Sewing Machine: Fabric not moving

Problems with the feed dogs or setting stich length to 0 will prevent the fabric from moving as you sew.

Check your settings and adjust the stitch length if it's set too low or at 0. If the fabric won't move with the stitch length set properly, check the feed dogs' height. If feed dogs are too low to grab the fabric, adjust feed dog height.

If the feed dogs don't move when stitch length is set above 0, check for loose feed dog screws or broken parts. Tighten any loose feed dog screws and replace any broken feed dog parts.

sewing machine

These repairs may help solve your sewing machine problem

Adjust the sewing machine feed dogs

Adjust the sewing machine feed dogs

Raise the height of the feed dogs if they're not high enough to push the fabric forward when sewing. If the feed dogs don't move when stitch length is set above zero, then tighten loose screws on the feed dog components so that they feed dogs move properly.

Symptoms common to all sewing machines

Choose a symptom to see related sewing machine repairs.

Main causes: machine needs lubrication, internal gear failure
Main causes: disengaged clutch, broken drive belt, internal drive gear failure
Main causes: problems with the feed dogs, setting stitch length to 0
Main causes: faulty foot pedal, locked drive gears, wiring failure, bad drive motor
Main causes: dirty shuttle race, wrong thread tension, bad needle timing, damaged needle, using the wrong type of needle
Main causes: power supply failure, bad power cord, faulty On/Off switch
Main causes: lack of lubrication, lint buildup, worn drive belt, faulty drive motor
Main causes: thread bunched up in the shuttle race, bad needle timing, internal drive gear failures
Main causes: dirty shuttle race, improper thread routing, incorrect thread tension
Repair guides common to all sewing machines

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your sewing machine.

April 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a sewing machine drive motor

If the drive motor on your sewing machine runs roughly or doesn't run at all, you can replace it in about 30 minutes using these simple steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
April 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a sewing machine on/off switch

If the sewing machine is completely dead, replace the On/Off switch using these 6 steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
April 1, 2015
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How to replace a sewing machine drive belt

You can replace a broken sewing machine drive belt in about 15 minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
Articles and videos common to all sewing machines

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your sewing machine.

January 18, 2016
How to use a multimeter to test electrical parts video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn how to use a multimeter to check for wiring problems in an appliance that's not working

April 20, 2015
How to clean and maintain a sewing machine video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Discover the basics of cleaning and oiling your sewing machine, and how to protect it when not in use.

April 15, 2015
How to stop sewing machine thread from bunching under fabric video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

See what to check if the thread is bunching under the fabric as you sew.