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Sewing Machine Not Feeding Fabric

A woman getting frustrated with her sewing machine.
It is so frustrating when your sewing machine malfunctions. This is a guide about when sewing machine not feeding fabric.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 1 found this helpful
April 14, 2016

I have a Brother XR3140 sewing machine and when I first bought it, it worked great. I've only had it for a few months and it's not working anymore. For some reason the fabric won't feed through the machine, it just stays stationary causing a giant knot to form. I have to yank the fabric through the machine and then the stitching comes out sloppy and not even sewn into the fabric all the way. What is wrong with my sewing machine?

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April 17, 20160 found this helpful

Have you checked the setting for your feed dogs? Also check the stitch width and length are set properly for the stitch you want to make.

Here's a link to the Brother website free user manual download - use it to find the 'troubleshooting' pages to see what the manufacturer has identified as common issues and how to resolve them:

http://www.brot  339001_50403.pdf

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August 4, 20160 found this helpful

I have zuki 27z not working on sentic material

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By 0 found this helpful
January 31, 2017

I have a Singer Golden Touch and Sew 758. My fabric will not feed. There are no jam ups, it just sews in place.

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Answers

January 31, 20170 found this helpful

are you sure you have the correct stitch length? Having it set to 0 means it won't feed. Also make sure the feed dogs are not down, and your presser foot is not up. Too tight tension will also cause this, or trying to sew too many layers together. Also check to see if there's a knot in your thread.

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February 1, 20170 found this helpful

You may have to take out the bobbin assembly. You may also have a jam under the machine, and you will have to turn the machine over and remove the bottom cover to get a better look.

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February 13, 20151 found this helpful

This is for a class I'm doing. If your feed dogs are not working can you still use your sewing machine?

By Jozelyn

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February 15, 20150 found this helpful

For the most part the answer is no. Some types of sewing machine function (darning, quilting, thick fabrics, thread painting-embroidery) need the feed dogs down, but for the most part, sewing a seam requires functioning feed dogs to move the fabric through the machine at the right timing to create a proper lock-stitch.

If you have a machine with feed dogs 'stuck' down, look for a switch, dial, lever, knob, or computer setting to get them back up.

If that doesn't work, or the feed dogs are stuck in the up position but aren't moving, the machine needs a visit to the qualified repair tech for servicing. The problem could be something as simple as a piece of thread or lint caught in the feed dogs, or something very serious - and the only person who can fix it is a qualified repair tech.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 24, 2017

I have an Elna 745 and I followed the instructions in the manual for a rolled hem, but when I sew the fabric will not feed. It is sewing in place. Does anyone have any idea what is wrong? I have checked the threading, the settings, and still nothing is working.

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January 31, 2017

I have a vintage Fleetwood zig zag machine. It works great on straight stitch, but when on zig zag it won't feed the fabric.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 28, 2017

The material will feed through under the foot if on a zig zag stitch, but will not on a straight stitch. I have cleaned and changed the needle. Any ideas? Thank you.

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January 28, 20170 found this helpful

There is something stuck in the path of the straight stitch. The zig zag stitch is going to the left and right of the jammed area. You have to turn the machine over and remove the bottom to get a better look.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 4, 2016

I have a Bernette 715, and I have been having an issue with the feed dogs lately. When I am in the middle of a seam, the feed dogs will drop. I can pop them back up and continue, but it will do the same thing again just a couple of stitches later.

I cleaned out the inside of the machine, but the problem persists. I included a few photos of the machine and the feed dog lever. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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September 22, 20160 found this helpful

I'm having the exact same problem since May 2016. I think it may be something with the spring on the feed dog, but haven't been successful fixing it yet. I can't see anything else that could be causing it to disengage. The machine has been retired until I can afford to get it fixed. If there's something a nonprofessional can do to fix it, I'd love to know too.

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By 0 found this helpful
December 29, 2015

The sewing machine is not feeding the fabric. It's not the feed dogs, as I've checked, cleaned, and oiled them. Maybe the reverse lever stuck, but I'm not too sure since the feed dogs still move back and forth when I press the reverse lever. A spring has broken off though. I am not sure where its supposed to be.

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December 30, 20150 found this helpful

time for some professional help or you can try and find a manual for your machine online(especially if it is not new). If it is, I would try to contact the manufacturer concerning the spring(chances are the missing spring may have something to do with your fabric.

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December 31, 20150 found this helpful

Lots of info on the internet. Thread tension may be too tight.

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September 9, 20160 found this helpful

Could you tell me the outcome of the missing Spring as I have the exact same problem thanks

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By 0 found this helpful
August 15, 2016

I have a Juki Misin Handy sewing machine. The problem with my sewing machine is that if the textile that I will be sewing is silk and slippery for some reason the fabric won't feed through the machine. It just stays stationary causing a giant knot to form. Are there any solutions or suggestions for my problems? And I would like to ask if the feed dogs on a sewing machine can be changed? I hope to hear from you. Thank you.

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August 16, 20160 found this helpful

Try tightening or loosening the foot tension, as this is a common problem with silk. You can also use a tear-away fabric like they use in embroidery.

http://www.joan  6C6-9281E65952F3

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August 30, 20160 found this helpful

You could also get a teflon foot which is good for slippery fabrics

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By 0 found this helpful
January 13, 2016

My mom has a Brother Lx2500 sewing machine and it's not feeding fabric. We cleaned out the lint and still nothing. Hoping someone can help.

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January 14, 20160 found this helpful

First, here's a link to the user manual from the Brother website:

http://download  2500ug01enes.pdf

According to your manual, your machine doesn't have a feed dog drop - to darn, sew on buttons, do some satin stitching embroidery, you have to apply the darning plate over the feed dogs.

Assuming you haven't got that covering plate on, the only three things I can think of to cause the feed dogs to malfunction would be the need to return it to sewing mode after winding a bobbin, ensuring the stitch length and width settings are correct, or (gulp) a broken gear. The machine is a fairly new model, first in production in 2011, so it's not likely you have a broken part - but it is possible if the machine has been asked to sew too thick a fabric, or if fabrics have been pulled forcefully through the feed dogs.

Check to be sure the machine has been set back to sewing mode from bobbin winding mode, and go through the manual to be sure you're setting all of the stitch settings correctly.

If none of the that solves your issue, it's time for a visit to the repair tech.

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Anonymous
August 22, 20160 found this helpful

Put a bit of sewing machine oil on mine! It worked! 

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By 0 found this helpful
December 11, 2014

I have my mother's old Viking and the feed teeth won't come up. I can't sew because the material won't advance. My daughter, to whom I am giving the machine, moved some buttons or knobs and now it won't work, and I don't have a manual to figure this issue out. Also, do you know where I could get a PDF manual for this machine? It's a Viking 6000.

By boocat

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February 15, 20150 found this helpful

Try a search engine run for the manual using the term 'Viking 6000 manual', something should come up.

As for your problems - this is a vintage machine and requires servicing from a qualified Viking repair tech. The problems you're describing have several causes and the tech will be able to open the machine using the correct tools, fix the problem(s) and put the machine back together correctly.

Not sure where you are so I'm not going to try to guesstimate the cost but here in the UK it would run around £100 and would include solving the problem (might be that some worn parts want replacing) plus a thorough cleaning, oiling, and checking over.

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December 1, 20120 found this helpful

I have a 1976 Sears Kenmore sewing machine. It has always worked great! I have recently been having a problem with the fabric feeding. I will be sewing for a considerable amount of time and all of a sudden it will stop feeding the fabric as I am sewing. There are no signs of other problems. The sewing machine is clean and free of lint. The feed dog is up, so that is not the issue either.

If the machine sits for awhile it usually will work as normal. Could it be the belt overheating or something like that? Or would it be wearing out? The machine itself does not seem hot however.

By Brenda

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December 3, 20120 found this helpful

You really need to take it to a repairman. You can find a certified Kenmore service tech on their service and parts pages at sears.com or you can look for a sewing centre close to you (that would be my preference, their techs can fix anything from a vintage treadle to a modern computerised model and they usually cost a lot less than the Sears techs).

Until I read the part of your post that the feed dogs are up, I was hoping it was the old 'feed dogs dropping mid-seam' problem common to vintage machines, the part controlling the feed dogs wears out, and the dogs drop in the middle of a stitching session. It's fairly easy to fix if you are at all mechanical.

However, yours are still up, so what is most likely is that the feed dog gear has worn-out. Since this is a fiddly gear to replace (doing it wrong throws out the machine timing which in turn causes an even more expensive repair), it's best to have a trained tech do the work and source the part for you.

Good luck, I hope you are not needing your machine to finish Christmas gifts! Please update and let us know what it turned out to be!

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December 3, 20120 found this helpful

I had, until had 6 months ago a 1970 Singer. Never had the problem you are having, but try taking your machine screwdriver and lifting and removing the plate. Check for trapped lint and possibly try an emery board to sharpen the teeth. I used to turn mine over also. I was always amazed at what was trapped on the underside. At times a little machine oil or 3 in one oil would solve all types of problems (wish I had my old Singer back).

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By 0 found this helpful
February 4, 2017

My machine sews a scrap OK, but the valance I'm working on in the same material, same thickness sits and sews in one spot. It will not feed material along.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 25, 2016

I have not used my Janome 419S sewing machine for quite some time. I tried to use the machine today and the fabric does not feed through. I checked through the troubleshooting guide, went through all ideas, and it is still not working. Anyone any ideas of the problem?

Thanks in advance.

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January 15, 20150 found this helpful

The feed dogs on my sewing machine only go up and down, they do not make the forward-backward motion, thereby not feeding the fabric through. Any suggestions?

By S. S.

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September 10, 20150 found this helpful

Had the same problem. Removed the foot. Popped the plate off. Cleaned out thread and lint from behind the bobbin holder. Then I realized I had set my stitch length to Zero. Works great now.

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July 3, 20140 found this helpful

The feed dogs are working fine, but the project I'm working on won't feed through while sewing. The project is a little thick, but no thicker than the hem on a pair of jeans. I have tried sewing with the presser foot down as well as up to see if that would help, and the feeding teeth still won't pull the project through. I have a Brother LX-3125.

By srvalk

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July 7, 20140 found this helpful

You may need to adjust the feed dog tension - consult your owner's manual for step-by-step instructions to do this.

If your machine isn't equipped with adjustable feed dogs, you may need to try a specialty presser foot. The right one will depend on the type of fabric - if a 'shiny' fabric you may need a roller or teflon foot (two different types that do the same work but are used on slightly different types of fabric).

For thick cotton/blends or if trying to use a thick plush or fleece, a walking foot will usually work well to keep the fabric feeding through the machine.

Specialty feet meet the needs of different fabrics to work with the feed dogs to move the fabric through the needle smoothly and evenly. You can usually find them in the notions section of most sewing centres, or online - I get a lot of mine at AmazonUK but the same specialty feet are available (usually) from most online sewing supply shops or directly from the machine maker (for best compatibility).

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March 5, 20140 found this helpful

I also notice my machine is not feeding fabric on its own.

By Erica. Z

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March 10, 20140 found this helpful

The Stylist 533 (a bestseller in its day, great machine!) is a vintage machine and these machines do have some plastic or silicone parts. Sadly, those parts fail with age and it's time for a visit to the Singer repair tech.

Check this free download from the Singer Company website for a copy of your machine manual, the troubleshooting guide pages are towards the end. (Printing out the manual will be handy for using when the computer isn't up):

http://www.sing  oad/1300_533.pdf

The problem you're describing sounds like a feed dog issue and as the 533 wasn't made with a drop-feed dog system, you either have a worn feed gear, or the machine is in Flexi-Stitch mode. Using the manual to follow, try changing that Flexi-Stitch feature around and see if it helps.

If not, it really is time for a visit to the repair tech. If he/she needs to change out parts, be sure to find out if the tech is using newly milled or salvaged parts. One of the reasons I've given up doing vintage machine repairs is the really important parts for these older ladies are no longer newly milled and the salvaged parts simply aren't reliable - who knows what conditions those parts worked under on the former machine?! Sooner rather than later the salvage parts will also fail.

You may want to consider a new machine under warranty - the Singer Talent range is comparable, has a top drop-in bobbin system using class 15J plastic only bobbins - your 66 class metal will eventually 'kill' the new machine and void the warranty. Another good Singer range is the Confidence range with more features. Janome and Elna make good comparable machines as well but you may prefer a Singer.

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March 27, 20150 found this helpful

My old fashioned Singer machine is broken and a friend has lent me his machine, a Brother XL-5500. Everything threaded, but when I go to sew, it stitches, but fabric stays in the same place. I can't even understand the manual. I need it to sew and move!

By Annie

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March 7, 20150 found this helpful

I have a Mercury M-280L industrial sewing machine. It doesn't feed the fabric well because the pressure foot doesn't touch the feeds. The pressure foot has about 1/8 inch between foot and feeds. It's been sewing fine and now I can't get the foot to sit against the feed dog. I was just beginning to sew and hit the reverse handle and then noticed that I didn't have any control of the fabric.

By Nancy

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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