Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Testing Your Presser Foot

I've noticed recently that even seasoned sewing people have the presser foot pressure too high. This has generally been with vintage machines, but will probably apply for more modern ones too, if they have an adjustment. Not that I would know of course - haven't had much to do with modern machines.
Presser bar adjuster is here on most machines

Sewing ordinary stuff, the fabric will pucker if the presser is too hard or, if it's too soft, uneven stitches will result.

Testing and adjusting is really easy and will take you less than a minute (more like 15 seconds) to check. You might even test it every time you change fabrics (I do).

1. Put fabric under the foot, leaving the needle up

2. pull the fabric back gently. 

3a If it slides back pressure is too low so screw it in a little and test again.
3b If it is very tight, lower the pressure (there's usually a screw adjuster at the top of the presser bar) a little at a time until it starts to move. Now it's just slightly too loose, so turn it in about 1/4 of a turn.

4 Perform a test sew. 

Your stitches should be perfect and never pucker, even if you're sewing silk (use a microtex needle for silk).

Next will be how to set the thread tension


  1. How you do this on pfaff 360? Tnx

  2. The same as above. The Pfaff's top cover just has to be removed first.

  3. Great tip the manual just say tighten for thick and loosen for thin material but how and by how much I ask of an inanimate object. Thank you I will use this when I next sewin on my singer 411g

    1. I'd loosen it for thicker materials actually. The increased thickness will increase the pressure which makes it difficult to feed. I advise people to re-test if sewing something thicker or thinner than usual and have a light pressure from the feed dog.
      If there's loads of pushing from the top, the feed dog can't move the work at all and you'll get tiny stitches or it might even stitch on the same spot.
      Yes, lefty loosey etc. on every machine I've used so far.
      Oh, and I bought a 411 a few weeks ago. Wonderful machine, and it has the chain stitch plate, which works. Can't wait to sew the next pair of jeans.