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Why Do My Needles Keep Breaking When I Embroider on Flats?


Needle breaks can be a frustrating and time-consuming problem for embroiderers. But by understanding the common reasons why needles break, you can take steps to prevent them from happening and ensure your projects are completed without interruption.


Your Fabric Is Too Thick for Your Needle 

One of the most common reasons for needle breaks is using a needle that is not appropriate for the type of fabric or material you are embroidering on. If the material is too thick, the needle may not be able to pierce it properly, resulting in breaks. To fix this, make sure to use needles that are specifically designed for the thickness of the material you are working with.


(Note: Your machine is calibrated for 75/11 or 80/12 needles, anything smaller or bigger than that you will need to adjust your timing to use.)


Your Needle Is Incorrectly Installed 

Another common reason for needle breaks is an incorrectly installed needle. To fix this, simply uninstall the needle and reinstall it properly. Make sure to follow the instructions for our specific embroidery machine when doing this.

You Have Build-Up or Dirt in the Bobbin or Rotary Hook Area

Another potential issue is build-up or dirt in the bobbin area or rotary hook area. This can cause the machine to malfunction, leading to needle breaks. To fix this, carefully clean the area of any dust and pieces of thread.

Your Bobbin Case Is Not Set Correctly 

Another potential issue can be the bobbin case is not set correctly inside your machine or the bobbin thread is not wound properly. To fix this, replace the bobbin and make sure it snaps into place properly. Bobbin and Bobbin Tension

Your Needles Are Worn-Out or Bent

Worn-out, bent, or old needles can also cause needle breaks. To fix this, replace your needle with a new and sharper needle.


Your Garment Is Hooped Improperly

The garment you are embroidering on may also be hooped improperly. If the garment is loose, it may move around or bunch up in areas, which can cause your needle to move and break. To fix this, re-hoop the garment and ensure the embroidery area is flat and tight.


Your Design Has Too Many Stitches 

  • A design can also cause needle breaks by having too many stitches in a given area. To fix this, increase the stitch density of your design using Chroma Digitizing Software. You can also reduce the size of your design if it touches or extend beyond the Hoop anywhere.


Your Needle Has Hit a Hoop

It's also important to note that hitting a hoop can cause a needle break. Please make sure to ALWAYS trace your design before you begin embroidering. Every Ricoma embroidery machine comes with an auto-trace function that outlines the area where your design will be embroidered. If at any point it appears your design touches the hoop, you can readjust your design’s position using your embroidery machine’s touch screen.


If you're still experiencing needle breaks despite trying the above solutions, try switching out your needles with ones that are appropriate for the type of substrate you are embroidering on. also, check and make sure your hoop is secure and not loose, Re-hoop your flat substrate so that it is firm and well-placed and, can reduce the stitch speed of your machine.

  • Finally, please check the timing of your machine:

EM Series Proper Timing 

TC Series Proper Timing

MT/CHT2 Timing 

(Note: you don't have to perform the timing adjustment if you verify that it is already correct.) 

By following these tips and troubleshooting steps, you can prevent needle breaks and keep your embroidery projects running smoothly.

Need additional help? 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for further assistance via email at service@ricoma.com or by visiting our support page at www.ricoma.com/US/support. 

Video Resources: 

Embroidery Needle Types and Best Uses 

Full Design Process for Flats (EM-1010) 

Flat Embroidery – How to Attach the Brackets and Hoop Your Fabric (MT-1501) 

Installing Flat Frame (MT-Series) 

Needle breaks
Need additional help?
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for further assistance via email at service@ricoma.com or by visiting our support page at www.ricoma.com/US/support.