Do all sewing machines have a foot pedal

Do All Sewing Machines Have a Foot Pedal – Expert Unraveling

If you have lived around someone older who is sewing, you have probably seen those big sewing machines which have foot pedals. It might be strange, but those foot pedals are essential for sewing. This is because they control the speed at which the needle is moving. If you need the needle to move faster or slower, having speed control while both hands can adjust the fabric is an added benefit!

But do all sewing machines have a foot pedal? Here is the thing, not all sewing machines come with foot pedals! They have a different way to control the speed of the needle while sewing which doesn’t require the use of your foot. And it might be beneficial to have that because then you can turn all your focus on the sewing itself.

Key Takeaways

  • Some types of sewing machines don’t require a foot pedal or have alternatives to foot pedals like hand cranks or knee presses.
  • A foot pedal might be essential to some sewers, but there are benefits to sewing without a foot pedal, especially for disabled users.
  • My personal experience with the Singer MX60, a versatile and budget-friendly sewing machine that does the job really well.

Types of Sewing Machines Without Foot Pedals

So now the question is, what type of sewing machine comes without foot pedals? It is important to control the speed of the needle to make sure you are stitching correctly. But I can assure you that famous sewing brands like Singer, Janome, Bernina, and Brother have all made sure that you don’t have to use your foot to do so.

So let’s check out the types of sewing machines that don’t require a foot pedal:

  • Mechanical
  • Computerized
  • Manual Sewing
  • Knee Press

1.Mechanical Sewing Machine

Among my favorite types of sewing machines are mechanical sewing machines. This was a great transition from those big and heavy manual sewing machines and modernizing the sewing machines altogether. And the great thing was taking off the foot pedals! Most if not all mechanical sewing machines have a needle speed control button. But, you can also attach a foot pedal through one of the connectors on the side if you so wish. You can either use it with or without the foot pedal, but you are most likely required to have the sewing machine connected to a wall socket.

Mechanical sewing machine
Mechanical sewing machine

2.Computerized Sewing Machine

Now, if you are ready to splurge a bit more money for a sewing machine, then a computerized sewing machine might be what you are looking for! I don’t have much experience with a computerized sewing machine but the more than 100 stitching option is enticing. It can do those very complex stitching like buttonholes while you only have to guide the fabric. But for beginners, I would suggest staying away from the computerized sewing machine as it has a steep learning curve and hinders learning how to sew with a machine.

Computerized sewing machine
Computerized sewing machine

3.Manual Sewing Machines with Handcrank

Nothing better than those vintage sewing machines, right? In most of the bigger manual sewing machines, it is a must to have the foot pedal. But some of the smaller ones have a handcrank instead to control the needle speed. When I first started sewing with a machine, I was introduced to a second-hand Singer 15.

I can’t remember the exact model number of the Singer 15 but using a handcrank and the wheel made it very easy to guide the needle. That is something that felt odd with foot pedals because they couldn’t supplement that feeling for me. Now these manual sewing machines are considered to be antique, collector’s items worth a lot of money!

Manual sewing machines with handcrank
Manual sewing machines with handcrank

4.Sewing Machine with Knee Press

While not all that common or popular today, there was a time that sewing machines came with a knee press or knee pedals. Instead of controlling with a foot pedal, manufacturers decided to include models with a knee press. I have to admit, I have no experience with knee presses and that is something that feels like you would have less control than a foot as well. But it is worth mentioning that they dominated the market once upon a time.

Sewing machine with knee press
Sewing machine with knee press

See Also: Can You Use Gorilla Glue On Fabric?

Benefits of No Foot Pedals

For a lot of the older sewers, seamstresses, and sewing enthusiasts cannot imagine using a sewing machine without a foot pedal. I’m not here to change their minds, but it is worth considering the benefits of sewing with no foot pedals.

Constant Speed

Even with handcranks and sewing wheels, it takes years of experience to get the exact speed you want. That is where mechanical sewing machines with no foot pedals have an advantage. Having a constant speed for the needle creates a sense of familiarity that you can always work with. Instead of relying on yourself with incremental or constant changes in speed, it is better to always have the same speed. Not only that, but you can change the speed on the fly with a flick or press of a button or adjust a slider.

Constant speed
Constant speed

Space and Portability

Older sewing machines require a lot of space because the foot pedals are attached to the sewing machine. Modern sewing machines have taken care of this portability issue where the foot pedal and the sewing machine are separated. While mechanical sewing machines can have attached foot pedal accessories, attaching and removing the pedal can be inconvenient. And sometimes you might not have the space to attach the cable or keep the foot pedal on the ground either. These are such times when no foot pedal could come in handy!

Space and portability
Space and portability

No Replacements Needed

A sewing machine is meant to last anywhere from 5 to 25 years! That is a long time! However, the same can’t be said for foot pedals, which might require you to replace them every few years or so, depending on how much you use them. There is also the fact if you need to replace them, you need to get one that fits your sewing machine model. Foot pedals are not always interchangeable and buying a cheap one will wear out faster! Instead of worrying about all of that, the built-in speed function will last a lot longer and take away the hassle of worrying about replacing your foot pedals.

No replacements needed
No replacements needed

Disability Friendly

If your legs are injured or are someone with a disability, a foot pedal would not be something that is always an option. But if you could let the sewing machine control the speed of the needle instead of a foot pedal, then you are allowed more freedom in your stitching! Mechanical sewing machines are good for this because you have both options available for you!

Disability friendly
Disability friendly

Personal Experience with Singer MX60

The Singer MX60 is a sewing machine that I can safely recommend to both veterans and beginners. It is a budget-friendly option and compared to other sewing machines on the market, it produces results way above its price point!

One thing I have noticed with the MX60 is that it has a foot pedal accessory that is sold separately. So if you want to learn with a foot pedal, then this is definitely for you. Working without a foot pedal aside, it is compact, lightweight, and comes with a 25-year warranty from singer!

It has 57 stitching options that I could switch with a turn of the dial so it is also very convenient. The speed also felt good at both fast and slow speeds so it is very versatile too. Not to mention it is one of those machines that provide reverse stitching for those seams you want stitching. And a good reverse stitching machine in at a budget option is hard to find! Its storage compartment and LED lights also provide you with the option of not having to move around too much either!

Another option that budget sewing machines often lack is thread tension and the MX60 has got you covered with that. I would probably say the only downside to the MX60 is that veterans might not enjoy it as much as beginners. Also, the instruction manual is a bit lacking on how to properly thread the machine so that could be tedious to learn. Other than that, the MX60 is a great machine for both starting out and getting the job done well at an attractive price point!


Are foot pedals interchangeable?

No, foot pedals are not interchangeable! Some foot pedals fit a lot of model but you would have to search and see if it would fit your sewing machine or not. So be careful of those products that advertise itself as ‘universal foot pedals’ because it is more likely it isn’t for all models!

Do you need a foot pedal to sew?

Most modern sewing machines don’t require a foot pedal because they have the needle speed control built-in to the sewing machine.

Do all sewing machines have foot pedals?

Most older models and some modern sewing machines require foot pedals to function, but most mechanical sewing machines can work without a foot pedal.

Final Thoughts

To answer the question “do all sewing machines have a foot pedal”, then it is a no! Not all machines have a foot pedal, but most mechanical sewing machine has the option to add one. You would have to buy that separately though. In my option, the foot pedal can be a limitation for sewers because of variable speeds and space needed, and constantly replacing them is a hassle. Instead, the automatic speed control of most modern machines can help you be a more consistent sewer!


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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