Why Does My Sewing Machine Needle Keep Breaking? 14 Causes & Easy Fixes

Sewing Machine Needle Keeps Breaking

Why Does My Sewing Machine Needle Keep Breaking? Follow these easy troubleshooting solutions to find out why your needle keeps breaking and how to fix the problem. 

There is nothing more frustrating than sewing a project and having to stop because the sewing machine needle broke.

Not only do you need to then replace the needle on your machine but you have to solve the problem so that it doesn’t happen again! Even more frustration is that your needle can break for a number of reasons and it is not just a one quick fix answer. 

This post is here to help you work out why your sewing machine needle broke and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again!

Why Sewing Machine Needles Break

Why Does My Sewing Machine Needle Keep Breaking? Here are the top 14 problems that can break your sewing machine needle:

  • Sewing over pins
  • Sewing machine is not threaded correctly
  • Spool cap missing or not on properly
  • The Bobbin is not threaded or placed properly
  • The Bobbin is not the right size
  • Loose thread, lint or fluff in any part of the machine ( especially the bobbin)
  • Tension on the machine is not set correctly
  • The needle is not suitable for the sewing project or fabric
  • The needle is not correctly put into the machine or secure
  • The needle is not in the correct position
  • The needle is bent, damaged or blunt
  • You are pulling the fabric as you sew
  • Incorrect thread type
  • Incorrect foot attachment being used

Keep reading to find out how to work out which issue has caused your needle to break and how you can easily fix the problem. 

Sewing Over Pins

This is a habit many of us do as it saves time and effort. However, it is a big risk to sew over pins as it is impossible to judge if your needle will hit a pin while you are sewing. Not only may your needle break but there is the possibility of cause a lot more ( and costly) damage to your machine. 

Take the time to remove the pins as you go. It will save time in the long run as having to replace your needle would take much longer. 

Sewing Machine Is Not Threaded Correctly

This tends to be one of the main causes of needles breaking and an easy problem to fix. If you machine is not threaded properly it can easily cause tangles and knots to appear which can quickly break a needle and cause other problems with your sewing machine. 

When a needle breaks it is a great idea to rethread your machine, taking the time to make sure you have done it correctly as per your machines manual. 

Here is a quick video that can help you make sure you have threaded your machine properly. 


Spool Cap Missing Or Not On Properly

Not sure what a spool cap is? A spool cap is a small stopper that is place on the top of your spool to stop it moving around while the machine is working. If you need one of your machine and it is missing then the spool can move around too much, causing issues with tension and threading. 

Check if your machine needs a spool cap in the instruction manual. They are cheap and easy to order online if yours is missing. Find spool caps here

The Bobbin Is Not Threaded Or Placed Properly

Sewing machine troubleshooting broken needle

If you are seeing a big tangle of thread in the bobbin area then you may not have it in the right spot or threaded it correctly. This can easily cause a lot of tension on the thread, breaking your needle.

Check with your manual and reposition and thread the bobbin. 

If the thread keeps tangling even after you have checked that the bobbin is in the correctly position and threaded right then the next suggestion could be the problem. 

The Bobbin Is Not The Right Size

Not all bobbins can fit into every machine correctly ( even though it may seem to fit into place okay). Check that the bobbin you are using is compatible with your sewing machine.

If the bobbin does not run smoothly then thread will quickly get tangled and this can easily break your needle. 

Loose Thread, Lint Or Fluff In Any Part Of The Machine (especially the bobbin)

It is easy for sewing machines to get dusty for small obstructions to occur ( which can cause big problems like needles breaking).

Quickly check areas for loose thread and lint with the bobbin area being a usual spot for these to collect.

It is also a good idea to develop a habit of regularly cleaning your sewing machine, especially if you use it often. 

Here is a great video to show you how to clean your machine yourself. 


Tension On The Machine Is Not Set Correctly

If the tension on your machine is set too high it will quickly break your needle. 

Problems can also happen if there is a difference between the upper thread tension and the tension in the bobbin. 

While the tension is not something that we suggest altering too much, if you notice that your thread is too tight and your needle keeps breaking then loosen the tension slightly using your machines settings. 

Here is a quick tutorial to help if you think tension may be an issue.


The Needle Is Not Suitable For The Sewing Project Or Fabric

Not all needles are the same. What you use for fabrics like knits is not the same as you will need for heavier fabrics like denim. As a general rule of thumb the higher the needle number is the thicker the fabric it is meant for. 

Needles also have different points for certain projects with regular, ball-point and wedge point being some examples. There are also special needles for quilting and embroidery. 

Confused about what sewing machine needle to use? Check out this handy Sewing Machine Needle Guide for more help HERE

The Needle Is Not In The Correct Position

It can be easy to forget to change settings between stitches or projects. Luckily this is a super easy problem to fix.

If you slowly turn the handwheel ( also called the balance wheel) and check if the needle is hitting any part of the foot or plate. If it is, even slightly, then you may need to adjust your settings such as stitch width.

This can be an issue of you are changing between stitches such as zig-zag and straight and forget to alter a setting.

The Needle Is Not Correctly Put Into The Machine Or Secure

Every machine is slightly unique and this is the same when it comes to putting your needle into place. Be sure to check your owners manual to make sure the needle is in the right spot and that it is also tightly in place. A slight misalignment can create all sorts of problems when you try to sew. 

If you can’t stand to read your owners manual then jump only and check to see if there is a YouTube clip guide for the sewing machine you use. It can be so much easier to follow a video tutorial sometimes. 

As a very basic guide, the flatter side of the needle should be facing towards the back of your machine and there is usually a small screw ( or clamp) to the side of the needle. Make sure this is always tight. It is easy for this to loosen off over time so it’s great to get into the habit of checking it before you start sewing. 

The Needle Is Bent, Damaged Or Blunt

Sewing Machine Needle

Even if you take care of your machine it is easy for needles to become damaged or blunt over time. Make sure you always have a few spare needles on hand and take the time to check your needle for damage before you start a project. 

You Are Pulling The Fabric As You Sew

It can be tempting to pull the fabric as you sew. This however won’t help your machine to sew quicker, instead it can cause all types of issues from the stitch jumping to your needle breaking.

The trick is to just guide the fabric while your machine sews and let the feed dogs ( the small metal teeth that come up from the sewing machine plate) pull the fabric through at the correct pace.  

Incorrect Thread Type

Just as there are certain needle types for certain projects, there are particular threads that are best for fabrics and sewing projects. 

If you are sewing heavy duty fabrics then you will need to make sure your thread is also heavy duty. Not only is thread weight something to consider but also what the thread is made of. 

Find out more with this handy thread guide HERE.

Incorrect Foot Attachment Being Used

When you are sewing it is important that all parts of your machine are set perfectly for the project and fabric. We have already mentioned the needle and the thread but the presser foot you are using also plays a part. 

Make sure that you are using the right attachment for the job at hand ( this will also make sewing so much easier!). We have all made the mistake of not changing the foot attachment from a previous project so don’t feel bad if this is the problem. 


How To Replace A Sewing Machine Needle

Now you have worked out what was causing your needle to break here is how to replace the needle on a sewing machine! It may seem daunting if you are new to sewing but it is honestly very simple.

This video is a great place to start if you need to know about replacing a sewing machine needle. Be sure to check your instruction manual too as all machines are different. 



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