Slip Tips – Sewing Machine Feet

Hi there, I’m Angie Knowles of with Episode 1 of Slip Tips, my video tutorial series where I share some of my favorite tips, tricks, and tools of the trade for sewing custom slipcovers and other home décor items.

In this episode I want to take a look at sewing machine feet. Now I have a confession to make, I have a foot fetish. No, not that kind, a sewing machine foot fetish. You see, if there is a sewing machine foot that will help me do my job better and faster, I just gotta have.
But before we take a look at the feet that I like to use a lot, I want to talk about the different configurations of sewing machine feet. Sewing machine feet come in 4 different configurations, and the one you use will depend on your sewing machine.

Those different configurations are:

  • Low shank
  • High shank
  • Slant shank
  • Snap on

So lets go to the machine at take a look at those configurations, ok. So we are here at the machine now; you can see a little of my old machine here in the background. And the first foot I want to talk about is the low shank. What I mean by the shank, the shank is measured from the bottom of the foot to the center of the screw hole. On a low shank that measurement is ¾”.  You will find low shank feet on home machines such as Kenmore and Pfaff, Viking. Some common low shank feet are adjustable zipper foot, straight stitch foot, zigzag foot such as this one.

Next up, lets take a look at the high shank foot. On a high shank the measurement from the bottom of the foot to the center of the screw hole is 1 ¼”; almost twice that of a low shank. You find high shank feet on industrial machines, some of the New Home models and some of the Necchi models. Some common high shank feet include the cording foot like that which has a groove in the bottom of the foot that the cord rides in when you are sewing, a zipper foot. And the zipper foot comes in a right or left model, they are not adjustable. You will also find the common foot like the straight stitch foot, the zigzag foot and a ton of speciality feet, which are my weakness.

And now, lets take a look at the slant shank foot. As you can see here, the shank is at a slight slant. And this was an exclusive feature on some Singer sewing machine models produced in Germany, Japan and the US in the 60’s and 70’s. You don’t find a lot of feet available for the slant shank machines, as they were not that generally common. But you will find your basic feet like the straight stitch foot, the zigzag foot, and adjustable zipper foot such as this one.

And finally, we have the snap on foot. You will find snap on feet on most machines produced after 1980 and as you can see, the foot itself does not have a shank. The shank is an integral part of the machine and the foot attaches via these little pins you see here. Some of the common snap on feet are the adjustable zipper foot, a straight stitch foot, a buttonhole foot. And you will find quite a few speciality feet for these type of machines.

So there you have it a quick look at the different configurations of feet available for the different models of sewing machines. In the next episode we will take a look at some of my favorite feet that I use on a regular basis.

So until then, happy sewing.