Hello! I’m Jillayne from Hazelnut Handmade. Today we are talking about commonly used sewing machine feet. ‘Common’ is subjective and depends on the types of projects you sew. Quilts, bags, home decor, and clothing will use slightly different feet more often. But since New Horizons Designs is all about patterns to sew clothes, so we’ll stick to the most common feet used in sewing clothes.
Now I present the 5 most common sewing feet (for sewing clothes).
Standard Sewing Foot
Every sewing machine comes with a standard sewing foot. I generally use this foot for all of my projects on non-stretch fabric. Quilter’s cotton, rayon challis, flannel, denim, canvas—as long as the fabric is stable, it gets the standard foot.
The gap the needle goes through is fairly wide so this foot is suitable for narrow and wide stitches. Use this sewing foot for straight stitches, zig-zag stitches, blind hem stitches, decorative stitches…this foot will work for most sewing stitches.
Even though you can put in a standard zipper with a standard foot, a zipper foot makes in 1000 times easier. A zipper foot has one central prong with bars to attach it to you machine in two positions.
The central prong sits on one side of your zipper and you can switch which side it is sitting on.
The zipper foot allows you to sew close to the zipper teeth without the foot being on the teeth. This helps the fabric and zipper feed through the machine smoothly. You have a lot better control over where you are sewing with a zipper foot.
Invisible Zipper Foot
An invisible zipper foot helps put in invisible zippers. This lets you get even closer to the teeth because the whole point of an invisible zipper is to not see the zipper. One side of the zipper coil fits into one of the grooves on the bottom of the foot.
This keeps the machine sewing really close and evenly to the zipper teeth.
Button Hole Foot
My first sewing machine was a college graduation gift from my mom. She picked it specifically because it had a button hole foot. And I love it. It makes button holes so slick. I haven’t made a button hole without a button hole foot since high school. The trick is, your machine needs to have a button hole stitch to use a button hole foot. But don’t worry—you don’t have to have a super fancy machine for it to include a button hole stitch!
The machine my mother gave me was a Bernette was in the $200-300 range. It is just a step or two above the most basic machine and very affordable for a very reliable machine. The good news is if your machine has a button hole stitch, it should come with a button hole foot meant to work with your machine.
The button hole foot snaps to the bottom of the shank like the standard foot. You place the button that will go through the button hole in the back of the button hole foot. Then the button hole foot and button hole stitch on your machine work to together to whip out a gorgeous button hole and all you have to do is press the foot pedal. It is like magic!
When I’m sewing knits, (and a lot of New Horizon Design fabrics are for knits) I pull out my walking foot. A walking foot essential adds feed dogs on top of the fabric. It helps feed through a machine without pulling on the fabric and stretching the fabric out. You can sew an entire garment with a walking foot and a stretch stitch. I generally use my serger for the bulk of the garment construction and then use the walking foot for the finishing touches. Usually hems and topstitching.
A walking foot attaches to your machine differently than most sewing feet. You need to unscrew the part of the shank that feet usually snap onto.
Lift the walking foot’s bar so it lays on top of the needle screw.
Then screw the walking foot onto the shaft. The bar over the needle shaft is very important.
When the needle raises, the bar raises and makes the set of feed dogs on the walking foot go down.
Then when the needle goes down, the feed dogs lift up. The two feed dogs work together to pinch the fabric and draw it through the machine.
The gap for the needle to go through in a walking foot is pretty wide, you can use a walking foot for zig-zag stitches. However, not if you use a double/twin needle! The first time the needle moves to do a ‘zig’ it will hit the walking foot and break! Honestly, I almost always use the walking foot and twin needle at the same time so I generally don’t use wide stitches.
If you want more information about sewing feet for knits, check out Marta’s blog post about the difference between a walking foot and knit foot. I’ve never used or seen a knit foot before and now I’m itching to try one!
There you go, 5 of the most common sewing feet! With these 5 feet you can conquer the world, or at least any sewing project!