If you’ve been using your sewing machine for a little while now, you might have noticed that needles aren’t the only bits of hardware that can be swapped out and replaced with something more suited to the job at hand.
You’ve probably had lots of practice winding the bobbin up, changing needles, and figuring out how to keep your sewing machine in good, working order (URL to machine maintenance link). So let’s dive into something new - the presser foot.
What is a presser foot?Put simply, the presser foot is the part of the sewing machine that applies pressure to the fabric whilst you sew, thus keeping it all in place. There are many different types of presser feet - sometimes they’re categorised by their uses, other times by the way they attach to your sewing machine, and sometimes they’re categorised by the height of their shanks (this usually only applies to vintage machines). It’s unlikely you’ll ever need to use them all, but having a good collection on standby can really help take your sewing to the next level.
Changing your sewing machine’s presser foot.Before you can start playing around and experimenting with the different variety of feet, you’ll need to know how to change the presser foot. Most modern machines have a lever that simply releases the presser foot and allows you to easily click a different foot in place. Some older models of sewing machine may require you to unscrew to release the presser foot - this is obviously a bit more time consuming - so make sure to check your sewing machines manual for more information.
Looking for more help or advice?If you’re struggling with changing out your presser feet, or indeed any part of your sewing machine, feel free to head over to Facebook and join our free Facebook community, Stitch Sewcial. The group is full of like-minded sewists who are always happy to offer advice and support during your sewing journey. We also host monthly #GetSetSew challenges! These are completely optional, however they serve as a fantastic way to practice/learn new skills, support and advise others on the same path as you, and allow your creativity to run wild.
Sewing Machine Presser Foot Guide For Beginners
Choosing the best presser foot for your machine can make all the difference when it comes to giving your work a more professional edge. Most sewing machines come with an assortment of presser feet to get you started. Once you’re comfortable and find yourself wanting to expand your sewing skills, you can purchase more online or in your local craft store.
The standard foot, or zigzag foot, comes with all sewing machines. The standard presser foot is great for straight and zigzag stitching, as well as a few decorative stitches, depending on your brand of sewing machine. The standard foot is a great presser foot for beginners to use whilst they get to grips with the machine and basic stitching techniques.
Regular Zip Foot
This presser foot comes with most sewing machines and has openings on either side of the foot. These openings allow you to sew close to your zip on either side, you can also use the regular zip foot to sew piping. Depending on the side of the foot you want to use, you’ll need to alter the needle to ensure it’s in the right position.
Quarter-inch seam foot
As the name suggests, this sewing machine presser foot allows you to sew the perfect quarter-inch seam every time. It’s a favourite among most quilters and dressmakers as it ensures flawless seams and perfect finishes.
Another favourite of quilters is the walking presser foot. This uses teeth similar to the feed dogs and is ideal for thick and heavy fabric, or fabric that tends to stick. HOWEVER, this foot also comes into its own in all manner of garment making and is an absolute essential when it comes to sewing with knit fabrics ( we have a fabulous course on this!! )
Automatic buttonhole foot
Found yourself struggling when it comes to creating the perfect buttonhole? You’re not the only one! Luckily, the automatic buttonhole foot is a great little presser foot for your collection. This clever foot creates perfect buttonholes each time by measuring the button which is inserted into the back section of the foot. We cover all about buttonholes in our Intermediate skills builder course - LEARN TO SEW: Skills builder!
This presser foot has open grooves on the underside which holds the piping or cording in position. The piping/cording then passes through the foot in a straight line, producing neat, even stitching every time. We cover all about piping in our Intermediate skills builder course - LEARN TO SEW: Skills builder!
This is the perfect choice for laminated fabrics, vinyls, leathers and suedes. The presser foot is coated in non-stick Teflon which allows the foot to glide easily over the fabric without the friction caused by a standard presser foot.
The satin presser foot is usually made of a clear material to allow you to easily see where you’re sewing; it also sometimes has an open toe. This foot is used for decorative and satin stitching as it allows a build up of stitches to be sewn onto the fabric and gives you maximum visibility.
Darning/free machine/open toe foot
If being arty with your stitching is something you enjoy, this is a great addition to your presser foot collection. This foot is used primarily for free hand machine sewing which makes it ideal for quilters and those who like to produce patterns and textures on fabrics. In order to allow the fabric to move freely while using this presser foot, the feed dogs need to be lowered.
Easy Beginner Projects
At Start To Stitch, we want to share our love of sewing with as many people as possible. That’s why we offer FREE sewing patterns that are great for beginner sewists. If you’re looking for something that’s simple and useful, how about trying your hand at our Start To Stitch Free Bunting tutorial, our Free Facemask tutorial, or our free Twist Headband Tutorial?
What should I do next?
Practice makes perfect, so get sewing! Most sewing machines come with a selection of presser feet, so start by figuring out what you’ve got and from there you can learn how to release and change your presser foot. Next, start working with the presser feet you’ve got and notice the benefits each one offers.
Once you’re comfortable, you might find that you want to take your sewing to the next level. We offer beginner and intermediate online sewing courses. In each course, you’ll learn new techniques and troubleshoot common issues, as well as create wonderful handmade items. Both courses are held through a dedicated Facebook Group, with detailed video tutorials. Live video support and weekly tutoring calls are also included as part of the course, meaning that support and encouragement is always only a click away.
Head to our Online Courses page for more information.
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