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Serger is Skipping Stitches

sewhat | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Good morning, All.  I am having a problem with my serger, and hope someone out there can help.  It is skipping 2-3 stitches every 6-8 inches.  I just finished a maternity jumper made of wool/cotton blend fabric, and it sewed beautifully.  Now I am making the shirt with a cotton/poly blend fabric, and cannot get it to sew right at all.  I have the tensions set fairly well, as the loops seem to be fairly balanced, but when the stitches skip, that messes everything up.  I am using the 4-thread option.

I have cleaned the machine, checked the threading, replaced the needles (2 times), adjusted stitch width, stitch length, tensions, and presser foot pressure–Nothing Works!

My machine is about 17 years old, a Singer 14U64A, which I have used for years.  Sure don’t want to replace it, as I just bought a new sewing machine and that is about as far as my budget can go for right now.  Any light you can shed on my problem will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, and have a great day.


* * Today is the first day of the rest of your life. * *


Edited 11/5/2003 8:34:16 AM ET by ckaya748


  1. SewTruTerry | | #1

    Do you have the serger plugged into a surge protector?  If not you may be getting some small surges either high or low that could result in stitches skipping.  Also you may have somehow knock the timing off slightly and that is a matter of taking it into the shop and having some minor adjustments made.  When I say minor I am not necessarily talking really cheap but not the kind of thing that would break the bank too bad.  Good luck and let me know what happens.

    1. sewhat | | #2


      Thanks for your response.  As a matter of fact, I do have my serger plugged in to a serge protector strip. I use it for my computerized machine, and it just happened to work out that the serger plugged in there also.  I think you might be right about the timing--it is an old machine.   I have to decide whether I want to invest money in an old machine that is outdated.  It doesn't even have differential feed.  I just hate trashing it--seems so wasteful and it has given me so many years of good service.

      Do you have a serger?  If so, what kind and do you like it?  I don't even know where to begin looking for one--just finished a long process of researching to find the sewing machine I wanted--got a Brother PC6000, and love it. 

      I welcome any and all advice in regard to repair or replacement, and if replacement, what to replace with.

      Have a great evening.

      1. SewTruTerry | | #3


        Yes I count a serger among my important equipment.  I have 8 machines including the serger. I have 2 very old Singer straight stitch machines as well as an old Kenmore that I no longer use but can't find it in my heart to part with it.  And I have a Viking Rose and Designer 1 embroidery machines.  I am looking to update to the Brother pc 600 that they just came out with. You see I do a lot of sewing and embroidery in my company and it would really speed things up.  My serger is also a Singer 14U234 I think is was one of the first with differential feed.  I have had it almost 11 years now. Got it just a month after I went back to work after 2 months of maternity leave and the very day after getting it my dss came down with a fever and my dsh and I actually argued about whether I should stay home.  I won ( I stayed home and played with the serger while the dss slept).  I know how hard it is to give up on something that has been that good for you for so long. I do so much work these days I am looking to up grade to a commercial serger.  But have not decided which one yet.  I think if I were you I would at least look into having that one fixed or at least get an estimate for the repairs.  Then base my decision from there. One can always justify anything once we have the facts.

  2. marijke | | #4

    Don't know if this will help, but I had a similar problem with a much newer machine. I cleaned it and oiled it and then it worked fine again. Worth trying?


    1. SewTruTerry | | #5

      You know that is something else that I forgot to mention, Singers are notorious (especially the older ones) about wanting to be kept oiled.  I have 2 very old Singers that people were getting rid of for free or next to nothing because they didn't stitch right and all I did to them was oil them and they sew like a dream.

      1. sewhat | | #6

        I had cleaned my serger and oiled it well--or so I thought!!  That last post did it, though.  It has been mentioned to clean and oil my serger several times, so I decided to really tear it down and give it a thorough cleaning.  Because of what you said, Terry, I must have squirted at least a third of a bottle of oil into it.  I found lodged beneath the throat plate and presser foot bunches of old lint that had been there so long it was actually felted together!  AMAZING--IT IS WORKING GREAT ONCE AGAIN.  Thank goodness I had forgotten to take it with me to drop off at the sewing repair shop while I was in town this week.  I have saved money, time and inconvenience.  What a great forum this is. 

        To all of you who contributed your various opinions and suggestions, I thank you for taking the time to respond.  It is greatly appreciated. 

        I am now going to go to bed with one less worry, and tomorrow I can wake up and serge like crazy.

        1. SewTruTerry | | #7


          This is a wonderful forum and I am glad that you got your serger working again without a lot of expense.  I have decided that my New Years resolution will be to schedule one day a week to throughly clean all of my machines.  I have 3 that I use on a constant basis.  And since I have my own sewing business it will only make sense to perform this all important service. 

      2. SewGirly | | #15

        Singer serger skipping stitches.

        I'm glad I saw this. I recently received an old singer serger which I just love. It's a cute machine. It's been skipping stitches. I'm going to do the oiling and cleaning. Hope it helps. 

  3. SewingSue | | #8

    Carla, Glad your serger is working again. I have a Singer 14U286B that was acting her age. I cleaned and oiled her and treated her to brand new blades. She acts like a youngster again. Depending on how much use yours has had you might want to think about replacing the blades if you have problems again. I was having problems getting smooth stitches and the edge of the fabric was getting chewed. Happy Sewing. Sue

    1. sewhat | | #9

      Good morning, Sue.

      I appreciate your comments regarding my serger problems, and have a question for you.  I did recently replace the lower knife, and actually purchased the upper knife, but ended up returning it because the lower knife was the culprit. 

      My machine really could use a new upper knife, but I was warned about the difficulty in replacing it by the salesperson at the sewing machine store.    I don't kow if she was trying to drum up business for the repair department, or if it is indeed difficult to install.  So, my question is:  did you replace both upper and lower knives yourself, and did you have any difficulty aligning the upper one?  If it is not hard to do, then I am going to purchase the upper knife online for a much better price and install it myself.

      Does your serger have differential feed?  Mine was made before that feature was available on sergers.  I know that eventually I will want to replace old faithful, but want to wait until other companies develop a "self-threading" feature, as that should drive the price down some.  I can't see paying $1200 for a Babylock because it is the only one that you don't have to thread, when all the other features it offers are available in much less expensive models.

      Have a great day, and happy sewing.

      1. SewTruTerry | | #10

        Hi Carla

        I would never replace the upper blade of my serger again myself because I really messed up the timing on mine and it cost a bit of money to get it corrected.  I was told that it needs to be calibrated so that it strikes at the proper time.  What will the manufacturers think of next?  Anyway I was told that I would have been better off letting the dealer do it so I will never suggest to anyone to do it themselves.  I have the 14U234 Singer serger by the way.

      2. JulieP25 | | #11

        I too have the Singer 14u34 bought before differential feed came out. I have to oil reular or it complains. She's in for a complete service right now. I decided to take it in cause I have never had it in for anything. I  to would love a newer serger but there is just lots to choose from and it also gets expensive. jules

      3. SewingSue | | #12

        Carla, I purchased both the upper and lower blades off the internet. I asked for confirmation that I was selecting the correct parts prior to finalizing the sale. I was very happy with their timely response and shipping was very prompt. I had my husband replace them and he did a perfect job and there were no problems. I just asked him and he said the top blade has to come off first and then the bottom. You replace the bottom one first and then the top one. He said all he did is note their position and replaced them the same as they came off. I know I tried without the needles first to be sure they were right and then reinserted the needles and threaded the machine. He had it absolutely perfect. Took more years off the machine and she runs like a kid again.

        As others have indicated, if you don't feel confident don't do it yourself because of me. I would have tried tackling the upper blade myself but didn't think I could get the screwdriver at the lower one without problems. That's why I got my personal handyman do it. Hope that helps. Happy Sewing. Sue

        1. sewhat | | #13

          Good Morning, Sue

          I am glad to hear that your husband was able to install those knives on your serger for you.  I am rather mechanically inclined, so I am going to give it a try.  Your idea of removing the needles before giving it a test run makes good sense, and I will be sure to do the same.  I figure that if I am unsuccessful in the installation I will be no worse off, as I will just take the machine in and have a technician do it.  One thing I don't want to do is mess up the timing, so I will be very careful!!

          Thanks for your quick response and for the encouragement.  I feel much more confident now that I can get the job done.  (I have a wonderful husband, but being "mechanically inclined" is certainly not his strong suit.  He is setting up a woodshop now and I have been giving him a helping hand from time to time in figuring out instructions and installations on his machines.)

          Have a great day, and happy sewing.

          1. SewingSue | | #14

            Carla, If you have a problem getting to the screw my husband said he went to Sears and bought a special screwdriver. He thinks it was around $10. Let me know if you need more information, he says he still has the part number. Not a lot of room to get to that screw on the lower blade. That's why I let him change them. Otherwise I'm not against using a screwdriver myself.

            I also purchased new feeddogs for my sewing machine from eBay and my DH changed them also. The old gal was a gift from DH when we first got married 23 years ago. I want to upgrade but will keep the old gal she has been good and faithful. Let me know how it works out. Happy Sewing. Sue

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