Sewing Machine Needle Problems (20+ Common Issues)

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For many sewing machine owners, the needle can become bent or stuck on the fabric. Common fixes for this issue include taking out the needle and bending it back, using a pair of pliers to remove any extra threads from the eye of the needle before replacing it, or manually adjusting tension.

This post will show you how to repair a sewing machine’s needle and how to avoid this issue in the future. You’ll learn how to identify problems with your needles and troubleshoot them quickly so that you can maintain your machine’s performance levels.

Two great enemies of the sewing machine are needle roll or wobble and broken needles. While most people may not know this, the majority of sewing machine manufacturers make their machines with a breakaway key. The key is a safety feature that separates the needle and the thread when tension is too high.

In the following narrative, I will explain to you what sewing machine needle problems are and why they exist. I will also give you some pointers on how to fix them.

Table of Contents show

Sewing Machine Needle Problems

Here below is the list of some common issues that you can face due to needles in your sewing machine.

  1. Broken needle
  2. Thread breaking
  3. Irregular stitches
  4. Needle roll or wobble
  5. Bent Needle
  6. Stuck needle
  7. Intermittent operation of the machine
  8. Needles overheated
  9. Wrong needle size or material
  10. Incorrect needle position
  11. Cut nylon thread
  12. Worn-out feed dogs
  13. Pierced needle plate or needle hole
  14. Blocked needle position
  15. Needles jamming the machine
  16. Too much tension
  17. Harmonizers running slow and fast
  18. Needle jams in the needle plate 
  19. Needle jams in the needle bar
  20. Needle jams in the bobbing
  21. Cutting off thread from the bar
  22. Needles banging against each other

Broken needle

A broken needle sews, but the needle eye is bent and the threads are not being fed correctly. Most broken needles can be straightened back by hand to ensure a good stitch, however, some machines may need to be serviced.

Thread breaking

If the thread is breaking, check your needles and make sure that they are the right ones for your machine (check your owner manual!). The needle will break through the thread that is getting caught on the back of the needle plate, or it will break when there is too much pressure on it. 

These needles need to be replaced or fixed.

Watch Video: Sewing Machine Won't Stitch & Won't Pick Up Bobbin Thread

Irregular stitches

Make sure that your thread is not tangled or knotted, and check your needle size to make sure it is the right one for your material. You may also want to check where your needle is positioned on the needle plate (below). 

Use the recommended pressure setting for your material and make sure that you are using the correct needle for this setting. You might also want to make sure that you are using a lubricant.

Needle roll or wobble

This is usually caused by a bent or broken needle. Using a pair of pliers to straighten the needle out (or use an adjustable wrench) will usually fix this problem. If this is not the problem, you may want to service your machine.

Bent needle

A bent needle will move off center and will hit the metal that is holding the needle in place. This is a very common problem with cheap machine needles, so be sure to use good-quality needles in your machine. 

You can also try putting a coin over the top of your needle and moving it around until you see no more movement of the coin (after inserting it into the slot of your sewing machine).

Stuck needle

A stuck needle will often cause the machine to slow down or even stop working. This can be dangerous, so if you experience this, unplug your machine and remove the material that is stuck on your needle. Then re-thread your needle and check that it is not bent. 

If it is bent, straighten it out with a pair of pliers and then re-thread your machine. You may also want to service your sewing machine.

Watch Video: Sewing Machine Needle Not Moving

Intermittent operation of the machine

If your machine starts and stops suddenly, check to make sure that there is no tangled thread or material in the needle plate. A bent needle will also cause this to happen.

Needles over-heated

If the needle is overheated, the thread will start to melt and stick to the needle. If you experience this, unplug your machine, remove the material that is stuck on your needle and let it cool off. 

Try to keep your fabric at a constant temperature when used with a sewing machine, because if it becomes too hot or too cold it can interfere with stitching. 

Wrong needle size

If you are using different needles from what is recommended, you may find that your machine starts to miss stitches, or pinches and pulls on your fabric. Make sure that you are using the right needle for your material and make sure it is threaded correctly (through one of the eyelets in the needle plate) before sewing. 

Incorrect needle position

If you are using a different needle than what is recommended, the machine will not be able to function properly. Make sure that you check your owner’s manual to see what types of materials are recommended for your machine and what needle sizes are recommended. 

Always check with your sewing machine’s manual before using needles (for any type of needle), because there are many different kinds of needles and they do not all function the same in every machine.

Cut nylon thread

A lot of people use different materials with their machines and a lot of these types of materials can leave string or threads behind in the needle plate holes or on the overlock plates (if they are used on a sewing machine). If you are experiencing this problem, make sure that it is removed from your machine before using it. 

Worn-out feed dogs

The feed dogs can become worn out on a sewing machine and this can cause problems with the stitch quality and speeds of your machine. If the feed dogs do get worn out, this will cause the needle to bend or even break while it is being fed through the material. 

No matter how much you use your machine, sometimes these parts will always be affected by wear and tear, so you may want to consider purchasing an additional needle plate (or upgrade).

Pierced needle plate or needle hole

If the needle plate is pierced, the material will be put through with a hole and will not be passed through properly. This can cause a lot of problems, from stitches that look messy or puckered (if you are using a straight stitch) to bent needles. 

If it is not making your stitches pucker, it is best to fix this problem. You can do this yourself by taking your sewing machine apart, taking out the needle plate and replacing it one piece at a time. With practice, you should be able to do this in less than an hour. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, have someone who knows how to work on sewing machines look at it or have it looked at by a professional. 

If a small hole has been pierced in your needle plate and it is just the needle plate that has been pierced, you will still be able to use this hole if possible. If the hole is too large, you may want to purchase a new needle plate or needle plate kit.

Blocked needle position

This problem occurs when the needle has been blocked from going up through the material by something like thread or lint. If this problem occurs, remove the thread and lint from where you are trying to sew before using your machine again. 

You may also want to clean out your machine, especially if it has not been used in a while or if you do not use it regularly.

Needles jamming the machine

If the needle is jammed under the material, it will cause a lot of problems with your machine. You may experience stitches that are off-center, skipped, or bunched together. 

If this problem occurs, make sure that you lift your presser foot and remove the material or needle that is being jammed by the needle plate.

Too much tension

If there is too much tension on your machine and it does not allow for proper feeding, then you may experience skipped stitches, poorly made stitches, and even needles that break. You may want to check your tension and make sure that it does not cause this problem.

Harmonizers running slow and fast

If the needles are being moved by the sewing machine and the harmonizers are not synchronized, this can cause both skipped stitches and pins to be bent. To fix this problem, make sure that you turn your needle plate and needle down or up a notch or two.

Needle jams in the needle plate

If the needle is not passing through the material (or it is not being fed properly) and you experience this problem, there are two things that you can do: Have an expert look at your machine or try to fix it yourself. 

If you decide to fix it yourself, then take some dental floss, thread it through your material and push the needle through. Then pull the dental floss out; then move the dental floss up and down until your needle goes through without blocking.

Needle jams in the needle bar

If the needle is being blocked by the needle plate or needle bar, this can be a very serious problem that can cause a lot of problems with your machine. 

To fix this problem, you will need to do some troubleshooting with your sewing machine and make sure that everything is in good working order before doing any repairs.

Needle jams in the bobbin

If the needle jams in the bobbin, you may not be able to sew very well. To fix this problem, make sure that you unthread the material and remove your bobbin case before starting your machine. Also, make sure that there are no drops of oil on or around your needle or bobbin case before sewing.

Watch Video: Sewing Machine Needle not catching the Bobbin thread problem

Cutting off thread from the bar

If you are trying to stitch a seam and the needle is stopping in the middle and cutting the thread of the bobbin, this can mean that there is not enough tension on the machine. 

If you are using thread that is too heavy or too light, or if you do not have enough tension on the machine, you may experience this problem from time to time.

Needles banging against each other

If there are needles that are banging into each other, this can cause all sorts of problems. One of the main problems that can occur is that the needle can get bent and then be broken inside of the machine. Also, it can cause the thread to break and cause skipped stitches. 

To fix this, you can try to adjust the tension of the machine to see if this will solve your problem. If that does not work, then you may want to purchase more needles or upgrade your machine.

How To Get Rid Of Needle Issues?

The following are some tips and tricks to help fix the needle issues. Some of these solutions may require more work than others, but hopefully, some of them will work for you.

  1. Unthread your material
  2. Checked for blocked needle position
  3. Check for needle cases
  4. Adjust your tension
  5. Adjust needle plate speed
  6. Replace the bobbin case
  7. Replace the needle
  8. Use thread conditioner
  9. Oiling on needle/bobbin case
  10. Clean the needle plate

Unthread your material

If there is a problem with a needle jamming in the bobbin, remove the bobbin case before starting your machine and use dental floss to push through the needle without blocking it. Then take off the dental floss that was used to push through and pull on it until it comes out easily so that you can create a good thread path again. 

If you have too little tension on your machine then try adjusting it until this problem completely goes away or purchase new needles or upgrade your machine if this does not work.

Check for a blocked needle position

Check to see if the needle is being blocked by something. If there is material or thread in its way, remove the material or thread and then make sure that you have the right materials for what you are trying to do. 

If this does not fix your problem, try adjusting your machine or purchasing new needles or upgrading your machine if this does not work.

Check for needle cases

This is a very common problem when it comes to using the wrong equipment. If your machine requires a broader needle but you are using one that is too fine, this could cause the needle to slip off the material and then get stuck. 

To fix this issue, make sure that you have the right materials for what you are looking to do and if you have already made sure of this, then try adjusting your machine or purchasing new needles, or upgrading your machine if this does not work.

Adjust your tension

This is a very common problem that people have with their machines. If you are using a very lightweight thread and having this issue, then you will want to adjust the tension on your machine so that it can properly feed your material. To do this, use a screwdriver to adjust the screw in the bobbin case and tighten the tension on your machine.

Adjust needle plate speed

This is another common problem that people have with machines. If you are having this problem, then you will need to use a screwdriver to adjust the needle plate speed on your machine, usually, there is a screw on either side of the needle plate, but some machines do not have this and in that case, it can be very hard to remove. To adjust it simply turn it slowly so that you can feel a little resistance. If this does not work, then try adjusting your machine or purchasing new needles or upgrading your machine.

Replace the bobbin case

If you are having a problem with your machine and the needle is getting caught in the bobbin, it means that there is too much tension on the machine and it might be because your bobbin case is too narrow. To fix this, you can purchase a new bobbin case and just replace it with the old one.

Replace the needle

If you are having this problem, then it might be time for you to purchase a new needle. This is a very cheap fix and it can help give you better quality sewing and stitching.

Use thread conditioner

If your thread is old or if it has been sitting in your house for a long time, then this can cause problems with your machine. Thread conditioner can help make the thread easier to feed through your machine and it can also lubricate it so that you don’t have to worry about the tension being too tight.

Oiling on needle/bobbin case

For a long time, people would use oil-based products on their machines so that they would work better and because their machines were more powerful. Using oil on your machine will help with this problem, especially if you have an older machine that requires thinner thread and if you are using oil-based products, then try using rubbing alcohol instead.

Clean the needle plate

At times, the needle plate can get covered with gunk and grease or it could be dirty from the last job so that it stops working correctly. To clean the needle plate, first, use cotton swabs and then a can of compressed air to blow off any dust that may be stuck there.

Choose The Correct Needle For Your Project

You can find sewing machine needles at any local store that carries sewing machine parts or online. The needle should be sharp, with a point at the tip that fits into the eye of the bobbin thread and a square or round eye tip to prevent the thread from wrapping around it. 

Additionally, the needle should have a notch or bevel in its center so that it can be adjusted to fit different fabric thicknesses and stitching styles.

There are different types of sewing needles and you must select the correct type for your project. Here’s a list of different types of needles you can use for your sewing machine:

  • Embroidery Needle – Sewing needles that are specifically designed to create stitches that are small and tight.
  • Quilting Needle – Thicker, bigger size needles. These are ideal for quilting and lace projects to avoid breakage in the face area when pushing fabric through it.
  • Sharps Needle – A needle that is sturdier than an ordinary sewing needle. These are designed to be stronger and more durable to last longer.
  • Universal Needle – General-purpose needles that are ideal for children’s clothing, quilting, and other projects.
  • Ballpoint Needle – A rounded tip of a needle that reduces skipped stitches and snags when sewn over knits and other similar materials.
  • Metallic Needles – A needle that has an inserted steel coil. The purpose of this coil is to avoid breaking and bending the needle.
  • Needlepoint Needle – A very small and thin needle designed for use on fine-gauge fabrics to make embroidered details.

How To Thread A Needle In A Sewing Machine?

If you don’t know how to thread a needle in your sewing machine, here are some guides and tips on how to do so.

To thread the needle in a sewing machine, you should have an eyelet. An eyelet is a small hole that lets you easily insert your thread into the bobbin with ease. It can be found in many different types of machines with their specifications.

Why Does My Sewing Machine Needle Keep Breaking?

If your sewing machine needle keeps breaking, here are some tips on how to solve this issue:

Too much tension – If you have too much tension with your fabric, chances are it will cause the needle to bend and break. Keep adjusting the tension on your machine until you get the perfect amount.

Short bobbin thread – Your bobbin thread must be long enough so that it can go through the needle and be sewn in place properly. Make sure that your bobbin thread is long enough and that you’re adding the right amount of fabric to it. This will prevent the needle from breaking.

Before you open your sewing machine’s cover, plug it in and make sure that it has been connected to a power source. You don’t want to start sewing without turning on the machine first, as doing so can cause damage and lead to a needle breaking when it comes in contact with the bobbin and motor shaft. 

Before starting the machine, check if all your parts are in place. Inspect the bobbin thread and make sure that it is long enough.

What Do Sewing Machine Needle Sizes Mean?

Finding the correct needle size for your sewing machine is important as it will make a difference in how it sews. If you find that your needle is too big or too small and you’re having issues with your machine, here’s how you can solve this issue:

Look at the size on the side of your needle to see if there’s a number that corresponds to size. Some machines have letters instead of numbers, and most industrial machines have numbers as well. If this is the case, check the size of your needle and see if you can find a match. For example, a size 80 needle should be compatible with a machine that uses that size.

If you’re still having issues with your machine, take it to an expert and have it looked at by someone who knows the ins and outs of sewing machines.

If you’ve just purchased a brand-new sewing machine and you have problems with the needle breaking right away, it’s probably because your machine didn’t come threaded correctly.

How To Move Needle Position On Singer Sewing Machine?

If you’re having issues with your sewing machine’s needle being too close to the bobbin or too far from it, here’s how to adjust it:

On a Singer sewing machine, use the screw on the underside of the needle plate by loosening it and turning it to move the needle a little closer or further away. The location is noted by X and Y, where X is a number that indicates which direction you should turn the screw.

There are other ways to adjust your machine. For example, you may have to adjust your tension and make sure that it’s adjusted properly. If you need more instructions, please consult with an expert who has experience with sewing machines.

How To Use A Needle Threader On A Sewing Machine?

If you have issues with your needle threader on your sewing machine, here are some helpful tips:

Check the instruction manual that came with your machine. It should give instructions on how to use the needle threader.

Make sure that your machine is turned off and unplugged from the power source before proceeding to use it. You don’t want to start sewing without turning on the machine first, since doing so can cause damage and lead to a needle breaking when it comes in contact with the bobbin and motor shaft.

FAQ About Sewing Machine Needle Problems

Why Is My Sewing Machine Needle Not Stitching?

This is a common problem that many people have. This can be caused by a variety of issues. Here are some possible reasons:

It’s time for a needle change – If you find that your machine is done with the needle and it needs to be changed, you should replace it with a new one before doing so. You don’t want to unwind the old one at this point because once you do, the thread will come out of place and your fabric will no longer look smooth.

Why Is My Sewing Machine Needle Not Going Up And Down?

Many sewing machines have a needle that is attached to a spring that is constantly bouncing up and down. If it’s not going up or down on its own, here’s how to fix it:

Make sure to turn the machine off before doing so. Make sure that the bobbin is in place and that there are no issues with your threading. Try turning the shaft in different directions by gently pulling the top of the shaft towards you and then pushing it away from you.

What Causes A Sewing Machine To Stop Sewing?

When your machine stops working, it’s because one of the following things has happened:

It is time to change the needle – Make sure that you replace the needle before doing so. If you’re using a new one, make sure that it’s perfectly aligned and that your bobbin feed has been adjusted.

The foot controller is not working – If your foot controller stops working, you should check if there are any loose wires connecting it to the ground or the other electronic parts of your machine.

Why Are The Feed Dogs On My Sewing Machine Not Working?

The feed dogs on your machine move the fabric in place so that it can be sewn. If they aren’t working properly, there are a few things that you can check:

Move the lever to see if that helps. Check the tension of your upper thread to see if it is too tight or too loose. Check the position of your needle and make sure that it hasn’t gotten stuck at any point while sewing. Try using a different needle and make sure that it is properly aligned and sharpened before doing so.

How Will You Remedy A Needle Bar That Does Not Move?

The needle bar is a critical part of any machine and it needs to be working. If you’ve come across this problem, here’s how to fix it:

If your machine is still in warranty and you feel that the needle bar needs to be replaced, it is recommended that you take it to a repair shop or an expert so that they can see if they can’t fix the issue right away. If you’re looking for tips on how to fix the needle bar yourself, check out your manual.

Why Is My Needle Not Catching The Bobbin Thread?

This is a common problem on all machines. The problem can be caused by several reasons, some of which are:

The thread is not being loaded properly – Make sure that there is no excess fabric at the top of your bobbins before tightening the thread tension.

The needle’s position needs to be adjusted – If you have made sure that all the other issues have been solved, you may need to adjust the position of your needle so that it can catch up with the bobbin thread.

How Do You Check The Timing On A Sewing Machine?

Many people have issues with their machines running out of time, but it is an easy fix. Here’s how to do this:

Turn on your sewing machine and then check the chart that shows what each stitch setting should look like when the needle is up or down. If you are using a lever machine, it will display the correct position on a dial or a window when the lever is in its resting position.

Why Does My Bottom Thread Keep Bunching?

This is a common problem among many sewing machines. The bottom thread can bunch up for a variety of reasons including:

The upper tension is too tight – If the upper thread tension is too tight, it can cause your bottom thread to the bunch.

Ease tension by adjusting the dial on your machine so that you get a smooth, even stitch without any bunching or loops. Adjust the bobbin tension – Check if there are any issues with the bobbin tension and loosen it if there are any issues.

Final Thoughts

We hope that these tips will help you with your sewing machine. If you’re still having issues with your machine, consider bringing it to a professional for assistance. They can help you find another sewing machine that fits your needs, and even how to fix the one that you have as well.


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I have been working as a seamstress since I was 12 years old, and I would be happy to teach you what I know. I, along with the rest of my team, investigate numerous sewing, quilting, embroidery, and fabric related how-to guides, and present our findings to you.

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