We’ve all experienced some wacky things happening with our stitches. The thread will go all loopy or skipped stitches will mar that otherwise perfect topstitching. These are things that happen to everyone. These things shouldn’t keep us from enjoying the process of sewing. So here are a few common problems and solutions explained to help the next time something comes up.
(photo by iampeas)
- Poor thread tension often comes from an incorrectly inserted needle. Machine needles have a flat side that should always face the back of the sewing machine.
- Check that the bobbin is wound correctly. It shouldn’t have any loose threads or loops sticking out. Never wind thread onto a bobbin that already contains thread, always use an empty bobbin.
- Tension can be adjusted easily using the tension dial, but consult your sewing machine manual before doing so. The tension is too tight if the lower thread is pulled up to the top of the fabric. In which case, reduce the upper thread tension by adjusting to a lower number on the tension dial. For the opposite problem, when the upper thread is pulled too much to the underside of the fabric, the tension is too loose. Adjust the tension dial to a higher number.
(photo by L. Marie)
- Skipped stitches are symptomatic of several things, but a bent needle may be the culprit. When the stitches randomly start skipping, change your needle. If the stitches return to normal, then the problem was a bent needle. It can be caused by such things as tugging too hard on the fabric or the needle hitting a pin. Relax your hold on the fabric, and allow the feed dogs to pull it through.
- Make sure your machine is threaded correctly. Keep the pressure foot up every time you pull the thread through the machine.
- Another cause may be that the needle and thread are mismatched. Be sure to use the correct needle and thread for the job. When sewing knits use a ballpoint needle, and sharps for woven fabrics. Different weights of fabric need different size needles. Sometimes just changing the needle size will solve the problem.