Sewing feet, presser feet.
There are so many different types of sewing feet. . .and different names for the same type that it can be overwhelming for a sewing novice, like myself. I decided to compile all my research while gaining a better understanding and creating a reference for myself and others (plus, there were no other comprehensive guides out there).
Note: This guide does not cover basic feet that come standard with sewing machines; the all-purpose foot or satin stitch foot, but focuses on specialty sewing machine feet.
Many feet aid in creating a more polished consistent finish. Others help to incorporate basic components such as zippers, buttons and pipping. While others assist in adding decorative elements to fabric. Most feet are metal, though some feet are also available in a clear plastic for increased visibility.
FINISHING / DETAILING
Blind Hem – Edgestitch
Rolled Hem – Hemmer – Hemming
Edge Joining – Stitch-in-a-Ditch
Overlocking – Overcasting – Overcast – Overedge
Felling – Lap Seam
Gathering – Shirring
Ruffling – Ruffler
Pintuck – Tucker
Roller or Teflon
Zipper – Adjustable Zipper
Invisible Zipper – Concealed Zipper – Hidden Zipper
Cording – Welting – Pipping
Bias Binding – Bias Binder
(There are additional specialty feet for attaching ribbons, sequins and pearls, but have not included them.)
DECORATIVE / QUILTING
Quilting – Quarter-Inch
Open Toe – Open Toe Appliqué
Free Motion Quilting – Darning – Embroidery
Walking – Even Feed
Blind Hem Foot – Edgestitch Foot
Designed specifically for easily stitching a blind hem. A blind hem is a stitch along the hem that is not visible on the right side of the fabric. See this tutorial on how to blind hem stitch with a sewing machine.
Can be an adjustable foot and is also good for top stitching and can be used for pintucking (although there is a specialty foot specifically for this as well).
Rolled Hem Foot – Hemmer Foot – Hemming Foot
Best for hemming lightweight fabrics like chiffon and silk because the foot automatically curls the hem in while stitching. See this tutorial for using a hemming foot.
Edge Joining Foot – Stitch-in-a-Ditch Foot
For joining two pieces of fabric, narrow edge top stitching, and also for stitching in pieced seam ditches on quilts and seams.
Overcasting Foot – Overcast Foot – Overlocking Foot – Overedge Foot
Use with the overlocking stitch as a substitute for a serger. The serger is specialized sewing machine for finishing the edge of a sewing project to prevent the fabric from unraveling. This foot has a guide that lines up with the center needle position and cannot be used with straight stitches. Read more: Presser Feet Overview: The Overcast Foot
Felling Foot – Lap Seam Foot
For creating flat-felled seams, or enclosed side seams commonly found on denim jeans, men’s dress shirts and reversible garments. This foot saves time by doing the folding and pressing as you stitch the seam. See this tutorial for creating a flat felled seam with a felling foot.
Gathering Foot – Shirring Foot
For producing a smock-like gather. See this tutorial using the gathering foot.
Ruffling Foot – Ruffler Foot
For making ruffled or pleated fabric of varying sizes. Read more for a comparison between the gathering foot vs. the ruffler.
Fine grooves allow for precision spacing of hollow or corded pintucks. Pintucks are small pleats that provide texture and delicate detail to fabrics. Read more and get tips for working with this specialty foot here and here.
Roller Foot or Teflon Foot
Specialty foot for working with fabric that sticks to ordinary feet, such as leather, plastic, vinyl, and suede. Rolling feet feature a textured roller at the front of the needle, while the teflon foot is similar to an all-purpose foot with a non-stick surface. Read more about sewing with a roller foot.
A must have for sewing with zippers. Adjustable for sewing on the left or right side for inserting zippers. Can also be used to attach piping or decorative edging.
Invisible Zipper Foot – Concealed Zipper Foot – Hidden Zipper Foot
For installing invisible zippers. The zipper coils actually act as the guide, allowing for perfectly positioned stitches that won’t show on the front of your garment. See this tutorial for installing an invisible zipper.
For making button holes. Can be automatic or manual.
Cording Foot- Welting Foot- Pipping Foot
Used to make trim for pillows, cushions, bags, etc. or multiple cords. Comes in a variety of sizes because the foot has a groove/divot to hold the cording in place. Can also come with a different number of cord grooves for decorative cording.
Bias Binding Foot – Bias Binder Foot
For use with packaged or pre-made binding or some binding feet eliminate the need for a bias maker by taking raw bias strips and folding, feeding, flattening and finishing the binding. See one type of binder foot here and the cone shaped one here.
Quarter-Inch Foot – Quilting Foot
For precise 1/4″ seam allowances, may also include a 1/8″ arm or marked guide. A more specific quilting foot will include the 1/4″ seam guide, but is also designed for ease in pivoting and can generally only be used for straight stitching because of a very small needle opening.
Open Toe Foot – Open Toe Appliqué Foot
Open width in front of the needle for improved visibility and as a result is often used for appliqueing and other intricate work.
Free Motion Quilting Foot – Darning Foot – Embroidery Foot
For free style decorative quilting, darning, and embroidery work. Spring-loaded to hold the fabric in place with a open or closed circle made of metal or plastic. The feed is disabled when using this foot and the fabric is guided by the sewer.
Walking Foot – Even Feed Foot
For a even feed on top as well as bottom, to help feed multiple layers evenly without shifting. Useful for straight line quilting and matching plaids and other patterned fabric.
Please let me know if there are any missing feet, alternative names, corrections or exclusions. Thanks.
Before purchasing a sewing foot for your machine, you will need to determine what type of shank your machine has. You will still need to ensure that the foot attaches to your specific machine.
Types of Shanks
Source: Sew Classic Blog
All sewing foot images are from Baby Lock , a machine and parts manufacturer.
Good general intro on the most useful feet to own:
Sewing 101: Types of Presser Foot
Sewing 101: happy feet
Feet, Feet, Feet
Sewing Machine Presser Feet Cheat Sheet
Overview of some types and how to use them