What are sewing feet on a sewing machine? These are also called presser feet that go onto a sewing machine to help you sew individual stitches or items to the fabric. Each foot has a purpose and function with a sewing machine.
All sewing machines come with several sewing feet, but there are other accessory feet you can buy to help you sew different stitches and techniques.
What are the different feet on a sewing machine for? Many different accessory feet come with, and there are ones you can purchase to use with your sewing machine. These feet include many decorative feet, heirloom sewing to quilting and embroidery, to name a few.
Do you need a presser foot to sew? Yes, you do need a type of presser foot to sew with on a sewing machine. You can not sew without using a presser foot on a sewing machine. You can hand sew with just a needle and thread.
Universal foot for everything I sew? No…
Are sewing machine presser feet Universal? Sewing machine feet are not really universal. It will depend on a couple of different variables. First off you need to know if your sewing machine is a low shank or a high shank. Look in your sewing machine manual if you still have one. If not, you can go online to the specific manufacturer and look for a digital copy of your sewing machine manual. If there isn’t one out there, then try googling your particular make and model of sewing machine to see what type of sewing machine shank you have.
Low vs High Shank Sewing Machine
How do I know if my sewing machine is high or low shank? You can tell if your sewing machine is a low or high shank by looking at the distance between the needle plate and the bottom of the presser foot. If the foot is raised at least 1 inch off the needle plate, then your sewing machine is a high shank. So it will take a high shank sewing foot. If the distance is around 3/4 of an inch, then it is a low shank sewing machine.
Off Brand vs Name Brand
Some sewing machine manufacturers out there you can buy cheap accessory feet sets for. You will want to check and make sure you can use these feet with your sewing machine. Test out each foot to make sure the needle won’t accidentally hit the foot. The cheaper sets of accessory feet are inexpensive compared to just one of the original accessory foot from the manufacturer. There are positives and negatives to buying the more reasonable unbranded accessory feet set and the manufacturer’s original accessory feet. The positives are the feet are less expensive and will save you money. Most of the time, the foot will do the job you are needing it to do. The negatives would be that the foot will sometimes not work well with your sewing machine. Also, if the quality of the foot is poorly made. This will affect your sewing with it.
This is a list of different sewing machine feet and what their intended purposes are for with photos of each foot. The great thing about accessory feet for sewing machines is that they are usually named after the function or application type they are intended.
Universal Presser Foot – This universal presser foot is for basic sewing of fabrics. It is for straight stitching, zig-zag stitches, and some decorative stitching on the sewing machine.
Standard Presser Foot – The standard presser foot is much like the universal presser foot. It is an excellent general purpose foot to use with most fabrics for general sewing and seaming.
Stitch Guide Foot – The stitch guide foot has a little extension on that extends out on the right side of the foot to help you guide your fabric and keep the correct spacing or seam allowance will sewing. I little tip with this foot is you can use a small piece of painters tape to mark a line on the foot, so you don’t go cross-eyed just looking at the multiple lines trying to concentrate on exactly which one to watch.
Open Toe Foot – The open toe foot is for use with decorative stitching, machine applique, and other types of embellishment stitching. The larger opening of this foot is grand for being able to see the area you are stitching. There is a grooved channel under this foot, so it allows for the stitching and other raised trim embellishments to smoothly glide under the foot and not get caught.
Zipper Foot – This zipper foot is excellent for sewing in regular dress zippers. It can also be great to use in home decoration applications like installing cording and other decorative embellishments. You can easily switch over the position of the foot from the right side to the left side. By switching sides, it allows you to be able to stitch up close against the edge of the zipper or even decorative cording.
Zipper Foot Low Shank (Adjustable)– This zipper foot is for regular dress zippers as well as you can use this foot for home decoration applications just like the regular zipper foot. This foot is for the low shank sewing machines, and the foot doesn’t snap on like the regular zipper foot but is attached to the sewing machine via the thumb screw. ( FYI, the thumb screw is the screw that holds the sewing foot onto the sewing machine opposite the needle screw that holds the needle into the sewing machine.)
Invisible Zipper Foot – This foot is just like the plastic invisible zipper foot, but it is not clear and see through. By using this foot, you can put in invisible zippers into a seam to have it be hidden from the eye. You do have to use an actually invisible zipper to achieve this effect. You can not use a regular zipper with the invisible zipper foot, it will not magically make a regular zipper invisible.
Nail Button Pressing Foot – The nail button pressing foot is actually for sewing on a button using just the sewing machine. It doesn’t require any hand sewing. There is a process you will use to get the button sewn onto the garment, but it makes button sewing easy and fast.
Plastic Invisible Zipper Presser Foot – This invisible zipper foot which is made of plastic is for sewing in an invisible zipper. This will make the zipper wholly hidden within the seam of the garment or home decoration.
Applique Foot – The applique foot is a different foot for doing applique stitching, embroidery, monogramming, heirloom sewing, and cutwork. It allows for smooth stitching on fabrics and for seeing what you are stitching onto at all times.
Sewing Press Foot – The sewing press foot as it’s called in the set I bought is also called the sewing presser foot. You can use this foot to help guide folded fabric though to stitch. You can also use this foot as a guide to edge stitch fabric for a nice even look.
Satin Stitch Foot – The satin stitch foot is for decorative type stitches that are very dense. This foot has a deeper channel down under it for the thicker stitches to pass through without catching or even jamming up the sewing machine.
6mm Roll of Lace Presser Foot – This presser foot is much like the 3mm roll of lace presser foot. It will help to fold over and encompass the raw end of the fabric and sew a seam onto the edge of the fabric for a finishing look.
Zig Zag Foot – The zig-zag foot is for when you are using a zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine. This foot has a channel on the underside of the foot to allow the stitching to easily pass through on the bottom without catching on the foot as you sew.
Open Toe Embroidery Foot – This foot is good for free handing embroidery on your sewing machine. It has a larger opening area so you can see more of where you are sewing and stitching with this foot.
Large Opening Presser Foot – This large opening presser foot is suitable for sewing decorative and satin stitches. The big opening allows you to see where you are sewing on the fabric while still holding the fabric down and feeding evenly through the sewing machine while stitching.
Cording Foot – The cording foot is another decorative application foot you can use with your sewing machine. It uses thin cording, which is guided through the foot, and you use decorative stitching on top to fix it to the fabric. You can use embroidery floss, pearl cotton, or higher quality threads with this cording foot. Use the three evenly spaced holes in the foot to guide the thread through onto the fabric. Don’t get this foot mixed up with the double welt foot which is more for piping and much larger emblements.
1/4″ Quilting Foot – The 1/4″ quilting foot is for piecing together quilt blocks. In quilting, you will use a 1/4″ seam allowance to sew the quilt top pieces to one another. By using this edge of this foot as your sewing guide, it will create a 1/4″ seam for you.
Braiding Foot – This foot is for when you want to stitch decorative trim to fabric. This decorative trim can be braided cord, piping ribbon, yarn or any other type of trim. It allows the trim to go through the foot and for your stitching to be evenly spaced overtop of the trim to attach it to the fabric.
Straight Stitch Foot – The straight stitch foot has a single hole in the foot for the needle to pass through to go through the fabric into the bobbin compartment. This foot is good to use for when you are quilting and for sewing very sheer fabrics. It prevents the needle from pushing the material down into the throatplate towards the bobbin. It will create a neater straight stitch. The one thing to look out for when using this foot is you want to make sure you don’t bend your needle because it is much easier to have your needle hit the foot when it only has a single small round hole to go into at fast speeds.
Overcast Foot – This overcasting foot is an excellent foot to use to sew the raw edges of your fabric if you do not have a serger to finish your edges with. By sewing the edges of the fabric, it will keep the material from unraveling with everyday wear and washing. This foot has a small little flange that the sewing machine needle will swing over and place a stitch right off the edge of the fabric and swing back over doing a fancy type of zig-zag. The flange will keep the material flat and not let the thread pull to tight and curl the edge fabric.
5 Hole Cording Foot – The 5 hole cording foot is for decorative stitching to be done over 5 different strands of cord. This is more narrow than the 7 hole cording foot.
7 Hole Cording Foot – This 7 hole cording foot is much like the 5 hole cording foot of it’s kind. It is just for a little bit larger decorative stitch widths than the 5 hole foot.
Edge Joining Foot – This edge joining foot is for use when joining two different pieces of fabric together. You can also use it to do topstitching on fabric edges as long as you can move your needle position for the stitch you are doing to have enough room on the fabric to create that stitch.
Double Welting Foot – The double welting foot is for sewing on larger width piping or double piping onto fabric. This foot is excellent for putting piping on home decorative pieces and cushion covers. The double welting effect is more for a decorative purpose on pillows and decorative items. This foot is also a great foot to use when you are making your own piping to go into your project. It has a great channel groove under the foot for the cord to be sandwiched in between the folded fabric to guide underneath. I always move my needle position over to the side closer to the raw edge when creating my piping, then I move the needle position closer to the actual cording when I am sewing it into the seams of my project. This makes sure the original stitching I put in when making the cording/piping is wholly hidden and concealed.
Fringe Foot – The fringe foot is for creating a decorative raised loop stitches with the sewing machine on fabric. It is also known as a tailor tacking foot or the looper foot. This foot has a raised centerpiece in the middle of the foot which when you use a zig-zag stitch the thread will fall on top of the middle piece to create the fringing of the thread to be an equal loop each stitch. The foot is actually more open on the underside of the foot to allow the thread stitches to pass easily under the foot without getting caught or snagging. It is also used to create tacking when tailoring a garment. Tacking is a stitch that is used to keep something attached or in place for a short amount of time. The tacking is meant to be removed and never be part of the final sewing results.
Adjustable Bias Tape Binder Foot – The adjustable bias tape binder foot is for sewing on prebought bias tape to the edge of the fabric to create a hem and finished edge. You can create your own bias tape without buying it in a package from a craft store. This foot is adjustable so you can use different widths of bias tape with this one foot.
Shirring Foot – The shirring foot is also called a gathering foot. You can use this foot to gather up the fabric to create ruffles by its self or even create the ruffles while sewing them onto a straight piece of fabric.
3mm Narrow Edge Presser Foot – The 3mm narrow edge is for hemming the edge of a piece of fabric. There is definitely a little bit of a learning curve with this foot. I have found that the easiest way to get this one to work correctly is to press in a crease about 5mm from the edge of the fabric if you can. This will give you a guild line of where to use the foot so it will curl the material and fold it over to create the 3mm hem.
6mm Wide Edge Presser Foot – Just like the 3mm narrow edge presser foot, this 6mm is just a wider edge stitching foot. Once again, you will want to practice with some scrap fabric to get used to using this foot before you go to the actual project you are working on. As the name says, it creates a beautiful wide hem with the stitching about 6mm from the folded hemmed edge.
3mm Rolled Lace Presser Foot – This 3mm rolled lace presser foot is much like the 3mm narrow edge presser foot. It is for use with sheer and delicate weight fabrics to create a nice fabric edge by using a zig-zag stitch instead of a straight stitch with this foot.
Roller Foot – The roller foot is like a little car with rolling wheels on the bottom of it. This foot is great for sewing with pleather (faux leather), leather, plastics, and pieces of vinyl. It is even reasonable to use when you have to sew though ticker fabrics that don’t move under the foot as easily. The wheels allow the material to run under the presser foot and not get stuck or hung while the machine is sewing.
Sewing Beads Presser Foot – The sewing beads presser foot is for embellishing fabrics and projects with beads, pearls, and decorative piping trims. This foot has a deep channel for the beads to pass under and for the sewing machine to stitch overtop to attach them to the material.
Round Bead Foot – This round bead foot is much like the sewing beads presser foot. The difference between the two is that his round bead foot has a much larger channel for the beads to go through on the underside of the foot. You can also use decorative piping with this foot.
Buttonholing Presser Foot – This buttonholing presser foot works excellently to sew a button hole the exact size of the button. Nothing is worse than sewing a buttonhole, and it’s too small or way too large for your button. You actually take one of the buttons you are using and place it in the foot. It will give you a guide to how big to make your buttonhole stitching.
Blind Stitch Foot – The blind stitch foot is for when you need to sew in a hem that the stitching will appear be completely hidden, lending it to be named the blind hem foot also. This foot has an adjustable guide you can change the width of by just turning the screw on the foot. I know if you have read some of my articles, you will have seen me say that this foot is my favorite foot. I use it for hemming as well as a topstitching guide on the finished folded edge of the fabric.
Darning Foot Low Shank – The darning foot is for mending fabrics that have rips or holes in it. It is best if you use a special darning stitch on your sewing machine. It is so fast and easy. The foot actually moves up and down with the needle to make sure you encompass entirely all the parts of the fabric you are darning under your stitching. You select your start point and start sewing forward, then stop and hit the reverse button and hold the foot peddle down. You will finish sewing out multiple passes back and forth parallel to each other, then it will go back on top across the beginning stitching perpendicular to that of the first stitching.
Darning Foot ( Spring Action) – This daring foot with spring is for mending fabrics much like the low shank darning foot. You can also do free-motion embroidery with this foot. It moves up and down onto the material as the needle goes up and down into the fabric. It works in sync with the needle, when the needle is down into the fabric, the foot is pressing down on the fabric. When you use this foot, it is best to drop the feed dogs on the sewing machine, so it will allow you to sew in all directions. You will move the fabric around to create the stitching movements.
Kint Foot – This knit foot is a unique foot that allows you to sew on knit fabrics without stretching the fabric as you sew it. It prevents the puckering of the fabric and the skipping of stitching, which can occur by using a regular sewing foot. It has a little piece on the foot that can hold a piece of fabric tighter against the sewing machine as the needle goes through the fabric. This small piece helps to keep the fabric from puckering. It can be used with sheer knits all the way to heavier knits.
7-Groove Pintuck Foot – This fascinating foot is a 7-groove pintuck foot for use in heirloom technique sewing. You have to use a 2.0mm double needle or a twin needle with this foot to create the pintuck effect. Once you have one row of stitching in the fabric you will use the grooves on the bottom of this foot as a guide to sew the next row, then the next row, and so on and so forth. This foot makes it easier to keep the rows evenly spaced with each other. Just freehanding with the twin needle, it would be near close to impossible to get all your rows to be nicely spaced and straight.
9-Groove Pintuck Foot – The 9-groove pintuck foot is much like the 7-groove pintuck foot. This foot is for use with heirloom sewing and decorative sewing. You need to use a 1.6mm twin (double) needle to create the correct effect with this foot. You will use two spools of thread on top with this and the 7-groove foot.
All of these accessory feet are great to have in your sewing basket of goodies. I really think they help so much when you have a specific thing you want to do with sewing instead it’s decorative or functional based there is always an accessory foot out there to help make things much more manageable.