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What Is A Low Shank Sewing Machine?

First of all, we need to understand that what is a shank? And then what is a low shank sewing machine? A screw exists at the needle bar to attach an adaptor or presser feet. When the needle bar moves at maximum down position, then the distance from the centre point of the screw to the bedplate is called the shank.

If the distance is about 1/2 inch, then the machine should be a low shank sewing machine. A short shank sewing machine is suitable for beginners, domestic purposes, and best for small home businesses. Some other types of shanks are also available in sewing machines for different requirements.

  • Low shank
  • High shank
  • Slanted shank
  • Snap-on shank

Definition of a low shank sewing machine 

A machine with a maximum ½ inch distance from the presser bar screw to the bottom of the presser foot is called a low shank sewing machine. You can identify this distance by measuring it through a scale.

If the distance is 1 inch or more than 1 inch, it’s considered a high shank sewing or industrial sewing machine.

What is a low shank sewing machine? Detailed Explanation in 2023

Most domestic sewing machines are low shank. But if you want to make sure you can measure the distance as described above. Low shank sewing machines provide you with versatile sewing capabilities with their different presser feet. In comparison, high shank or industrial sewing machines have limited sewing options. Industrial sewing machines are designed for specific tasks; they are not multipurpose.

You can enjoy the features of expensive sewing machines on a small budget, like by just installing the overlock presser foot; you get an overlock stitch of a serger machine. If you are not a professional, you don’t need to buy a serger machine for a few overlock stitches.

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How do I know if my sewing machine is high shank or low shank?

If you are new in the sewing field, then you should clear this confusion. It’s not a challenging task; you can easily recognize that your machine is high shank or low. To identify the low or high shank, you need to locate the screw on the needle bar that holds the press foot adaptor.

Then you need a ruler to measure the distance between the center points of the screw to the bottom of the foot pedal. If space is about ½ inch, then your machine is a low shank sewing machine. And you can use all kinds of low shank presser feet on your sewing machine.

If the distance between screw and foot pedal is 1 inch or more then your machine is a high shank sewing machine.

8 Popular Types of Presser Feet You Can Use with Low Shank Sewing Machine

The presser feet of low shank sewing machines are a little bit different from other standard presser feet. So here, we discuss some necessary short shank feet that are readily available in the market. Here we discuss eight standard feet that are compatible with low shank machines and what their use is.

Keep in mind an important thing that you need an adaptor to utilize all of these presser feet. And this adaptor is a part of the sewing machine, before buying the best sewing machine to ensure additional adapters are provided.

Walking foot

So the first foot is a walking foot, designed to evenly feed your quilt through the machine and produce a lovely stitch.  So let’s attach this walking foot to your device; the first thing you do is completely unscrew the screw that secures your machine’s feet.  And then slide it in place as if you’re about to screw it on, but then right before you do kind of tilt it to the side and take this kind of claw shape and slot it up. It is resting within that needle bar so that the needle bar is inside that little groove.  After that, screw this in, and your sewing machine is ready to quilt.

¼” Patchwork foot

The next presser foot is a quarter-inch patchwork foot.  This presser foot gives you a quarter of an inch from the centre needle to both sides of the foot. This foot is used for quilt piecing. To get a ¼” seam allowance at fabric this foot will help you exactly. This foot is only used for straight stitching and ¼” seams.

Rollerball foot

Rollerball foot it’s funky; this is for feedings heavyweight fabrics like leather or upholstery vinyl. This presser foot is beneficial if you’re using weird stuff that is difficult to feed. One large and two small rollers are installed at this presser foot to smoothly pass the fabric.

Invisible zipper foot

Here’s another kind of strange foot you can find the deep grooves on the bottom.  This incredible foot is used for stitching invisible zippers, but we think it has another function, you could also stitch cording with this foot.  It’s worth and essential for versatile sewing.

Teflon foot

Teflon foot is super slippery, and it is designed for stitching very sticky materials. Kind of a pulse tree vinyl, anything that would typically get hung up in your machine uses this. Teflon foot is used to sew leather, plastic, lycra, or other sticky fabrics that could slip or stick under normal pressure. This fantastic presser foot is also helpful with skipped and uneven stitches.

Overlock foot

Overlock foot; it’s got a blade down the centre that guides you as you stitch an overlock. That’s an edge stitch on your kind of garment; you could also use this blade as an edge stitching. Overlock the foot, moves your needle over to the right, and Stitch a beautiful edge.

This magical overcast foot gives you an overlock stitch like a serger with any low shank sewing machine. The design of this presser foot prevents the fabric from unravelling and allows the thread to wrap around the textile’s edge.

Open-toe applique foot

The next is an open-toe applique foot, and you can get beautiful satin stitches with this presser foot. With this presser, you can get a nice vast space so that the needle can swing from left to right over your applique.  This unique foot is one of the most relaxed feet that provide you with decorative stitches at a regular sewing machine. Here you can easily see the needle movement; this foot gives you a clear view of the stitching area.

Pintuck foot

Pintuck foot is a unique foot that is used two needles to raised “tucks” in the fabric. The twin needles and two strands of thread are used through the top of your machine. Previously this type of tucks designed on heirloom garments, but now table sheets, bed linens, and other crafts are decorating with pintucks.

Advantages of low shank sewing machine 

  • Good for domestic purpose
  • Best for beginner’s
  • Budget-friendly sewing machine
  • No need to upgrade initially
  • Enables versatile sewing with different presser feet