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Sewing Needles Troubleshooting Guide

At HALCO we know that a single stitch can be so important to a project, that's why we only supply premium needles from leading brands like Groz Beckert & Schmetz. Needles come in lots of different shapes and sizes, coatings and lengths, and sometimes, you may run into some issues, this article aims to troubleshoot those issues, helping you get the perfect stitch every time.

Before we jump in, here's some important notes to consider also:

  • Needles DO NOT last forever, they should be replaced approximately every 8 hours.
  • The eye of the needle should be 40% larger than the diameter of the thread.
  • When going to a larger size of thread, a larger needle should be used.
  • Use the appropriate needle for the type of fabric being sewn. 

Troubleshooting Guide

 Problem  Causes Solutions
Upper Thread Breaks
  • Incorrect threading
  • Knots or twists in thread
  • Tension too tight
  • Damaged/old needle
  • Needle too small
  • Rethread machine properly
  • Replace thread
  • Reset bobbin and top thread tension
  • Replace needle
  • Use correct needle for thread and application
Bobbin Thread Breaks
  • Bobbin case incorrectly threaded
  • Bobbin case incorrectly inserted
  • Bobbin does not turn smoothly in bobbin case
  • Lint in bobbin case
  • Bobbin tension too tight
  • Remove bobbin and re-thread with bobbin turning clockwise
  • Remove and re-insert bobbin case
  • Check that bobbin case and bobbin are in “round”; replace if necessary
  • Clean bobbin case and surrounding machine area
  • Check and reset bobbin tension
Skipped Stitches
  • Thread tension too tight
  • Needle damaged
  • Needle wrong size
  • Sewing machine out of adjustment
  • Reset top and bobbin tension
  • Replace needle
  • Use correct needle size
  • Have sewing machine adjusted for timing/ hook to needle clearance/ needle bar height
Frayed Stitches
  • Needle too small
  • Tension too tight
  • Damaged thread
  • Increase needle size
  • Reset tension
  • Replace thread
Thread Loops on Bottom
  • Thread not in top tension
  • Machine incorrectly threaded
  • Top tension too loose
  • Burr on hook mechanism
  • Rethread machine with presser foot “up”
  • Rethread machine incorporating take up lever
  • Reset top tension
  • Remove burr
Irregular Stitches or Malformed Stitches
  • Wrong needle size
  • Incorrect threading
  • Upper tension too loose
  • Operator pulling fabric
  • Bobbin wound unevenly
  • Ensure correct needle for fabric & thread
  • Un-thread machine and carefully rethread
  • Reset lower and upper thread tension
  • Check presser foot pressure
  • Rewind bobbin
Fabric Puckers
  • Excessive stitch length
  • Needle point is blunt
  • Excessive thread tension
  • Fabric is too soft
  • Thread displacement — too much thread in a small area
  • Fabric not feeding
  • Decrease stitch length
  • Change needle often
  • Check bobbin and upper tension
  • Use stabilizer
  • Decrease field density; scale embroidery designs; increase stitch length
  • Check presser foot, needle plate, feed dogs



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