Common Sewing Machine Feet and When to Use Them

If you’re new to sewing, you may have just started with the standard presser foot that comes on the machine and haven’t yet changed it out. Most machines comes with several different presser feet that can make some aspects of sewing much easier.

The standard presser foot that comes with most all sewing machines can be referred to as a standard, universal, or zig zag foot. This means that the foot can be used on the machine for stitching with both a straight and zig zag stitch. Presser feet design, as well as how they attach to a machine can vary among sewing machine brands, however they still serve the same function.




Most machines will come with a zipper foot. This foot slides along the side of a zipper and allows you to stitch much closer to the zipper teeth than you would be able to with a standard presser foot. Depending on the design of the foot, it can be attached on either the right or left side, making it quick and easy to stitch both sides of a zipper in place.

Related video: How to Install a Zipper





Buttonhole feet also come standard with most machines. These feet allow you to accurately stitch buttonholes of varying lengths and ensure that all buttonholes on a project will be the same size. Depending on your machine, you can either set or program the desired buttonhole length into the machine or place the button being used onto a slide found on the back of the buttonhole foot.



Another foot that comes standard with most machines is known by several names – either the overlocking, overcasting, or overedge foot. This foot, used with a standard zig zag stitch, can be used to finish the raw edge of fabric.





A final foot that can be found standard with many machines is a blind hem foot. Depending on the brand, this foot has a fin or dial that lines up along the folded edge of a fabric, and used with a blind hem stitch, creates a professional finish on trousers.






For more beginner tips on buying, setting up, cleaning, and maintaining your sewing machine, check out our Ultimate Sewing Machine Guide. Click the banner below for a free download!

Happy sewing!

pdf download

Have something to add? Leave a comment or email editor@nationalsewingcircle.com.

Discussion
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74 Responses to “Common Sewing Machine Feet and When to Use Them”
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Marlene. Your email address has been removed from our NSC E-Newsletter mailing list, per your request.

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    • Customer Service

      Hi, Teresa. We would like to let you know that your feedback has been forwarded to the proper department. Your comments are important to us and help with the development of our videos.

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    • Sandra L

      I agree. I know virtually nothing about sewing or sewing machines. Trying to figure out which foot is which, I have no idea!

      Reply
  1. Elvia

    You said I could download–nothing said prior to download about having to join the newsletter group for the fee quoted. What gives? It is not the fee that is bothering me, its the way it was done–under false pretense of downloading something that was a “given” to most.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Elvia. The E-Newsletter is free of charge. We do have a Premium Membership available for purchase; however, there is no obligation to sign up as a Premium Member. The downloads that come along with the E-Newsletter are also free and there is no requirement to access them. If you have any further questions, please contact us at 1-855-208-7187.

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    • Customer Service

      Hi, Teresa. We have forwarded your information on to the proper department, so your Email may be updated!

      Reply
  2. Suzi

    Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if you showed each foot with each description? You have a picture with a bunch of feet and don’t know which one goes with each project.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Suzi. We would like to let you know that your feedback has been forwarded to the proper department. Your comments are important to us and help with the development of our online video streaming community. If you have any other concerns, please contact us at 1-855-208-7187.

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    • Customer Service

      Hi Linda, there are pictures attached to this article, please refresh your browser and try again. If you are still having issues viewing the photos please call us at 1-855-208-7187. Thank you, Hallie NSC Video Membership

      Reply
  3. Erica Kellerman

    Love sewing and want to learn more about how to work with my sewing machine, everything from cleaning the machine to how to use all the parts and functions.

    Reply
  4. Silvia

    I’m a beginner in sewing and I bought my sewing machine from a neighbor. I thought that there was only one pressure foot to sew? So now I’ m Thinking she didn’t give me all the parts to the sewing
    machine she just wanted to get rid of it…

    Reply
    • Amy

      Not all machines come with extra presser feet. They can be bought at any sewing store. They are usually fairly well priced.

      Reply
    • Susan Nash

      For Gloria, if you want the instructions you need to go to the Brother site. They have instructions and manuals for all their machines. Suzy

      Reply
  5. Debola Amubieya

    i will like to have the basic machine guide… your post has been adding value everyday.. Thanks.

    Reply
  6. Sandra L

    I tried to download the basic sewing machine guide, but nothing happens. It’s just a gif.

    Reply
  7. Russ

    A picture of 4 different “feet” and I still don’t know which is which – nice to identify the pics.

    Reply
  8. Laura

    The banner to download the Ultimate Sewing Machine Guide does not work. Please provide a link.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Dear Laura,

      Thank you for contacting us. The PDF will take a couple minutes to download to your computer. You can access the PDF by clicking on this link as well-

      Ultimate-Sewing-Machine-Guide-National-Sewing-Circle.pdf

      Sincerely,

      Taylar
      National Sewing Circle Video Membership

      Reply
  9. Jean M Rasmussen

    Can you mail the Ultimate Sewing Machine Guide. I can’t download it for some reason. I try it several times to download it but it wouldn’t do it. So I was just wondering if you could mail it to me instead. Thank you very much. Jean Rasmussen. N165W20166 Hickory Ln Unit 5 Jackson Wisconsin, 53037

    Reply
  10. Gail

    Hi, this would be more useful if you indicated which foot was which and maybe a short video showing each one in action. Not really much use for a beginner. Disappointed that you feel this sort of article is acceptable for The National Sewing Circle.

    Reply
  11. Emilia

    Excellent article, but it would be helpful if the feet were shown with their name. Not everyone knows what an overcasting foot looks like. This is a wonderful website, full of information. Thank you so much for all the info you provide!

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Dear Winona,

      Thank you for contacting us. Please click on the Free Download tab at the bottom of the article.
      Ultimate-Sewing-Machine-Guide-National-Sewing-Circle.pdf

      Sincerely,

      Taylar
      National Sewing Circle Video Membership

      Reply
  12. MARCIA

    I am a gold member and cannot download the ultimate sewing machine guide–What is up. I agree with others a picture of each foot as each is discussed would be appreciated.

    Reply
  13. Carol Marquardt

    I agree a picture of the foot with your description of use would be much better, particularly for beginners

    Reply
  14. Connie Donato

    I have a second hand Euro Pro X sewing machine. I am trying to find a manual for this. Can you help me find one?

    Reply
  15. Suellyn White

    It would be nice for a picture of the foot your describing when addressing what each foot is used for

    Reply
  16. Andrea

    Let me first say, please don’t add my email to your mailing list. I don’t wish at this time to subscribe. My email was required to leave a comment.
    That being said, I enjoyed reading the article. I found things out that I didn’t know about the feet. But like most people commenting here, I didn’t know which foot was what.
    What could have been done and cut through the confusion for us, was at the top of the article is a picture of a sewing machine with 4 feet place on the feed arm. Each foot could have been numbered. Then each description (which were good and informative) could have been matched to the corresponding number of the foot in the picture.
    I’m by no means a seasoned sewer, but not a beginner. Sewing machines and attachments have changed a lot from when I learned to sew. So when I read your description and go back to the picture to see the foot you describe, I’m lost. Are you going from left to right or are you taking the simplest foot and going to the more complexed (random picking). Numbering each foot then your descriptions to match corresponding numbers in order of picture. Thank you for your information though. I’ll figure it out at my local sewing store which foot goes with your description.

    Reply
  17. Adrienne

    There is nothing useful here. Random references to sewing machine feet. A photo of random feet. What does each foot do and how are they used. This is simply a sad way to direct people to paid for content. If that is the goal ( which is fine, by the way) then own it and say up front what you want. Otherwise this is a complete waste of time. People, move on…….there is better honest content elsewhere.

    Reply
  18. Annette Chamberlain

    I’m ntrested in learning correct way to the different feet for and their purpose.

    Reply
  19. Paulette Adam

    I clicked on your pinterest posting. I wanted to just see what was being explained to young beginners. I am a long time 4H sponsor and an academic sponsor as well. You can see my interest in your post. However I became very disappointed when I realized you had a hyperlink to the zipper foot and none to any of the feet you included. You didn’t even connect the name to the visual image of the foot. I dont believe you achieved your initial goal of explaining the 5 most useful sewing feet.

    Respectfully
    Paulette Adam

    Reply