11 Sewing Machine Feed Dog Problems and Solutions

Every problem comes up with a solution, and this is among those sayings we have been listening to for a very long time. It doesn’t matter whether you are busy with any regular activities or looking forward to engaging in some other tasks.

If a problem is rising, a solution is also there. In the same manner, we can look forward to sewing machine problems. Sewing machine problems related to feed dog are pretty standard.

Sometimes individuals are not able to figure out the exact cause behind it. So they put in a lot of effort, but unfortunately, no solution helps them fix the issue.

If you are also facing some feed dog problems, there is nothing to worry about anymore. But, today, we will highlight some common sewing machine problems related to the feed dogs to fix them.

Thus, the next time a problem arises, you can see a solution available in your hands.

Before we know about the tips to solve them, we suggest you know about the cause. Thus, kindly pay attention to the details so that fixing the problem will be easy for you.

1. Sewing Machine Feed Dog Not Pulling Forward

sewing machine feed dog not pulling forward

When the feed dogs are not moving back and forth, the stitch length might be the cause behind it. It makes string projection difficult, and in the end, the feed dogs do not move.

Solution – Adjust Your Stitch Length

Whenever you are setting up the sewing machine, check out the stitch length. Moreover, you can set it according to the fabric. Without moving the fabric forward or backward, set up the high enough stitch length.

The typical stitch length is zero, and according to the fabric, you can adjust the same. So on a rough fabric of the same stuff, try to change it.

Additionally, many machines come up with different options for stitch length. Thus, you need to check it out. Please don’t set it to higher because it also causes the back and forth problem with the feed dogs.

Additionally, check out if you didn’t install the bobbin correctly. That’s because incorrect installation can also cause the back and forth problem.

2. Feed Dogs Stuck in the Down Position

Sometimes the feed dogs get stuck in the down position. Yet, it is helpful in freehand sewing. But this is not applicable every time. So at that moment, you need to consider the below-mentioned tips.

feed dogs stuck in the down position

Solution – Check the Lever

Check out the needle and make sure it is turned as high as it will go. If it is not in the same position, then this problem will happen. Check out the manual to know how to level the feed dogs in a particular scenario.

In some cases, people turned the needle in one complete rotation towards themselves, and this also raised the feed dogs above the needle plates.

Do check out the feed dog lever. If it is in a downward state, then you need to change it immediately.

Apart from these common issues, sometimes, when the users switch to the down position for sewing after a few stitches, the feed dogs do not work correctly.

Do check it out and then move ahead. Also, we suggest you get a test on the fabric to see whether it will work in your favor or not.

3. Sewing Machine Feed Dog Won’t Raise

Some users face a lot of trouble raising the feed dogs. If the same is happening with you, then don’t worry at all and at the very first understand that it is not a simple thing to do.

You may need to follow a set of correct steps to rectify this issue. So, check out the solution below and see if it can solve this specific problem.

Solution – Use the Handwheel


Step 1: At the very first, make sure you raise the presser foot. It is crucial to raise the presser foot so that you can implement the following steps.

Step 2: Now, after getting sure that it is in a position, manually turn the handle down until it is audible. Then, the feed dogs click back in place.

Step 3: If you are not able to hear the clicking sound, turn the handwheel again. Now, check out whether you raised the feed dog back into the position or not.

If the feed dog doesn’t raise even after following these steps, you need to approach the respective company to fix the issue. If you prefer to get it done by a local service provider, always approach a well-qualified technician to fix the issue.

4. Feed Dogs Getting Dirty

If the feed dog area is dirty and you can notice dust and debris in that place, moving the fabric will be difficult. Moreover, the task will not get completed.

At that moment, users need to clean the machine properly and try to utilize it again.

Solution – Frequent Cleaning Is Mandatory

If you want the machine’s life to get enhanced, keep track of all parts that are working well. Moreover, make sure there is no dust accumulated in that place.

Check out the area underneath the needle and around the feed dogs. That’s because such places are highly susceptible to catching dust.

In the end, the dust might cause a lot of problems. Sometimes it leads to jamming problems and all other related issues.

5. Feed Dogs Not Working Correctly Due to Fine Fabric

feed dogs not working correctly due to fine fabric

If you are using fine fabric at the moment, you may notice that the feed dogs of your machine are not working correctly. Unfortunately, it is quite a frequent issue with silky fabrics.

Solution – Adjust Pressure on the Presser Foot

Make sure to put appropriate pressure on the presser foot to get the best results. Also, to fix the same issue, you need to change the pressure over the presser foot, which is essential for keeping the fabric and moving it along.

If you don’t modify the pressure, you will not see the results on delicate fabrics. According to the fabric, there is a certain pressure that you need to exert on the presser foot.

6. Problems With the Timing of Feed Dogs

Right now, there is a timing issue problem that happens quite often with modern sewing machines. You can notice the timing issue in different areas of the machine.

It majorly happens with the needle and bob. But it also has a minor influence on the feed dog. So at that moment, to solve the same issue, the steps are as follows.

Solution – Check the Timing Issue

Step 1: At the very first, you need to replace all the worn-out parts. Put the machine on the straight stitch with a long stitch length.

Step 2: Turn the handwheel for a while and stop it immediately when the trim point is high enough. At this point, you need to turn the feed gears by hand and check out the movement from the feed dogs.

Step 3: If the feed dogs are not working correctly, you know the timing is off.

It is not a problem that an individual can resolve efficiently at home. Thus, it is a suggestion that you should approach the technician to fix it.

If you are trying to fix it, this may lead to some other timing issues and problems with the machine.

7. Broken Feed Dogs

broken feed dogs

Broken feed dogs are also a significant concern and will not let you use the machine properly. You better know how vital these feed dogs are to complete your sewing tasks.

So, if your machine has a broken feed dog, it may not work as usual.

Solution – Replace the Feed Dogs

At this moment, you need to approach the mechanic, who can replace it immediately.

For broken feed dogs, adopting any of the methods mentioned above is not a solution at all. Therefore, before moving ahead to any of the solutions, check out the broken feed dogs. Also, check out whether these are broken or in an appropriate condition.

8. Poor Feed Technique

Some people are not aware of how to operate the machine. So, in such situations, it leads to inappropriate machine operation.

Thus, sometimes poor feeding technique is also the reason. So, fix it before it gives birth to any other issue.

Solution – Learn the Proper Feed Technique

At this moment, we suggest you go through the manual available. Moreover, check out how to operate it sufficiently.

When you know how to operate your sewing machine efficiently, it will be easy for you to get the best results with the feed dogs installed.

9. Brother Sewing Machine Feed Dogs Not Moving Fabric

There are a number of things you can check to see why your fabric is not feeding. Listed below are steps you can follow to identify and fix the problem. 

  1. Stitch Length– check whether your stitch length is set at 0 or no feeding. Stitch length directly affects your feed dogs. There is less fabric pulled through for shorter length and longer stitch pulls more fabric. If you find your stitch length at 0, reset it between 2 and 3.
  2. Needle– A damaged needle may cause your feed dog to malfunction. If it is damaged, insert a new needle and make sure it is set up the right way. The flat side of your needle should be toward the back. 
  3. Thread– Tangled thread is unavoidable when sewing. Fix this by unthreading your machine and removing the bobbin from its bobbin case. Clean loose threads underneath the needle plate and re-thread your machine correctly. If your thread gets tangled, don’t turn the pulley by force. It might cause your stitches to form incorrectly.
  4. Needle Size, Thread Size and Fabric Combination– choosing the compatible needle and thread for your fabric will give you fewer issues. Make sure that you are using the proper materials to avoid problems.
  5. Make sure that your feed dogs are up to help guide the fabric and that the darning plate is not installed on the needle plate.

If you still encounter issues after doing the steps above, you can check your machine’s manual and check what else you can do to troubleshoot. 

10. Janome Sewing Machine Feed Dog Not Working

Sewing machine repair is commonplace in sewing and knowing how to troubleshoot can save you a big amount of time and effort. Some problems are easily solved with cleaning and a few tweaks, and  a non-functioning feed dog is an easy fix. 

However, identifying the reason why your feed dog is not working can be tricky. Before you can fix the problem, you have to first identify the cause. This way, the troubleshooting process will be smooth. There is nothing more frustrating than a sewing machine not working the way it’s supposed to. Here are the most common causes why your feed dog is not working and how you can fix them. 

janome sewing machine feed dog not working

Your presser foot might still be in the upright position.

The feed dog won’t be able to pull your fabric through if your presser foot is not put down. Simply push the designated button/lever to lower your presser foot and have a test run to see if your fabric goes Through. If you’ve tried running your machine before and it caused a jam, unclog it and get rid of excess thread. 

Feed dog gets stuck and won’t go back up.

To fix this, remove your bobbin cover, bobbin and needle plate, and check if the feed dog lever is in the down position. Manually lift the feed dogs using a screwdriver and return removed pieces to their proper place. Switch on your machine and try sewing again. 

For regular sewing, the feed dog should be in the up position. Turn the handwheel in    c your direction to see if the feed dog emerges after pulling the lever up.

The feed dog is full of lint.

Before you start cleaning, turn off and unplug your machine. Remove the presser foot, needle, and unscrew the needle plate. Clean the feed dogs with a lint brush or a vacuum cleaner. 

Basic troubleshooting is available in the manual that comes with your machine. You can also find your specific Janome machine model and download the manual from their website. https://www.janome.com/support/manuals/

11. Brother Sewing Machine Feed Dogs Won’t Raise

Not everyone may know about Feed Dog Position switches in sewing machines especially if you haven’t thoroughly explored the manual before using the machine. Feed dog position switch is present in every Brother sewing machine, but the location may vary depending on the machine model. 

To raise or lower the feed dog, you have to first locate the position switch/knob. Once you do, your feed dogs can be easily lowered or raised, as you see fit. For instances when your feed dogs won’t raise, you can follow these troubleshooting steps:

  1. Turn the handwheel in your direction for one full rotation to make sure the needle is at its highest position. This will raise the feed dogs above the needle plate. 
  2. Check the feed dog position switch. If it is on the right, the feed dogs are not raised. Switch it to the left hand position to raise. 
  3. To re-engage the feed dogs, rotate the handwheel towards you for a full round. 

When you have your feed dogs in the proper place but they are still below the stitch plate, take your machine to the closest Authorized Brother Service Center for service.

Sewing Machine Feed Dog Adjustment

Just underneath your presser foot, you will find metal teeth raised which are called the Feed Dogs. They are responsible for helping the bottom cloth pass through the sewing machine to create a high-quality stitch.

Feed dogs height adjustment mostly depends on the type of fabric you are using for your sewing project. The presser foot pressure and feed dog height must be modified to fit the fabric to avoid damaging the fabric if the feed dog is raised too high. If it is positioned too low and the presser foot pressure is too low, the stitch length might come out not even. 

Home sewing machines come with feed dog position switches. Depending on the brand and model, it may be found in different locations. You can check the manuals for your machine’s specific model to see. For brands like Brother, it is usually found at the back of the machine. 

Industrial or older model machines may not have switches that automatically raise or lower feed dogs. Instead, they use a plate to cover the feed dogs. These plates are also used with darning and freehand quilting, where the feed dogs are required to be lowered down or covered completely.

How Do Feed Dogs Work on Sewing Machines?

Feed dogs are the metal teeth that come out of the hole in the sewing machine’s throat plate. These are essential to complete the sewing operations by producing a high-quality stitch.

If these are not working correctly, people will not get a high-quality stitch. Thus, there will be difficulty in completing the task.

How to Clean the Feed Dog on Your Sewing Machine?

For cleaning the feed dog of the sewing machine, you need to brush the bobbin area out of the feed dog. So, with the help of a paintbrush and cotton swabs, anyone can clean feed dogs quickly at home.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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