Why Do Sewing Machine Needles Break – 19 Common Causes

Sewing is not simply about knowing how to sew on a machine, it is also about understanding the different components of a sewing machine you’re working with.

I’m sure most people have experienced an issue where their needle has broken at some point in time while they were sewing, and this was definitely one of my first experiences when I started learning how to use a sewing machine.

Sewing machine needles can break for a variety of reasons. One is that it is the wrong type of needle for fabric and a second reason is that they have been used too long and need to be replaced.

This article will help you learn how to identify some common causes of sewing machine needle breakage and how to solve them.

Using the wrong needle for the type of fabric

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

One of the most common reasons why sewing machine needle keeps breaking is the type of material that is being sewn.

For example, it is easier for a needle to break when sewing leather or thick fabric because the needle is not suitable for this type of fabric.

In these cases, you might want to replace the sewing machine needle with the right size.

Thread type

Did you know that the thread you’re using can also affect the lifespan of your sewing machine needle? If you are using a heavy-duty thread, you will need to use a larger needle size so that the needle can puncture the thread.

However, if you are using a delicate thread, you will need to use a smaller needle size.

Thread Error

How to Choose the Right Sewing Machine Needle

Your needle may snap because of a threading error on your sewing machine. This means that you’re running the threaded needle incorrectly through your sewing machine and this can cause instability.

To avoid this, make sure to follow the correct steps on how to thread your sewing machine.

Screwing the needle in too tightly

When you screw the needle into your machine, you need to make sure that it is not screwed in too tightly.

If the needle is screwed in too tightly, it might break when you are sewing because there will be too much resistance.

Using the wrong needle size for the machine

what size sewing machine needle for cotton

It is important to note that different machines have different needle sizes. If you’re using a needle that’s too small or too large for your machine, it will be more likely to snap.

So make sure that you are using the right size before you start sewing.

Using damaged or bent needles

You should check if there are signs of damage on the shaft of the needle, a bent needle will not be able to move through fabrics easily and might break if there is too much resistance.

Always check the needle before using it and discard it if there is any damage.

Similarly, if the tip of the needle is pointed in the wrong direction, it might break while sewing because there is too much pressure on one area.

Using the wrong thread size

If you are using a larger thread with a smaller needle, you might need to replace both parts because there is too much resistance.

On the other hand, if you use a very thin thread with a larger-sized needle, the needle might break due to the strain on the machine.

Depth of the needle sewing machine needle

The depth of the needle can also affect its lifespan. If you are sewing thick fabric, the needle should be inserted further into the machine so that it can puncture the fabric easily.

However, if you are sewing a delicate fabric, the needle should not be inserted too deeply into the machine or it might damage the fabric.

The needle is not inserted correctly

If your needle is not inserted correctly, it might hit the bobbin case while sewing and break.

There are a few things that you can do to make sure that the needle is inserted properly. Screw the needle in until it is tight, but do not over-tighten it.

The needle is not inserted at a steep enough angle

If you find that your needle is continuously breaking while sewing, one of the reasons might be because it’s not being inserted at a steep enough angle.

The right degree for this varies from situation to situation, but usually, it should be at least 15 degrees from vertical.

The goal here is to make sure that there is enough space for your needles to move freely and without resistance when sewing different materials

Your needle hits the bobbin case

Sewing Machine Bobbin Case Problems and Solutions

At times the bobbin case is not correctly inserted in its location. This makes the needle hit the bobbin case and break.

To avoid this, you will need to remove the bobbin case and then insert the case correctly and also replace the new needle in your sewing machine

Needle is not all the way inserted

One of the reasons why sewing machine needle might break is because it is not inserted into the sewing machine all the way.

If you notice that your needle is not inserted all the way, make sure to fix it as soon as possible.

The bobbin case is full of lint

When you take a long to clean your sewing machine, lint will build up in the bobbin case which is a significant reason why your needle might jam and break.

To avoid this, you need to clean your bobbin case often and replace the needle with a new one. This will ensure that the machine works smoothly and your sewing goes well.

The incorrect combination of thread size, needle size, and fabric

When the combination of these 3 is incorrect, it will cause many issues such as tangled thread and also the breaking of the needle every time and then.

You will need to make sure that you’re using the right needle for the job. Additionally, you should also make sure that you’re using the right thread size for the fabric that you’re working with.

You’re Using the Wrong Bobbin Size

You need to make sure that you’re using the right bobbin because not all bobbins are suitable for every sewing machine. If the bobbin is not running smoothly, it will cause the thread to get tangled and this can easily cause the needle to break.

Make sure to replace it with the right size.

Sewing Machine Tension Is Not Set Correctly

When the tension on your sewing machine is not correctly set, the fabric is not being held tightly in place and it’s causing the needle to snap.

In order to avoid this, you will need to make sure that the tension on your machine is set correctly according to the type of fabric that you’re working with.

Make sure to adjust the tension knob to the correct number (usually denoted by a small icon of a spool of thread) for the fabric you’re working with.

You are pulling on the fabric as you sew

You don’t needle to pull on your fabric while sewing can cause a lot of problems with your sewing machine. You don’t need to do this because the feed dogs will do all the work.

When you keep on doing this, the needle will strike a hole in one side of the fabric than the other and snap when it hits a weak point in that hole.

Thread tension Is too tight

One problem you can have with sewing needles is that your thread tension might be too tight. The needle will have a hard time going through the fabric if this happens and it will break more often. Make sure to adjust your tension knob or needle down to make stitches easier to pull through the fabric.

Lose Needle Clamp

The clamping screw is on the side, and it may come loose. If required, check and tighten it. From the movement of the machine, mine comes free regularly.

How to fix a broken needle on a sewing machine

Some sewing machine needle problems are easy to fix. To replace a broken needle on a sewing machine, you will need to remove the old needle and insert the new needle into the clamp. Tighten the needle clamp and test the needle. If it is working correctly, then your sewing machine should be good as new.

To replace a broken needle on a sewing machine:

  1. Remove the needle clamp
  2. Remove the old needle
  3. Insert the new needle into the clamp
  4. Tighten the needle clamp
  5. Test the needle


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