Sewing Machine Timing (Hook Timing)

Sewing Machine TimingWhile there are a handful of different timings in a sewing machine, the hook timing is the most common to cause a sewing machine to not function correctly. Hook timing is the relationship of the hook tip and the needle eye. If you think your sewing machine may have a timing problem, a careful examination of the hook and needle can confirm that condition.

When the needle is moving upwards, it creates a loop behind the needle, between the needle eye and the fabric. The hook tip must pass through that loop in order to create a stitch. There is a fine tuning of the hook timing, depending on the brand and model of the sewing machine, but nearly all sewing machines adhere to this basic principle.

 The Direction of Hook Rotation

In order to check the hook timing, it is important to see which direction your hook rotates as the needle is in its upward ascent. If your hook is turning clockwise, such as with most oscillating hooks, you will want to adjust your needle position to the far right.

Janome rotary hooks are always turning in a counter-clockwise direction. For these machines, adjust the needle position to the far left. Any other hook that is turning counter-clockwise should also have the needle in its far left position.

Hook Tip vs Needle Eye

In the images below, notice that the hook tip is above the needle eye as the hook passes behind the needle. Click either picture to zoom in.

Rotary Hook Timing

Janome Horizontal Rotary Hook TimingOscillating Hook Timing

Janome Oscillating Hook Timing

What Next?

If your hook tip is passing through or below the needle eye, then the timing of the sewing machine is off. On the other hand, if the hook tip is passing above the needle eye, but extends past the needle more than a couple of millimeters when the needle eye meets the radius of the hook, then the timing is also off. In either case, you will probably need to bring your machine to your local sewing machine technician.

Temecula Valley Sewing Center is a Janome dealer, as well as a Necchi dealer and Elna dealer. We perform service and repairs in-house, and can fix timing issues on many brands of sewing machines. If you are interested in our service rates, and for more info, please visit our Sewing Machine Service & Repair page

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Reader Comments (6)

Trish C. on 5/26/15 @ 5:43am

Great explanation and photos on this topic. Now I know what to look for if my machine is acting up. Now I will be able to tell if it is just a cleaning it needs or a timing adjustment.

Anne Prantl on 9/4/16 @ 11:00pm

Thank you...this is the first information that tells me anything and is very clear. May have to take my Elna in for timing.

john on 12/2/16 @ 9:56am

why is it important that the sewing machine hook timing be fixed?

b.gottier on 12/7/16 @ 12:13am

In most cases, unless the timing is only slightly off, the machine won't sew (or won't sew right).

Helen P on 4/29/17 @ 8:02pm

Are New Home and Janome made by the same company? Is working on one applicable to the other?

b.gottier on 5/2/17 @ 10:51am

They are currently the same company. According to Wikipedia, Janome purchased New Home in 1960. There are hundreds of models though, so it's hard to say that working on one is applicable to the other. There's only one way to find out, and that's to start taking one apart.

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