Skip to Content

Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches? Troubleshoot and Fix the Issue (2024)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

sewing machine skipping stitches and shredding thread causes and solutions

Is your sewing machine skipping stitches and shredding thread?

First, inspect the needle—ensure it’s the correct type, sharp, and compatible with your fabric and thread.

Next, adjust the upper and bobbin tension settings incrementally until achieving appropriate equilibrium.

Switch to a superior-quality polyester embroidery thread like Isacord if using cotton.

Lower the darning foot height to prevent compression.

Take into account the needle plate alignment and foot type based on your quilting project.

Make slight adjustments, maintain a record of ideal settings, and you’ll resolve those pesky skipped stitches.

But the solutions don’t end there.

Key Takeaways

  • Inspect the needle for compatibility with fabric and thread, sharpness, and correct type.
  • Adjust upper and bobbin tension settings incrementally until achieving appropriate equilibrium.
  • Lower darning foot height to prevent compression and select the appropriate foot type based on the quilting project.
  • Examine thread tension, quality, and type, and use high-quality threads like Isacord polyester embroidery thread.

Check Needle

Check Needle

If your sewing machine is skipping stitches, the first thing to check is your needle.

Make sure the needle is fully inserted and the screw is tightened.

Check the needle direction and use a needle type that works well for free motion quilting, such as Universal 80/12.

If the needle is blunt, bent, or old, replace it.

Inspect the thread and fabric to make sure they’re compatible with the needle and tension settings.

Adjust Tension

Adjust Tension
Fine-tuning the tension on your sewing machine is essential to guarantee that your stitches are steady and consistent. Here are three measures to help you adjust the tension:

  1. Familiarize yourself with your machine: Different sewing machines offer varied tension settings. On older machines, there are only two tension discs regulated by a screw or knob. Newer models may have three discs controlled by a dial or keypad in front of the machine.
  2. Locate the tension screw: On machines with a separate bobbin case, the tension screw is easy to find. On machines with a drop-in bobbin and built-in bobbin case, locating it may be more difficult, but with a bit of exploration, you’ll uncover its location.
  3. Adjust the tension: To increase the resistance, employ a small screwdriver to turn the screw clockwise (to a higher number) or counterclockwise (to a lower number). Turn the screw in small increments, no more than a quarter-turn between tests.

Inspect Thread

Inspect Thread

If your sewing machine is skipping stitches, it’s time to inspect the thread.

Start by checking the thread tension.

If it’s too tight, the machine may struggle to pull the thread through, causing skipped stitches.

Also, consider the quality and type of thread you’re using.

Some threads, like 100% cotton, can be too thick or weak for free motion quilting and may cause shredding or breaking.

Instead, opt for high-quality threads like Isacord polyester embroidery thread.

Finally, make sure the thread isn’t too old or damaged.

By addressing these issues, you’ll be one step closer to solving the skipping stitches problem.

Examine Darning Foot Height

Examine Darning Foot Height
If your sewing machine is skipping stitches, it’s time to review the darning foot height. Here are four points to ponder:

  • Foot Height: Make sure the darning foot isn’t too elevated. Lower it so it merely brushes the quilt surface.
  • Foot Placement: Avoid utilizing feet that compress the quilt. Select a ruler quilting foot for adaptability.
  • Foot Versatility: Think about the type of quilting you’re performing and adjust the foot appropriately.
  • Foot Adjustment: Examine the needle plate and hopping foot alignment. Make any required adjustments.

Consider Other Factors

Consider Other Factors
Aside from inspecting the needle, thread, and foot height, it’s also important to make sure you’re using the appropriate needle type for your fabric – a sharp needle is essential for effortless stitching. Tension settings are equally significant; keep a record of the optimal settings for different quilting techniques, as minor adjustments may be required when changing threads or projects.

Needle selection and compatibility

After confirming your darning foot is just right, let’s discuss needle expertise. The correct needle type is like a key to a lock—get it wrong, and you’re stuck. Inspect for needle wear; a dull needle is like attempting to slice tomatoes with a butter knife. Ensure needle insertion is snug as a bug, with the flat side facing the rear. Here’s a quick compatibility cheat sheet:

Needle Type Needle Orientation
Universal Flat side rearward
Ballpoint Flat side rearward
Stretch Flat side rearward
Leather Flat side rearward

Tension adjustment and recording settings

Adjusting tension settings is essential when dealing with skipping stitches.

Begin by noting down your tension settings for various quilting methods on a chart.

Utilize Little Genie Magic Bobbin Washers to enhance bobbin tension.

If alterations to needle and thread do not address skipping, gradually modify the tension dial.

Consult your sewing machine manual for advised settings.

Adjust bobbin tension if required.

Darning foot height and versatility

To guarantee seamless performance and avert missed stitches in your sewing machine, think about tweaking the height of your darning foot. A darning foot that’s too elevated can prompt problems with the stitch quality and might demand more force to shift the quilt, resulting in uneven stitches. To fix this, lower the darning foot so it barely touches the quilt surface. This will permit smoother stitching and minimize the chance of missed stitches.

Furthermore, think about the adaptability of your darning foot. A ruler quilting foot, for instance, can be a valuable addition to your sewing machine, as it lets you use rulers to guide your quilting patterns. This can be especially helpful for those new to free motion quilting, as it provides a guide for preserving consistent stitch length and direction.

When adjusting the height of your darning foot, always make sure that the needle plate is properly adjusted and that the foot isn’t compressing the quilt. If you’re using a foot that hovers, consider covering the feed dogs with a Supreme Slider to prevent them from interfering with your stitching.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is my sewing machine skipping stitches?

Your sewing machine’s skipping stitches because there’s likely an issue with the needle, thread, tension, or timing. Don’t stress, though – it’s fixable with some troubleshooting. Let’s get that baby purring like a kitten again!

How can I fix skipped stitches on my sewing machine?

Consider this scenario: your sewing machine skipping like an unruly child. Let’s quell that issue, shall we? Firstly, replace that blunt needle – a pristine one could be your deliverance. Next, examine the tension; it’s a delicate balancing act, but you’re capable. With some adjustments, those stitches will become as smooth as an unctuous spread.

What are the common causes of skipped stitches in sewing machines?

You’re hitting skipped stitches, huh? Could be a dull needle, lousy thread, or tension gone haywire. Let’s troubleshoot – we’ll get that baby purring again. First off, try switching out the needle and rethreading from scratch. Sometimes the simplest fixes are golden.

How often should I change my sewing machine needle?

You should change your sewing machine needle every 6-8 hours of use or whenever it becomes dull, bent, or burred. A fresh, sharp needle prevents skipped stitches, shredded thread, and fabric damage.

What type of needle is best for free motion quilting?

You’ll want to use a Universal 80/12 needle for free motion quilting. These needles are sharp, sturdy, and glide smoothly through multiple fabric layers. They’re designed to handle the back-and-forth movements without shredding thread or skipping stitches. A good investment for precision quilting!


Though sewing machine skipping stitches and shredding thread might appear to be a minor issue, resolving it is far from effortless.

You have thoroughly inspected every component—needle, tension, thread, foot height—yet those persistent skipped stitches remain.

Don’t lose hope; with attention to detail and a systematic approach, you will pinpoint the root cause, whether it is improper needle choice, tension imbalance, or inadequate foot clearance.

You will resolve the sewing machine skipping stitches and shredding thread dilemma definitively.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.