Q: My sewing machine is not making a good stitch. It is “dropping” stitches. What can I do to prevent this?

A: First of all, we need to determine if this problem happens all the time, or just with certain fabrics. Let’s first assume that this problem has just become noticeable.

Have you changed your needle? Many people are not aware of this, but your needle should be changed OFTEN…preferably after every project. The basic rule of thumb is that a needle should be changed after every 30 minutes of RUNNING TIME, but to keep it simple, just change it after you are done sewing for the day! (Don’t worry, I could write an entire article on how to put your old needles to good use, so don’t throw them away, but please store them away from your regular needles so you do not use them again.

So, now that you have changed your needle, if you are still getting skipping or “dropped” stitches, please check the following:

  • Proper needle for the fabric: Knit fabrics require a STRETCH needle. This needle has special qualities that improve performance on knit fabrics, which can be a bit tricky to sew with as they will resist the needle penetration and action more than a WOVEN fabric.
  • Needle should be inserted properly: Rule of thumb, if the bobbin is in the front of the machine, the flat side of the needle is inserted toward the back. If the bobbin is on the left side of the machine, the flat side of the needle is inserted toward the right. (There are exceptions to this rule, so please consult your instruction manual about proper needle insertion)
  • Needle should be inserted all the way in: This sounds a little too simple, but you would be amazed at how many times the needle is not inserted all the way up into the machine. It only takes one millimeter of error to make a difference, especially in a precise, high performance sewing machine.
  • Are you using the correct thread? This is a very common mistake that I see. Many of our customers mistakenly use HAND QUILTING THREAD in the sewing machine. This will cause a lot of problems, but most prevalent are looping and skipped stitches. Check your label and make sure that your thread is of good quality and for machine use.

Most likely one of these points will solve your problem. If you are still having problems, it might be time to bring your machine in for some adjustments.

Just SEW You Know…
written by AmySmith