Basic Needle Troubleshooting

Proper needle orientation is essential to producing a proper stitch. Two common causes of difficulty are needles that are either inserted backwards or improperly oriented. A damaged needle can also cause thread breaks, make sure your needles don't have burrs or are twisted.  When in doubt, try a replacement needle.

  1. Replace the Needle 
  2. Verify Correct Needle Installation and Orientation (below)

When diagnosing a thread break:

Full Needle Installation:

Verify that the needle is fully installed and that the Needle-Butt is bottomed out against the Needle Bar.



Needle Angle Out of Range

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Ideally, the eye of the needle should be 5° to the right of center when sewing. There is an acceptable range of 0°-20° to the right, but 5° is the absolute ideal. The chance of thread breaks increases if the needle orientation is outside of the acceptable range.  The Needle Orientation Magnet is a great tool to get a correct Needle Eye Orientation.

As a visual reference, think of a minute on a clock face as being approximately 5°

Any amount of orientation to the left is incorrect. Adjust the needle just enough to the right to know it’s no longer oriented to the left.  Be careful to not adjust it too far to the right.

Needle in Backwards


Embroidery needles have a front and a back side. If you install the needle in backwards, you will most likely encounter thread breaks within the first few stitches after starting a design.

The front of the needle has a long groove (thread channel), while the back has an indented notch (scarf) just above the eye of the needle.

Reorient the needle to have the thread guide to the front, the scarf to the back, and the eye of the needle to be 5° to the right. For more help, see Changing a Needle.

Damaged Needle

Standard needles last approximately 4 to 6 solid sewing hours. After this time they begin to wear out. Burs may form on the needle or they become dull and cause thread breaks. If damaged, replace the needle.



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