Sewing Machine Needle Troubleshooting Guide

Important Points to Remember

    Needles DO NOT last forever, they should be replaced approximately every 8 hours The eye of the needle should be 40% larger than the diameter of the thread When going to a larger size of thread, a larger needle should be used Use the appropriate needle for the type of fabric being sewn

Problem

Upper Thread Breaks

Causes

Incorrect threading
Knots or twists in thread
Tension too tight
Damaged/old needleNeedle too small

Solutions

Rethread machine properly
Replace thread
Reset bobbin and top thread tension
Replace needle
Use correct needle for thread and application

Problem

Bobbin Thread Breaks

Causes

Bobbin case incorrectly threaded
Bobbin case incorrectly inserted
Bobbin does not turn smoothly in bobbin case
Lint in bobbin case
Bobbin tension too tight

Solutions

Remove bobbin and re-thread with bobbin turning clockwise

Remove and re-insert bobbin case

Check that bobbin case and bobbin are in “round”; replace if necessary

Clean bobbin case and surrounding machine areaCheck and reset bobbin tension

Problem

Skipped Stitches

Causes

Thread tension too tight
Needle damaged
Needle wrong size
Sewing machine out of adjustment

Solutions

Reset top and bobbin tension
Replace needle
Use correct needle size
Have sewing machine adjusted for timing; hook to needle clearance; needle bar height

Problem

Frayed Stitches

Causes

Needle too small
Tension too tight
Damaged thread

Solutions

Increase needle size
Reset tension
Replace thread

Problem

Thread Loops on Bottom

Causes

Thread not in top tension
Machine incorrectly threaded
Top tension too loose
Burr on hook mechanism

Solutions

Rethread machine with presser foot “up”
Rethread machine incorporating take up lever
Reset top tension
Remove burr

Problem

Irregular Stitches or Malformed Stitches

Causes

Wrong needle size
Incorrect threading
Upper tension too loose
Operator pulling fabric
Bobbin wound unevenly

Solutions

Ensure correct needle for fabric & thread
Un-thread machine and carefully rethread
Reset lower and upper thread tension
Check presser foot pressure
Rewind bobbin

Problem

Fabric Puckers

Causes

Excessive stitch length
Needle point is blunt
Excessive thread tension
Fabric is too soft
Thread displacement — too much thread in a small area
Fabric not feeding

Solutions

Decrease stitch length
Change needle often
Check bobbin and upper tension
Use stabilizer
Decrease field density; scale embroidery designs; increase stitch length
Check presser foot, needle plate, feed dogs