If my sturdy old Singer sewing machine is going to start acting up, all of a sudden, you just know it’ll be in the middle of my annual mad dash to sew up some last-minute Christmas gifts!

Yep, that was yesterday…

There I was, sewing merrily along — appliqué-and-lace decorations on the edge of plain purchases pillow cases, in case you’re wondering (a great quick way to make a really special personalized gift!) — when suddenly my sewing machine started skipping stitches.

It would sew along fine for about two or three inches, then it was like it just decided not to pick up the bobbin thread for an inch or two. It just skipped those stitches, through the fabric kept feeding smoothly under the needle, the needle kept moving smoothly up and down, and the bobbin moved smoothly in its little case, all as one would expect. It’s just that the top thread and the bottom thread didn’t join hands, as it were.

What a mess! And of course, this 40-year-old sewing machine of mine is so reliable, it’s been years and years since this happened — so I couldn’t remember what to do to fix the problem. And the instruction booklet was no help at all.

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For lack of a better idea, I changed the needle to a new one (managing to remember that there’s only one right way to insert the needle — for my machine, as with most, the flat side of the needle has to face the back) and, while I was at it, just unthreaded the whole rigging and threaded it again.

I don’t know whether it was changing the needle that fixed the stitching problem, or whether it was taking off the thread and then putting it back through all the hooks and hoops again from scratch. Either way, after that, there were no more skipped stitches! It works!

Hope I can remember to try that again, the next time my dear old sewing machine gets the hiccups!

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