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Why Is My Sewing Machine Skipping Zigzag Stitches? Find Out Here!

Sewing is about more than just cutting fabric and stitching it together. With a sewing machine, you can create all kinds of things, from clothing to accessories to handbags to home décor.

But sewing machines often have small faults that can make the job difficult, frustrating, and sometimes impossible.

As you sew, you may notice that your machine is skipping a zigzag stitch. This happens when the needle is too close to a straight stitch to properly pull the thread through.

It’s a simple fix, but a few tips can help prevent problems. If your sewing machine is skipping the zigzag stitch, you can double-check the tension of your needle by using a sewing pin to pierce the needle. If the needle does not pierce, check your sewing machine’s tension.

With your sewing machine, it is possible to adjust the zigzag stitch width. If you find that the zigzag stitches are wider than you would like, you can adjust the width of the zigzag stitches.

If this is the case, you may want to consider using a zigzag stitch width of 1.5 mm or a zigzag stitch width of 2.5 mm.

How Zigzag stiches work?

Zigzag stitches can be made by sewing on a straight stitch foot and holding the needle at a 45-degree angle while you sew.

Zigzag stitch places two or more rows of thread in a straight line. It is used in a variety of sewing techniques, including running stitch, buttonhole and button sewing, and double and triple-layer sewing.

Zigzag stitches are good for decorative finishes. To create the zigzag stitches, make sure the machine is set to the widest stitch width. Then, slowly move the needle up and down to create the zigzag pattern.

At first glance, it seems like the zigzag stitch is the easiest stitch to use in sewing machines. This stitch requires more pressure than other stitches, so it can easily catch flimsy fabrics, and it is more prone to catching fabric in the zigzag feed or on the thread guide.

If you are sewing on an even-weave fabric, like linen or cotton, you can prevent the fabric from catching on the feed and thread guide by placing a piece of masking tape or soft fabric on the back of the fabric before you sew to prevent the fabric from slipping off the feed guide.

Reasons for skipped stitches

The most typical reason for a skipped zigzag is that the bobbin thread is not wound onto the top of the bobbin thread guide.

Here’s the other reason why the sewing machine is skipping stitches:

  • The stitch length is too short.
  • The stitch width is too narrow.
  • Need more pins.
  • Need to rest a few seconds after every 10 stitches.
  • Poor sewing machine usage.
  • Threading Issues.
  • Incorrect placement of the needle.
  • Too much pressure on the machine.
  • The wrong type of fabric being used.

What to do when you have a skipped stitch

Your sewing machine may be skipping zigzag stitches (also known as “zigzag skips”), but you can fix it. Zigzag stitches are an indispensable part of garment sewing, and skipping them can result in uneven and/or incorrect seams.

Sewing machines are simple machines, but they often times skip stitches or have other problems like running out of thread, so there are some easy ways to fix those problems.

Ways to fix them:

1. If a sewing machine is set to a zigzag stitch, it will always form two evenly spaced lines that run perpendicular to one another.

To fix this, simply adjust the stitch length with the needle’s small thumbwheel.

2. When skipping zigzag stitches, the fabric can be pulled off the feed dogs or the top thread may have been pulled off the bobbin.

To fix the machine, you will need to make sure the machine is correctly adjusted. If the fabric is not pulled off the feed dogs, then the thread did not come off the bobbin.

If the thread is not pulled off the bobbin, then the thread must be changed.

3. The needle of the sewing machine should be properly set to control the tension. Check the tension of the needle by pulling the thread through the eye of the needle with your fingers.

If the tension is too light, the thread might not move, and the needle might become distorted.

4. Sewing machines are supposed to work the same for everyone. Yet, they seem to have a mind of their own, skipping stitches when you least expect it.

This happens when the needle moves just a little too slowly. To fix this adjust the sewing machine tension.

5. To fix a sewing machine skipping zigzag stitches, first make sure your machine is cleaned and lubricated. If that doesn’t work we recommend taking it to a professional.

  • If that doesn’t work we recommend taking it to a professional. You need to look up your sewing machine identification number (imprinted on the bottom of the machine) and find out which model it is. After that, you will need to contact the manufacturer to get a replacement motor.

How to prevent sewing machine skipping stitches

If you know how to sew, then you know that there is a lot of frustration involved in trying to get a perfectly straight seam.

While some people blame it on tension settings and other factors, one common answer is to use a foot that has a heavier weight at the bottom, or at least a foot with a different tread.

While there are many reasons why sewing machines skip, the most common cause is skipped stitches at the top of the fabric.

No worries, below are ways to prevent this from happening.

1. Use correct needle

An easy way to prevent thread skipping is to start with the correct needle. This is particularly important for those who are new to sewing or who use a sewing machine for the first time.

If you start with the correct needle, it will prevent skipping stitches. The correct needle is the size that is marked on the needle plate that matches the type of needle that you are using. 

2. Adjust sewing machine tension

If you’ve ever had your machine skip a stitch, you know how frustrating it is to correct it. There are actually several factors that control the sewing machine tension that is being used, so you need to make sure it is adjusted correctly.

3. Inserted needles correctly

You read that right: the only way to prevent skipping stitches is to insert your needle correctly. This is important to understand because skipping stitches can create a weak seam on your clothing.

In fact, many sewing machine manuals suggest placing a ballpoint pen on the needle in order to keep the needle straight.

This can be a good idea if you are using a heavy-duty machine, but a ballpoint pen won’t prevent skipping stitches on a light-duty machine. 

Kirsten Carter

Kirsten Carter

Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she's not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.View Author posts

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