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needle placement question

KendraWrites | Posted in General Sewing Info on

OK – this will probably effectively reveal that I am new to sewing  🙂

The needle on my sewing machine is not in the middle placement.   It is to the left, so that I can only use the foot for straight stitching.   How can I get that needle to move over to the middle position?    I hope that is a general question and not dependent on my sewing machine make and model (by the way, it is a Kenmore).


  1. bonkers | | #1

    Yes Kendra, The needle placement depends on whether your machine allows you to move it My old Domestic was a fixed needle model. When i bought a new one I made sure it was ajustable. There should be a lever on top of the machine or on the side that says needle position. But remember, there were millions of garments made long before this feature was available,so don`t let it slow you down. Keep sewing, Bonkers

    1. KendraWrites | | #2

      I know it must be adjustable because with it on the side, I can't use some of the feet that come with the machine.    I'll look for the lever.   Thanks!

  2. HeartFire2 | | #3

    Your machine may not be adjustable for the straight stitch. It will do a zig zag stitch, but some models you can't move the position of the needle. I hate machines that start with the needle to the left, but I guess you get used to it, my mothers old Kenmore was like that!

  3. Josefly | | #4

    I have an old Singer (circa 1965, model 603E) and it has a button on the front of the machine, up near where the zig-zag-stitch width selector is. The button has to be pushed in and moved up or down, to move the needle to the left or right or back to center. I think Singer was making Kenmores back then. Could your machine have a similar button? If you can't find a way to set the needle position, is it possible you have a used machine with feet and other attachments that actually belong to another model? Good luck.

  4. spicegirl | | #5

    If you do not have a manual, check the Sears website to order one - and you will need the model number.   

    As boring as this sounds you cannot live without a manual - even after you have mastered the machine, you may still need to go back to the manual for a refresher.   

    Every manufacture and model (new or old) will differ in some of their functions.

    For what its worth - my machine works this way - with the stitch selector set for straight stitch,  the zig-zag width regulator is used to move the needle position to the left or right. 

    Good luck and best wishes.


    1. KendraWrites | | #9

      I ordered the manual online at sewusa because they charged $10 and I could download it immediatelyand Sears was going to charge $25, including shipping and take 4-6 weeks. 

      So, I got the manual and found that the solution is quite simple.   The "width" lever controls the needle position.   I had never manipulated that lever, as I am very new to sewing and so far have only performed a straight stitch in making PJs with flannel  :)

      I moved that width lever to the right and like magic, the needle moved to the right along with the lever.

      Thanks for everyone's suggestions!  

      1. spicegirl | | #11

        What a relief when things start working like they should!  Glad you found a better deal on the manual.   

  5. User avater
    wghmch | | #6

    "I think Singer was making Kenmores back then."Not so. Singer never made machines with the Kenmore name.During the 50s & 60s, many ZZ machines were made with the straight stitch on the left. This was done so that the machine could create a buttonhole with a cutting space, and/or sew on a button. If the starting needle position was only center, there was no way it could buttonhole, and when you sewed on a button, if you returned the width to zero to tie off the thread, it would come down in the center. It was much cheaper to make the machines with a left-only position than it was to install another mechanism to allow you to change the starting position.If you are sure that the attachments that you have are for this machine, you may have a straight stitch foot and/or a needle plate with only a straight stitch needle hole. Either of these should tell you where the straight stitch has to be.Bill Holman

    1. User avater
      Thimblefingers | | #7

      Bill is correct.  Sears itself made Kenmores up to some years ago when they started being made by Janome.  (I used to repair sewing machines for a company that was contracted by Sears to repair their machines back in the 70's). 

      If your bobbin/bobbin case are inserted from the left, as opposed to the front, then your needle position is definitely to the left for normal straight stitching.  Without seeing the machine, I can't tell if there is a way to get it to sew centre straight stitch, but many machines will have a way to do it, it's just not obvious by looking at the machine. 

      Could you post a picture of it? 

      1. User avater
        wghmch | | #8

        "Sears itself made Kenmores up to some years ago when they started being made by Janome."Sorry, but Sears has never made a machine themselves, or much of anything else for that matter. You can identify who made a Sears product by the prefix in the model #, and I have most of them for SMs if anyone needs them."If your bobbin/bobbin case are inserted from the left, as opposed to the front, then your needle position is definitely to the left for normal straight stitching."Close, but not exactly correct. The models that used the left starting position were primarily "end loaders," but in many brands, Kenmore included, there were some models that had left starting positions in both front and end loaders, but not all of them of either style.Bill Holman

      2. thehat | | #12

        I had one that you had three knobs and that moved your needle and then you had to lock it in place with one of the three knobs

  6. Teaf5 | | #10

    As a long-time Kenmore user, I'm pretty sure that you can either move the needle over, or...you may have it accidentally set on Hemstitch. On my Kenmore, setting the stitch to Hem moves the needle to the left, even if I have the width on Straight. It will stitch straight down the left side.To check, take the thread out and the foot off (so that it doesn't break the needle while experimenting) and play around with the different stitch settings (a dial on some machines) and width/length settings, then watch it as it runs. Keep your fingers away from the needle, and test the stitch on a piece of lined paper.Ask again if you don't figure it out...there are a lot of possibilities and a lot of good ideas out here!

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