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Skipped Stitches! Part #1 June 21, 2023

Hello Stitching Community!

Wednesday is Understanding Your Creative Partner, YOUR SEWING MACHINE, Day!

In this email we will examine: SKIPPED STITCHES :

To understand SKIPPED STITCHES we need to have an understanding of a few items:

  • Hmmm, How does your machine form a stitch?
  • A number of reasons why skipped stitches happen?
  • How to stop to prevent skipped stitches from happening!
  • And probably more! Have you noticed how much there is to know about your machine?

Let's start with the photo that prompted this discussion!

If you zoom in on the photo you will see 2 rows of stitching.

  • The row on the right is a row I stitched.
  • The row to the left was what prompted the customer to bring in here machine. 
    • I was very excited that this new customer recognized a problem and brought the machine in!
    • I was also excited because I get to talk about how your machine forms a stitch!
  • When you examine the stitches on the right:
    • They are all the exact same length
    • There are no skipped stitches
  • When you examine the row to the left 
    • You will notice that the length of the stitches vary
    • And while the stitch length was the same setting as my row, 2.5, very few of the stitches are 2.5mm in length. 
    • Some are much shorter 
    • Then a skipped stitch.
    • Hmmmm what the ....

There are a few things going on here.

  • Skipped stitches
  • Varying length of stitches

Let's work to rule some things out.

First Skipped Stitches

My Rule out list. Things to look at:

  • Thread: (See old emails, 4/26/23)
    • Is the thread spooling off correctly
      • Is the spool supported?
      • Is there label goop on the spindle?
      • Are there any thread tangles?
  • Needle: (See email, 5/17/23)
    • Is the needle the correct type and size for your fabric?
    • Does the needle need to be changed?
    • Is the point dull?
    • Is the needle bent?
    • Is the needle in correctly? The flat side to the back is the most common on our home sewing machines.
  • Foot 
    • Are you using the correct foot for your fabric type?
    • Is fabric flagging happening?
  • Timing:
    • Everyone blames the timing.
    • Rarely an issue.
    • We will discuss what that means, probably next week!

Other issue, Varying Stitch Length

  • Let's go back to last week's email
  • Last week I talked about adjusting the pressure on the presser foot. If there isn't enough pressure on the presser foot your fabric won't move. So, your stitch lenth shortens.
  • Is this what's going on here? No, because the stitches are varying lengths.
  • We will look at how I would trouble shoot this.
  • But one thing at a time!

Let's look at how your machine forms a stitch!

To see how your machine forms a stitch, we have to look under the throat plate. 

Remove your throat plate. It may just pop off or you may have to remove some screws.


Then take out the bobbin and  bobbin case. 

 Let's locate the hook. Below you can see the hook. It has a thread loop caught over it

To form a stitch, the hook has to pass behind the needle at the exact time that the needle is in the down position and be close enough to the needle to "grab" the thread but not so close that it hits the needle. This is why it is sew important to have your needle in correctly. The back side of the needle has a "curved out area" called the scarf. This enables the hook to catch the thread.


Now that you have identified the hook, place your bobbin case and bobbin back in place.To form a stitch the hook "grabs" your needle thread. As the hook spins, the thread passes over the top of the bobbin case and bobbin "picking up" the bobbin thread. 

Your take up lever then pulls your thread back up into your machine. This causes a loop to form creating the lock stitch.

The hook rotates around and around to form all of those stitches you need to create an item!

Please note I teach all of this in my Get to Know Your Machine Series, which is now called, 

Help! I think my sewing machine hates me class!

Click Here to Go To the Class Calendar!

So there you have it! That is how a stitch is formed! That is probably enough information for today!

Next Week we will troubleshoot those skipped stitches!

Be Sew Knowledgeable!