Thursday, July 22, 2010

How do I lower feed dogs?

I'm looking for an answer about how to lower feed dogs on my Singer 15-88 from 1935.  According to the instruction booklet for this and similar machines, loosening the turn screw on the right should lower feed dogs, but when I do that, the feed dogs continue to hold their position.
Obviously, this machine sat unused for many years (although it was a matter of neglect rather than abuse or misuse; the machine was very clean when I received it).

I've applied quite a bit of Tri-flow where the two pieces meet, thinking that would loosen it up.  The bracket nearest the head of the turn screw has a kidney shaped slot that indicated to me that the screw should be able to slide along that shape to lower the feed dogs.  However, it doesn't do that--seems pretty stuck to me.

So......I'm looking for ideas on how to get it to move.  (Yes, I know many people machine quilt with the feed dogs in place and by setting the stitch length to zero; however, I really dislike the way the feed dogs grab at the quilt when they are up--and I feel that way about any machine I've used, not just this one.)

I would love some advice from people who've solved this problem, including OSMG's [Old Sewing Machine Guys/Gals].


Dolly said...

I also have an old Singer, and never even knew that lowering the feed-dogs was an option !
I haven't tried it, but would think that you could cover them with something like an old credit card or something, taping around it, and then remove that later.

Just a thought. Hope you figure it out !

Dolly said...

Actually, I just looked it up in my book and found what you're talking about, under the topic "DARNING OR EMBROIDERING".
It said to "unscrew as far as possible", so when mine stopped turning easily, and as you said, still didn't disengage the feed-dogs, I used pliers to turn it a couple more turns. When this still didn't disengage them, I chickened out and stopped, afraid that I would make something come apart that I couldn't repair ! My hubby was always my machine man, but since his strokes, I do things myself, and am a little hesitant to get in over my head.
It looks like if that screw were out all the way, maybe the feed-dogs couldn't move, but I don't know for certain. Sorry I couldn't be of more help !

Dolly said...

Got it !
If you take that thumbscrew all the way out (even if you have to use pliers), you can then armwrestle the left side forward....this lowers the feed-dogs. I then put the screw back in and tightened it down, holding the feed-dogs where I want them until I'm ready to move them back up.
Mine was kind-of 'frozen' in place,'s a Singer 15-91.

Ann said...

OH - is that how you do it!
I'm going to lower the feed dogs on one of my Singer treadles and we'll be off to the races!

Thanks for the information and I love your site, it's colorful, itneresting and very comfortasble to look around and get ideas.

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