Don’t Cry Over Broken Needles

Just as I thought I was getting the hang of things, I figured it might be smart to practice a little more on scraps before sewing my clothing . . . you know, just in case. I put the scrap material under the needle and pressed down on the foot control and – SNAP – I broke the needle. No big deal, I thought – must have been a faulty needle. I replace the needle, press down on the foot control and – SNAP – break another needle. In walks confidence crusher.

I could not for the life of me figure out what I was doing wrong, but I continued to breaking needle, after needle, . . . after needle. In fact, I spent the next two hours breaking needles. With a little troubleshooting, I was sure I could figure this out. How hard can it be, right? Wrong!

Attempt 1: Online User Manual

I checked the troubleshooting section of the online user manual – went through each point under the needle breakage section. I reinstalled the needle, tightened the needle clamp and loosened the tension. Put the fabric back under the needle, pressed down on the foot control and– SNAP – broke another one.

Attempt 2: Internal Examination

Photo Credit: VeRoNiK@ GR Flickr via Compfight cc

I opened the bobbin housing and slowly turned the hand wheel to move the needle up and down in the hopes that I could see where it was striking. I could hear it striking but couldn’t see the point where the tip of the needle was making contact.

Attempt 3: The Bobbin

Thinking I might have threaded the bobbin incorrectly or installed the bobbin case wrong, I rethreaded the bobbin and reinstalled the bobbin case. As soon as I started to sew – SNAP – broke another needle.

Attempt 4: Presser Foot

Zig-Zag Foot

Maybe I was using the wrong presser foot? After all, the zigzag foot and the satin stitch foot look so similar, perhaps I inadvertently had the satin stitch foot on?

Satin Stitch Foot

So, I changed the presser foot and as soon as I started sewing – SNAP – broke another one.

In Walks Dispair

Nothing was working. Was my machine broken? I figured my last option was to read the ENTIRE online user manual! And what do you know, waiting for me, right there on page 32 was this:

It turns out that when you change the stitch on the stitch selector, depending on the stitch you select, you change the position of the needle. When I had been testing out different stitches, without realizing it, the needle position was moved to the left and it was striking the presser foot and snapping. So although I wasn’t using the straight stitch foot, I learned from this section of the user manual that changing the stitch can change the position of the needle, causing it to collide with the foot.

But even a skilled seamstress can fall victim to the dreaded skipped stitch or broken needle, or what’s possibly the most annoying of all sewing machine headaches: thread bunching

After solving the problem I decided to do what I had intended to from the start, practice stitching. As you can see it didn’t go so well, but at least I didn’t break another needle :).

Laughable Moment

After all of that, I pulled up the user manual and hit CTRL+F, and what do you know, it is searchable!!! I hadn’t even tried searching the document as it was so fuzzy looking that I just assumed it wasn’t searchable. All that time I could have just CTRL+F’d ‘break’ and found the solution, less all the turmoil. Lesson learned. No knowledge is ever wasted, right?

My Brain Must be Growing

On a positive note, according to Mindset Theory, my brain should have grown exponentially during all those challenges!

Plan of Attack Update

My plan of attack has changed quite a bit since my first post Teacher Shirts. Thus far, at my current skill level, I am pretty confident that I won’t be sewing on my actual clothing until I have mastered the basic skills. My next challenge will be learning to sew button holes!! Wish me luck.

What about You?

Have you ever tried to learn something new and failed repeatedly, but persevered? I would love to hear about it.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Cry Over Broken Needles

  1. Hi Meagan!

    First off, I love the way you structured this blog post! So easy to follow! And lots of detail without being too over the top! Great Job!

    To answer your question, yes!! I have definitely tried learning things and failed miserably. I think that with out learning projects, just like anything else, failure is normal! Not everything is as easy as it looks (actually, things are rarely as easy as they look) and I think the most important thing to remember is to remind yourself that failure is all part of the wonderfully frustrating, yet rewarding process of learning! It looks like you are keeping a very positive outlook when it comes to your struggles and i think that as long as you keep that attitude and never give up, you will find success! Best of luck! 🙂

    -Lauren

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to hear!
    I agree with Lauren. I really enjoyed how you laid out this post and how the pictures were between words, so it was not overwhelming to read. Way to go. I also enjoy how you ask questions at the end. This really involves the readers and make us apart of the blog, so way to go!
    To answer your question: I feel we have all experienced this from time to time. The main thing that sticks out for me is trying to learn how to snowboard. I actually smashed my entire hand, needed surgery and was in a cast for weeks. But here I am today, snowboarding. We must keep pushing ourselves when we really want to achieve something. Way to go!!

    Liked by 1 person

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