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Your Sewing Machine Is Not Feeding Fabric? Why? – Find Out Here!

If your sewing machine is being stubborn about feeding fabric through the treadle, don’t worry. It just means you’ll have to work a little harder to get the job done.

Oftentimes, the problem is a simple one: the needle is not in the down position. Other times, you may have a broken feed dog or a bent or broken needle.

You’ll find that a sewing machine that won’t feed fabric is one that either has a broken or misaligned machine needle or faulty feed dogs on the machine itself.

When the machine needle is broken or misaligned, it is usually time to head to the sewing machine store.

However, when the feed dogs are the problem, there are some things you can try before hitting the repair shop.

Before you begin, make sure you are using the right needle for the fabric you are sewing. If you are sewing with synthetic fabric, it is best to use a stretch needle that is made for synthetic fabrics. 

Reasons Your Sewing Machine Won’t Feed Fabric

There are many reasons why your sewing machine won’t feed fabric and you’ll need to troubleshoot it step by step to find the culprit.

The Stitch Length Is at 0

As sewers, we rely on our sewing machines for accuracy when it comes to stitching. If we’re basting or serging, we usually don’t worry too much about it, but when we’re doing any kind of sewing that requires accuracy, it is paramount to choose the correct stitch length.

The conventional wisdom is that the stitch length on your sewing machine should be set to the thickness of the fabric you are sewing. But in some cases you may find that your machine stalls, the needle jams, or the fabric doesn’t even move.

In these cases it may be that your stitch length is so long that the fabric isn’t actually feeding through the throat plate.

The Feed Dogs Are Down

Feed dogs, or feed gears, are the fabric-grabbing parts of a sewing machine that move up and down according to the pressure you are applying to them with your foot.

A common sewing machine problem is that they fail to move, or collapse altogether. If this is the problem with your sewing machine, don’t panic.

Often, the feed dogs can be repaired, and your sewing machine will be up and running in no time.

While this problem is relatively easy to fix, there are a few reasons why it could occur. One of the most common reasons for this problem is if the tension is too tight, or the thread is too thick.

If the thread is too thick, it will simply run over the top of the fabric. If it’s too tight, the thread will get caught underneath it, causing it to pucker.

The Presser Foot Is Up

The most important thing you need to know about your sewing machine is that the feed dogs are the devices on the bottom of the feed that are responsible for feeding the fabric through the machine.

The feed dogs are located between the presser foot and the needle. As the needle goes down, the feed dogs move to the left, pick up the fabric underneath the presser foot, and move the fabric to the right side.

This action allows the fabric to feed through the machine. When the presser foot is up, the feed dogs are retracted and cannot perform their function.

The only way to feed fabric with the presser foot up is to pull the fabric from behind the feed dogs.

The Thread Tension Is Too Tight

If you’ve had a problem with your sewing machine not feeding, or thread breaking, or just not feeding fabric, you may have had someone tell you to check the tension of your upper thread.  

Sometimes you’re told that the tension is too tight.  Sometimes you’re told that the tension is too loose.  And sometimes you’re told that the tension is just right.

The most common cause of this is thread tension being too tight; it should be adjusted to the lightest setting.

If thread tension is too tight, the fabric will not move through the machine, and the tension discs will not come together, preventing the fabric from feeding.

The thread tension is adjusted with a dial or a screw, usually located on the top of the machine. The thread tension will need to be adjusted for each different type of fabric.

You’re Sewing Too Many Layers

It is a common thing for people to sew many layers of fabric at one time.  It is not a big thing as long as you know how to get the fabric to sew without any problem.  But if you do not know how to sew them into one, you will find it is really annoying.

When you are sewing many layers of fabric, you will find that the fabric is not fed properly by the sewing machine.  You may find the fabric is too tight or too loose.  You may find the fabric is not fed at all. 

Sewing too many layers of fabric can stop the machine from feeding the fabric.  On a standard four-layer seam, the fabric stacks up like this:

Top:  The top fabric is the right side of the garment, which you want to face out.  The lining is the soft, fuzzy side of the garment that will face against your skin.  The bottom fabric is the inside of the garment, which you don’t want to see.

Mid-Layer:  This layer is the seam that you are sewing.  It should be sandwiched between the top and bottom fabrics.  When you sew only one layer of fabric, the seam should be placed right in the middle.

You Are Overworking Your Sewing Machine

Ah, the sewing machine. One of the most essential tools for sewing enthusiasts and professional seamstresses out there. With a sewing machine, you can create your own clothes, quilts, and much more.  

But, sewing machines require a lot of care to stay in tip-top shape.  Are you giving your sewing machine the care it needs?  If not, it will soon start to show signs that it is running poorly.  

Don’t wait until it completely stops working!  Take preventative measures to keep your sewing machine working smoothly.

Are you tired of your sewing machine not feeding fabric? The reason why your sewing machine does not feed fabric is because it is overworked.

Are you overworking your sewing machine? Overworking your sewing machine can cause a lot of trouble, and one of them is that your sewing machine will not feed fabric.

In Conclusion

If you are having trouble getting your sewing machine to feed the fabric through the machine, it can be a very frustrating problem. There are a number of things that can cause this problem, from a mechanical issue with the machine, to sewing machine settings, to troubleshooting user error.

If you are having trouble getting your sewing machine to feed fabric, you can troubleshoot the problem yourself and save yourself a trip to the repair shop.

Kirsten Carter

Kirsten Carter

Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she's not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.View Author posts

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