Sewing Machine Thread Keeps Breaking At Needle? Top Tips To Keep Your Upper Thread from Breaking

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Last Updated on 24 September, 2021 by

Why Does My Sewing Machine Keep Breaking At The Needle?

Novice sewers or advanced sewers have all encountered the annoying problem of thread breakage at the needle at some point. 

Broken thread can be annoying and mess up the flow of your wonderful stitch as well as make messy stitches on your fabric, it is often caused by bad tension, poor quality thread, a damaged needle, bad bobbin or even a damaged throat plate.

We have listed the most common causes down below and how to solve them to help you troubleshoot your machine and find a quick fix.

Common Reasons Why Your Sewing Machine Thread Keeps Breaking At The Needle

Thread issues are common in sewing machines, and breakage at the needle can be caused by numerous reasons, it's important to always make sure you are maintaining your machine to help reduce the likelihood of the thread issues occurring.

We have listed these down below to help find a solution for your machine.

Poor Quality Of Thread 

One of the first and most common reasons as to why your thread keeps snapping is the thread choice. Threads that have different weights are meant for different fabrics and lower quality thinner thread will be more likely to snap in the machine, these are often found in bulk packages. 

You should be using thicker sewing thread types for thicker material and a finer thread density on thinner material at a lower tension. 

Incorrect Threading 

Your sewing machine might not be threaded correctly either, some machines have different upper thread mechanisms so it can be confusing, to thread your machine correctly you should first unthread the machine, make sure the take-up lever is raised then attach your spool of thread. 

After doing this pull the thread through the tension disc and the thread guides and then through the eye of the needle leave at least 4-inches spare as a tail.

Check The Needle Plate 

If the needle on your machine is colliding with the needle plate then it might be causing your thread to snap at the needle plate. It can also potentially break your needle and cause damage to the machine, so using a handwheel will give you more control to prevent this as well as repositioning the plate.

Too Tight Thread Tension 

Very tight upper thread tension can cause uneven tension to snap your thread at the needle, turning your tension dial counter clockwise can loosen this. Make sure your tension is set right according to the fabric you are sewing or the thread that you are using. 

You should also make sure you have the correct tension balance for the bobbin thread tension too, but try not to mess with this part too much. 

Damaged Needle 

A bent or broken needle on your machine can cause thread snags or breakage, this is why you should always be changing your needle after eight hours of use or checking the condition regularly. Make sure you are using the right needle for the material that you are sewing and the machine itself.

Bad Bobbin Issues 

There are several bobbin issues that could be causing thread breakage during sewing projects. 

Placing your bobbin in the wrong position on your machine can cause stitch breakage, depending on your machine, the bobbin will either unwind clockwise or anti-clockwise, you should make sure the correct bobbin you use is the right size for your machine too. 

Another bobbin issue that can cause thread break is if it is wound incorrectly and can simply be solved by rewinding the bobbin to make it even.

Check The Spool

Ensure your using the correct spool cap and spool and make sure that it is unwinding the right way, make sure this is installed correctly and not too small, otherwise, it can cause thread break. 

While you are around the spool, make sure the correct needle is in the right position too, the flat side of the needle should face towards the back of the machine when inserted for guidance. 

The Fabric Is Too Heavy

Lastly, after checking your sewing machine needles, bobbin, tension and machine set-up, it could be down to the fabric that you are trying to sew.

Too heavy fabric according to the thread that you are using can cause it to snap by the needle, to fix this issue either change the needle and thread to match your fabric or use a thinner fabric to stop the breakage and snags. 

How To Choose The Right Thread For Your Sewing

In our troubleshooting guide, we covered how a choice of poor quality thread or the wrong thread can impact your sewing and even cause the thread to snap. 

When choosing the thread for your sewing project you should always make sure you consider the fabric type, type of stitch you will be making, the machine you are using and the thread size. 

Never use a thread lower than a size of 20 on your machine as it will likely snap due to it being too fine and match the size to your work, for example, if you are sewing an embroidery pattern a finer silk thread might be more stylish.

FAQs About Sewing Machines Thread Breaking At Needle

Can my throat plate cause a broken thread? 

Yes, a throat plate that has nicks from previous needle breakage can cause tension issues as well as thread breakage problems, this can be solved by just replacing the throat plate entirely.

Does cheap thread break often? 

Cheap thread will indeed be more likely to snap as it is often finer and not as weighted, using the correct thread is important for the best stitch and your machine performance, so the thread is often worth the higher price if you want the best finish.

Can bobbin lint build-up cause thread breakage? 

Yes a blocked bobbin can cause a thread breakage as it can disturb the hook timing of the machine which can cause the thread to snap.

It is important to always clean around areas such as the bobbin during maintenance with a rag and compressed air to force small pieces of cotton out from the case.  

Final Words 

Overall, if your sewing machine's thread keeps breaking at the needle then it is likely down to the thread you are using, the tension or how you have threaded the machine. With our troubleshooting guide above you can find some fast quick-fix solutions that should get your machine back to stitching how it should be in no time.

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Mum, Wife and Blogger at, having excelled at textile arts in school, I soon thereafter embarked my journey as an assistant to a Fashion Designer. This fueled my passion for making clothes and soon lead me to creating Top Sewing Machines. A site where I talk sewing machines, overlockers along with tips and tricks and buyers guides.
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