Sewing machine - feeding fabric help

mo13January 2, 2007


I just bought a used brother xl5130 sewing machine and I just cannot get the fabric to be fed correctly. It seems like I need to pull the fabric from the other side. I have another old sewing machine ( I think its called Montgomery or something like that) that does only straight lines that I have had for 2 years now and that one feeds the fabric beautifully. So I am not that new to sewing but have never used a newer machine with different stitches and so on.

Is this how the brother machine is supposed to work? I cleaned it out completely and I am sure I am threading it properly. The one thing I am not sure of is if the feed dogs are aligned correctly.

If I manually crank the wheel, I can see the fabric being fed very slowly. I have the stitch lengh set to 4 and the stitch set to straight. Anybody have any ideas on what I am doing wrong?

Any help is much appreciated!



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A couple of things to check:

Does the machine have feed dogs that can be disengaged (lowered)? (A sewer would disengage or lower the feed dogs to do darning or free motion quilting.) If so, there is probably a lever or shuttle or (something) in the bobbin case area that can be moved to one side or the other to disengage the feed dogs and re-engage them again. You may have moved this when you were cleaning the machine.

How about pressure foot pressure adjustments? (OK, I know that sounds kind of circular, but...) That is, there may be a way to adjust how tightly the pressure foot presses against the feed dogs. For example, for very thick fabrics, you might want less pressure. See if there is some kind of spring loaded button on top of the machine over the spot where the feed dogs are. If this has been released so that the pressure is very light, then fabric may not feed well.

I'm not familiar with your specific machine, I'm just making my best guess about what the problem might be. See the link below - it's an information page about your machine on the Brother web site. You might be able to find an answer to your question.


Here is a link that might be useful: Brother web page for XL 5130, FAQs and other info

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 8:40PM
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CMC has probably answered your question.
On the website she gave, I'll bet you can contact them & get a copy of the booklet that came with machine...that would be a big help.

I've gotten parts for my 40+ year old White from company site.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 9:58PM
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After poking around a bit more on the Brother web site, I found that you can download the user's manual (in PDF format) for free. Just click the Download button on this web page.


Here is a link that might be useful: Brother 5130 manual, click Download

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 1:12AM
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Thanks for the pointers; really appreciate the time and effort. I will have to look into the foot pressure adjustment when I get home tonight.

I printed out the manual when I bought the machine and have gone through the whole manual to make sure I am doing things right! It doesnt look like there is a way to lower the feed dogs with this machine; it comes with a darning plate instead.

Hopefully, the foot pressure thing will solve the problem. I am just trying on a piece of scrap muslin for now; maybe I should try a thicker fabric.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 1:38PM
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You're welcome!

There is a trouble shooting section in your manual. For "fabric not feeding" the first thing they ask you to check is the stitch length setting. If it is set to zero or very small, the fabric won't feed. Try adjusting that and see if it helps; perhaps the knob shows a larger stitch length number but it's really set much shorter?

Sometimes it's the simplest thing. I once took my serger into my sewing machine dealer, sure it was completely messed up; couldn't get it to sew worth a darn. My problem? I had installed new needles - backwards for that machine. And there was even a handy diagram right on the side of the machine to remind me of the correct way to install them. Go figure.

It's still frustrating, however.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 5:21PM
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Did you ever find an answer for your machine (the fabric feeding backwards?), I am having the same problem and cannot seem to find a solution that addresses the actual problem.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 12:15PM
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