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Adjusting the Timing on Sewing Machine

Problems with what seems like timing on your sewing machine, can be caused by a variety of things. This is a guide about adjusting the timing on sewing machine.


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 0 found this helpful
March 10, 2017

I have a Singer Tradition machine and the shuttle race timing is off to the point that it breaks the needle when the needle tries to go back up. Is there any way to adjust the shuttle? I don't have a repair shop near me so my only other choice is a completely new machine and I don't want to do that. Any advice is very appreciated.


March 13, 20170 found this helpful

WikiHow has an informative article with pictures. You need to adjust the alignment of the needle and the shuttle hook. You will also need your owner's manual to see the recommended needle height and the distance between the needle and shuttle hook.

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March 14, 20170 found this helpful

You have to unplug your machine, take out the screws on the side of the machine to expose the needle shaft, take lit the bobbin case, and make an adjustment. This excellent article with pictures shows you how: http://sciencin … nes-5682310.html

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By 0 found this helpful
November 6, 2016

I was using my machine, a Singer Model 348, and I started breaking needles. I cleaned out under the side plate and bobbin. It is still breaking needles. I can see that the timing is off. Is there any way I can fix this problem?


February 15, 20170 found this helpful

Your tension is off. Try turning it to the - as it sounds like it is too tight. (If that doesn't work, then go to the +)

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February 17, 20170 found this helpful

WikiHow has a great article on this with pictures: … g-Machine-Timing

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By 0 found this helpful
November 4, 2012

I have a Brother CS-6000i computer sewing machine and it won't feed the bobbin thread up for the needle to catch it. I am thinking that it's out of time. Can I repair it at home or does it need to be serviced? Do you or anyone else know how to do it so I can try and do it myself? It may be costly to take in to get repaired.

By Shelia S. from WI


November 5, 20120 found this helpful

If you have the manual it may tell you what to do. If you don't have a manual you can try / or

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November 13, 20120 found this helpful

To set the timing on any sewing machine you will need the service manual for that specific machine, not the operator manual that came with the machine. Be warned too that the service manuals are very expensive because they feature a complete tear down and rebuild instruction, and specialised parts lists. Service manuals for computerised machines can run as much as $700USD (ask me how I know, lol!).

Resetting timing on a computerised sewing machine is a job for a skilled (usually factory trained) technician. It shouldn't cost you more than $50-80USD to have done and makes all the difference in machine performance. The tech will not only reset the timing (if that's really what is wrong) but will (should) also inspect the machine for other problems, and also provide cleaning-servicing (oiling, etc) as part of the process.


Additionally, your problem may not be timing at all-it could be that you're using the wrong size or type of bobbin...a metal bobbin in a machine that should only have a plastic one can cause all kinds of problems with a machine; a piece of fluff that you can't see to remove under the plate (because you don't have the specialised tools a tech has) could also be causing your problem.

Wrong thread, broken tension springs, a broken bobbin gear...only a trained, knowledgeable tech can tell you for sure what is causing your problem on one of these modern sewing machines. And he/she will be able to put your machine back together after the repair so that the machine is usable, too-a home repair in unexperienced hands is the machine killer, frankly!

I teach sewing here in the UK on both 'antique-vintage' machines, and 'modern computerised' machines. I can fix anything made before the late 90s (if I can find the parts) but I won't even try on a computerised machine because those machines are so specialised that ONLY a trained tech can be expected not to 'trash' the machine in the process of trying to fix it.

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November 30, 20110 found this helpful

How do I fix the timing on my sewing machine? It's a Brother PE150. Sorry I don't have a photo.

By M. Hostetler


December 2, 20110 found this helpful

How do you know it is the timing? If it is, you are best to leave that to a professional.

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December 3, 20110 found this helpful

Sounds like someone turned the handwheel AWAY from the operator one time too many-the usual cause of throwing a sewing machine off timing.

Go to the Brother website and see if you can download timing instructions. This actually is a simple job but you need information specific to your model.

Since you are able to diagnose that it is a timing problem, you are probably handy enough to do all the repairs on your sewing machine, and it might well be worth your time and money to buy the service manual for your machine model series.

I sew exclusively with vintage Singers (pre-80s) and am learning how to do all my own work but timing my vintage 66K and 99K (built in 1933 and 1917 respectively) uses a completely different method than the methods needed for the 1962 model 449, the 1973 model 513, and the 1979 model 6103-every single one times differently. Open up the top of the different models, and you'll see each one (except the 66 and 99, which are identical) has a different configuration!

Good on you for being interested in sewing machine repair. My husband and I are getting a reputation for being able to fix machines and people are even offering us money for the work! Yes, the computerised machines are beyond us, but since I only use vintage machines it isn't a problem.

If your Brother model is computerised, I especially recommend getting the service manual. You still should be able to do the work, you may need to download software from the manufacturer.

Good luck, and I hope your machine is stitching again soon!

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January 21, 20130 found this helpful

How do you time a Memory Craft 3000 sewing machine?

By Betty M


January 24, 20130 found this helpful

Try this site for tutorials on timing all brands of sewing machines (and lots of other great maintenance/repair tutes as well):

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By 0 found this helpful
February 21, 2011

How do I adjust the needle and hook timing for a Brother LT-B838?

By Deep from Vallejo, CA


February 23, 20110 found this helpful

If it truly is the timing on your machine that is the problem, you are better to leave it with a professional.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

February 21, 20110 found this helpful

Can someone tell me how to adjust the timing of a Singer sewing machine. It keeps breaking needles. I took it to a repair shop and they told me the timing was off and it would cost $65.00 to clean and adjust it. I can't afford to have the shop do it so I'd like to do it myself.

By Inspector69 from San Jose, CA


Adjusting Timing on Sewing Machine

Get your book out and read how to adjust the tension. Try it on scrap fabric until you get it right. I know different weights of fabric require you to change the tension. The top tension is the one you should be concerned about, the bobbin tension is one they say not to mess with. The needles, type of thread you use and the fabric are all things that need to be taken into account for the adjustment. The amount of money they are quoting you for cleaning and adjustment is not unreasonable. Maybe that's what the machine needs is a good cleaning. All according to how much you use the machine. Good luck with it! (10/17/2009)


Adjusting Timing on Sewing Machine

The most common reason a needle keeps breaking is because the needle is inserted backwards or is threaded wrong! If the needle is in correctly then look at the "last" thread guide, if it is on the right side of the needle then thread the needle from right to left, if it's on the left then reverse it.

If the guide is in front then thread the needle from front to back. I hope the solution is this simple! The same solution works for thread breaking all the time.

Also, check all your settings, if one of the other settings is turned on even a little bit it may also cause this problem. Please write back and let us know if any of this works for you.

Also, does the needle break only when sewing through certain fabrics or even if you are just turning the wheel on the machine? (10/17/2009)

By wolfbytez

Adjusting Timing on Sewing Machine

Timing on a sewing machine is something you cannot do at home. For a stopgap until you can afford to take it to the shop, drop the needle a bit in the needle clamp and hand walk the machine for a few stitches to see if it clears the bobbin area and makes a stitch. Is this clear? Just drop it a fraction. So in essence you are regulating the timing with the needle position. This is only a temporary fix and may not work, but it's worth a try. I was given a Singer over a weekend when the shop was closed, the timing was off and I clamped the needle a little lower than normal and it sewed fine.

Susan in Omaha (10/21/2009)

By Susan

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October 16, 20090 found this helpful

How do you set the timing on a Brother sewing machine?

By zeke47 from Boise, ID


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