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Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/


Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« on: March 04, 2017, 17:40:40 PM »
Sewing machine doctors, I need your help! My  :sew: is sick  :'( (we need an 'ill' emoticon!)

The other night I started sewing a jersey t-shirt, started with new stretch needle, threaded from scratch etc.  All going well.  The following evening my sewing machine started skipping stitches and was making an odd noise, kind of like it was hitting pins but there were no pins in my fabric.  Then the thread kept snapping... I rethreaded it time and time again but still skipping stitches and snapping thread. 

I ploughed on as I was going to overlock everything anyway, but then there was a loud crack and the needle snapped into 3 pieces, one hit me in the face.  Thankfully not my eye!  The stitch selector knob seemed to have been pushed out, too.  After that I changed the needle (obviously!) and started with some scrap fabric, but it kept skipping. 

Also I had a funny feeling the feed dogs were not pulling through at one point too but couldn't tell if was because of the stretchy fabric?  Is that normal?

I've taken the plate off and given it a bit of a dust (wasn't too manky but I have never cleaned in there and I've had this machine for 18 months) and it seems to be behaving better, but still the occasional skipped stitch.

Anyone got any ideas?  It's a Janome SMD 6125QC.  I've never had it serviced but it's not that heavily used.  The only thing that I can think of is that the  :meow: :meow: may have banged into it as they like to sit on the table next to it, and usually I put it away at the end of the day but this time I didn't.  It's in the same room as the washing machine (long story) so also lots of vibrations.  Ugh.  I don't want to have to get it fixed, I have such a huge backlog already!

Thanks for any insights/ advice!!


Re: Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2017, 18:55:13 PM »
Here's what I'd do
- unthread top
- remove spool
Switch off machine, wait, turn on again.
Check the settings for stitch and size and needle position.
Get the instruction manual out and check how to clean spool area (brushout with unused paintbrush), oil if necessary.
Spool - check using only one colour/type of thread on spool and that it is evenly wound
Check spool is inserted correct way in spool holder
(I presume you are using the same thread top and bottom?)

Ballpoint needle - check inserted correctly

Manually turn the hand wheel and see if the needle is entering the throat area at the mid point. Is there an alignment problem?

Tension discs - I would carefully run a piece of dental floss between the discs or brush them through with a clean paintbrush (I have a machine cleaning paintbrush!)

Get the manual out again and double check you are threading it up correctly - how do I know this? - because I had a Janome and one of the hooks for thread was not too obvious.

Another tip from the TNT brigade, don't use cheap thread. (Or cheap needles IMHO)

Hope that helps.

I'd like to think I was inspired, but maybe sewing is just hard wired


Re: Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2017, 21:09:01 PM »
Thank you Swisslass!! That's an excellent list of suggestions.

I am using the same thread top and bottom, and it may possibly by cheap thread - it came free with my sewing machine :/ The needle is a Klasse I think?

I will get the manual out tomorrow and go through each of those points. Fingers crossed!!

Thanks again :flower:


Re: Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2017, 23:45:17 PM »
Swisslass has given a comprehensive list of machine tweaks to try. From a different angle, it could be something to do with the fabric, perhaps. I had a terrible time a year or so ago trying to sew polyester ponte on my Janome machine. There were thumps and bangs coming from the machine when I tried to sew anything other than the stretch stitch (lightening flash symbol). I ended up sewing the whole thing on the overlocker.

Are you sewing polyester jersey?

Holly Berry

Re: Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2017, 00:17:04 AM »
Does your fit into a spool case before inserting into the spool race or does it fit straight into the machine? If it fits into a spool case, check there isn't a small bit of thread in the tension slot.

The same thing was happening with a friends machine and she asked me to look at it. I rethreaded, changed the needle, thread, cleaned it etc and nothing made a difference. I then noticed a small thread in the spoolcase, which wasn't the thread she had used, she bought the machine second hand so goodness knows how long it was in there. I had to undo the tension screw to get it out, but it was preventing the bobbin from turning correctly, which in turn was pulling the upper thread too tightly and pulling the needle. If you have to unscrew the tension screw try and mark it in some way in order to tighten to the exact place again.
Procrastination get behind me


Re: Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2017, 18:22:12 PM »
I had a similar thing happen the other day - the material got pushed too hard into the stitch hole (I think I was using too large a needle) - I was playing with stitching on some old fabric.   The needle must have then bent, then hit the needle plate and shattered into three bits.....and finally dropped out!  i found one part of the needle stuck under the feed dogs!

I too use the long bristled decorators paint brush! brilliant!

So, in essence, what I learnt about all the kerfuffle was, use correct needle for fabric, even if you are just playing, make sure the needle is screwed in properly (they can shake loose), Use a decent quality needle, decent thread and check the  needle plate for burrs and even check the that the needle eye is smooth!  Ive also found a small thread in the bobbin case....

Still, the one thing about sewing machines is the they try to test our patience, some more than others!
Vintage machine lover, Singer 201K, 99K, 401G, Singer 780 Touch and Sew, Brother Innovis 700 embroidery machine, cheap and cheerful and sews like a dream!- New addition of Juki TL-98p... another bargain which I am delighted with!


Re: Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2017, 19:28:47 PM »
Thanks so much everyone for all the replies!! I confess I have not attempted to look at my machine today, as I have the dreaded lurgy (a cold). I am the world's worst sick person. I've been lounging on the sofa all day eating biscuits. Hopefully that will cure my fever (haha yeah right) and tomorrow I will be able to summon the energy to figure out what's going on!


Re: Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2017, 11:07:55 AM »
Hope the dreaded lurgy is better!  Lots of hot  :drink: and  :cake: or  :toast:!!!

I first used needles purchased from Hobbycraft which my machine didn't like at all - they kept breaking too - they were Klasse, I think.  I was sent a packet of Schmetz when I signed up to the Barnyarns newsletter, they are lovely needles!  Barnyarns have a lot of info about needles and I will now never use any other than Schmetz. 

The other problem I had was bobbins!   My machine which I am using  is a  :vintage: Singer 201 and the plastic bobbins I purchased were a disaster.  It was only when I found some metal ones that my  :vintage: worked happily!  I don't know if that might be a problem with your machine? 

Hope your machine starts to behave like an  :angel: again!!!

'You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.'
Robert Louis Stevenson


Re: Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2017, 14:11:44 PM »
Janome only do one type of bobbin. Make sure you are using the correct one. Metal and plastic aren't necessarily interchangeable.  If you have a top loading machine then plastic ones must be used or you can damage the bobbin case.
I am wondering why if you have an overlocker you are sewing it on the sewing machine? :)


Re: Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2017, 11:51:48 AM »
Good morning all!

I am marginally healthier (though with lovely red nose) and have gone through the checklists above to see what is afflicting my machine. 

I also went through the cleaning instructions in the manual, and found more little pockets of dust!  All now cleaned out.  I've tried a straight stitch on some cotton, and so far it seems ok.  I have only got the Klasse stretch needles, I don't have any Schmetz, but have just ordered some from Barnyarns along with some better quality thread.  Once those arrive I'll test it on the stretch fabric.

TBH I don't know what the fabric is, it's quite slinky jersey, medium weight.  Was just labeled "poly jersey".  Picked it up in a remnant bin.  It has been a bit of a :devil: to sew with.  Hence using the sewing machine to baste and then the overlocker to actually sew!  It curls up at the edges like nobodys business.  Many thunks and thuds as I've been sewing it, though much less with the lightning stitch. 

Also I have no idea what type of bobbin I'm using :o My machine came with clear plastic ones, and I had a good handful of those leftover from my previous (Brother) machine.  I had assumed they were interchangable... Hopefully the plastic ones are?

Thank you all for your kind and wise replies - if nothing I have learned that I do need to clean out my machine every now and then!!  Will report back once I have new thread and needles :)


Re: Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2017, 13:44:41 PM »
Glad to hear you are 'on the mend'
I bought Pfaff bobbins from ebay... didn't try them then discovered a couple of months later they weren't genuine and didn't work... made the machine clunk and jump stitches.. now only buy from genuine suppliers ..more expensive but they work
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 19:56:41 PM by Vegegrow »
"The only place where housework comes before needlework is in the dictionary." ~Mary Kurtz

Holly Berry

Re: Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2017, 18:16:01 PM »
Is your overlocker a 3 thread or 4 thread. If it's 4 you're using, only thread as a 3 thread. Somebody gave me this tip when I was sewing some beautiful John Kaldor fabric. It was a real pig to sew on a sewing machine, wouldn't cut on the overlocker and the edges curling and stitches skipping. I tried everything and was about to bin it and tried 3 thread, ie 2 loopers and 1 needle. It overlocked beautifully. I then sewed a seam on the sewing machine along side the overlock stitches as added security but didn't really need to.
Procrastination get behind me


Re: Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2017, 10:02:42 AM »
It's a 4 thread Holly Berry, that's great advice, thank you!!  I will definitely try that!!


Re: Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2017, 12:49:30 PM »
Bobbins really aren't interchangeable. And actually they can be different from the same machine brand (e.g Toyota has two types).

Also for needles/threads I only use Schmetz/Gütermann and wouldn't think of anything else. I sewed up something with some cheap supermarket black thread the other day and immediately noticed the difference in quality.


Re: Broke a needle, skipping stitches :/
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2017, 16:23:05 PM »
Bobbins really aren't interchangeable.

You are so right.  My Husqvarna takes L style plastic bobbins.  Most of the bpbbins I have are Husqvarna brand but a few weeks ago I bought a pack of these
as an add on to get free delivery.  They say for Husqvarna and Pfaff, but where the Husqvarna logo is on all the others these have a "D".  They feel very slightly different and they cause no end of bother with skipped stitches etc.

Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.