A Guide to BERNINA Decorative Stitch Presser Feet

Today’s sewing machines are really amazing in many ways. The things we can do with them, especially using decorative stitches, are so much fun. Even the most basic machine has a few beautiful stitches and as you move up to larger machines with more features, the number of stitches increases until you see hundreds of them on top-of-the-line models.

Embroidery Presser Feet

It’s important to use the proper presser foot to sew decorative stitches so the stitches are formed correctly to give you the exact pattern you want. BERNINA has several presser feet that are specially designed for sewing decorative stitches. They are known as Embroidery Feet, referring to decorative stitches as they have been around since long before today’s embroidery machines. Embroidery Foot #6 is the original embroidery presser foot that comes in one version with a 5.5 mm needle opening. Open Embroidery #20/20C/20D that is open between the toes so you can easily see the needle as it stitches. And Embroidery Foot with Clear Sole #39/39C lets you see the entire stitching area through the clear sole. These three presser feet are all variations of the same foot, each with unique differences for certain sewing situations.

Feet #6 and #20/20C/20D

Foot 39/39C

Side Note: There are two other presser feet that may be used when stitching open decorative stitches – Reverse Pattern Foot #1/1C/1D and Reverse Pattern Foot with Clear Sole #34/34C/34D. These feet work with stitch patterns that are open and stitched with less thread. The soles are flatter and have shallow indentations which means the compact decorative stitches with heavy thread build-up do not feed easily under them. Click here for more info about Feet #1 and #34. The feet above also sew the open stitches and in addition, handle the heavy ones, easily letting the fabric move as you stitch. This post is about presser feet that work with all decorative stitches – Feet #6, #20, and #39.

Embroidery Foot #6

If you look at the sole of Embroidery Foot #6, you will see a wedge-shaped indentation. The purpose of this indentation is to let the fabric slide under the foot as the stitches are formed. If stitching is intricate or heavy satin-stitched patterns, a flat presser foot may cause the fabric to drag, causing distorted stitches or patterns. One extra feature of this machine is a tiny hole in the center of the foot. This hole is designed to hold a narrow cord or heavy decorative stitch so it can be stitched over as it goes under the needle. This is good for gathering over a cord, decorative couching, and stitching reinforced seams and edges. Embroidery Foot #39/39C has the same tiny hole.

couching with Foot 6

Embroidery Foot #20/20C/20D

Foot #20 comes in three variations, #20 for the smaller machines that have a maximum stitch width of 5.5 mm, #20C that accommodates the machines that have a maximum stitch width of 9 mm, and #20D that also stitches 9 mm but works with the Dual Feed function on some BERNINA models. This foot is the same as Foot #6, except that the front area between the toes has been cut away so you are able to see the entire stitching area as you sew.

stitching with foot 20

Another use for Foot #20 is applique using the blanket stitch. Click here to see a previous post on Blanket Stitch Applique.

Embroidery Foot with Clear Sole Foot #39/39C

This variation of Foot #5 has a clear sole so you can see the fabric under the foot, giving you extra visibility of the stitching area. With 2 variations, there is #39 foot for the 5.5 mm models and #39C for the 9 mm models.  This foot also has red markings on the clear sole to make it easy to align stitches, creating beautiful bands of combined decorative stitches. If you look under the center red mark, you see the same tiny hole that Foot #6 has for stitching over a narrow cord or heavy decorative stitching. Click here to see some beautiful stitch combinations sewn with Embroidery Foot with Clear Sole #39/39C.

aligning stitches

For more information about BERNINA presser feet, see The Big Book of Feet at your local BERNINA store. Click here to find a BERNINA Dealer near you.

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