Why Is My Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches

There are a number of reasons why your sewing machine might be skipping stitches. It could be the type and quality of thread you’re using, or it could be that your needle is dull and needs to be replaced. If you think about the types of fabric you sew most often, there may also be an issue with puckering or gathering that can cause skipped stitches as well.

Let’s take a look at some possible sewing machine stitches skip causes and remedies

Possible Causes of Sewing Machines to Skip Stitches

The needle is bent, damaged, or dull

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sewing machine needle

A sewing machine needle that’s bent can cause skipped stitches if it moves around when it enters the material. This can be caused by hitting a hard surface with the needle, so check your work surface for any objects that could have caused the problem.


The best way to find out if this is why your needle is skipping stitches is to replace it with a new one.

Read: How do you fix a needle that doesn’t move?

Sewing machine not threaded properly

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A machine that’s skipping stitches may be caused by a sewing machine not threaded properly


You should also make sure that your sewing machine is threaded properly, which includes not forgetting to pull through both loops of the thread. If pulling one loop at a time doesn’t work, use a longer piece of thread and pull it through using both loops.

Read: How to Thread a Sewing Machine the Best Way

The stitch length is too long

If the stitch length on your sewing machine is set to a longer setting, it can cause skipped stitches when you’re trying to sew over thick fabrics or material that needs more time for feeding through.

Solutions: You should try shortening your stitch length and then see if the problem continues. If it does, then you may need to replace your needle.

The tension on the sewing machine is incorrect

If the tension on your machine is set too loose, it can cause skipped stitches.


Start by checking for any frayed thread tails that might be caught up in or around the bobbin case and try tightening the tension a little at a time until you’re able to sew without any skipped stitches.

The bobbin is incorrectly threaded

what is a bobbin on a sewing machine

If your bobbin thread keeps coming loose, it can also cause skipped stitches. This is often the case if you’ve recently replaced your needle or taken out and re-inserted the bobbin case.


Make sure that you thread the bobbin correctly with an even pull from the spool of thread. If you find that the bobbin is often loose, look at replacing your needle and tightening up your tension before you take out your bobbin case to re-thread it.

The fabric type is too heavy

If the fabric type is heavy or thick, it can be more difficult for a sewing machine to pull it through.


If this is the case, simply use a smaller stitch length and see if the sewing machine skips stitches less often.

The thread type is incorrect for your fabric

If you’re using a different kind of thread on top of that which you’re using on the bobbin, it can also cause skipped stitches.


The best way to see if this is the case is to remove the bobbin and take out your needle plate. Pull gently on both threads until they are even. Next, re-thread your machine using the same type of thread in both spools and see if you can sew without any skipped stitches.

The foot is lifting off the fabric

If you find that your foot is lifting off the fabric slightly as you sew, try using a piece of sticky tape to fix it in place.


If necessary, you can also use pins to secure the material to the foot. When pinning or taping quilting cotton, use fine pins and position them just inside where you’re about to sew. The pins should be the same distance apart as your seam allowance so that they don’t create skipped stitches when you sew over them.

Related: Why did my sewing machine lock up? ​- Causes & Solutions

The bobbin thread tension is too tight

If the bobbin thread is set too tightly, it can cause the upper thread to skip or break while sewing.


Turn your hand wheel to take up any slack in the thread and then hold onto both threads in your other hand. While you’re holding the threads, wind six or seven times backward in order to loosen up the bobbin thread tension.

The sewing machine needs oiling

If you haven’t oiled your sewing machine recently then the friction of the moving parts can cause skipped stitches.


Make sure that you oil your machine correctly in accordance with the instructions provided by the manufacturer. It’s important that you don’t over-oil or get any oil on the outer surfaces in order to avoid problems when sewing different types of material.

Read: How to clean and oil a sewing machine

The feed dogs are too low for this type of material

If the feed dogs are set too low, they won’t be able to grip the fabric and move it through as you sew. This can result in skipped stitches.


Turn your hand wheel towards you so that the needle is at its highest point. Now look under your machine where the feed dogs should be protruding from underneath the machine slightly. If this isn’t the case, you’ll need to turn your handwheel in the opposite direction until they raise up enough to work correctly.

The needle is obstructed

One of the most common causes of skipped stitches is that the needle may be obstructed. If you have a straight stitch sewing machine with an upper and lower needle, there are two easy ways to check for blockages in the needles:


Turn your machine on and lower both the needles into a piece of material by pressing down on both the presser foot bar and the handwheel (pulling towards yourself). If your machine makes a loud clicking noise, it is likely that there will be blockages in both needles.

Bobbin Not Inserted Correctly

Janome Sewing Machine Bobbin Problems

One of the reasons a sewing machine may stitch poorly is that the bobbin is not inserted correctly, or it is inserted incorrectly. In some cases, the thread from the spool may become tangled around the bobbin, which can create more issues for your sewing process.


In order to avoid these problems from occurring, you will need to take a few steps before you begin sewing:

If you are using bobbins with round metal discs, make sure that the disc falls into the hole in the needle plate (metal arm), and then insert it into the bobbin case. If you are using bobbins with plastic discs, make sure that it sits flat on top of any metal disc holder inside of the bobbin case.

After inserting the bobbin, pull about 6 inches of thread through the hole in the needle plate. This gives you enough thread to run through your machine without tangling.


Not using the right thread for the projects

You should make sure you are using the appropriate thread for your sewing project. Solution: One way to tell if you are using the wrong type of thread is when it breaks or when it eats into the fabric.

Are you using the correct needle size and type?

Be sure that you are using the correct needle type and size, if the thread is breaking or you’re having trouble feeding it through your sewing machine, then make sure your needle isn’t bent. If you find yourself constantly replacing your needles because they break often, try a different brand.

Read: How to Choose the Right Sewing Machine Needle

Stitch length and tension settings may not be correct

If your machine is making larger or smaller stitches than it should be, then you may need to change your stitch length and tension settings. If your thread seems to be coming out in a loop instead of a straight line, try lowering the tension setting on your machine if it is already at the correct setting.

Not using a presser foot

Some sewing machines come with a buttonhole or zipper presser foot, which makes it easier to sew certain stitches and projects. If you’re having trouble feeding your thread through the machine, then this might be the cause of your issue.

Your stitch length is incorrect

If you are having problems with stitches that come out too long or short, then your stitch length may be off.


If this is the case, then turn your machine’s stitch selector knob to a longer or shorter option. Fixing the length of the stitch will help correct other problems you might be experiencing in your sewing project.

Related: 30+ Most Common Sewing Machine Problems And Remedies

Remedies for a sewing machine skipping stitches (Video Tutorial)

Final Words

If you’ve had some challenges with your sewing machine, then this article should be of great help to you. From making sure that the bobbin is correctly inserted all the way to adjusting stitch length and tension settings, we hope these tips will get your project back on track fast.

Related: Why does my needle keep hitting the plate? (5 Reasons)

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