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How to Adjust the Hook Timing on Sewing Machines

Susan Moore/Demand Media

Skipped stitches and needles breaking while sewing are an indication that the timing is off for your sewing machine. This may sound intimidating, but repairing the timing is actually relatively. Always be sure the power cord has been disconnected from any electrical source before servicing your machine.

Adjusting the timing on an older model sewing machine with a shuttle hook

Susan Moore/Demand Media

Disconnect the sewing machine from any power source. Loosen the thumb screw on the left side of the sewing machine body and remove the cover to expose the needle bar. This is the shaft that extends down and that you attach a needle to for sewing. Open the shuttle race and remove the bobbin and bobbin case.

Susan Moore/Demand Media

Turn the hand wheel toward you until the needle has reached the lowest point of the stroke. The hook should be at the top of its stroke inside the shuttle race. Loosen the set screw for the needle bar on the upper part of the machine, this is located on the needle bar bushing (the collar that the needle bar slides through when making a stitch). The needle bar should slide easily up and down.

Susan Moore/Demand Media

Turning the wheel again, adjust the position of the tip of the needle so that the upper part of the needle eye is just below the bottom edge of the hook inside the shuttle race. Once in position, re-tighten the set screw on the needle bar bushing. Do not allow the needle bar to slip while doing this.

Susan Moore/Demand Media

Replace the bobbin and bobbin case and close the shuttle race. Thread and plug in your machine. Using a sizable scrap of cloth, sew a seam to check to see if there are any skips in the stitching. If there are still skips re-adjust the timing again until you can sew without any skipped stitches.

Susan Moore/Demand Media

When proper timing has been achieved replace the cover on the needle bar and tighten the thumb screw.

Things You'll Need:

  • Sewing machine in need of proper timing
  • Flat, phillips or torques head screw driver
  • Fabric scrap
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine needles


The first time you have to set the timing do not be discouraged if you do not get it right the first time. You may break needles if you did not get the timing right, replace the needle before continuing. This is a good time to oil the shuttle race and needle bar after the timing is set and remove any lint from the shuttle race before you begin sewing. Refer to the given website; sewusa.com for a picture of the hook assembly.


  • Always unplug the sewing machine from any power source before servicing the sewing machine
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