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Presser foot won’t go down?

geoffhazel | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

OK, fair warning. I don’t sew much. In fact, not at all, but with two girls in the house, we find ourselves needing a sewing machine to hem pants, and fix various things. I found a used Wards model 1947 on craigslist, and bought it for $35.00 today. When I got it home, I realized it was missing the presser foot. Oh well, I guess I can get one of those. But what has me worried is that the shaft that the presser foot fits onto seems locked in the “up” position. The lever in the back that’s supposed to raise it goes up and down but doesn’t do anything. If the presser foot “shaft” was to drop down, I’d be feeling OK but that shaft is locked in the up position.

Otherwise it seems that the machine is OK (and yes, I did plug it in and run it before I bought it) but not having any experience with sewing machines, I didn’t check to see if the presser foot was there, and/or whether or not it would go up and down.

I’m wondering if anyone can suggest to me things I can check on my own regarding the presser foot raise/lower issue, before I take it to a shop (sigh!) or just figure I dumped 35 bucks down a hole.


  1. jjgg | | #1

    I guess for $35.00 you get what you got! You can take it to a repair place and see if they can fix it, and they can probably get you a presser foot. Some repairs - just for the service call - cleaning etc can run $100.00, so add that in to the cost of your machine.

    For a simple very basic machine, you can spend $100.00 at Wally world or your local Joanns or Hancocks and get a new machine.

  2. Gloriasews | | #2

    Maybe it just needs oiling & cleaning - also check and see if a screw is missing.  A generic presser foot can be had for about $6 from A Great Notion or maybe Nancy's Notion in the US.  Did you get the manual with it?  It will show you where to oil it (make sure you use sewing machine oil, not anything else).  Depending on your area, you may get the machine checked over, etc. for less.  Here (in Alberta) it costs $50-60 to have it cleaned & checked, but your other poster said she pays up to $100, so call a sewing machine shop in your area & find out.  Good luck with that.  Too late, but you could have bought a reconditioned, guaranteed machine (used) from the sewing machine shop, as well, it they can't fix yours.


  3. Pattiann42 | | #3

    Please post your query at http://www.PatternReview.com

    There are at least two PR members who repair/refurbish older sewing machines and they may be able to walk you through what you can do or if you should take the machine in for repair.

  4. damascusannie | | #4

    There is a yahoo group called "wefixit" that is for the do-it-yourself sewing machine repair person. Many of the members are professional sewing machine repairmen and they should be able to talk you through the troubleshooting process to fix your presser foot lifter. Tell them Damascus Annie sent you over.

  5. Beth | | #5

    You definitely overpaid for your machine. Thrift stores typically sell such a machine for less. That said, you have received good advice by other posters. The Cancer Aid store was selling a used Phaff for $35.

    Have you an option to contact the seller and demand either your money back or the missing parts? Do you have the manual? A manual sells on line for about $20.

    Parts might be readily available and fairly inexpensive. I've had good luck at the local sewing machine store. Of course, this depends upon the personnel at the store and how common the parts happen to be.

    Good luck to you. I'm sorry this happened. Used machines are common in good or at least adequate working order.


  6. Teaf5 | | #6

    Older sewing machines are fairly indestructible and not terribly complicated. They can be dismantled and reassembled with a couple of screwdrivers and some patience. (I first did this at about age 7!)

    Since you don't have much to lose, you can take it apart methodically (snap pictures or label parts so you know how they go back together) and clean and oil everything. Unplug it first, and as you go, turn the wheel to see how all the gears and parts move. Anyone who tinkers on cars should be able to help you; it's basically an engine and transmission on a small scale.

    The pressure foot handle is usually held up with a spring/clamp assembly (like a parking brake), which might have just gotten grimy or possibly slipped out of place.

    Manuals for older sewing machines are available on the net as downloads for about $7.95 each--well worth getting a ton of information almost instantly. Good luck and let us know what happens!

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