cause of the knocking could be an internal gear problem. To address this, make sure to oil the sewing machine when you hear the knocking sound.

Why Is My Sewing Machine Rattling?

Your sewing machine might be rattling due to incorrect upper thread threading. When the upper thread is not properly threaded, it can get tangled in the bobbin case. This can prevent it from being firmly pulled up through the fabric. This tangled thread causes the rattling noise. 

Why Does My Sewing Machine Sound Like A Hammer?

If your sewing machine sounds like a hammer, it might be due to a loose needle plate screw. The screw that secures the needle plate in place can come loose over time. It can cause the machine to vibrate and produce a knocking noise while sewing.

What Is The Correct Bobbin Tension?

The correct bobbin tension is typically recommended to be between 18 to 22 grams. However, for specific cases like embroidering caps, it can be adjusted up to 25 grams. Proper bobbin tension is essential for achieving balanced stitches and preventing stitching issues.


Now you have the idea Why is Your Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches.

If the problem persists, consider having a professional check for your sewing machine. Additionally, inspect the needle plate for any damage or wear and replace it if needed. Always refer to your sewing machine’s manual for specific troubleshooting guidance.

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