singer sewing machine presser foot problems

Do Your Sewing Machine Presser Feet Have Problems? Here’s How To Fix Them

If you’ve ever had issues with your sewing machine presser feet, you’re not alone. From uneven stitching to fabrics not feeding correctly, presser foot problems can be incredibly frustrating. But don’t despair! In most cases, there are easy troubleshooting steps you can take to get your presser feet working smoothly again.

What Is a Presser Foot and What Does It Do?

The presser foot is the key component that guides the fabric under the sewing machine needle. Made of metal or plastic, the presser foot applies downward pressure to keep fabric flat as stitches are formed. Different styles of presser feet are used for various sewing techniques – for example, a zipper foot for inserting zippers or a walking foot for sewing stable, even seams on tricky fabrics like vinyl or leather. Proper presser foot pressure and position are essential for beautiful, consistent stitching.

3 Common Sewing Machine Presser Foot Problems and How to Fix Them

When your presser foot isn’t working right, your stitches and sewing projects suffer. Here are some of the most frequent presser foot problems and troubleshooting tips to get your machine running smoothly again.

1. Uneven Stitches and Inconsistent Tension

Uneven Stitches and Inconsistent Tension
Photo credit: pexels

If the tension on your sewing machine isn’t balanced, you may encounter uneven, loopy stitches or puckered seams. In many cases, adjusting the presser foot pressure can help resolve inconsistent tension.

Start by ensuring the presser foot is lowered properly onto the fabric. The foot should press firmly but allow the fabric to still move freely underneath. Consult your sewing machine manual for how to increase or decrease presser foot pressure – this is often done with a tension dial or screw adjustment.

You should also check that your needle and thread sizes are appropriate for the fabric you’re sewing. Heavier fabrics require a larger needle size and heavier thread. Re-threading the top and bobbin threads can help reset tension too.

2. Fabric Not Feeding Correctly Under the Presser Foot

Another common problem is the fabric not moving smoothly and feeding evenly under the presser foot as you sew. This can cause skipped stitches, puckered seams, or even needle breaks.

Proper adjustment of the presser foot height is essential for smooth gliding of the fabric. Make sure the presser foot bar and lever are securely connected and not damaged. Consult your manual for how to raise or lower the presser foot height – there may be a height adjustment screw.

It’s also important that feed dogs in the needle plate aren’t clogged with lint. Gently clean them out using a brush. A damaged needle plate can impair fabric feeding as well, in which case you may need to have it replaced.

3. Presser Foot is Skipping Stitches

If your presser foot isn’t applying enough pressure, the fabric can slip and cause skipped stitches. A bent or damaged needle can also result in stitch skipping.

Try tightening the presser foot screw or connecting bar to increase its downward pressure. If adjusting the foot doesn’t help, switch out the needle. Be sure to insert the needle properly, pushing it all the way up into the needle clamp.

Sewing Machine Presser Foot Care Tips

Taking good care of your presser feet, and your sewing machine in general, can prevent many common problems. Here are some top maintenance tips:

  • Use the correct presser foot – Different presser feet are made for various fabric types and techniques. Refer to your manual for recommendations.
  • Clean lint frequently – Lint and threads on the feed dogs and bobbin case can impede smooth fabric feeding.
  • Lubricate as directed – Keep presser feet bars oiled and moving parts well-lubricated.
  • Follow tension guides – Your manual will provide tension settings for different fabrics; this prevents uneven stitches.
  • Replace bent/damaged needles – Blunt or bent needles can damage presser feet and cause stitch issues.
  • Get regular service checks – Sewing techs can spot potential presser foot problems before they worsen.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common causes of uneven stitching?

Uneven stitching is often caused by incorrect top thread tension, improperly inserted needle, dull needle, wrong size needle, poor quality thread, lint buildup under the throat plate, improper presser foot pressure, or misaligned timing.

Why is my fabric puckering under the presser foot?

Puckering fabric is generally a sign of too much tension on your top thread. Make sure the presser foot pressure is adjusted properly for the fabric thickness and loosen the top thread tension. Re-threading the top and bobbin threads can help too.

How do I know if my presser foot pressure needs adjusting?

If stitches are uneven, fabric feeds unevenly, or layers shift while sewing, your presser foot pressure likely needs adjusting. Check your manual for how to adjust the pressure dial or screw on your machine.

My needle keeps breaking – what should I check?

Frequent needle breaks usually indicate the needle is hitting something like the needle plate throat. Make sure the needle is installed correctly and the presser foot height is adjusted properly so the needle clears the throat plate.

What causes skipped stitches?

Skipped stitches can be caused by a bent or damaged needle, loose presser foot pressure, buildup on feed dogs, poor quality thread, or improper needle/thread sizes for the fabric.

How often should I have my sewing machine serviced?

Most sewing machine manufacturers recommend having your machine professionally cleaned and serviced once a year. This helps prevent issues like presser foot problems before they occur.


With some basic troubleshooting and regular TLC for your presser feet, you can get your sewing machine running like new again. No more uneven stitches or puckered seams! Paying attention to proper setup, adjustment, and maintenance will have your presser feet guiding fabric perfectly in no time.

Have you encountered any unusual sewing machine presser foot problems? How did you get them resolved? Share your troubleshooting tips and tricks with the sewing community!


Main image: pexels

Priti Nandy
Priti Nandy
Articles: 169

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *