What Is A Feed Dog On Sewing Machine

since barthelemy thimonnier, a french tailor first invented it in 1830, the sewing machine has not only helped us sew beautiful clothes, but also repaired our torn pants, skirts, and uniforms, making us allowed to save precious time.

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but have you ever been puzzled by its strange part, namely the feeding dog, which may sound intimidating for a new sewer with its extraordinary name and mysterious functions?

Reading: Feed dogs on sewing machine

Worry no more, the feed dog is not as complicated as it might seem to the uninitiated. And the more you know about it, the less daunting it will be.

what is a drag dog on a sewing machine?

is the basic sewing machine component that looks like small pointed metal “teeth” set into the seam plate below the presser foot. A feeder gently grips the bottom fabric to help it move through the machine, allowing you to focus on other sewing needs.

a feed point system advances and retracts in precisely timed, discrete increments that create an even distance between each stitch. In general, the higher the number of feed dogs on a sewing machine, the better contact the feed dogs will have with the fabric, which means more control and precision when sewing.

Are feeding dogs always visible?

Most sewing is done with the feed dogs raised and visible, as these zigzag metal nubs grip and pull the fabric through the machine, in precise increments. however, it is only during free motion machine quilting or darning that the feed dogs are dropped just below the throat plate or covered with some special plate.

what does ‘let down the feed dogs’ mean?

When you “lower the feed dogs”, you not only drop them below the needle plate, but also disable their use while sewing. This technique is primarily used for freehand motion quilting that requires you to take full control of the speed of the fabric smoothly in all directions. As a result, the seamstress can enjoy unlimited creativity and freely enrich quilts with beautiful texture.

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Elevated feed dogs, on the other hand, pull on the back of your comforter, making it more difficult to maneuver in all directions smoothly. that’s why hobby quilters are taught to lower their feed dogs using a lever or button on their machine.

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While modern sewing machines offer quick and convenient options for releasing the feed dogs, most older machines do not have this capability. Let’s unveil this functionality in the next section of the guide:

how to lower the feeder?

There are different types of machines used to sew garments and they all differ depending on the brand, manufacturer and methodology. For this reason, the feed mechanism of all sewing machines is not the same and they use different methods to move the feed dogs up and down.

  • Ultra-modern or computerized sewing machines come loaded with the goodness of a work switch that lowers the feed dogs immediately when you press it.
  • If you have an older sewing machine, then you can expect a pre-attached metal plate to cover the feed dogs, allowing you to practice free-motion quilting with ease.
  • Most quilters prefer to use playing cards or a plastic sheet to cover the feed dogs. feed teeth. that are permanently fixed and can no longer be lowered.
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Beginners are strictly advised to refer to their sewing machine instruction manual if they are unsure how to lower the feed dogs.

You still can’t put down the feeding dogs? try these tricks:

  • Cover the needle plate with a low-tack tape, which will not only help prevent moving feed dogs from grabbing the fabric, but also allow you to control the movement and direction of fabric freely.
  • Try a slider supreme: a slippery plastic sheet that fits tightly to your sewing machine like a vinyl decal; This polyester sheet perfectly covers feeding dogs. Even better, it features a small rectangular cutout in the center for the needle hole, allowing the needle to move easily.
  • In case you don’t have access to the user manual, there are instructions online available too. simply navigate to your manufacturer’s website, enter your machine’s model number, and follow the instructions.

what also goes off when dropping feed dogs?

While dropping the feed dogs helps with a “free-flow motion,” many machines simply don’t perform positively with the feed dogs dropped. As the timing of the sewing machine is closely related to the feed dogs, lowering them often makes the tension tricky, while the nested threads at the back of the fabric become much more apparent and the tension level of the quilter just fires.

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This is the main reason so many try free-motion quilting on a high note, but end up throwing in the towel simply because they can’t get a decent-looking stitch with the feed dogs down.

even worse; Bad stitches are often blamed on the sewing machine. This brings us to the biggest debacle:

is this necessary?

The truth is the normal position of the feed dogs is to be raised and engaged so that evenly spaced stitches can be sewn. after all, that is how the machine is designed to be used!

but since so many hobby quilters have been taught to strictly drop their feed dogs to aid free-motion quilting, it is naturally assumed that changing this step will damage the machine. Worse yet, even more quilters are convinced that it’s not feasible to try free motion quilting on your old machine simply because you can’t drop the feed dogs.

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but surprisingly, it’s a completely optional step! You can stop feeding dogs or even leave them. and it’s best to try both methods and see which works best for you on your specific machine: free-motion quilting when the feed dogs are up, or free-motion quilting when they’re down?

As you try different permutations and combinations to master free-motion quilting, you can also try modifying your darning foot. a valuable sewing tool with a circular opening at its base; prevents the fabric from lifting when the quilter moves the fabric.

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With a plethora of new tools introduced to the sewing market each year, the world of machine quilting is growing rapidly. the computerized darning foot, for example, takes full control of stitches to help you create consistent stitch lengths while seeking free-motion quilting, even when the feed dogs are low.

pro tip: stay up to date with recent product developments from your machine brand to see if new tools are available for your sewing machine.

Do some presser feet also have built-in feed dogs?

A feed foot or walking foot, which evenly feeds layers of fabric into the sewing machine while quilting, has feed teeth built into its base. this allows the craftsman to sew several layers of fabric at the same time.

what’s more; The built-in feed dogs on the walking foot grab hold of the top layer of fabric and push it at the same rate that the machine’s feed dogs move the bottom layer of fabric, thereby preventing the layers from falling. they move while a walking foot is one of the most versatile parts of the sewing machine that can be used for any type of sewing; it is especially useful in straight line machine quilting.

final verdict

Feed dogs are possibly the most indispensable parts of sewing machines and play a crucial role in gripping the fabric. While it’s fine to drop the feed dogs and try free-motion quilting, it’s just as viable to leave them in the normal position so you can sew evenly spaced stitches.

Regardless of which route you take, it’s best to try both methods and see what works best for you on your particular machine.

but most of all: don’t give up! and she keeps trying.

let’s go to the quilt j

Read more: Chaining and tethering dogs FAQ | The Humane Society of the United States

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