Why Did My Sewing Machine Needle Bend?

If you’re reading this article, chances are you can’t seem to figure out why your sewing machine’s needle keeps bending. Having had this issue before, I know how frustrated you must feel as broken needles keep slowing you down. There are several reasons why your sewing needle keeps bending and I’ll be mentioning them and how you can avoid a repeat performance.

Why Did My Sewing Needle Bend?

Needle Breaks

Sewing needle may bend if the sewing machine you’re working with is threaded incorrectly. If your thread is not secured on the spool pin, It can throw the tension off. When the thread tension is off, it can cause your machine needle to bend or even break. Your needle may also bend if you’re using the wrong type for the fabric you’re sewing or the needle is inserted incorrectly.

The good news is that frequent bending/breakage of your sewing needle doesn’t necessarily mean your machine is broken. Depending on the kind of problem that is affecting your sewing needle, you may need to take a few precautions to ensure they don’t bend or break every time.

Why Is My Sewing Machine Needle Bending?

Needle Breaks

If you’re having frequent bending or breaking of sewing machine needles, it could as a result of one or more of the issues below:

  • Using the Wrong Needle: You’re not supposed to use your sewing needle for every project you work on. There are several types of fabrics that require special needles that are created to handle the fabric. For example, if you own a ballpoint needle, you can’t possibly expect it to sew denim fabrics without any issue. Heavy fabrics will require stronger needles to handle that particular type of job. Needle sizes also matter. If you’re sewing duck or canvass, you need needles that are at least 100/16. A lower-sized needle will bend or break within a short time.
  • When Lint Accumulates in Bobbin: Another problem that could lead to your sewing needing bending is the accumulation of lint in your machine’s bobbin. If you use your machine without taking out bobbin casing once every while for proper cleanup, chances are there’s an accumulation of lint in it. Too much lint could cause your sewing needle to jam in it. This could lead to bending or breaking of the needle. To prevent this problem, always clean your bobbin casing to remove lint. If you use your sewing machine regularly, ensure you’re cleaning your machine at least once every week.
  • When the Needle is out of Position: If your needle frequently breaks, you should check to see if it is hitting the presser foot or soleplate. To do this, bring your needle down using the handwheel. When you have confirmed that your needle is out of place, you can adjust the position manually by adjusting the width setting to ensure it isn’t hitting the presser foot or soleplate. Once the needle is in the right position, your sewing needle should work properly.
  • Threading Your Sewing Machine Incorrectly: If the thread does not properly line up through the thread guide and tension correctly, it may tighten as you begin to sew. It gets worse when it pulls the needle’s eye causing it to bend or break. Most cases of frequently bending sewing needles are caused by sewing machines that are not properly threaded. It is, therefore, important that you follow a carefully outlined process to thread your sewing machine to ensure you don’t have to replace your broken needles all the time.
  • Not Inserting Your Needle Correctly: As you sew, the needle is held in place by a little screw. When the needle is not inserted properly(all the way down), it could bend as you begin to sew because it goes too deep in the bobbin case. Always be sure to tighten the needle screw to avoid the needle falling off. As long as your needle is held tightly in place, you should not have this problem.
  • Needle Breaks
  • Sewing Over Pins: When sewing, you can’t rule out the odd mistake. One of these may be forgetting to remove pins from your project before you begin sewing. If you hit this pin while sewing, your needle can bend or break. To eliminate this problem, always be sure to take off pins from your sewing project.
  • Using a Bent or Damaged Needle: Like most products, sewing machine needles are susceptible to factory damage or errors during production. Using a bent or damaged needle can result in breakage while sewing. Always ensure you carefully select and use only healthy needles. Also, change your needles periodically as they could become bent and damaged due to long-term use.
  • When the Thread is not Securely Fastened on the Spool Pin: While threading your machine, it is important that you attach the stopper securely to your spool pin after putting in your thread. However, there should be enough space for the thread to spin freely. This is because a tight spool pin can throw off the tension which would, in turn, result in a broken needle since the thread cannot easily pass through the needle’s eye.
  • Your Thread Wrapping Itself Around a Thread Guide: If your thread has wrapped itself around a guide more than once, the resultant resistance can lead to your needle breaking. During sewing the extra pressure would pull the needle out of position, causing it to hit the bobbin case, hook or throat plate. This rather common problem can be avoided by ensuring your thread is properly fastened.
  • Sewing Over Zippers: Your needle might be bent or broken because you sewed over zipper teeth. Both metal and plastic zipper teeth can cause damage to your needle. To avoid bending or breaking your needle, gently guide your stitches over and around zipper teeth by using your hand to slowly turn the fabric.
  • Sewing Decorative or Zig-zag Stitches With a Straight Stitch Plate: This is a pretty common mistake so you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you tried selecting a decorative or zig-zag stitch while you still had the straight stitch plate on. Simply replace the bent or broken needle and ensure you remember to remove the straight stitch plate next time you want to sew a more decorative stitch.

While the issues listed above are easily resolved, if your needle continues to bend after you have ensured you’re not committing any of the listed errors, you might need to consider seeking the services of a professional. This might not be in line with your plans, but it is the best plan for your machine, to avoid further damage. The good news is, the issue might be something so minor it would be covered by your warranty. Either way, it is better to err on the part of caution.

What To Do When Your Needle Breaks

Needle Breaks

When your needle breaks for any reason at all, the best thing to do is cover up the hole with a piece of fabric. This ensures, when the needle screw is loosened, it doesn’t fall right through the while into the bobbin compartment.

Lastly, you should ensure you search for the broken pieces of your needle and dispose of them. Most of the time, they may be on the fabric, but there are some rare occasions when they end up in your bobbin compartment. If they do end up there and you continue to sew over them, it could completely mess up your sewing machine.

Related Questions

How Often Should I Change My Needle?

Needle Breaks

It is advisable to change your needle after ten hours of stitching as the needle might be weak and could easily break or bend.

Best Type of Needle to Use In Sewing Machine?

Several factors come into play when choosing a needle for your sewing machine: the size of the needle (this should be based on the weight of your preferred fabric), the thread you’re using, the fabric you’re working with, the type of stitch you intend doing. It is best to use a needle that compliments all the above. Regular needle selection, however, depends strongly on the needle system your machine uses.



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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