Sewing Machine Foot Pedal Not Working – Reasons and Solutions

When you’re deeply engrossed in a sewing project and your machine suddenly stops, the frustration is real. Often, a malfunctioning foot pedal is to blame. There are several reasons why a foot pedal might give you trouble.

Let’s dive into the common foot pedal issues and how to tackle them, based on my extensive experience with sewing machines.

Why Does Sewing Machine Foot Pedal Stop Working?

Why Does Sewing Machine Foot Pedal Stop Working?

The foot pedal can stop working for many reasons. Maybe it is short, or your sewing speed is too slow, and many other possible reasons. So let’s check out each reason along with its simple solution.

1. You Might Be Sewing Too Slow

When performing any sewing, you need to use the right pace. Usually, when sewing, you should not be too slow. Sewing slowly is one of the reasons why the foot pedal will stop working.

When sewing slowly, you insinuate the foot pedal to become very hot. Usually, when running the machine at a low speed and then on for longer hours, it cuts the current off as time goes by. The rheostat is the device responsible for lowering the current.

As the sewing machine gets hot, it builds up and “energy burns” in it that easily transfers to the rheostat, making the temperatures high too. Ultimately, the foot pedal will also become too hot to a point where it is hard to sew.

Solution – Sew at a Constant Speed

The best thing you can do here to avoid this is to increase the sewing speed. Besides, you need not run it at a very high speed. Of course, it won’t help you sew faster, but that will make the foot pedal hot.

Increasing the speed a little may fix the problem. However, if you feel that you are no longer comfortable with the machine running at such a speed, put your shoes on and work with them. You can also unplug the pedal for a few hours and give it time to cool down.

2. You Might Be Resting Your Foot on the Pedal

Resting your foot on the pedal may be another reason why it stops working. Typically when the foot is on the pedal, you may turn it on a little bit. However, you might not notice this.

Turning the pedal on will also result in heat accumulating in it. Usually, when you activate the pedal (even when you do it a little bit), it sends a small amount of current to the engine.

For the needle to move, it requires a significant amount of current. But when the power is small, the pedal sends to the engine so it may not move even an inch.

However, the pedal needs to reduce the current to a minimum amount, making it scorching over time. So, the more hot the pedal gets, the chances of it not working increase.

Sewing Machine Foot Pedal

Solution – Keep Your Foot Away From the Pedal

Fixing this issue is pretty simple! All you have to do is ensure that you do not rest your foot on your foot pedal. Especially when you are not using it, keep your foot off the pedal!

3. There Can Be a Burn on the Foot Pedal

Several reasons may cause burning of the foot pedal. Such may include leaving the foot pedal plugged in in the socket or some shocks on it.

It is pretty easy to tell that there is a burn on the foot pedal, and it is always dangerous if any of your electrical devices have a burning smell.

Usually, the foot pedal can also burn if there are issues inside the pedal itself. Maybe that issue makes it overheat hence producing the burning smell. Or in some cases, one or two components of the foot pedal are fried.

If there are parts of the foot pedal burned, then the foot pedal may stop working. Remember, too much heat also makes the foot pedal not work well, hence fixing it in case of such an event. To fix it, you need to check the pedal out and maybe replace it.

Solution – Replace a Burned Foot Pedal

Step 1: Remove the Pedal Off the Sewing Machine

Start by getting the foot pedal from the sewing machine. Also, before you do it, ensure that you unplug it off from electric power.

Step 2: Open It Up

Open the foot pedal to access the inner parts. A screw should help you in doing so.

Step 3: Examine the Burnt Parts

You need to check the parts of the foot pedal that are making it produce the burning smell. Maybe it is the capacitor that has burned, or there is another part that has fried. Check all the features to be sure which to replace.

Step 4: Replace the Parts

Once you are sure the sewing machine produces the burning smell, you need to replace it with a new one. Then close back the foot pedal and fix it back to the device.

4. There Can Be Short in the Power Cable

Sewing Machine Foot Pedal

Usually, the foot pedal has a power cable that attaches it to the machine. If there is a short on this cable, then the sewing machine foot pedal will stop working.

When sewing, ensure that you check the connections on the side of the sewing machine. When there is a short power cable, then power may not get to your sewing machine.

A shock may also occur if there are broken wires on the foot pedal. If the wires break, the foot pedal may not work. For this specific reason, it is vital to examine the connections of your sewing machine.

Solution – Check and Fix if There Is a Short on the Power Cable

There are various troubleshooting options you can use when checking for this. Here is how you do it:

Step 1: Check if You Are Getting Power in the Machine

To do this, you can start by turning on the lights. If the lights are working, then it means that you are getting power to the sewing machine.

Step 2: Ensure There Is No Broken Wire

Examine the wires of the foot pedal. Ensure that there is no blockage on the wire and that they are in perfect working condition.

Step 3: Unplug the Cable

Unplug the cable from the power socket. And also from the machines.

Step 4: Examine the Foot Pedal

Start by opening the foot pedal up using a screwdriver. Then examine its components. Check things such as the wires and ensure that nothing is blocking them.

Step 5: Replace the Foot Pedal

If you do not know why the foot pedal is short after all examinations, it may be time to replace it.

How to Open and Repair Sewing Machine Foot Pedal?

If the foot pedal of your sewing machine stops working, it, of course, requires you to fix it. But first, you need to establish the root cause of the issue to know the right way to fix it.

Some issues will require you to change the way you use the foot pedal, while in extreme cases, you will have to open it up to fix the problem.

So, make sure you prefer this method of repairing the foot pedal if there is an extreme case. Otherwise, you can carry on with simple workarounds to fix the minor issues related to a foot pedal.

Here is how you can open and repair your sewing machine foot pedal!

Step 1: Take Out the Foot Pedal

When unplugging the foot pedal, you need to ensure that you open it from the machine. Unplug the wall plug in the sewing machine.

Step 2: Disconnect It From the Power

You can now go ahead and disconnect the foot pedal from power. However, you cannot repair it when the current is flowing.

Step 3: Examine the Connection

You need to check the power connections of the foot pedal. In addition, you need to check for any burns, cracks, blocked wires, and faulty contacts within it. In case of such, it may be the top reason why the foot pedal is not working.

Examine the Connection

Step 4: Open the Foot Pedal

Open up the foot pedal. You can use a screwdriver for this that has a flat head. Also, you can open it up using anything that has a flat surface, such as a knife.

Step 5: Remove the Circuit Board

The circuit board is where most wires enable the foot to pedal to pass through. So you need to remove them so that you can examine them. You can also use a screwdriver for this step.

Step 6: Examine the Wires

Check if there are any disconnections within the wires which often happen when the foot pedal drops. Some cables may solder together within the foot pedal, making it not work well.

Step 7: Clean the Area

Clean the foot pedal area. Ensure you do away with all the dirt within it. Moreover, remove some insulation before soldering the wires together.

Step 8: Reassemble the Foot Pedal

Once you finish cleaning the area and ensuring everything is intact. Reassemble the foot pedal. Also, check if it is working again.


In the world of sewing, the foot pedal is more than just a tool – it’s the bridge between the user and the machine, governing the rhythm and pace of every stitch.

Ensuring its optimal functioning is not merely about hassle-free sewing; it’s about preserving the joy and creativity that sewing brings.

Regular maintenance and prompt addressing of minor issues can prevent major disruptions and extend the life of your foot pedal.

But remember, while DIY fixes can solve many problems, don’t hesitate to seek professional expertise when faced with complex issues. In the end, a smoothly functioning foot pedal is key to a seamless sewing experience.

Here’s to many more hours of uninterrupted creativity at your sewing machine!

Can You Use a Sewing Machine Without Any Foot Pedal?

Can You Use a Sewing Machine Without Any Foot Pedal?

Yes, you can use a sewing machine without a foot pedal. However, this may be only possible if you use a computerized sewing machine, for instance, the Janome sewing machine.

Such devices work even without the foot pedal, and they tend to make your sewing much faster and easy. Other old sewing machines, such as the Singer models, use knee press rather than the foot pedal.

Are Sewing Machine Foot Pedals Universal?

Some sewing machine foot pedals are universal, while others are not. It all goes down to the model of the sewing machine. If you are dealing with an old sewing machine, it may be hard to be compatible with a universal foot pedal.

The same case applies when using a high-end foot pedal. While some foot pedals are versatile, it is essential to ensure that you use one that perfectly fits your machine.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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