HEEEEEEEEEEEEEELP! Feeddog problem with my sewing machine

Dear readers – my sewing machine is broken!! Before I fork out a large chunk of money to send it in for repair, i was wondering if I can get some tips and suggestions from any of you and do it myself.
I dont think I ever gushed about my brother embroidery sewing machine HE240. Its a nice machine and I’ve been using it almost every week for the past 4 years or so. Recently she started choking. Specifically, i think its feeddog isnt working so well. Sometimes when I turn the machine on, instead of pulling fabric to the back to allow me to sew forward, the feeddog would feed the fabric in the wrong direction. However, all I needed to do is to power the machine off and on again, and try that until it gets in a state where feeddog is feeding in the right direction. I didnt feel like taking it to the shop because sometimes I cannot reproduce the issue – feeddog runs in the right direction after powering on. Also I couldnt find the time to actually go to the repair shop.
Well, recently I started sewing with knits a lot more, and I have to use one of those fancier stitches that needs the feeddog to go back and forth. well, it is broken to the point of no longer to be able to do that! I would make a stitch and i can see that feed dog would only go in one direction, and my fancy stitch looks… not so fancy. The worst thing is, because its a fancy stitch, I cant use my vintage sewing machines in the meanwhile – they can only do straight stitch or very simple stitches.
What could be wrong? Any tips you could give me that would allow me to fix this myself? Unfortunately this is no longer covered under their warrantee. It almost feels like an electronic issue than mechanical, though i cant imagine the electronics breaking down before the machinary. HELP! I havent gotten my sewing on for the past week and I am experience some withdrawal issue.

8 thoughts on “HEEEEEEEEEEEEEELP! Feeddog problem with my sewing machine

  1. What have you done to troubleshoot since? If you haven’t done so already, at the very least, get rid of the lint, loose threads, and dust under the feed dogs. I use my vacuum cleaner to do this job. It has a hose and even without fancy attachments does a much better job than a lint brush. Follow your machine’s manual on cleaning and maintenance. If you no longer have the manual, try Brother’s website.

    Your sewing machine could very well require professional maintenance after using a sewing machine every week for the past four years.

    What exactly is the fancy stitch you are using on your knit? Are you sewing a seam? A hem? If you don’t mind giving more specifics, perhaps the knit can be salvaged just using a straight stitch or a narrow zig-zag on the seams. The hems can be finished by using LiteSteamASeam2 (stabilize hem edge) and a double needle.

    1. Thank you! ive vacuumed it before and I just tried it again. still doesnt work. i suppose it is time to take it in for a pro to take a look!

      I could use a zigzag on the knit, but it doesnt look as good. the fancy stitch somewhat imitate a coverstitch, i think… but a double needle may be a good idea. i need to see if my other machines can do double needles!

  2. If you have already tried the normal fixes like cleaning and oiling the machine (although since I use an old metal singer, I don’t know if thats possible on more modern machines), considering that you have an electronic machine, the nature of your problem suggests a control problem. I would suspect that there is a glitch in the controlling computer, which would explain its inability to do fancy stitches.

  3. Alas, this does not sound like a simple cleaning issue. It sound either like an electronic issue (since your machine has electronics that tell it when to go forward and backward and side to side) or I suppose it could be a problem with a cam or gear. Although I really haven’t been inside one of the more recent electronic or computerized machines to see how much of that stitch is formed by an electronic servo pushing and pulling things around. It certainly sounds as if it will take a fairly sophisticated tinkerer to fix it, if not a real brother service center. Good luck. It is just awful feeling at the mercy of some shop when you don’t have enough information or knowledge to know if they are being straight with you.

    1. yeah, i totally agree. thanks for the suggestions. i also hope this wont cost too much to fix – otherwise it might make more sense to buy a new machine, which i dont want to do!

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