What Causes Skipped Stitches When Quilting

What Causes Skipped Stitches When Quilting?

It might be quite unpleasant to struggle with skipped stitches when free-motion quilting, but you’re not the only one. Although this is a fairly prevalent problem, there are solutions available. First of all, be aware that missing stitches might break your thread and detract from the overall appearance of your quilt.

Therefore, it’s critical to address this issue head-on. If this is limited to your independent movement quilting and not with your standard presser foot, there may be an easier fix than you may imagine. Moreover, start by checking the basics like your needle. A dull or wrong type of needle can often be the culprit. 

Furthermore, don’t forget to look at your quilting technique. Make sure you’re moving the fabric smoothly under the needle. Let’s find what causes skipped stitches when quilting in this article.

Stitches Skip Causes and Remedies:

For everybody who sews, getting smooth, precise stitches is their final goal. But sometimes there are obstacles in the road, such as skipped stitches, particularly when free motion quilting. Occasionally noticing a few threads missing is not abnormal. If you find yourself missing stitches, there may be a problem with your sewing method.

What causes skipped stitches?

A loop of thread is generated behind the needle and grabbed by the rotary hook to create a stitch. If something gets in the way of the needle doing this, the stitch will be missed. Here are several skipped stitches causes:

1-  Improper Threading:

One of the primary skipped stitches causes in free motion quilting is incorrect threading of the machine. The machine may occasionally miss a stitch if it isn’t set correctly. Switching your computer off and on again to start over or alter parameters if you suspect an issue may occasionally be necessary to ensure that it is threaded correctly.


  • Consult your machine’s manual for threading instructions.
  • Place the thread spool on the machine’s top spool pin.
  • Secure it with a plastic disk, if provided.
  • Follow the machine’s thread path, starting with the first thread guides.
  • Guide the thread down, wrapping it around the tension dials to ensure proper tension.
  • Pull the thread upwards, making sure it goes through any secondary thread guide.
  • Connect the bobbin thread with the top thread by drawing up the bobbin loop.

2- Using the Incorrect Needle:

Frequently, midsized needles for your cloth or thread might lead to skipped stitches. Missed stitches can result from a needle that is too big for the cloth, too big for the thread, or broken (such as crooked or blunt). Here’s how to ensure your needle is not the cause of skipped stitches:


  • Before you begin your sewing project, familiarize yourself with the fabric you plan to use.
  • When purchasing needles research which type is best suited for your fabric to prevent skipped stitches.
  • The needle size should complement the thread you’re using.
  • Replace it if any imperfections are found to ensure smooth sewing.
  • When installing the needle, make sure it is fully inserted into the machine and tightened securely to prevent any movement that could lead to skipped stitches.

3-    The Use of Wrong Thread:

What causes skipped stitches when quilting? Sometimes, it might be linked to the kind of link you’re using. Experiment with different thread colors or spools to check if the problem persists. Switching to a different spool that was bought at another time solved the issue, indicating the first thread had deteriorated.

Be advised that thread designed for piecing may not be appropriate for quilting, especially for beginners in free-motion quilting. Sometimes 100% cotton threads are too delicate and dense for the quick motions used in free-motion stitching.


  • Your thread should complement the needle size and be appropriate for your fabric.
  •  It shouldn’t be too thick or thin, ensuring it moves smoothly without causing issues.
  • Investing in high-quality thread minimizes lint buildup and contributes to producing clean, consistent stitches.
  • Always check that your thread is in good condition before starting your project.

4-    Pressure Foot Issue:

What causes skipped stitches? Skipped stitches can sometimes stem from issues with the pressure foot, particularly during free-motion quilting. Skipped stitches can occur due to fabric flapping. Depending on your machine, certain presser feet may not provide adequate surface area, leading to skipped stitches during motion-free quilting.


  • Increase the pressure on the presser foot to minimize this movement.
  •  Higher pressure helps stabilize the fabric, reducing the chances of skipped stitches.
  • The ideal measurements for presser foot pressure can vary based on your sewing machine model.
  • Some machines may perform best at a default setting of 50, while others may require a setting of 85.

Prevention Tips Of What Causes Skipped Stitches When Quilting:

  • Research and choose the appropriate needle and thread for your project, as different fabrics require specific combinations for optimal results.
  • Replace needles every 8 hours of sewing to prevent wear and ensure smooth stitching.
  • Schedule regular inspections and maintenance for your sewing machine to address any potential issues or breakdowns promptly.
  • Improper threading is a common cause of skipped stitches.
  •  Ensure the thread is correctly threaded, and if in doubt, rethread the machine to test for improvements.
  • Apply silicone spray to both thread and fabric to prevent skipped stitches. This spray can effectively eliminate issues related to stitch skipping.
  • Consult your sewing machine’s manual for guidance on various tasks, such as threading.
  • The manual provides valuable information specific to your machine model, helping to troubleshoot and resolve any issues effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions:

When quilting, the reason why did my sewing machine overlook stitches?

When quilting, a needle bar that is adjusted excessively or inadequately can trigger the sewing machine to miss stitches. If you haven’t made any adjustments, this problem may arise on its own if the needle strikes the tip plates or an area that is too tough to pierce.

Do you change your sewing machine’s tension during quilting?

Presser foot up to regulate tension; presser foot down to stitch. Proper tension yields consistent stitches on both sides of the quilt, as the thread twist centers within the batting.

Which kind of thread is best for quilting?

Expert quilters usually advise using entirely cotton floss for piecing and a 50wt (brand-specific) thread for quilting. To ensure that stitches are not too obvious after pressing, use a thread that provides a balance between durability and visibility.


What causes skipped stitches when quilting? Achieving uniform and flawless stitching leads to quilting requires determining and resolving the underlying reasons for missed stitches. Poor thread quality, using the wrong needles, incorrect threading, and pressure foot problems are common offenders. You may successfully repair and avoid missed threads in your quilting works according to the suggested remedies and preventive strategies, which include checking machine manuals, replacing needles often, and choosing premium threads. Remember that learning about your machine, selecting the appropriate supplies, and following up on maintenance procedures can all add up to a more successful and pleasurable sewing time producing dependably flawless stitches.

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