Friday, July 2, 2010

Machine Fridays - Presser Foot Pressure

Presser Foot Pressure.  What is it and what is it used for?

I found out the answer to that question this week when I was doing some appliqueing and did not like the puckers I was getting in my fabric.  Why did I get puckers?  Here is what I tried first.

  1. Checked my needle, it could be damaged.
  2. Inserted new needle size and type recommended for the type of fabric I was using.  Cotton = Quilting needle size 75 for piecing. 
  3. Rethreaded top and bobbin threads.
  4. Made sure I was using thread type to match fiber and sewing technique.  Cotton fabric = cotton 50 weight thread by Aurifil and blanket stitch.  
  5. Used quality thread.  Thread Aurifil 50 cotton
  6. Use stabilizer.  Heat N bond light
  7. Checked thread tension.
Even after checking all of the above my fabric was still puckering.  I just happened to remember a dial on my machine under the lid to the left.  It's was my presser foot pressure dial (yours may be on the top or side of your machine).  I had never played with this.  I lowered the amount of presser the foot was placing on the fabric and it was no longer puckering.

The downward force on your sewing machine's presser foot plays an important part in the feeding of fabric.  Presser foot pressure provides an adequate force to hold the fabric firmly against the feed teeth when the machine is moving the cloth. It also clamps the fabric tightly against the needle plate as the needle penetrates. The presser foot pressure should be great enough to allow the feed to move the fabric through the machine uniformly without slippage.  All right enough of the background crap. 

On my Viking (and this could be different on your machine) The higher the number the more  pressure the foot puts on the fabric.  Knit and soft fabrics (like I was using) should be sewn at lower pressure.

I found something out this week and thought I would share it with you.  If your fabric puckers and you have tried all the above steps first then try your presser foot presser dial it just might do the trick. 

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Until next time,


  1. great reminder post...

    I voted!!

  2. Thanks for the pressure foot pressure reminder. I've been using the new viking walking foot with the 1/4" foot attachment for piecing. For the most part it works great and I don't usually have to pin the pieces when I use it. However, sometimes it seems like the fabric gets stuck after a couple of stitches and I can't get the fabric to move forward. I hadn't thought about adjusting the pressure.


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