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Sewing Machine is Breaking or Bending Needles

Having a needle break or bend right in the middle of a sewing project can be very frustrating. Knowing how to troubleshoot the cause and make the repair would get you back to work. This is a guide about sewing machine is breaking or bending needles.

closeup of sewing machine foot and needle
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April 9, 2012 Flag
5 found this helpful
  • Clean and oil the machine per manufacturer directions and make sure throat plate is properly aligned.
  • If you use pins to hold your fabric, pull the pins before the fabric goes under the foot. Pins are the number one cause of needle breakage.
  • Buy a better grade needle.
  • If all else fails, take it in and have the timing checked.

By Anne from Glen Mills, PA

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April 17, 20120 found this helpful

I've seen many students break and bend needles by using the wrong size for the fabric they are trying to sew, and by trying to pull the fabric through as the needle is moving through the fabric.

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August 11, 2011 Flag
4 found this helpful

If your sewing machine has begun to bend or break needles there are several possible causes. The following list will help provide some ideas for troubleshooting the problem with your machine.

  1. The needle is improperly inserted.
  2. The needle is bent or blunt.
  3. The needle clamp screw is loose.
  4. The needle thread tension is too tight.
  5. The bobbin cartridge is in upside down.
  6. The user is pulling too tightly on the fabric while sewing.
  7. The needle is too fine for the fabric being sewn.

If after checking these possibilities and making the appropriate corrections as needed, your sewing machine continues to break or bend the needle, it may be time to take it in for repairs.

August 21, 20120 found this helpful

You should also check for thread & lint balls under the plate.

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March 25, 2015 Flag
0 found this helpful

A piece of broken needle is stuck in my antique sewing machine. I tried everything, Blaster penetration, pushing with a needle, pushing with a fine screw, and nothing works.
Please advise if you have experienced this.

By Chabeyline

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March 26, 20150 found this helpful

There should be a screw type tightener. If you can't loosen it with your hands, sometimes a screwdriver or a quarter held with a plyers are needed. Either way, you should be able to get it out. If it's in the plate on the bottom, that comes off with smaller screw drivers. I hope this helps.

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March 29, 20150 found this helpful

Sandi is on the right track with her suggestion. But as a sewing teacher/repair tech with considerable experience on antique machines, let me suggest two more things:

One: using the smallest pair of needle nose pliers you can find, grasp the needle bit with the pliers in one hand, spray WD-40 or similar up into the area with the stuck needle, and twist back and forth with the pliers at the same time. Try this three or four times.

(It sounds as though some grit is caught between the needle bit and the bar, holding the needle bit in there as though welded together. It could be a 'burr' too - something that can happen if the needle or bar area is beginning to rust. You won't see the rust but the minute projections can cause a burr or penetration to the needle or bar that will cause the needle bit to 'become one' with the bar)

If One doesn't work, it's time for Two: take your lovely lady to a repair tech who specialises in functional antique machines. Believe me there is a niche group of repair techs who only repair vintage-vintage (treadle and hand crank machines that aren't 100yo yet) and antique (genuinely over 100yo) machines. These techs have the tools and resources for parts that the average home antique machine users will not.

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August 31, 20160 found this helpful

Use a strong magnet to catch the small piece!

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April 9, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

I have a broken sewing machine question. I have a pretty old Janome sewing machine that was recently handed down to me from my mother. It's a beautiful old thing and I had it serviced and the repairman said to hang on to it because it's an excellent machine.

Well I fear I have ruined this excellent machine. I'm a beginner at sewing. I was making a purse with wadding inside it and trying to sew up the edges (4 pieces of fabric and two thicknesses of wadding).

I recently discovered the fancy settings on it that let me do beautiful zigs and zags and interesting combinations of stitches. I chose a setting that was lots of small stitches together, then about every 5th stitch a bit mountain/zig zag. I got about 2cm up the side of the purse and obviously it was too thick for the machine/needle/thread/tension (???I have no idea) and the needle bent. I removed the needle and replaced it, but now it keeps unthreading when I sew and is making a not so nice noise.

I just spent $200 getting it repaired and serviced. Is there any way I can fix this myself? or should I just take it straight back to the repair shop? I know that the repairman did a good job of fixing it last time and am pretty sure this is just my incompetence on the sewing machine that has caused the problem. Needless to say I'm devastated, as I have just discovered sewing and spend most nights doing just that, sewing! What an incredible craft it is.

Any thoughts or suggestions are very, very welcome.

By Fiona from Sydney, Australia

April 10, 20110 found this helpful

Since you sound like you are a beginner sewer it might be to your benefit to take your machine and go take a class. It will teach you about the stitches and thicknesses you should and should not use with your machine. The repairman you used might even take the time to sit down and give you a few lessons. Have fun with your heritage from your mother.

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April 10, 20110 found this helpful

Ok, thanks for your feedback and thoughts. I think a lesson is an excellent idea. MCW your comment about the timing resonated. I since used my machine and it now is stitching straight stitches, but none of the 'fancy' settings work. I'll take it back to the repairman. : )

Thank you very much.

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April 12, 20110 found this helpful

I am with MCW, you probably threw off the timing, just make absolutely sure you have it threaded properly and that there is no part of a broken needle in your bobbin case. I used to work at a Singer's store and so many times when people complained, it was something very simple like threading the machine correctly.

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April 12, 20110 found this helpful

Even experienced sewers throw their timing off and bend needles. Some of us frequently. It does sound like the timing is off. That is fixable by a knowledgeable repairman.

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December 5, 20140 found this helpful

You have a good machine, but it is a dressmaker not an industrial machine. You may have a bent shaft, timing out of wack and so so many other possibilities. If you are a beginner or not unless you know what you're doing, the worst thing any one can do...

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October 17, 2005 Flag
0 found this helpful

My sewing machine needs adjustment but I don't know how and I can't afford to take it to a repair shop. The needle keeps hitting and breaking or bending really bad on the feed dog. Does anyone know how and what to adjust so the needle is in time with the feed plate. (The little teeth like things that help pull the material under the needle). Thanks to anyone who can help with this.

Brenda from Somerville, AL

October 18, 20050 found this helpful

Oh and..

is it a zigzag machine? Did you doublecheck to see that needle position is set properly for the stitch you are doing?

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October 19, 20050 found this helpful

Memere are you from louisiana???

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January 6, 20070 found this helpful


The feed dogs on your machine maybe have come loose I see this alot. Check the screws in them.

If not the needle bar or feed dogs one have jumped time not that big of a deal oh by the way I also live in Somerville Al

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January 7, 20070 found this helpful

Thank you James. I will be sure to do what you suggested. I put my sewing machine away and have not used it since I posted the first time. I tried all the suggestions from others but none of them worked. By the way, you can contact me at brenest(at)aol(dot)com (replace (at) with @ and (dot) with . ) I can explain this a little better in email. Thanks again, Brenda

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February 29, 20120 found this helpful

Please remember, all sewing machines need a good maintenance check up. The more computerized the more specialized the repair person.

I had been having an issue with my 25 year old machine and finally treated it massively. I had been doing my proper...

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May 8, 2014 Flag
0 found this helpful

I have a Super Flairmatic 190B sewing machine. It has been working great then all of a sudden the needles keep breaking when I put it in reverse. I think the needles I have now are cheap, but it was doing it before I bought them.

sewing machine

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