How To Fix Skipping Stitches On Sewing Machine

Threading the Sewing Machine

Skipping stitches on a sewing machine is an annoying and frequent problem experienced by sewers of all levels, from newcomers to experts. The vast majority of the time, this comes down to the simple lack of know-how and maintenance of the machine. While modern models of sewing machines are easy to operate and adjust, there are still basics that need to be covered to get the perfect stitch.

Check the Needle

Checking the needle is the simplest way to prevent a skipping stitch problem. It is essential to make sure that the needle has the right size and shape, as sewing machines use specific needles for fabrics. An improper needle will lead to a skipped stitch. It is also essential to check that you have a new needle, because a dull needle becomes too thick and causes the thread to skip. To confirm the condition of the needle, test its sharpness by pressing it onto your finger with light pressure. If it does not leave a mark, it might need to be changed.

Check the Thread

Another major factor in skipping stitches is the quality and diameter of the thread. Threads with various coatings or thicknesses should not be used for most projects. In addition, check that the thread is threaded properly. If it’s not, the thread won’t be in the correct tension and will cause skipping. Additionally, always inspect the quality of the thread. An old, wasted thread is too thin and will cause the fabric to skip.

Check the Tension and Speed

The tension and speed of the machine should be set according to the fabric and the project being done. If the tension is set too low, then the stitches will be loose and weak; if it’s too high, the thread will skip when going through the fabric. The same can be true for the speed: if the machine is going too fast, then skipping can occur. Adjust the tension and speed, and test the machine on a scrap of fabric before beginning the project.

Lubricate and Clean the Machine

The sewing machine will need regular maintenance and cleaning to work properly. Over time grease and dirt can accumulate on the needle, thus causing it to skip. It is important to keep the base clean, as well as all other parts of the machine, in order to prevent any additional skipping. Keep the tension adjuster and bobbin case clean. This can be done by lubricating the parts. When lubricating, use the appropriate oil and a dry cotton swab to ensure that no oil is left on the surface.

Checking the Bobbin

The bobbin is one of the main causes of skipping stitches. To begin, it is important to make sure that the bobbin is correctly inserted into the holder and that there is no oil on the bobbin’s surface. To make sure the tension is even, put some tension on the thread as it is positioned between your thumb and index finger before it is placed in the bobbin holder. If the bobbin is incorrectly tensioned then the thread can rub against the metal or jam the machine.

Adjust the Pressure Foot Level

The pressure foot should be adjusted and the foot lever should be lifted up when inserting the fabric. If the pressure foot is not adjusted properly the thread can skip, causing the stitches to not be even. If the pressure foot is too high, then the fabric will not pass freely through the machine. Also, it is important to make sure the pressure foot is free to move up and down, otherwise it can jam the fabric.

Using a Presser Foot Lever

If the machine has a presser foot lever, adjusting it can also help eliminate skipped stitches. When the pressure is not adjusted correctly, the lever will usually cause the needle to skip when the fabric is touched. To adjust the presser foot lever, lift it slightly and hold it in the middle. This should cause the needle to be back in the correct position and the stitches should become even again.

Winding the Bobbin Properly

When winding the bobbin, it is important to make sure that it is done correctly. If the bobbin is wound incorrectly, the thread tension can be off, which can cause skipped stitches. The bobbin should be wound tightly and evenly. Start in the middle of the spool and wind the thread around the bobbin until it is full. Make sure that the tension of the thread is even throughout the winding process.

Testing the Sewing Machine

After all the checks have been done and the settings have been adjusted, it is a good idea to test the sewing machine on a scrap of fabric. This will ensure that everything is set up properly and that there will be no problems during the project. Also, it is important to remember that some fabrics require more tension than others. Therefore, it is essential to always test the tension on a scrap of fabric before beginning the project.

Practice and Patience

Skipping stitches on a sewing machine can be extremely frustrating, but it is important to remember that practice and patience are key to getting a clean stitch. Allowing time for the machine to become adjusted to the fabric can be helpful as well. Additionally, sewing in a relaxed position and using a steady motion can help with creating consistent stitches. Finally, consulting the machine manual and speaking to an experienced sewer can help with learning the best ways to make sure the stitches come out correctly.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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