Pressure Adjustment—Parts of a Sewing Machine

Workshop with sewing machine
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The pressure adjustment sets the amount of pressure that the presser foot will exert on the fabric. Downward pressure on the presser foot holds the fabric between the feed dog and sewing machine foot. The amount of pressure would need to vary if you were switching between lightweight sheer fabric and multiple layers of denim for the machine to feed the fabric evenly.

When to Make an Adjustment to the Amount of Pressure

  • If you find that the fabric will slip when the presser foot is down, you need to increase the pressure on the presser foot.
  • If the fabric is held so tightly that the feed dog is unable to move the fabric, decrease the amount of pressure on the presser foot.
  • If one layer of the fabric warps or moves along faster than other layers, adjusting the pressure adjustment will usually help all of the layers feed evenly under the presser foot.

Where Is the Pressure Adjustment?

On most sewing machines the pressure adjustment is on the top of the sewing machine above the needle area of the sewing machine. As with everything about sewing machines, the manual that came with your machine or a replacement manual for your sewing machine is the best guide to knowing exactly where things are on your sewing machine.

Alternatives to Pressure Adjustments

Adjusting the pressure on the presser foot does not always solve the problem. A walking foot (also called an even feed foot) is your next line of defense to make layers of fabric feed evenly under the presser foot.

At times, fabrics such as vinyl will stick to the presser foot and not feed properly. A Teflon foot or tissue paper over the vinyl can solve the problem.