how to replace a sewing machine needle

How To Replace a Sewing Machine Needle

Are you noticing issues like skipped stitches, broken needles, or damage to the fabric when sewing? This likely signals that your sewing machine needle needs replacing. While it may seem tricky, switching out a worn needle for a fresh one is quick and straightforward when you know the steps.

Routinely changing your needle has significant benefits, too – it can solve many common sewing frustrations! Read on to learn why a new needle is essential, what you’ll need, and how to make the switch easily.

Why Fresh Needles Matter

Replacing your needle regularly maintains stitch quality and prevents sewing machine damage. Here are the critical reasons for the swap:

Stop Skipped Stitches

As needle tips wear down over time, they can cause the thread to skip stitches. This leaves seams with uneven, insecure-looking stitches. A new needle can beat skipped stitches.

No More Broken Needles

Sewing over thick layers or accidentally hitting pins dulls needles or bends them. Using a compromised needle after that dramatically raises the chance of it suddenly snapping while sewing.

Better Stitch Quality

Sharp needles smoothly glide through the fabric without dragging or distorting it. That results in neat, smooth stitches and prevents pulled threads or runs in knits.

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Avoid Breaking Needles

Repeatedly sewing over thick fabric areas or accidentally hitting pins can cause needles to bend or blunt. Continuing to sew with a compromised needle dramatically increases the chances of it suddenly snapping mid-seam.

Improve Stitch Quality

Improve Stitch Quality
Photo credit: freepik

A sharp needle easily glides through the fabric without dragging or distorting it. This results in smooth, even stitches and prevents pulled threads and knit fabric runs.

What You’ll Need to Change the Needle

Before you get started swapping needles, make sure you have the necessary supplies:

  • Replacement sewing machine needles – Choose the right type for your fabric
  •   Needle inserter or needle pliers
  •   Phillips head screwdriver
  •   Your machine’s manual for model-specific steps

A guide to replacing a needle in a sewing machine, step by step. A set of instructions that explains how to replace a sewing machine needle systematically.

Remove the Old Needle

  1. To gain access to the needle clamp, it is crucial to raise the needle to its maximum position by turning the handwheel towards you.
  2. Lower the presser foot to release tension and expose the needle area.
  3. Loosen the needle clamp screw using the screwdriver, but be cautious not to unscrew it entirely.
  4. Grip the old needle with needle pliers and slide it down and out of the clamp.

Insert the New Replacement Needle

  1. Double-check that your new sewing machine needle matches your sewing fabric. Using the wrong needle can damage the fabric or result in skipped stitches.
  2.   With the flat side of the needle away from you, please insert the new needle up as far as it will go. The flat side should be oriented towards the back.
  3.   Secure the needle by tightening the needle clamp screw with the screwdriver. Stay under-tightened.

Double Check Proper Needle Alignment

  1. Turn the handwheel toward you to lower and raise the needle again. Make sure it moves smoothly without rubbing against the needle plate.
  2.   Watch that the needle enters the needle plate hole precisely in the center. If not, gently loosen the screw and adjust the needle’s position before re-tightening the clamp.


How often should you change your sewing machine needle?

Changing your needle after every 2-4 sewing projects or around every 4-6 hours of sewing time is recommended.

What size/type of needle should you use?

Consult your machine manual or sewing project instructions to determine the best needle size and type for your fabric. Using the correct needle can protect your project.

What is the proper needle orientation?

The flat side of the shank should face toward the back of your machine. The needle scarf opening should face forward.

Why does my needle keep breaking?

Frequent needle breaks indicate you are using a bent, dull, or incorrect needle type. Replacing it with a new sharp needle can prevent breakage.

How can you prevent needle-skipped stitches?

Replacing damaged needles is the #1 fix for chronic skipped stitches. Also, check thread quality, reread thoroughly, and ensure alignment of needle entry.


And that’s it! With the right replacement needle installed, you can continue your sewing project knowing stitches will be smooth and your fabric will glide gently under the presser foot. Stop and change needles regularly to avoid headaches caused by skipped stitches, needle breakage, and snagged fabric.

Do you feel more confident about changing your sewing machine needle next time it starts giving you trouble? Let me know if this step-by-step guide was helpful!


Main image: freepik

Priti Nandy
Priti Nandy
Articles: 169

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