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What Are Sewing Machine Presser Feet?

Learn about presser feet -- attachments used with sewing machines -- from designer Jennifer Wiese in this Howcast tutorial.


Hi, I'm Jennifer from Workroom Social. Now let's talk about presser feet.

I have several different presser feet on the table here with me, and the first thing you should do when choosing presser feet is to go to your sewing machine's manual and just see what kind of feet your sewing machine uses.

I have some examples here. These two different presser feet have different shank heights. This is what we would call a high shank, and this is a low shank. My sewing machine uses a low shank.

Then there's also two main kinds of ways that the presser feet can attach to the machine. This presser foot just screws right in. And this presser foot, this top part screws in, but it has a quick release so that you can attach different feet to the shank itself, versus swapping out the whole thing.

What do we have on the table here? We have a couple things. This is a blind hem foot and we have a little piece here, when we do a blind hem, the stitches kind of do a quick little bite into the main fabric, so this bar keeps you straight so that you're always just taking a little bit of fabric. We have an edge stitch foot here. There is a little guide on the right-hand side that keeps your fabric perfectly in a straight line, which is very lovely.

We have different zipper feet. These are two-directional so you can go to the left or to the right, depending on which side you're sewing the zipper on. We have a one-directional zipper foot here, so on this foot your zipper could only be on the right-hand side, and then you would need to sort of turn your project around to get to the other side. This foot can be used for zig-zag. It has the large hole in between. When your needle's going left and right, you definitely don't want to have a foot like this in.

This is a straight stitch foot. You can see this little hole in the middle that, if you're sewing delicate fabrics, sometimes if you use a zig-zag foot with this wide hole, your fabric can kind of come up in between. So if you're doing a straight stitch, it's nice to use this foot that just has a little hole. It keeps your fabric down. You definitely don't want to sew a zig-zag with a straight stitch foot because your needle will hit the presser foot and then that is not good for your machine. We also have a walking foot, which is great for quilting or if you're sewing thick, slippery fabrics like leather or vinyl, a walking foot is great. We have a buttonhole attachment, which we'll show as well.

I'm just going to show you quickly how to put a presser foot on the machine. You just want to unscrew your screw right here on your machine. Put it to the side. Then you're going to go ahead and take your foot and put it onto the machine. Take the screw and screw it back in. It's a little tricky. All right. Then, again, you want to make sure that your attachment foot is as high as it'll go. So twist the screw until it's tight, and now you're ready to sew.

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