Adjusting the presser foot pressure on your sewing machine

Today I was quilting a good sized quilt using Warm and White Batting and had some problem with the top fabric puckering.  I reduced the presser foot pressure – an easy task with my Brother Dreamweaver, since it is one of the basic settings for the machine that can be adjusted using the touch screen.  This is a topic that has come up a couple of times lately and is an adjustment many of my quilting students aren’t familiar with, so I decided to mention it here.

Note that we are talking about how hard the presser foot pushes down on the fabric.  This is totally separate from thread tension, which is another important adjustment that we talk about more often.

Most higher end and/or older sewing machines have a presser foot pressure adjustment.  Some low end newer machines probably don’t.  On the newest high end machines it is probably computerized and can be set from the touch screen.  On older machines it will be a manual setting.  As always, consult your sewing machine manual or your local dealer.

I found a very nice video by Marguerita McManus on youtube that shows several different machines and where the pressure adjustment is located, and then also shows you how to do a very simple test to determine the proper setting for your quilting.  She shows a couple of examples of different settings needed for different quilting sandwiches, depending upon the batting being used.  I like her examples because you can duplicate her tests quickly with your own fabric, batting, and sewing machine to determine the settings that work best for you.

There are also several other places on the internet where descriptions are given of how to adjust the presser foot pressure, but I think Marguerita’s video gives the best simple explanation for quilters.  Here is the link to the video:

You will have to wait through the ad at the beginning before the actual video starts  — so don’t panic and think you have gone to the wrong link.

Hope this is useful for you!



4 thoughts on “Adjusting the presser foot pressure on your sewing machine

    1. Shirley at Mystery Bay Quilt Design Post author

      Glad to be of help, Sharon! Depending upon your machine, sometimes just using the walking foot instead of a regular foot will be enough to eliminate the puckering — but it is always good to have another trick up your sleeve for the times when the walking foot doesn’t solve the problem completely.


      1. Shirley at Mystery Bay Quilt Design Post author

        Great, the walking foot is absolutely essential for good quilting. I also use it for putting on bindings, since it keeps the top fabric from being pushed forward. I hope you ordered an open-toed walking foot, because that allows you to really see what you are sewing. Much easier to stitch in the ditch or see up to a corner and turn, sew around curves, etc. Personally I don’t know why anyone would want a closed toe walking foot, but that is the kind all the dealers will sell you unless you specifically ask for the open toed version! If you didn’t order the open toe version, perhaps you can get the store to exchange it before you have used it. Good luck and happy quilting, Shirley

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