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Put Your Best Foot Forward: Picking the Right One for the Job


Just like every car has wheels, every sewing machine has a presser foot. The presser foot is what presses the fabric down to the machine and holds it in place against the feed dogs. (Feed dogs are the little grippy things - they look like teeth - that sit on the base of your machine and pull the fabric through.) Like a car's wheels, sewing machine feet can be changed out according to the project. Different stitches and tasks require different feet.

The Foot...and how to change it?

Most sewing machines will come with a little key that can loosen the screws of not only the baseplate but also the screw holding the sewing foot shank in place. (If you can't find the key then you can also use a small flat head screwdriver) In some machines, the foot is attached to a shank - like my sewing machine who is named Jolene. She is a Juki TL2010Q. However, in some machines, the foot can be removed from the shank with the press of a button like my Juki Dx7. How does your machine work?

A majority of machines will come with a standard 5/8" seam foot. This is a common foot for sewing clothing. It is important to locate the 1/4" seam marking on your machine if you are a quilter and not rely on the foot. (Unless it is a 1/4" seam foot....see below)

Other presser feet that may come with sewing machines are a Walking Foot, Zipper Foot, and buttonhole foot. Make sure to check when you are picking a machine what feet are included! If you purchase a secondhand sewing machine or you have an older sewing machine and don't have some of these cool presser feet, visit my friends at SewingPartsOnline they have an incredible selection!

1/4 Inch Seam Foot

The 1/4 Inch Seam Foot is a specialized presser foot used to create perfect 1/4-inch seams for your quilt or sewing project. One of the greatest challenges for quilters or project sewers is cutting fabric accurately and

keeping the seam straight. The seam allowance can impact the overall size of the pieced materials once stitched together.

A 1/4-inch seam foot often has a small metal guide on the side of the foot that has a lip that keeps the fabric lined up to the quarter inch line. Its narrow size also makes it well-suited for stitching around curves or in tight spaces, such as between collars and lapels.

Zipper Foot

The Zipper Foot is an invaluable tool for any sewer who wants to add zippers to their projects. This specialized foot helps sewers install zippers quickly and accurately by allowing the needle to get close to the zipper teeth while stitching, creating a neat seam. It features a narrow groove in its toe that perfectly lines up with the zipper’s coils, ensuring even stitch placement along each zip side. The foot can be used with both regular and invisible zips and for attaching piping or special decorative trims.

Some of your machines will come with a zipper foot, but even if you have an older machine, you can get one from my friends at SewingPartsOnline.

Walking Foot

This foot is made for walking, and that's just what it will do! A walking foot is specifically designed to feed bulky layers

of fabric through your machine. It is made to pull the top of the fabric through in alignment with

the feed dogs on the bottom so that layers can be fed through simultaneously. The walking foot has feed dogs that mirror the feed dogs on your machine. When you are purchasing a walking foot, make sure to see what the inner workings are made of by flipping it upside down. Some walking feet are made with plastic inner workings, and some are made with metal. There is a stark difference in sewing with metal versus plastic; the metal feet will last longer.

The walking foot can look intimidating as it is larger and attaches to more than one location on the sewing machine. It attaches not only to the shank but also to the needle shank.


Having the right presser foot is important for any sewing project, no matter how small or large. Having a variety of feet available can help make your work easier and more efficient by enabling you to tackle different kinds of tasks quickly and accurately. With so many types of presser feet available, choosing the right one for each job may seem daunting at first, but just have fun! Try it out!

Check out my friends at SewingPartsOnline for the absolute largest selection for types, brands, and more!

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