Why Does My Sewing Machine Needle Fall Out?

We have all tried it. We are just starting to sew and the needle falls out. Again. So what can we do to make sure it stays where it’s supposed to be? Let’s take a look at that question.

Why does my sewing machine needle fall out? The reason the needles falls out is probably that the needle is inserted too tight or too loose. Then the holder can break or not hold the needles in position. Check the clamp screw for cracks and damage.

This is what happens most of the time. But it could also be other things causing the needle to break.

Let’s look at the issues, and list a couple of solutions to the problem.

And we will have your machine purring again in no time!

How to make the needle stay in the sewing machine

We have a ton of different sewing machine models as well as other types of sewing machines. So before we dive into the solutions we want to make sure you check with your own manual. There might be some specific issue which is unique to your brand of machine.

The problem and solutions we offer below can also be applied to quilting machines and industrial models as well as overlocker machines/sergers.

You first need to make sure everything is working correctly, so let’s start by looking at the clamp screw and make sure nothing is damaged.

The clamp screw is damaged

When you fasten the clamp screw too tight, the tip of the clamp screw can easily get damaged. If that happens you need to find a new screw and replace it. It’s an easy solution and it costs next to nothing.

You need to be careful when you tighten the screw because you can also break the holder. When you have trouble keeping the needle in place, it’s tempting to try and fasten the screw really tight, but that’s not the ideal solution. Whan usually happens is that you will damage the holder or strip the screw.

Check the holder and find out if you can see a crack.

If you can we have found the problem. The holder is damaged, and you cannot make the screw put enough pressure on the needle to hold it in position.

So be careful when you change the needle. Don’t set it too tight.

Other reasons why the needles fall out

There can be lots of other reasons and we will look at each case in detail, and make sure you find out exactly what to do in each case.

Make sure the needle match the machine

Some machine will you point the flat part of the shank toward the back of the machine. Other models will require you to point the flat part to the left or right. Other machines will use round needles. This is true of all industrial models but also some models for home use.

If you try and mount the screw incorrectly it will never sit tight, and it will keep falling out.

This could be your problem.

So check your manual, and double check how to insert the needle correctly.

Don’t tighten the screw with your finger

If you are using your fingers to tighten the screw you will probably not be able to get it right. Some machines (primarily older models) have a bigger dial you can turn so you can get a really good grip with your fingers.

If you are used to doing that from a previous sewing machine you might get in trouble when you are using another machine. Because on most machines this will not be sufficient, you need to tighten the screw more than you are able to do with your bare fingers.

The newer machines will not have a big screw you can operate without a screwdriver.

Here you can see a little video of how you mount the needle.

The flat side of the shank goes to the back of the machine, and you tighten the screw. Just make sure to use the little screwdriver that came with the machine. If you only use your fingers it will not be fastened properly.

On many machines you can also use a coin (a quarter should do!) instead of the screwdriver, so try that if you haven’t got the right size screwdriver. That can save you from a trip to the mall.

Use the screwdriver and give it a little extra umf! 😉

If you are a kid or very young person you should just crank it in there and not be afraid you will break it. You really have to crank it hard to break it.

Fasten it often when using a walking foot

When you are using a walking foot you have to fasten the screw more often. Maybe once every 5 minutes depending on the machine and sewing speed. With all the action going on just works itself loose.

The walking foot is a special extension, and you get some extra action around the needle, and that can easily loosen the screw over and over again. The whole machine is shaking a little bit when you use the walking foot. So if you experience the needles falling out time after time when using the walking foot – that’s totally normal!
Here’s a video on how to use the walking foot properly:

So be sure to pause and fasten the screw holding the needle.

If you have mounted the wrong walking foot on your machine it can also cause the foot to cover the needle and touch it. That can cause the needles to either break or fall out. You can try sewing a few lines without the walking foot.

Mount the universal foot and see if the problem persists.

If that is the case it is probably not related to the walking foot mechanism and you need to look in another direction.

The needle is the wrong size

If you are using the wrong needle it might break. But it could also just fall out. It depends on what size you are using.

If you are using a needle for an industrial model on a home machine, the needles are different.

The needles for industrial sewing machines do not have that flat side on the shank but will be round all the way around. So you can not install this type of needles properly on your home sewing machine. You need to make sure you are using the correct needles size for the project and you could try to buy a pack of needles from the same brand as your machine.

Those needles should definitely work with your machine. Now you just need to check the number and make sure you are using the right type of needle. There are many types of needles and we have made a guide to understand the needles numbers and colors here.

Do you hear a clicking sound?

It might be the case that the metal plate under the needles is not mounted correctly or has become loose. Make sure everything works correctly by moving the needle up and down slowly (using the manual gear).

Now see that the needle is not too close to the metal.

If that is the case the needle is probably falling out because it sometimes touches the metal instead of move freely up and down. It should be able to move 100% freely also when you pull a little bit in the fabric while feeding.

If the needles is too close to the metal it can be dangerous. The needles might break or get knocked loose, and you might end up having a small part of the needle moving around inside the machine. Not good!

Push the needle up far enough

If you are not pushing the needles all the way up in the holder, it will not stay there. Make sure you push it all the way up before you fasten the screw. If you are not careful it can fall down a little bit before you get to tighten the screw.

Push it up firmly before you start turning the screwdriver, so you are absolutely sure it sits perfectly.

Make sure you fix the problem (it can cause real trouble!)

Well, that’s all the solutions we can come up with after researching and checking manuals from different sewing machine brands.

If none of our advice above has worked you need to take the machine to the shop or a repair shop. We can’t have the needles fall out of sewing machines because it can really mess up the mechanics inside the machine.

If the needle gets into the moving parts it can really mess up the bobbin and the metal parts below the place.

So make sure you get this fixed and let us know if we missed any solutions above. We’d love to add another tip to the list if you learn something new!

And as always: Happy sewing! We cross our fingers you will find a solution to the problem!

Related questions

Why does my sewing machine needle break? The needles break because it’s damaged or not correctly inserted. It could also be because the wrong needle is being used compared to the fabric. Or the wrong presser foot is attached, and the needle hits the foot.

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