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Discover the Many Functions of the Edge-Stitch Presser Foot

Sewing doesn’t have to be difficult. There are oodles of tools, sewing supplies and machine accessories that can make any task a snap.

Take the edge-stitch presser foot. While marketed primarily as an edge joining foot It can accomplish so many common sewing tasks — aside from edge joining — making it a must-have in your sewing toolkit.

Edge/Joining Foot

Edge/Joining Foot

Underside of foot

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Sewing doesn’t have to be difficult. There are oodles of tools, sewing supplies and machine accessories that can make any task easy to do. Take the edge stitch presser foot. While marketed primarily as an edge joining foot it can accomplish many of other sewing tasks sewers perform on a daily basis making it a must-have presser foot in your sewing toolkit.

Most basic sewing machines don’t come stocked with a wide variety of presser feet, so don’t expect an edge stitch foot to be part of the machines packet of accessories. With more advanced models this is a presser foot that may very likely come with your machine. Either way, it is a good foot to have and worth the added investment is you have to purchase one.

What distinguishes this foot from a basic universal foot is the small blade that protrudes under the foot and is aligned with the machine needle when positioned in the center. It’s this blade that rides against a seam line, or fabric edge, that creates straight and even lines of stitching. Directing the machine needle at either the center or to any width to the right or left of center will determine the lines distance from the blade edge.

The edge stitch presser foot, also known as a stitch-in-the-ditch foot or edge joining foot, can perform a number of stitching techniques that include edge stitching, which means nothing more than sewing very close to the edge of fabric. It is particularly good when joining two edges of fabric together, known as edge joining. It is also an exceptional foot to use to do topstitching and understitching. Add to that sewing pin tucks and adding trim to the edge of, well, anything. Both straight and zigzag stitches can be used with this foot, or for that matter many other decorative and utility stitches that have width and can be performed using a universal presser foot.

So let’s further explore the many tasks this foot can do.

1. Edge joining

I don’t consider this an "everyday task," but this is what this foot is designed to accomplish. Anytime two distinct pieces are to be joined side by side this is the foot to use. This is also a great tool to use for attaching trim to a fabric edge.

To join two pieces of fabric prepare the edges as desired. Turn a small allowance under to create a clean folded edge on each piece. Now with the foot in place, make sure the needle is in the center position.

 

edge joining

 

edge joining stitch

 

Position one edge along the right of the blade. Slide the other edge to the left of the blade. With the two edges flanking the blade stitch using either a regular zigzag stitch (below photos) or a decorative one (like the feather stitch shown in the above photo). Make sure as you sew the two edges ride against the blade smoothly.

stitching with an edge presser foot

 

zigzag stitch

2. Edge stitching and top stitching

These two stitches are essentially the same. The difference is edge stitching is done very close to the edge of fabric, between 1/16” to 1/8” from the edge, while topstitching is typically ¼” to 3/8” from either a clean edge, like a neckline, or from a seam line.

IMG_6995

In either case, position the needle where you want the stitch to land either left or right of the center blade. With the blade riding either along a clean edge or along a seam line, stitch in place.

edge stitching

3. Stitch-in-the-ditch

For those unfamiliar with this technique it is a line of stitching that is done on the right side of the project and is sewn precisely on top of a seam line.

Anytime this type of stitch is required this is the presser foot to use because with the blade riding along the seam line it ensures the stitches go exactly where you want them. When done properly or exactly along the seam line, the stitch is almost invisible.

stitching with a presser food

4. Understitching

Every garment sewer knows the value of understitching when used on facings. It is the secret to a beautiful neckline or armhole edge. To be properly sewn the stitching should be very close to the seam line and remain evenly spaced from the seam line for the length of the facing. Doing that with a regular foot takes practice, a good eye and a steady hand, so for many it is a challenging technique to master.

sewing with a edge-stitch presser foot

The edge stitch presser foot can help make this task easier and more effective. To use the foot for this purpose begin by positioning the needle to the right of the blade so it is roughly 1/16” to no more than 1/8” from the seam line. Lower the presser foot so the blade rests inside the seam line. Begin stitching making sure the blade rides within the seam line. This will ensure the understitching line is evenly positioned along the facing.

finished understitching

5. Pin tucks

Though not an everyday task, when the occasion occurs to sew pin tucks having this foot handy is a godsend. Because the foot’s primary function is to create straight and evenly spaced lines of stitching, this is a great foot for sewing pin tucks.

sewing pintucks with an edge-stitch presser foot

To begin, make sure the pin tuck lines are marked so they are evenly spaced. With the edge stitching foot attached, position the needle the proper distance you want the pin tuck to be to the left of the blade. Slide the folded edge against the blade, lower the presser foot and sew the pin tuck. Repeat for as many pin tucks needed.

perfect stitching from using and edge-stitch presser foot

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26 Comments

Salome Jansen van Vuuren

Will the Edge-stitch pressure foot fit on Elna

Reply
Chantal CHOLIN

Most of the brands of machine have this kind of foot, just ask your dealer, for edge stitch pressure foot, it will look like this one. I have a Bernina and a Pfaff machine, they both have this kind of foot. You mention the special applications of this foot, all what is written in this blog. I am sure you will find out.

Reply
Linda Reynolds

I suspect your Elna has its own version of an edge/joining presser foot that you can purchase. Just be sure to know what model you have.

Reply
Lorraine short

Will this foot fit a Kenmore sewing machine?

Reply
Linda Reynolds

You need to purchase one for your model of Kenmore machine.

Reply
Lorraine short

And where can I get one..?

Reply
Linda Reynolds

Depends on your sewing machine brand and model. For most Singer and Brother machines Amazon is a great source. For more expensive brands like Viking, Bernina and others you will need to contact dealers in your area selling these machines.

Reply
jjanet kile

thank you!! I do believe there are a few feet that I have never tried and this may be one of them!!

Reply
Linda Reynolds

This is a good one to have. It does a lot more than you might think it does. I’m glad I have mine.

Reply
Maureen Kyle-Woods

where can i purchase this item please

Reply
Linda Reynolds

Depends on your brand of machine. Try Amazon or you may need to contact a dealer in your area that sells presser feet for your brand and model.

Reply
Sara

Great tips! I do not have an edgestitch foot, but I found I was able to use my blind hem foot for edgestitching. It would also do some of the other techniques you describe, but not all. I have seen many variations of blind hem feet, too, so it is worth evaluating your feet to see what might work.

As for where to purchase these feet–if not your local sewing machine dealer, then check the Internet. Just be sure to get a foot that is compatible with your machine!

Reply
Linda Reynolds

Good advice. Thanks for reading the article and your comments.

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Judi Jordan

I also use this foot for attaching binding to a quilt. Project Linus requires sewn on bindings rather than hand sewn. So I first attach the 2 1/4″ (folded in half) binding strip to the front of the quilt, press away from the quilt top, fold under to the back and use the stitch-in-the-ditch foot on the quilt top and it catches the binding on the back.

Reply
Linda Reynolds

Excellent. I don’t quilt so thanks so much for this advice.

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Cheryl Pepper

I started sewing at age nine. As I have gotten older I have become a bit of a sewing machine fanatic. I have sewn on a Phaff, Viking, Bernina, Janome , Singers, Brothers, and Kenmore. Bernina has a seriously different pressure foot . However, they have an adapter that will take the regular snap on feet. Phaff seem to me only took Phaff pressure feet. However, I have found Janome feet to be pretty universal. You can put a low shank on most vintage low shank Singers and use the snap on feet. Viking also takes generic pressure feet. Even with the silicon shank .

Reply
Linda Reynolds

Good info to know. Thanks for the heads up and for reading my post.

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Barbara Catton

What is the difference between this foot and and a quarter inch foot

Reply
Linda Reynolds

Totally different. I can see how you could see these as similar but they are really different. With the 1/4″ foot you can only sew a 1/4″ s,a. stitch. The foot doesn’t allow one to move the needle of the machine to any other position besides center while with the edgefoot one can move the needle to whatever position is needed. That’s the beauty of this foot. Hope this helps and thanks for reading the post.

Reply
Kristina

The foot I’ve used for edge or top stitching looks a bit different than this one. The foot itself is adjustable so that center piece that sits against the edge can be moved to either side of the needle to whatever distance from the needle that I need rather than moving the needle. In fact I’m not sure if I can move the needle to anywhere but the center and far left and right. Is this just a different edge stitching foot or another creature entirely? I’ve also used it to understitch, to stitch in the ditch, and when doing a blind hem but haven’t tried it to join edges. It came with my BabyLock.

Reply
Linda Reynolds

Every sewing machine is different, so the look and functionality of the edgefoot that goes with your Babylock can look and function differently as well. The one I have pictured works on my Singer and will work on many Brother and Janome machines. It all depends on your machine.

Reply
Stacy

This is my all-time favorite foot. I use it at least once on nearly every project. Love the easy perfectly placed top stitching.

Reply
Linda Reynolds

I agree. Its a very versatile foot which is why I wanted to write this post. Thanks for reading it.

Reply
Margaret Earle

very interesting for this part….

Reply
Linda Reynolds

Don’t understand your comment, but I appreciate you reading the post.

Reply

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