Can you sew without a presser foot

Can You Sew Without a Presser Foot?

When you think about a sewing machine, the first thing that comes to mind is that the machines can be both automatic and manual. With a manual sewing machine, the accessories and other parts are very versatile, but you as a person have to input a lot of your hard work into it. And with an automatic presser foot, you can work less and get better results almost immediately. And then the main question to pop up would be, “Can you sew without a presser foot on a sewing machine?”

You can work without a presser foot, and the machine will work just fine, depending on the design and the machine type. Many tailors and couture artists will use this technique to make unique pieces. You can even do intentional seam gathering with this. But the steps of ignoring the presser foot are challenging. Here you have to put in the intense work and hold the fabric while sewing. Moving the presser foot is a good idea if you want to build tailored pieces. In this article, we include the facts on how to work without a presser foot and whether it will work or not.

Key Takeaways

  • A presser foot helps with sewing on a sewing machine, but you can always sew without it.
  • There are different types of sewing machines and it could be helpful for you to know which you can use without a presser foot.
  • There is one technique to sew without a presser foot called the free motion technique which is popular.

Why Use A Presser Foot?

Why we need a presser foot might not be an important question for most. But it sure does help with the overall process. Most of the time, the presser foot is a built-in part of the machines. And that way, you get the type of machine as well as a presser foot. In other cases, you can detach the presser foot and even go without it.

Why use a presser foot
Why use a presser foot

Here are some important facts about the presser foot:

  • will hold the fabric in place and will not let it budge.
  • will ensure straight stitching.
  • consistent movement of the fabric is done with the presser foot.
  • feeding of the fabric is controlled with the presser foot.

Can You Sew Without a Presser Foot?

Can you sew without a presser foot
Can you sew without a presser foot

You can definitely sew without a presser foot, but there is a catch. For example, some of the automatic sewing machines would come with upgraded bells, whistles, and cutting and drying sections. As these models are of different types, the chances of getting the sewing to work perfectly without a presser foot are questionable. Some sewing machines would work fine without using a presser foot, and some might not function.

In the case of manual sewing machines, they seem to work just fine without a presser foot. But when you are about to go without a presser foot, the best way to go would be with the Free Motion Sewing. However, free-motion sewing is the best option if you are going to sew without a presser foot. In this article, we’ll go over all of the facts related to free-motion sewing.

With the free-motion sewing machine, the needles and the thread might be hard to handle, as the chances of getting into an unexpected accident are very high. So when going with the free motion technique (without a presser foot), you must go slow first and then try to master the technique before getting to work in motion. Slow, careful stitches would be perfect before you pick up a gradual speed.

Can You Sew Without A Presser Foot On A Manual Sewing Machine?

Can you sew without a presser foot on a Manual sewing machine
Manual sewing machine

When it comes to manual machines, the work gets easier. And in most cases, you are able to change the presser foot. For example, you can switch between your standard presser foot and a specialized presser foot according to your needs. And with manual machines, there is a presser foot lever. So, you can just put up the lever and change the pressure setting according to your needs. You can use specialized tools for bindings and even for zippers. But what happens when you remove the presser foot completely from the manual sewing machine? And then go for a typical sewing session?

The manual sewing machine will work just fine without a presser foot. Here I just have to put my hands up and work to get the machine in the correct position. For example, you have to stretch the fabric by hand and ensure that the fabric is in motion. So a manual sewing machine would definitely work without a presser foot. So take off the pressing floor whenever you want the material to have some elevated quality.

Can You Sew Without A Presser Foot On An Electric Sewing Machine?

When it comes to the electric sewing machine, most people are skeptical about whether they’ll be able to change or let go of their presser foot or not. With electrical machines, you have an on/off button, and the machine will start stitching when you push the start button. And the press foot on the electrical machine is changeable. Though the build of the presser feet might be different from the actual presser foot, it works just fine.

You can sew without using a presser foot on an electric machine. Here, you just have to take off the existing presser foot and, instead of attaching a new one, just start working. First, settle down the fabric on the machine bed, and then turn on the start button. The needle will start to sew. Then you have to keep the fabric moving, or the stitches will not be even. You might have to put all of your attention into the process. But the results will be just how you wanted.

Can You Sew Without Using A Presser Foot In An Overlock Sewing Machine?

Can you sew without using a presser foot in an overlock sewing machine
Overlock sewing machine

The overlock machine is used on the edges of the fabric. This is mostly used to tidy up the fabric sides, so there will be less fraying. But how about the presser foot part? In the case of the overlock machine, you cannot change the presser foot, and the presser foot is a part of the overlock machine shoe.

Like any other presser foot, it’ll work to clamp the fabric in place. And once you clamp the fabric in place, the machine will sew automatically. As the presser foot for the overlock machine is specified, you cannot change the presser foot. And again, without the press foot, the machine will not work properly.

Can You Sew Without A Presser Foot On A Computerized Sewing Machine?

Can You Sew Without A Presser Foot On A Computerized Sewing Machine
Computerized Sewing Machine

These kinds of machines will allow you to do multifunction and multidirectional sewing without you ever being involved. You can just set whatever embroidery or stitch you want, and the machine will do it for you. You can even get a 3D look from such machines. But when you think about replacing the machine’s presser foot or even working without one, it simply will not work.

This kind of machine is made to operate independently without any sort of human involvement. You will only direct rather than work. Thus, all of the parts are essential for you to get an output. The machine will run without the presser foot, but it will not do the job. So, not using the presser foot is not an option for a computerized machine.

How To Sew Without A Presser Foot?

When you think about using a sewing machine without a presser foot, you might want to go with other options. There are two different ways to control the work of the presser foot. The first would work only for electrical machines, and the second would work for both manual and automatic machines.

The on-and-off technique

This is only for those machines that have an electrical cord. These sorts of machines have a power button. So you can just set the fabric on the base and then turn on the machine. Once you get your desired stitching, just turn off the machine. And that’s how you get your machine to work without using a presser foot. This can only be used on an automatic machine.

The free-motion technique

This technique will consist of different aspects of work, and there will also be other factors related to it. For example, the free motion technique is mostly a tough nut to crack. You need two FAVS  to get the work rolling. First, you have to get the hang of the work, and that can be done by learning the parts. When you are a regular user of the sewing machine, then the free motion technique will be very easy for you to grasp. And lastly, when you are on the verge of learning the technique, you need patience to achieve the actual target. Try and practice first on some scrap paper, and as you get the hang of it, try to build up the work from there.

With a free motion technique, you are working on two parts. First, you have to get the hang of the work on the fabric. And later, you might want to control the work of the needle by moving around the fabric. The fabric and the needles are integral terms for learning the free motion technique.

The free-motion technique
The free-motion technique

Here is one method for incorporating the free motion technique:

Step 1: Adjustments

When beginning the overall work of the free motion technique, and because there is no pressure foot, you may need to begin with regular adjustments. For example, start by sorting out the stitch length, the width of the stitch, the tension on the bobbin thread, the type of needle, etc. This will ensure that the free motion technique is in place.

Step 2: Secure the fabric

And for the next part, you might want to go with securing the fabric at the very start. Assemble the fabric so it can withstand the weight and the bast, and try to align it according to how it arrived.

Step 3: Movements

The last part would be a manual movement of the fabric. Here, you are supposed to move the fabric by hand. Keep the hands steady and ensure that the feed dog is rea pulling or dragging the fabric. If you want such results, then the movements should count out accordingly.


Why is the presser foot important?

A presser foot will enable a smooth and consistent feed of the fabric, allowing the fabric to move with precise movements.

Can you do free-motion sewing without a foot?

Yes, with the absence of the presser foot, you can really go for the free-motion technique. This will allow you to go freestyle with the designs and crafts.

Final Thoughts

Presser foot is one of the best parts of using the machine, making the work ten times easier. When you are thinking about comfort, speed, and consistency in a sewing machine, then the first thing that would pop around would be the accessories of a sewing machine. But the problem of removing a presser foot might seem problematic as the person using the machine has to be involved. When you remove the presser foot, the chances of getting a customized feeding system and stitches are possible. So, a sewing machine would definitely work without a presser foot, but it might not work smoothly.


Hey I’m Sherry Howes an expert in sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. With a passion for fiber arts and a talent for crafting, I Have spent years improving my skills and sharing knowledge with others. Whether teaching a class or creating a new project, I’m always excited to share my love of crafting with the world. I like researching new techniques and trends in the crafting arts community.

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