Sewing Machine Thread Breaking at Needle – Causes and Solutions

Imagine the top thread on your sewing machine breaking after every few stitches. Frustrating! That is one way to describe the feeling you get when this keeps happening.

Well, it is a common problem for a lot of sewing machines. It slows down progress because you have to stop sewing every time the thread breaks. So, it means spending more time than usual on one garment.

Also, the sewing experience becomes tiresome, and you don’t look forward to it. Thus, you may be wondering what happens for the thread to keep breaking at the needle. Lucky for you, this article highlights some of the possible causes and solutions.

Why Does My Sewing Machine Thread Breaking at Needle?

The top thread is also known as needle thread. It is the thread that passes through the needle. It can keep breaking as you sew. Besides, this breaking can occur due to several reasons. Some of the reasons are the ones highlighted below. Moreover, you can also find the best solutions to avoid needle-breaking issues.

1. Disproportion in the Thread Tension

If the thread tension of the sewing machine is too tight, the top thread can break while sewing. Tension also becomes a problem when we use the default tension for different fabrics instead of adjusting it.

Different fabrics require different tension, and the same applies to threads. So, if the top and bobbin thread tension is uneven, the thread will also break while sewing.

Solution – Adjust the Thread Tension According to Your Fabric

If the thread keeps breaking at the needle due to tension, adjust it. Make sure the bobbin thread and top thread tension match. Also, make sure that the tension is not too tight. It will stop the thread from being pulled too hard. In the end, thread breaking at the needle will stop.

2. Use of Bent, Dull or Damaged Needle

After several projects, your needle can get worn out or bent. It is pretty usual, especially if you sew a lot of thick fabric. If the needle is damaged, bent or dull, the automatic needle threader hook will fail to line up correctly.

As a result, it will cause the top thread to keep breaking. To add, the sharpness of the needle will determine how well it will pierce the fabric. If the sewing needle is not sharp enough, the thread will snag and break.

Moreover, if you stay too long without replacing the needles, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if this problem occurs.

Solution – Always Check the Needles

Check whether the needles are damaged, bent or dull. Also, check if the needle size matches the fabric type and thickness. If you notice any problems, replace the needles. Even more, you can change the sewing needle after every project if you can.

3. Cheap Thread Breaks Quite Often

Thread quality plays a massive role in sewing. The more inferior the thread quality, the higher the chances of encountering thread-breaking problems. If you do not replace it, the thread will keep on breaking throughout the project.

Thread comes in different weights. Some threads are fine and will break from a bit of pull. Others are so thick they either break in the eye of the needle or the tension discs.

Different fabrics use different thread weights. Thus, it means thread weight should always match the fabric. Using the wrong thread weight or type of fabric will cause the top thread to break as you sew.

Above all, some thread weights are for hand sewing and not machine sewing. Using such threads on a sewing machine will result in them breaking.

Likewise, sewing thread may have snags or knots. These can get in the way and cause the thread to break.

But knots cause once-off thread breakage. It means that if the thread keeps on breaking, then the knots are not the cause. It must be something else causing the thread breakage.

Solution – Select the Right Thread

Quality is everything. If you use the correct thread quality, type, and weight for your sewing, you can stop thread breakage. In short, make sure you always use top branded thread for your sewing.

4. Broken Take Up Lever Spring

The take-up lever is the part that takes thread from the spool to feed it through the machine. It also lifts thread back up out of the cloth after making a stitch.

If the spring of the take-up lever breaks or is bent, your thread will also break. You will immediately notice thread breaking when you start sewing.

Solution – Replace a Broken Take Up Lever Spring

You cannot fix the broken take-up lever spring at home. You may need some professional tools and expertise to do so. If this is the cause of the thread breakage, fix it by taking it to a sewing machine repairer.

5. Lint Build-Up in the Bobbin

If a broken thread or cotton pieces accumulate in the bobbin, the sewing thread will break. These broken pieces of cotton accumulating in the bobbin are what we call lint.

The reason is, lint deposits disturb the hook timing, which in turn tampers with the sewing thread.

Solution – Do Servicing and Cleaning of the Sewing Machine

Cleaning the sewing machine will help get rid of lint build-up in the bobbin. You can use a tiny brush to clean the machine. But when in doubt, it’s best to refer to a sewing machine manual. The manual will have guidelines on how to clean your machine.

If you lost your manual or you bought a pre-owned machine, contact the manufacturer. Alternatively, you can check their website and the FAQ section.

6. Inserting the Needle in a Wrong Way

Inserting the needle in the wrong way will cause problems. It is one of the problems causing the breakage of the top thread.

Moreover, as time goes, the screw that holds the needle can become loose. Thus, it can cause the needle to fall out of its position a bit.

Or you can bump the screw while sewing, which can cause it to become loose. If this happens, the needle hits the bobbin and breaks together with the thread.

Solution – Correct Insertion of the Sewing Needle

Always insert the sewing machine needle correctly. The insertion must be up and tight. That will stop it from hitting the bobbin, which causes thread breakage.

Besides, make sure the needle is always as tight as possible before you start sewing. Checking needle setting will help solve the problem of the needle becoming loose while sewing.

7. Sewing Machine Threading Gone Wrong

Threading the machine in the wrong way creates thread problems. The reason being, the thread is not in its desired position.

So, it means the whole threading process gets disturbed. Breaking of the thread is a sign of wrong threading.

It may appear like a minor issue, but it can happen to anyone. No matter how long one has been sewing for, even a skilled sewer can make a threading mistake.

Solution – Rethreading Sewing Machine Is the Way Out

Make it a point always to check if you have correctly done the threading process. You can remove the thread and rethread it even before starting sewing to make sure you got it right.

It may sound like a time-consuming process to always have to rethread the machine. But look on the bright side. You will prevent the thread from breaking.

8. Condition of the Throat Plate

Needles sometimes break while sewing. Once they break, nicks can fall into the throat plate (metal cover of the bobbin). Nicks, in this case, refers to the small residues that fall once the needle breaks. These can cause tension and thread breakage problems.

Solution – Fixing the Throat Plate Condition

If you are suspecting minor nicks that enter the throat plate to be the cause, replace it. It is cheap to replace a throat plate. If you are not sure how to do it, consult a sewing machine mechanic.

So, after understanding the causes and solutions of top thread breakage, you may be able to solve the problem. Some of the above problems share a similar solution, while others have their unique solution.

Do Snapping Bobbin Threads Break More Often?

Bobbin thread snaps due to several reasons. Besides, the most common cause is tension. In the end, you may face frequent thread breakage issues.

Tension not only causes the top thread to break. It also causes bobbin thread to snap. If the tension is too tight, make sure to adjust it to the best thread tension. The tension of the top and bobbin thread should always match.

Also, make sure to install the spool correctly. And ensure to wind the bobbin thread correctly. That can also be a possible cause for bobbin thread to keep snapping.

Can I Stop Thread Breakage by Threading the Sewing Machine Correctly?

It may sound unbelievable but not threading your sewing machine correctly has terrible outcomes. For one, it can cause needle or top thread breakage. It can also cause stitches not to form as you sew.

Thus, always make sure you follow the correct guide to threading the sewing machine. Some machines even have arrows to guide you on which direction the thread should follow.



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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