Why is my Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches? Find Answer Here

  • By: joleenllorence
  • Date: May 29, 2023
  • Time to read: 8 min.

Sewing is therapeutic for many people. If your sewing machine keeps skipping stitches, you might feel like pulling your hair out. why is my sewing machine skipping stitches? I can help you find peace with the sewing machine. 

Have you ever tried to sew a seam but found some of the sewing machine skipping stitches too long? Instead of having a consistent, even line of stitches, you get some thread lengths that are longer than others. 

These threads skip across the fabric and not anchoring it together. These long stitches are known as “skipped” stitches. They can be annoying, frustrating, and even more so for experienced seamstresses.

What Could Cause A Machine To Sew Without Stitching?

Skipped stitches may occur for many reasons. Skipped stitches can be caused, in part, by the fabric you are using, your needle size or type, top tension, and the accumulation of Lint.

sewing machine needles

Check your needle first to ensure it isn’t bent nor has any other problems. It might be worth trying a new type of needle to solve the problem. The right needle size for your fabric thickness and the stitch pattern is critical. This video shows you how to change the hand in your sewing machine.

Wrongly Placed Presser Foot 

Many reasons can cause sewing machines to skip stitches. A second reason for skipped stitches could be improperly placed pressing feet. Adjust the position of your presser feet to ensure it is adequately secured. Make sure it is set in the appropriate class for your selected stitch. This video will show you how to adjust and position the foot pedal in your sewing machine.

Thread Tension

The tension above could be too loose or too tight. Adjusting the pressure by turning the knob corresponding to the upper-thread symbol is possible. Skipped stitches are often caused by thread tension.

Pull one strand out of your thread supply, and hold it against the seam allowance at 45 degrees. Both hands should be on end. It might need to be tight enough if it pulls out more than usual.

Tighter tensions give you better control over thicker or thinner fabrics. Too fast pressure can cause straight seams to ripple and show wrinkles at the end and beginning. You can loosen it until the seam ripples evenly across both ends with no gather-like effects.

Dirty Machine Head

Also, a dirty needle head can lead to skipping stitches on sewing machine. Clean your machine first before you inspect it for damage. If you notice that the needle is clean and free from dirt, but the tension is not correct, you might need to adjust it.

Lint Accumulations in the Bobbin

If you need help sewing machine skipping stitches in thick fabric, the bobbin may have too much lint. This issue can be solved using a small brush to clean up the lint.


Skipped stitches can also occur depending on what fabric you use. Stretchy and thin fabrics can cause the needle to skip stitches. If the hand needs to be stronger, thick materials can cause skipped stitching.

You can fix this by choosing the appropriate fabric for your particular project. Stabilizers can help keep material in place if the fabric is stretchy or thin. If your fabric is very thick, you will need a solid needle to penetrate it.

Dirty Machine Head

Also, a dirty needle head can lead to skipped stitches. Clean your machine first before you inspect it for damage. If the thread tension is not correct, but there is no dirt or scratches on the needle, it may be necessary to change it.

A Good Quality Thread Is Recommended

Thread, indeed, is what you pay for. A friend bought a used sewing machine that was too small to be helpful during the pandemic. The only thing that made a difference was changing the thread quality. 

sewing machine thread

You might find that cheaper thread has burrs which can interfere with your sewing. I use the Guterman thread. The Aquafil line is also of good quality. There are many different types of thread in the market. You must choose the right line for your particular sewing project.

Fabric Testing Swatch

You can still use the fabric you used to complete the project if your machine stops stitching. Use the same weight fabric if you are using a stabilizer or interfacing. If you were using different materials, the same top or bottom material, reproduce that with your test sample.

Clean the Machine

Clean under the neck plate and between tension discs. If you don’t know where these parts are, consult your machine’s operating manual. By the way, I recently wrote an article on a neat gadget that drastically simplifies sewing machine maintenance. 

It’s a mini vacuum for sewing machines that make cleaning up dust and thread fragments from difficult-to-reach places easier. Removing loose threads, dust, or other sewing bits and pieces within five to ten days is a good rule of thumb. 

A good rule of thumb is to clean your sewing machine once a month, except if you use heavy fabric or have fabric that frays easily. In those situations, you should clean the device more often.

Remove Bobbin

If skipped stitches are still an issue, remove and reload the Bobbin. Check that you are hitting all points along the bobbin-loading route.

Layers Made Of Thick Fabric

This is often my biggest problem. This bag makes layers of fabrics, and there are a few skipped stitches. When I’m sewing over a seam allowance, my sewing machine skips stitches, and I can see this is the culprit. To combat this issue, there are three things I do:

  • Lengthen the stitches.
  • Reduce the bulk of your seam allowance.
  • Hammer the thicker layers to reduce the overall thickness.

It might seem strange, but it does work!!

These are some simple solutions that will resolve the issue. It could be your machine’s fault if you still have problems with your sewing machine skipping stitches. Regular maintenance can benefit standard sewing machines. 

To ensure the needle plate is flat, oil and cleans up any dust build-up, especially in the feeder dogs. Sometimes the machine timing could be wrong, leading to poor loop formation. If this is the situation, I recommend having your machine serviced.

Three Possible Reasons for Skipped Stitches within a Seam

Skipped stitches can occur due to incorrect needle height, poor threading, or the machine’s incorrect threading. An improperly threaded device could skip stitches because the bobbin cannot grab it to pull the stitch through. The needle may be too low to prevent a stitch from being sewn.

A wrongly placed presser foot may cause skipped stitches. No matter the reason for missed stitches in seams, they should be permanently removed so that garments can retain their shape and durability.

Also, if your seams keep falling apart after renewing, you can use the seam ripper. After removing the stitches, press the seams with a pressing iron at high heat. Press your stitches immediately after sewing if you want to achieve a more robust stitching result with less thread breaking.

Why Do My Stitches Get Lost On Thick Fabrics?

Let’s start by diagnosing the issue.

Why is my sewing machine skipping stitches? When your sewing machine skips stitches in thick fabrics, there may be a problem. If the thread or needle cannot skip stitches despite using the same material thickness, there may be a problem. You’ll need to inspect your hand for burrs or damage.

A dirty needle may cause missed stitches. Clean your needle first to ensure that there is no damage. The hand may need to be changed if it is clean and free from dirt or other wear. Also, you should check the thread tension and adjust it if necessary.

You can’t change the pressure and timing of the foot if it is factory-set. But you can watch this video on how to sew thick fabric. 

Why Doesn’t My Sewing Machine Sew Stitches On Stretch Fabrics?

Sewing machine skipping stitches fabric can cause skipped stitches. Sew with stretch fabric using a ballpoint sewing needle. Keep your stitch length to 1.5.

It is vital to hold the fabric in place without stretching it too thin. This can lead to skipped stitches. Adjust the pressure by moving your wheel along the thread scale if you want to ensure thread tension in a large zigzag setting.

These are the best tips to sew on stretch fabrics with your machine. You’ll get professional results every single time without missing a stitch!

An Industrial Sewing Machine May Cause Skip Stitches

A foot pedal for industrial sewing machines can cause skipped stitches. A foot pedal for industrial sewing machines does not have a mechanism to engage the presser when pressure is released.

Also, your foot will not be removed from the presser when you stitch in heavy fabrics at high speed or in rich materials. This causes skipping of stitches, as the automatic lever takes more loads.

My Brother Needs Help with His Sewing Machine

There are two main ways Brother can fix the problem with a Brother sewing machine that cannot sew.

  • The needle should be inserted correctly in the Brother machine by users.
  • Remember to check the needle position. Make sure you stop smoothly with your feet on the presser foot lifter.

I wrote a comparison between Brother and Singer sewing machines some time ago.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Most Frequent Reason For Skipped Stitches?

The most common reason your sewing machine is skipping stitches is a problem with the sewing machine needle. Even though it is hard to see, the hand could be bent slightly. It might have lost its point or had a nick.

What Does Skip Stitch Refer To?

Skipped stitches are areas in a row where the needle or thread has yet to make a complete stitch pattern. It creates a bald spot.

What Tension Should I Set My Sewing Machine To?

The dial settings range between 0 and 9, so 4.5 is the default position for normal straight-stitch sew. This should be compatible with most fabrics.

What Are Some Common Causes Of Sewing Problems?

A bent or damaged needle will lead to poor stitch quality.

Why Is My Singer Not Making The Right Moves?

Sewing machine needles can dull after 7 hours of sewing. Also, ensure that you have your hand in place. If the screw is not fully tightened before inserting your hand, it could cause your writing to be too low.


Sewing machine skipping stitches are one of the most common problems with sewing machines. This can be frustrating and annoying, but there are some primary causes. It is essential to use the appropriate thread for your fabric. Because it is stronger and more resistant to stretching, polyester is preferred over cotton.

Use topstitching thread for thin fabrics like silk, satin, and delicate jersey knits. If you are working with heavier materials such as jeans or home décor fabrics, you should use bobbin/bobbin case yarn. They both work best on tension discs and guides as well as the bobbin areas of the machine, including top-loading Bobbins.

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