Sewing Blog

4 Fun Ways to Use a Fringe Sewing Foot

A fringe foot (also known as a looper foot or tailor tack foot) is a cool addition to your sewing toolbox. With just a zigzag, you can incorporate a lot of decorative, textured looks to your projects. 

Learn four creative ways to use the fringe foot on your sewing machine

Anatomy of a fringe foot

Let’s start taking an in-depth look at our new friend.

Top and Bottom of a Fringe Sewing Foot

The most important feature is that raised central bar. When you sew using a zigzag or similar stitch (more on that below), that bar allows more thread to go in each stitch.

The extra thread creates wider loops of thread. Because of the extra thread, the foot is open in the center-bottom portion to avoid the thread getting caught.

In the front of the fringe foot, you see a pronounced V shape. Use the tip of the V to guide the fabric so the loops are perfectly positioned.

What can a fringe foot do?

The fringe foot is probably one of the most versatile presser feet for adding decorative details to your sewing projects.

I can think at least four different effects you can achieve, depending on the stitch you use, if you cut the stitches and how you position the fabric under the presser foot.

A few pro tips for working with a fringe foot

When using a fringe foot, you might need to make lightweight fabrics more stable. Use embroidery water-soluble stabilizer, or even just one veil of toilet paper between the fabric and the needle plate.

Play with different types of thread. Polyester, embroidery cotton and buttonholes silk are a few of my favorites. Use a thicker thread for a more dramatic effect.

Four Spools of Thread

Each sewing machine is different, so I suggest you do two things before sewing with your fringe foot:

  1. Check your manual! It might list different settings from mine.
  2. Play around with different threads, tensions, fabrics, stitches and stitch widths

Each time you start sewing with a fringe foot, do the first 2-3 stitches by hand. This way you can be sure there won’t be metal hitting metal, which runs the risk of breaking a needle — or worse, ruining your sewing machine timing

When you finish a seam, hold the fabric and both the threads with your left hand, while pulling toward the back of the sewing machine. The majority of the time, it will be hard to pull. Just move the hand knob with your right hand to free the threads while pulling.

To secure thread tails, always gently pull them both on the wrong side of the work, knot them together and hide them using a needle. Never let them free or it will unravel.

5 textural effects to try with your fringe foot

1. Chenille effect

Three rows of chenille stitches made with a fringe foot

This style is easy to achieve and looks impressive! For this effect, you leave the loops intact, forming a little arc on top of the fabric, perfect to highlight shaped details. I love the look of a few straight lines next to one another, going through the whole project.

Settings for your machine:

  • Stitch: Regular zigzag or triple zigzag (for a fuller look)
  • Stitch length: 0 – 0.5 (buttonholes settings)
  • Stitch width: 3-5
  • Spool tension: 0-1

Directions:

1. Holding the thread tails with your left hand, start sewing with your fringe foot, following your design

Sewing with a Fringe Foot

Once you’re done, slide your work by gently pulling it toward the back of the sewing machine, so to clear the central bar.

Cut threads without pulling the bobbin thread (or it will come out). Repeat however many time you like.

Chennile stitches two ways

Have fun playing with different zigzag stitches. In the photo above, the line of stitches on the top is made with a regular zigzag stitch, while the one on the bottom is made with a triple zigzag. See the difference?

2. Eyelash fringe

How to Sew Eyelash Fringe

There are two ways to make eyelash fringe with your fringe foot.

Eyelash fringe #1

If your sewing machine has an overcast stitch (or any kind of stitch that does a few straight stitches on between zigzag stitches) use that stitch option. Then, proceed sewing with the same setting as you did for the chenille style. Then, cut the bridge right in the middle. Voilà! A two sided-eyelash fringe is done.

Eyelash fringe #2

If you, like me, don’t have that kind of stitch, don’t worry. With just one more row of straight stitches, we can achieve almost the same results, with a single row of longer eyelashes.

Settings for your machine:
  • Stitch: Regular zigzag or triple zigzag (for afuller look)
  • Stitch length: 0-0.5 (buttonholes settings)
  • Stitch width: 3-5
  • Spool tension: 0-1

Following the chenille instructions above until you have a row of stitches. Then switch to a regular presser foot, or — even better — to an open toe foot.

Open Presser Foot

Place the fabric under the presser foot so the needle goes into the fabric aligned with the left edge of the stitching.

Stop Stitching Over Fringe Foot Sewing

Turn back your tension to normal or auto. Sew using a triple straight stitch to lock the threads.

Cutting Fringe From Thread

Using the smallest scissors you have (like embroidery scissors), cut threads right down the middle of the back side, proceeding slowly a few stitches at a time.

Pulling up fringe

Turn your project right side facing you and, using a stiletto or something similar, pull fringes toward the right side.

3. Eyelash loops

How to Sew Loops

Start by sewing a line of zigzag stitches, following the instructions for the chenille stitch. Switch to a regular or open presser foot.

Turn your work so you’re looking at the wrong side of the seam, where the bobbin thread is. Make sure it sits on the opposite side of where you’re going to sew your triple straight stitch seam.

Move the bobbin thread to the right side and sew along the left edge

On the right side of the fabric, sew using a triple straight stitch to lock the threads. Turn your work so you’re looking at the wrong side again, and pull out the bobbin thread.

Using a stiletto or something similar, pull the eyelash loops toward the right side. Even cooler, aren’t they?

Pull the bobbin thread out and clear the loops

4. Faux-fagoting or faux-hemstitching

The last technique you can create with your fringe foot adds a major wow-factor to any project. This style can make your creations look store-bought, with just a little effort required on your side.

Faux Hem Stitching with a Fringe Foot

This type of seam is used to join two folded edges. You can use it to add interest to a sleeve or a skirt hem. It will look like you hand-embroidered it, but you’ll have done it in almost no time.

In my humble opinion, you’ll get better results using a sewing machine that can widen its stitches up to 7 mm. The one I have goes only up to 5 mm and it’s not that effective, although I see many possibilities.

Settings for your machine:

  • Stitch: Regular zigzag or triple zigzag (for a fuller look)
  • Stitch length: 0-0.5 (buttonholes settings)
  • Stitch width: 3-5
  • Spool tension: 1-2

To achieve that look, you need to position two folded edges in front of your presser foot. I have to align them so they’re parallel one to each other, but not touching (leave 1/16″ – 1/8″ between them). The tricky part is keeping that distance consistent. With just a little practice, you’ll get it perfect. 

Sewing Two Pieces of Fabric With a Fringe Foot

The concept is to zig on one fabric (next to the fold), zag on the other fabric (next to the fold) and repeat until the end of the seam.

I find easier to place one sheet of toilet paper beneath the fabric. It provides just enough stability and grip to help you keep everything in place! Use tweezers to pull it out.

Once you’re done, gently pull the two fabrics apart to settle the stitches and create the ladder. Then press the whole thing flat.

Below, you can see I played with the stitch. On the left, I used a triple zigzag, while on the right side I used a regular zigzag with a slightly longer stitch. See how much emptier it looks?

Faux-fagoting ladder stitch

It already looks good to me, but you can add one last touch: a central seam that groups those threads in different ways, depending on the stitch you choose.

In the photo below, the triple zigzag stitches on the left have been grouped with a row of triple straight stitches. O the right side, I ran another row of straight stitches along the center. Both of these used a stitch length of 2, but you can experiment with any fancy stitch you have available.

Faux-fagoting done

How will you use the your fringe foot?

Master All Your Sewing Machine Feet!

free online sewing class

Learn how to use 11 common sewing feet for flawless results.Enroll FREE Now »

4 Comments

Su

I cannot believe how timely this is! On a RTW site yesterday there were some great designs which would work for home-sewn, but the detailing included serged surface decoration. I don’t have a serger (overlocker) but something very similar could be achieved from your techniques. Brilliant, thanks!

Reply
Irene // Serger Pepper Designs

Cool idea, Su!
I think it might work, provided you don’t need the fabric stretch.
Can’t wait to see your creation!
Happy sewing,
Irene // Serger Pepper Designs

Reply
Irene // Serger Pepper Designs

Thank you, Lisa!
I am trying all of the specialty feet I can find, having bought a 32 pieces set from Amazon, the one I link on my right side sidebar… They work all pretty well with my machine and it was such a bargain ?

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply