Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches and Shredding Thread – Causes and Solutions

Oh, the joys of sewing! One moment you’re breezing through a project, and the next, your trusty machine decides to skip stitches or worse, shred your precious thread.

It’s like it has a mind of its own, right?

Before you let out a sigh of frustration or consider tossing your machine out the window, let’s dive into the heart of these pesky problems.

Together, we’ll stitch our way to a solution, ensuring that your future sewing endeavors are nothing short of perfection!

Sewing Machine Skipping Stitches and Shredding Thread

If your sewing experience is affected due to the stitch problem and shredding of thread, you should detect the cause at the earliest.

1. Speed of the Machine

If you are not providing proper speed to the machine, these problems will occur for sure. Likewise, you can avoid holding the fabric too tight or too loose.

Give a sufficient speed to the machine as required for sewing, or else it will skip the stitches and shred thread. Also, the needle will break if you don’t give proper speed to the sewing machine.

Solution – Correct the Speed

You can allow the machine to sew the fabric at its own pace. If you notice the slow or fast behavior of the machine, make sure you make some speed adjustments.

Give the correct speed to the machine. Holding the fabric either tight or loose will also create an imbalance in the machine speed.

Moreover, you can also try another method. Place a table in front of the machine. Then, let the fabric fall on the table for proper tension.

This way, you can estimate if the machine is working at high speed or working as usual.

2. The Machine Might Skip Stitches if the Needle Has Issues

The first factor to check when your sewing machine shows issues, like skipping stitches or shredding thread, is the needle. Firstly, the problem may be that the sewer might install the needle wrongly.

Also, the needle may have some other issues, such as a damaged tip, curved middle portion, or broken head. You might not see these issues with naked eyes, but there can be some damages.

These problems also occur if you are not using the correct size needle. Yes, some machines need special needles.

If you don’t pick the right needle according to the fabric type, problems will occur. Likewise, the machine will skip stitches if you are using cheap needles made of low-quality material.

Solution – Choose Your Needles Wisely

There exist different types of needles. It includes sharp, ball-point, and quilting needles. Moreover, you can also choose special needles for jeans and leather.

Besides the needle type, make sure you fix it to the machine correctly. Moreover, choosing the correct needle size is also necessary.

You can choose the sewing needle according to your fabric and the machine. As said, the wrong needle may miss the bobbin thread, thereby skipping the stitches.

3. Shredding of the Thread Occurs Due to Thread Issues

These problems occur for many reasons, especially if the thread and needle do not suit each other. If the thread size doesn’t match the needle’s eye, the shredding of the thread will occur.

Also, if you are using any low-quality threads for sewing, the breaking or shedding of the thread is an obvious thing to happen.

Some of the good-quality threads are Gutermann, Isacord, and Aurifil. Your thread should be free of knots and smooth, so it will not get stuck in the eye of the needle.

The shredding of the thread also occurs when you are using an old thread for sewing.

Let’s say you are using a good quality, new thread. But still, you are facing the same issue. Then, there must be an issue with the threading.

Solution – Change/Replace the Current Thread

If your regular sewing machine is skipping stitches and shredding thread, your thread might be the main problem. In this case, you can get a new thread that matches the needle.

The new thread should smoothly pass through the eye of the needle. Besides, it should be smooth, even, and knot-free.

You can prefer using the latest, good-quality threads for sewing. Likewise, get rid of the old thread.

If your thread is perfect, but you still find a shredding problem, then it’s time to correct your threading. Check the threading of your machine. If in doubt, correctly rethread the whole thread once again.

4. Upper Thread Tension Might Be Low

If the sewing machine skips stitches, then the problem might be with the upper thread tension. Many problems occur when the upper thread tension is low.

The tension of the thread should always be correct for a smooth sewing process. With low tension, the thread will lose stitches on the fabric base.

Always remember one thing – the tension of the thread should be neither too tight nor too loose. Most sewers get the upper thread tension incorrect.

Besides, the same problem might also occur because of the bobbin thread. If the bobbin thread tightens the upper thread, the upper thread tension will become low. That’s why the bobbin thread should also be accurate.

Solution – Set the Thread Tension and Continue With It

The tension of the upper thread needs to be correct. It should not be too tight or too loose.

So, you can try turning the knob on your machine to set the proper upper thread tension. You can move from 1/2 to 1. After that, check your stitches on any other scrap fabric.

You can follow the same way to decrease the thread tension if it is too high. Turn the knob and let it switch from 1/2 to 1 lower number.

If the thread in the bobbin pulls the upper thread so much, the tension of the upper thread would not be correct. In this case, you have to tighten that upper thread.

5. You Might Be Over Stitching

If you are stitching so much at one spot, the machine will skip the stitches and shred or break the thread. Thus, it is better if you can plan your stitching schedule to avoid such problems.

Solution – Take a Break During the Stitching Process

One should never stay awake and stitch the fabric for a long time. Likewise, you should select the stitch type according to your fabric.

Some of the common types include chain stitches, overlock stitches, multi thread chain stitches, etc.

Make sure your sewing machine gets enough break. Include a break time into your sewing schedule.

6. You Might Be Using a Defective Machine

If your needle, thread, and thread tension are all set to their proper condition, what would cause the problem. Well, chances are your sewing machine is old or defective.

Be it skipping stitches or shredding the thread; such problems are prevalent if the sewing machine is not clean. There can be dust accumulation on machine parts.

As we know, dust doesn’t allow smooth sewing. It keeps affecting the functionality of your machine parts.

Solution – Regular Maintenance Has No Alternative

Proper maintenance of the machine is essential, or else many problems will occur. The machine and machine parts should be dust-free.

If the machine is grimy, it will not provide proper resistance, and these problems will occur. So proper cleaning of the machine within short intervals is required.

The machine should also not be damaged because if any parts are broken or damaged, it will affect the sewing process.

For how much time do you use the sewing machine? And what type of fabrics do you deal with most often?

These questions will help you establish a maintenance schedule for your machine. If you sew every day and deal with stiff fabrics like velvet, you might consider servicing the machine more often.

What Is a Good Stitch Length to Avoid Stitch Skipping Issue?

Stitch length is how long your machine sews each stitch. You need to adjust the stitch length and fabric as per needs for good sewing.

For a shorter stitch, the machine pulls less fabric. Also, for a longer stitch, the machine pulls more fabric.

Stitch length ranges from 0-5. But, in some machines, it can be up to 7. The stitch length is the length of a single stitch in millimeters. So, you can change the stitch length according to the requirements of the machine.

What Is the Correct Method of Threading the Sewing Machine?

Do you want to avoid the shredding of thread in your sewing machine? Then, the thread must be correctly threaded.

Wind the thread in the bobbin, load it with the thread, and place the spool. After that, wind the thread through your thread guide. Pull the thread and loop it through the u-shape guide and then twist it around the lever.

Then pass your thread through the eye of the needle and pull some inches of the thread. Now, after completing both the top thread and bobbin thread, you have to connect both threads. After connecting, the needle will catch the thread.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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