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Feeding ProblemsFeeding Problems

Sewing machine feeding problems can present themselves in several forms.  Most of these problems can be repaired without a trip to  the repair shop. 

Common Feeding Problems

Lint Build-Up On The Feed Dogs
The most common sewing machine feeding problem occurs when lint and dirt builds up between the feed dog and the needle plate. (The red areas on the image above.)  This lint becomes compacted and prevents the feed dog from rising to the proper height to feed the fabric.  This problem can be resolved by removing the needle plate and cleaning the lint from the feed dog using a small screwdriver or needle.

Improper Pressure On Presser Foot
Another common feeding problem on a sewing machine occurs when there is not enough pressure on the presser foot of the sewing machine.  This can easily be checked by placing a layer of fabric under the presser foot and lowering the presser foot.  Pull on the fabric gently to see if it slips.  If you can easily move the fabric while the presser foot is down, there is not enough pressure on the presser foot.  Increase the pressure on the presser foot by following the instructions in your sewing machine manual.

Improper Feed Dog Height Feeding Problems
The maximum height of the feed dog should be set so that no more than the height of the feed dog teeth should be visible above the needle plate.

Check The Feed Timing
To check the feed timing on your sewing machine, follow these simple steps:

  1. Unthread the needle and place a scrap piece of fabric under the presser foot.
  2. Slowly turn the hand wheel of the sewing machine in operating direction while watching the needle and the fabric.
  3. Just before the needle enters the fabric, the feeding of the fabric should stop and the fabric should remain motionless until the needle comes back out of the fabric.  If the fabric moves at any point during this time, the feed timing is out of adjustment and the sewing machine should be repaired by a qualified sewing machine repairman.

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