I remember when I begrudgingly bought a walking foot for my machine. It felt really expensive for such a little sewing tool. I was new to sewing, but I mainly wanted to work with knits, and rumor had it that this presser foot would make a massive difference in my sewing life.
Well, it sure did.
If I could bring one presser foot to a desert island (you know, the desert island where I have my sewing machine and all sorts of fabric), it would be the walking foot.
You might be wondering—why? Why would you even need specialized presser feet when you can sew nearly everything with either just a straight or zigzag stitch? Like most things in sewing, of course, you don’t need a bunch of presser feet. But here are some you really might want to consider buying if you want to make your sewing easier.
Our 10 favorite sewing feet
Here at Seamwork, we use BERNINA machines, so all the feet listed below are numbered from their catalog. Check out the feet that come with your machine, as they might look slightly different.
1. Walking foot
What does this foot do? This foot gives you dual-feed support. This means that it acts as a second set of feed dogs to evenly pull all your layers of fabric across the throat plate while you stitch. It’s helpful for quilting, matching plaids and stripes, and sewing with knits and slippery fabrics.
When is it worth investing in one? If you sew with knits, this is a must-have. It will keep even the slipperiest knits from getting pulled down and tangled in your machine.
This is BERNINA foot #50.
2. Quarter-inch foot
What does this foot do? Do you find yourself sewing a lot of quarter-inch seams? This foot will help you sew perfect topstitching and quarter-inch seams. It’s perfect for quilting and patchwork, details you might want to add to your clothes.
When is it worth investing in one? If you find yourself doing a lot of quilting, French seams, or topstitching, this will be a helpful foot.
This is BERNINA foot #57.
3. Edgestitch foot
What does this foot do? Like the quarter-inch foot but narrower, you can use this foot for easy edgestitching, topstitching, stitching in the ditch, joining with a zigzag, and even hemming. After folding and pressing a hem in place, use the edgestitch foot to stitch the hem down from the wrong side. The vertical plate goes right up against the fold and keeps your hem tidy and even, without excess sticking up. Just scoot your needle left or right to adjust the distance of your stitching.
When is it worth investing in one? This is such a versatile foot that you’ll be able to use it on nearly every sewing project. If you want a little extra polish and don't want to overthink edgestitching, topstitching, or hemming, you’ll love this foot.
This is BERNINA foot #10.
4. Invisible zipper foot
What does this foot do? This foot glides alongside your zipper coils, allowing you to insert an invisible zipper that will make you feel so proud. On the bottom of the foot, two grooves fit the coils perfectly to create a truly invisible zipper.
When is it worth investing in one? Sure, you can sew an invisible zipper without one, but you won’t believe the headache that this foot will save you. If you experience invisible zipper stress, it’s a must-have.
This is BERNINA foot #35.
5. Blindstitch foot
What does this foot do? If you like invisible zippers, just wait until you see the invisible hems from this foot. It catches your hem delicately so you can’t see it from the front, and the guide on the foot ensures that your hem is always even, for a professional finish. Also, since it snags your fabric so delicately, it’s easy to unpick if you need to shorten or lengthen your hem.
When is it worth investing in one? This is one of those tools that will make you feel so satisfied with your hem. Of course, you can always sew a hem without one, but it's a worthwhile indulgence if you want that extra special finish.
This is BERNINA foot #5.
6. Buttonhole foot
What does this foot do? This particular buttonhole foot has a slider. You measure your button on the slider, use it to set your buttonhole length on your machine, and then you can sew the same size buttonhole over and over without a second thought.
When is it worth investing in one? Buttons and buttonholes can deter some people from sewing. If that’s you, grab one of these, and check out the next presser foot on the list.
This is BERNINA foot #3A, which has a slider.
7. Button foot
What does this foot do? This foot saves you from one of sewing’s tedious tasks—sewing buttons! If you find hand-sewing buttons to be meditative, just move on, but if you struggle to wrangle a hand-sewing needle and a long strand of thread, this foot will save you some stress.
When is it worth investing in one? It’s worth investing in this foot after you try hand-sewing some buttons. If you find that you loathe it, get a button foot.
This is BERNINA foot #18.
8. Darning foot
What does this foot do? If you sew your own clothes, you probably also mend your own clothes. This foot has a spring that keeps your fabric from pulling up as you sew. It allows you to sew free-hand, so you can darn across, around, and all over holes in your clothing. Since darning is essentially free-hand embroidery, you can also use this foot for decorative sewing.
When is it worth investing in one? This foot is utilitarian and it allows you to be creative. If you find you’re just as likely to embroider free-motion as you are to mend, this is your dream foot.
This is BERNINA foot #9.
9. Rolled hem foot
What does this foot do? This foot has a channel that turns your fabric twice and then stitches it in place to create a neat, narrow hem. It’s pretty close to a sewing miracle.
When is it worth investing in one? If you love it when all the details on your garment are totally polished, you’ll get a kick out of this foot. There are a few options for this foot, so buy the one that matches the width you’d like and the fabric you use the most.
This is BERNINA foot #61-69, with different options for width.
10. Overlocker foot
What does this foot do? This foot mimics a serger (or overlocker) to create neat, flat seams. Use it to hem of finish the edges of fabric.
When is it worth investing in one? This is the perfect foot if a serger is out of your budget, but you want a step up from a zigzag stitch.
This is BERNINA foot #2/2A.
The best thing about buying presser feet is that you almost feel like you got a new sewing machine (or a helpful little upgrade). These feet can unlock new techniques for you, and when it comes to making sewing more enjoyable, these tools are worth the extra expense.
Oh, and where do you store all these extra presser feet when you're not using them? Try putting them into a labeled tackle box or clear craft box and tuck them into a drawer or on a shelf.