What are Feed Dogs?

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August 2, 2013 by sewgonestitching

Every sewing machine has a set of “feed dogs”. They can be located on your stitch plate underneath your presser foot. They look like rows of tiny spiky metal strips.

Feed Dogs

What are feed dogs for?

The feed dogs march back and forth pulling your fabric under the presser foot while you sew. They march in measured and precisely timed increments that create the distance between each stitch.

What is a “feed point system”?

Sewing machine manufacturers refer to the number of feed dogs on a machine as the “feed point system”. The first picture above shows a four point feed dog system on the Janome Juno G1212, while the picture below from the Janome Juno M1230Q boasts a 7 point feed dog system. The high the number, the more contact your feed dogs have with your fabric and that means the more control and precision you have while sewing.

7 point feed dog system

How did feed dogs get their name?

The definition of the term “dog” when used in an engineering context is “a mechanical device for gripping or holding, esp one of the axial slots by which gear wheels or shafts are engaged to transmit torque”. The “gripping or holding” part is of course borrowed from how a dog (canine) bites.

What is “lowering the feed dogs”?

When you “lower the feed dogs” you are actually dropping them below the needle plate. When you sew, the feed dogs will not be used. This technique is used for “free motion”. The feed dogs will no longer biting and pulling the fabric in precise increments. When using free motion you controlling the speed and direction the fabric direction – enabling unlimited creativity!

For More Feed Dog Information…

Refer to your Janome sewing machine instruction manual for more information about using and maintaining your feed dog system.


Visit www.janome-sah.com to learn more about the exciting new Janome Juno sewing machines available to order online now. The Janome Shop at Home website is also packed with everything you need to help get “Get Sewing”.

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