When I made my last garment, I fiddled around with tension because my sewing machine needles kept breaking. Then I went and bought a different brand, thinking the brand I was using was cheap. But as I sewed, my needle would break. I tried a sharper needle. That didn't work either. Then it stopped. I think I was causing the breakage because I was pulling, not guiding the fabric.
Common causes for breaking needles:
1) needle too small for the fabric being sewn - try a sharper more durable needle (see my Needles for your Sewing Project post here. It includes a guide for needle size and recommended fabrics.)
2) thread jams caused by improper threading or poor seam starting
2 a) sometimes having the upper tension too tight will cause the needle to break or bend.
2 b) if the upper thread is caught on something this can cause the needle to break or bend too.
3) pushing or pulling the fabric under the presser foot (let the feed dogs do their work! You guide, it moves the fabric!)
4) needle not properly installed, usually not all the way up in the needle clamp or you don't have the flat edge at the back.
5) needle too big for the machine (needle length increases with needle size: -- if the needle is too large for the machine, it may hit something and break. Check your manual for the proper range of sizes your machine can use.
6) timing is off, so the needle hits something, usually the bobbin case.
Notes: In my experience, #2, 3 and 4 are the most common causes, with #3 being the most common I've seen from beginners.
Quick tips to look for when trying to fix this sewing machine error:
- Make sure the needle is going into the shaft/holder in the correct direction - usually with the flat side to the back of the machine.
- Check the machine to see if there is a needle placement selector (left, center, right). Set the position to center.
- Manually, turn the hand-wheel and watch to see if the needle is hitting the presser foot, needle plate, bobbin or bobbin case.
- If it is hitting the presser foot or needle plate, take the needle out an switch the position of the flat side and try again.
- If it is hitting the bobbin or case, reinstall them so they are properly in place.
- If the needle is clearing all and catching the bobbin thread and is still breaking, you do not have a large/strong enough needle for what you are sewing - choose a larger needle.
- When going over thick seams like jeans, the presser foot tips up in the front and this sometimes will cause a needle to break. Stop the machine when the foot tips. Lower the needle into the fabric. Lift the foot and place a rolled up scrap under the back of the foot. Lower the foot. The scrap will keep the foot even as you finish sewing across the seam.
|I have a post for Needles for your Sewing Project here.|