Sewing Machine Foot Pedal How It Works: Explained

Last Updated on 9 months by Susan Mayrich

The answer to sewing machine foot pedal how it works is easier to understand if you know the basic mechanism. This article will discuss the primary function of this part and the most common type, the two-foot pedals. You will also learn the reasons why it might not work and the best way to test it. 

sewing machine foot pedal how it works

We also advise that you read this tutorial on how to set up a sewing machine. Knowing the ideal way to prepare and use the device is crucial for its performance and longevity. Furthermore, it’s one of the ways to keep your machine foot pedal working smoothly.  


How The Sewing Machine Foot Pedal Works


The mechanism of the sewing machine foot pedal

The sewing machine foot pedal controls the speed of your sewing. Like the gas pedal of a car, applying more pressure to the machine foot pedal will make it work faster. But, on the contrary, you can slow down its sewing by pressing it less. 

The foot pedal will also only work correctly and accurately if the overall mechanism has no issue. This means that the cords inside fit perfectly, and there are no other damages and issues on this part of the sewing machine. And to help you understand it better, here is how the two-foot pedal works on standing sewing machines:


The most common type of pedal mechanism in sewing machines

Standing sewing machines use left and right pedals and this mechanism is called the two-foot pedal. It is the most foot pedal mechanism and understanding it will help you get how a foot pedal works in a sewing machine. To put it simply, the left pedal controls the speed according to your foot pressure, while the right pedal stops the sewing machine. 


What Is A Sewing Machine Walking Foot?

The walking foot of the sewing machine is essentially a type of bulky presser foot. It’s not available in all sewing machines, and it’s not the same as the foot pedal. However, you can also purchase the walking foot separately if you’ll always work on challenging materials such as denim, leather, silk, quilting, and bulky seams since this accessory prevents fabric slippage. 

You can also read this guide on how a sewing machine works to understand each part of the unit and its function. 


How Do You Control A Foot Pedal On A Sewing Machine?

You can easily control the sewing machine foot pedal based on your pressure when stepping on it. However, a helpful tip to remember is to do some stretches and massage your feet now and then during sewing. This way, you won’t feel tired and lose control when pressing the foot pedal on the sewing machine.


How Do You Test A Foot Pedal On A Sewing Machine?

  1. Unplug the sewing machine
  2. Open the foot pedal on the sewing machine by loosening the screws and sliding the bottom cover off
  3. Inspect the interior parts of the foot pedal and clean it carefully
  4. Use a circuit tester or a continuity tester to test resistance in ohms
  5. Set the tester’s probes accordingly and press down on the foot pedal
  6. If there are no deviances in values, then the technical system of the sewing machine foot pedal is working correctly
  7. If the results are negative, it’s better to contact a professional or learn how to service a sewing machine

Why Is My Sewing Machine Foot Pedal Not Working?

  • Issues on gears or motor 
  • Wiring failure or capacitor
  • Unstable current or voltage spikes
  • Speed too slow or too fast
  • Pressure from your foot resting on the pedal when you’re not working
  • Moisture that affected the electronic

Can you use the sewing machine without a foot pedal?

Some sewing machines will still work even without a foot pedal. Instead, you can operate them with buttons to directly control the machine. Digital models even offer both options, depending on what the user finds more comfortable. 


Can You Use Any Foot Pedal On Your Sewing Machine?

You could use any foot pedal on your sewing machine if the brand mentioned using a universal pedal. It should be easy to know if the pedal is compatible since manufacturers will list the brands that their universal foot pedal can work with. If you want to guarantee a perfect fit, get the foot pedal from the same sewing machine brand or ask the brand’s customer service if the product is compatible with your specific sewing machine. 


How Do I Keep My Foot Pedal From Sliding?

The foot pedal can move and slide if you are working on tiles or wooden floors. Therefore, you’ll need a grip pad or non-skid mat to secure the pedal in place. You can also use a footrest as long as you can still comfortably keep your heel on the ground when you sew. 



Was this article helpful? To recap sewing machine foot pedal how it works; the more pressure applied to it will have the unit working faster. You can think of it the same way a gas pedal operates on a car. 

It’s also worth noting that issues such as wiring failure and unstable current can cause the foot pedal not to work correctly. If the problems are electronic, it’s best to bring the sewing machine to an authorized repair center. 


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