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The Satin Stitch Foot

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What is a Satin Stitch

One of the things that make the sewing machine process work is that the presser foot presses down on the fabric to hold it against the feed dogs which pull the fabric precisely through the machine. It also holds the fabric firmly where the needle penetrates, and the straight stitch foot provides the maximum stability, especially for difficult fabrics. The zigzag machine comes with a foot with a wide opening for the needle. It also has a very flat bottom so that there is maximum even pressure to hold the fabric snugly against the feed dogs even though it has slightly less stability immediately around the needle.

BERNINA Appliqué foot # 23The normal zigzag foot is now the standard foot that comes on all home sewing machines. It is the all purpose foot for most sewing applications that use straight and zigzag stitches. However when the zigzag stitch length is shortened so much and the stitches lie so close together that they touch, which is called satin stitch, a different foot is needed. The thickness of the stitching builds up and it feels slightly raised. The fabric does not feed readily under the foot because the foot is pressing so hard against the stitches. And because the stitch length is so short there is not enough grip from the feed dogs to make the fabric move smoothly.

A Foot for Satin Stitches (and other uses)

The first innovative foot to accommodate zigzag goes by many names even within the same brand of machine. “Satin stitch” best describes it’s most useful purpose which is to allow the build up of stitches, such as satin stitch, to pass freely under the foot. The best way to tell the difference is to look at the bottom and see if there is a wide groove or channel that runs the length of the foot. This channel allows the thickness of dense stitching to move freely under the foot. The satin stitch is most often used in appliqué.

The next advance in sewing machine technology was variations of zigzag to create other practical and decorative stitches. Today every machine, even the most basic, includes at least a few more practical stitch patterns. The most sophisticated machines have up to several hundred decorative stitches, all variations of zigzag, even alphabets as stitch patterns. The more complex stitch patterns are possible thanks to the computer and the introduction of the revolutionary technology circuit boards brought to sewing machines. Stitch patterns of the most advanced sewing machines today are the most beautiful with complex arrangements of stitches that we have ever seen in the sewing world. For the same reason, the satin stitch foot is always going to be the best and recommended foot for these stitches patterns.

Satin Stich Foot by Brand

Bernina has six feet with the channel underneath used for satin stitch and decorative stitching. The Embroidery feet # 6 (metal) and #39 (clear) have a closed front with a small hole for incorporating a small cord into the stitching.

To see the stitching better the closed front part of the #6 foot was removed which gives the #20 Open Embroidery a visibility advantage. The #20 is for 5.5mm zigzag width, while the #20C is for 9mm wide zigzag machines. There is also a #56 Open Embroidery foot with the sliding sole for sewing plasticized type fabrics. (See “There is a SLIPPERY Foot for That” link)

One other foot, the #23 Appliqué foot, is for narrow satin stitch and has a curved channel to facilitate sewing around curved areas.

Viking has six feet to use for satin and decorative stitch sewing. The “B” foot should be familiar for most Viking users as it is packaged with most currant Viking machines. The Swing Advisor built in to the machines will recommend the “B” foot whenever a stitch is chosen with which it will work best. Viking makes a clear sole version, the Transparent Foot “B”.

There is also a Clear “B” Edge Stitch foot with a right side guide to sew evenly next to an edge, and a Clear “B” Edge Joining foot with a center guide for sewing along a seam or to follow a line.

The Open Toe foot for Viking comes in both metal and clear for total visibility.

Janome has four varieties of satin stitch feet, one of which is called the Satin Stitch “F” foot which comes with Janome machines. It is a clear foot, not open in front, and used for up to 7mm wide stitching.

There is a metal version for some machine models with a closed front for 5mm maximum stitch width.

The Appliqué “F” foot is 5mm and is unique in that the sole is completely cut away behind the needle for total maneuverability around curved areas.

The clear, custom crafted, “F 2” is the Open toe foot for 7mm width stitching.

These Janome feet may fit other brands of sewing machines. Have your dealer test the foot with your machine.

2 Comments
  1. Venora Smith says:

    Could you tell me how much the 39C foot is this month with the coupon.
    Thankyou.

    1. heirloomc says:

      Hi Venora, Give us a call anytime and we can get you that information. Bernina does not allowed to give out pricing information over the internet.

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