I'm working on an old Singer sewing machine. How should I adjust the (highlighted purple) screw in the image below? It sets the depth that the needle goes down below the clothing being sewn. If I set the nut where it has been locked for decades (based on corrosion and scratch marks) the machinery around the bobbin hits the needle and pushes it forward, against the direction the fabric travels while being sewn.

I'm looking for a spec along the lines of, "The needle eye (or tip) should go 1/8 of an inch below the bottom of the sewing machine foot, when the foot is in the down position..."

Singer sewing machine without cover, needle end

  • Are you sure the needle is pushed all the way up into its holder?
    – Elmy
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 20:45
  • Yes, needle is all the way in. Set screw has about 1 inch of possible clamping locations Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 3:07

1 Answer 1


You should be able to download the manual for this machine on Singer’s website. I can’t see the model number, it looks like it may be model 457, if so, it’s there. Upon looking at the manual for the 457, it only gives maintenance instructions not repair. This is not unusual.

lines on shaft

See the two lines lower on the shaft? To answer your “spec” query, instead of a measurement, the instructions will be to line up those marks by turning the flywheel. I don’t remember specifically which line to what spot. Then inside the bobbin area, you’ll need to loosen certain screws to move the catch position so it grabs the thread properly and doesn’t smash into the bobbin.

It seems like it’s that screw, but, it’s the bobbin that needs to be adjusted.

This would be a “tune up” procedure to fix the “timing” if you want to get quotes from a pro repair company.

Start by thoroughly cleaning out the bobbin area, oil the machine and then, it’s best to get a pro to make the fine adjustments.

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