Sewing Machine Presser Feet Guide For Beginners

The Ultimate Guide to Sewing Machine Presser Feet

The Ultimate Guide to Sewing Machine Presser Feet

 Presser feet are first described by how they attach to the sewing machine and then by the function they perform . All feet fall into the following attachment categories: high shank, low shank, slant shank, snap-on, or Bernina feet. The shank is the upright portion of the foot that attaches to the presser foot bar.

Nevertheless, it is possible to use generic snap-on feet if you use a snap-on adaptor designed for your machine. For more information.

High shank, low shank, and slant shank feet require a screwdriver for attachment and removal from the machine. The screwdriver comes with the machine. Be sure to tighten the screw securely so the foot doesn’t come loose and interfere with the needle. I’ve broken more than a few needles because I didn’t tighten that screw enough.

 What are the Different Types of Presser Feet?

The first thing you’ll need to know before shopping for presser feet is the type of shank your sewing machine requires. Check your sewing machine manual or your local dealer to confirm what type of feet fit your machine. Even within brands, some feet are not interchangeable due to the width of the feed teeth and the opening needed for the needle. Some newer computerized machines have extra-wide stitches and need feet designed for that larger clearance. It’s always good to do a little research.

What is a Presser Foot? What is its function in a sewing machine?

Most sewing is done with the standard presser feet that come with your sewing machine. However, even though presser feet tend to look similar, they serve very different purposes and make a big difference in how a project turns out and how long it takes to complete.

In this chapter, you’ll learn about the differences among the standard presser feet and how these feet can be used together to make a simple pencil pouch. The pencil pouch instructions, incorporate using the universal foot and the zipper foot, teach several sewing techniques, and help reinforce good sewing habits, all in the construction of one simple and useful project.

Which sewing feet should you use and when?

Subtle differences in presser feet are the reason they produce better-looking stitches for specific tasks. One of the things that really throws people off when they begin sewing is how similar the various types of standard feet look. In the photograph at right, which shows three different styles of snap-on feet, it’s easier to see the differences from the underside.

The universal/zigzag foot, sometimes called the all-purpose foot (near right), has an opening that allows the needle to stitch both a straight line of stitches and a zigzag stitch, in which the needle swings from right to left.

The satin stitch foot (center) has a larger cutout area for stitching wider, denser, and more dimensional stitches.

The cutout section of the decorative/embroidery foot (far right) is the widest of the three shown here. As stitches become wider and denser, the amount of room under the presser foot needs to accommodate the buildup of thread.

So, while these feet look similar, the subtle differences in design are based on their intended functions. Theoretically, you can sew a straight or zigzag stitch using each of these feet, but when sewing satin or decorative stitches, it’s best to use the foot designed for them, for the best results. You can also refer to your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations on which foot to use with which stitch.
TIP: It is always a good idea, regardless of which presser foot you are using, to begin stitching a bit below the top edge, so the fabric doesn’t get sucked into the machine. I often refer to this as “sinking the needle in the starting position.”
Which sewing feet should you use and when

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