How To Use Different Sewing Machine Feet: 6 Common

Last Updated on 6 months by Susan Mayrich

You can learn how to use different sewing machine feet by starting with the 6 most common types. These are the most used sewing machine feet, and learning how to use them should suffice for most sewing projects. 

how to use different sewing machine feet

We also recommend reading how to use sewing machine attachments for more information. It even discussed the attachment of the presser foot on the sewing machine. 

Feel free to browse our blog if you have a specific sewing machine brand that you want a usage tutorial for. Otherwise, always follow the manual of the unit you have when installing any attachment. 


How Do You Use A Different Sewing Machine Foot


All-purpose foot

  • The standard presser foot that comes included with the sewing machine, also known as universal or zigzag foot
  • Has a slot for pulling the threads to the back of the sewing machine and preventing them from forming a nest during sewing
  • Comes with a center guide for precise straight stitches 
  • Is designed for basic straight stitch sewing, zigzag stitches, some stretch stitches, and even decorative sewing
  • Can be used for mending fabrics or even inserting elastics


Walking foot

  • Another common sewing machine foot that can be included with your sewing machine and sometimes called an even feed foot
  • Ideal for sewing multiple layers of fabric
  • Compatible with stabilizing smooth fabrics like satin and silk during sewing
  • Can be used for quilting with the sewing machine
  • For matching patterns like stripes and plaids


Blind hem foot

  • Should be used with the blind hem stitch setting of the sewing machine 
  • Designed with a center metal guide and grooves underneath to stabilize the folded fabric edge
  • For finishing hems quickly and perfectly
  • Can make professional-looking hems similar to those seen in items of clothing sold at stores
  • For quick alterations of sewing projects

Here is how to sew a hidden seam with a sewing machine to use this foot. 


Teflon foot

  • A sewing machine foot coated with Teflon
  • Ideal for stabilizing smooth and rubbery materials like suede, leather, lycra, and vinyl that can stick to the foot and footplate during sewing
  • For easier feeding of slippery fabrics to ensure perfect stitches
  • Quite versatile like a regular all-purpose foot
  • Best used with medium-length straight stitches


Button sewing foot

  • Usually have a coating to prevent the button from moving during sewing
  • Has two bars that attach to the shank for extra stability
  • For perfectly aligning the needle through the button’s hole
  • For easier attaching of buttons to sewing projects
  • Ideal with a zigzag stitch at a 0 stitch length or with the sewing machine’s special button sewing stitch


Buttonhole foot

  • For making perfect buttonholes according to the buttons you’ll attach
  • Has grips underneath that will feed the fabric smoothly 
  • With markings on the side to help you know the button size
  • Has a sliding frame so you can make identical buttonholes quickly, even without an automatic buttonhole feature on the sewing machine
  • Best used with a zigzag stitch or read how to make a buttonhole with a Singer sewing machine for more tips that can also be applied to other sewing machines


How Do You Use A Universal Foot Presser?


Finishing seam and hems

The universal presser foot is also known as the zigzag foot. Therefore, you can make zigzag stitches to prevent the fabric from fraying when finishing seams and hems. 

For alternatives, read how to stop the fabric from fraying with and without sewing


Bar tacks

Having zigzag stitches sewn close together makes a durable bar tack. You can use it at the ends of zippers and pocket corners. 


Sewing elastics onto the fabric

If you don’t want to make casing in sewing, you can sew elastics to the fabric with the universal presser foot. Then, use zigzag stitches at the top of the elastic to create projects like waistbands. 


Decorative stitches and machine embroidery

The universal presser foot can be used to make decorative stitches when finishing the project’s edges. It’s also possible to use this foot for machine embroidery with various thread colors.


Sealing and attaching appliques

Sew appliques in place with a universal presser foot. Just be strategic when working on corners by lifting the foot, maneuvering, and then lowering it while the needle never leaves the fabric. 


Mending damages

Mend and a fabric tear with the universal presser foot and zigzag stitches with width set to the tear size. Some sewers can even repair small damages with straight stitches. 


Alternative to the buttonhole feet

Some sewing machines without a buttonhole stitch setting and buttonhole feet can still make buttonholes. Use your universal presser foot and stitch closely to secure buttonholes. 


Can You Use Any Foot On Any Sewing Machine?

The answer if you can use any foot on any sewing machine depends on so many factors. For one, there are different types of sewing machines.

Consider if your machine is top-loading or front-loading, high shank or low shank, the sewing machines’ maximum stitch width, and even the presser foot attachment type. To save yourself the hassle of checking these factors, it’s better to buy your sewing attachments from the same brand as your sewing machine. 



And that’s it! We just discussed how to use different sewing machine feet by going through the six most common types. 

The most versatile is the universal or zigzag foot, but having other feet like the buttonhole, Teflon, and even feed foot will always make most sewing projects quicker and easier. 

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