5 Sewing Machines With Adjustable Presser Foot (How-To Guide)

The more options you have the better your odds of doing fine work. This concept works well on sewing machines as the more options you have the more creative your work will be. Even adjustable speeds play a constructive role in your creativity.

Different features are one part of how unique a sewing machine is. Even though no two sewing machines are alike, part of that description is due to the different features built into each unit. Singer, Janome, Bernina, Pfaff, Brother, and other brands make sewing machines with adjustable presser feet.

To learn about specific models of sewing machines with adjustable presser feet, just continue to read our article. it has the information on some of those units. There just may be too many models that have this feature to highlight here.

What is Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure?


All that boils down to is the amount of pressure placed on the fabric by the presser foot. The adjustable nature of this device means that you can customize the amount of pressure for each thickness of the fabric you are working on.

Not all fabrics require the same pressure and you will need to make adjustments to make sure the fabric doesn’t pile up on you at the needle, doesn’t feed too fast, and so on. The pressure helps you to sew better and some people are very good at sewing that they rarely adjust the pressure on their presser foot.

If you like to use the adjustable feature, the control on those machines that have it is usually at the top of the machine above the needle. This location is not universal and you may have to check your owner’s manual to find the right location on your model.

If you do not use this feature, the alternative would be to use a good walking foot. This is a good option as some fabrics, including vinyl, tend to stick to the presser foot and ruin the feed.

Just remember that the correct pressure at the presser foot will influence your results to the better side of things.

Sewing Machines With an Adjustable Presser Foot

It is impossible to list all the sewing machine models that come with an adjustable presser foot but here are 5 with a brief description of each to set you on the right path.

  • 1. The Bernina 435 - A more modern sewing machine it comes with a 4 inch approx., touchscreen to help you make all the adjustments you need. Also, there is a jumbo bobbin that allows you to put up to 70% more thread on and save you the hassle of changing the bobbins out mid-project.

The presser foot pressure is not the only adjustable item on this machine. The slide speed control lets you change speeds quickly. The 900 spm is a great speed to sew at and the front-loading bobbin makes thread changes very easy to do.

  • 2. Singer Heavy Duty 4411 - Even those sewing machines made for a lot of hard work and heavy fabrics are not left out of the adjustable presser foot feature option. This is a very affordable machine coming in at under $250 and has 11 stitch patterns and 69 stitch applications.

Its all-metal frame and durable motor provide a top combination when you have lots of sewing projects to get done. Along with the adjustable presser foot pressure, you get adjustable stitch widths and lengths. A lever helps you change directions from forward to reverse in a second. Singer continues to stay on top of the pack.

  • 3. Pfaff 140s - it may have a basic design and may not have all the bells and whistles other machines have but it does have adjustable presser foot pressure. Then you can use Pfaff original presser feet on this model as well as the integrated needle threader feature.

The 6mm stitch width adjustment feature makes sure you get the stitches you want and the hard case protects this machine from normal bumps and bangs. An LED light illuminates your sewing area so you never lose track of what you are doing.

There are a lot of complementary features that come with the machine that makes using it a joy.

  • 4. Janome MC 15000 - the new computerized sewing machines have taken the worry of adjusting the presser foot pressure out of your hands. This model, and several others, do the adjustment for you.

The built-in sensors monitor your fabric and calculate the right amount of pressure you need. All you have to do is make sure the fabric is ready to enter the needle area. This machine also comes with the largest touchscreen the brand has ever made.

Those are just two of the top features that are built into this sewing machine. You will have to check it out to see all the options that you can get.

  • 5. Brother 1034d Serger - even serger machines come with this feature. Although, Brother may be the most difficult of all sewing machines on this list to adjust. There is supposed to be a screw at the top left of the machine and it needs to be turned.

According to Brother, the pressure is set for light to medium fabrics so you do not have to adjust the screw unless you move on up to heavier materials. The standard height for the screw for medium materials is 8mm. It is a good machine that helps you get your sewing projects done right and quickly.

Honorable mention

Bernina 480SE-- for a $3,000+ sewing machine, you would expect the machine to not only have an adjustable presser foot pressure but to serve coffee as well. the 9mm stitch length and jumbo bobbin are just 2 features that complement this function.

There is also adjustable tension as well as an automatic thread cutter which should make sewing a little easier for you. There is also a walking foot which some people say is more important than having the adjustable presser foot pressure.

When it comes to top-of-the-line features, Bernina is one of the best places to look.

Why Adjust Presser Foot Tension?


There is one simple reason why you would want to adjust the pressure on your presser foot. The correct pressure largely influences your results. The incorrect pressure will have a very big negative impact on your sewing project and results.

If you are a person that likes redoing their work, then incorrect pressure should not bother you. Or you can simply work with your walking foot and save yourself the time and trouble of adjusting the pressure. If you do not have an adjustable presser foot, then a walking foot will come in handy when you switch fabrics.

One way to tell if you have the right presser foot pressure is to look at your stitches. If they are all even, then you have the correct setting. Then the fabric should slide through the needle without help from you pulling or pushing the material.

Signs that the incorrect amount of pressure is on the fabric are puckering and this happens if the pressure is too loose or too tight. Then your thread gets tangled. The rule of thumb is for heavy fabrics, the pressure needs to be light and for light fabrics, the pressure needs to be heavy.

Sewing Machine Presser Foot Pressure Adjustment

The adjustment comes in different forms. Some machines, like the Brother we just mentioned, need a screw turned either clockwise or counterclockwise to get the right pressure. The Singer had a dial you needed to turn and that dial may have numbers on it.

Those are the manual presser foot pressure adjustments that need to be made. With the computerized models, you only need to master the touchscreen and the machine will do everything else for you. That is one of the benefits of having a computerized sewing machine.

Everything is automatic and you just have to learn to navigate to the right screen and push the right buttons. For the Brother sewing machine, the instructions are fairly simple. Turn to the right, you tighten the pressure, turn to the left, you loosen it.

Those instructions follow the standard mechanical or construction rule of thumb “righty tighty, lefty loosey’. Simple instructions that are not hard to remember or apply.

Even a beginner will be able to adjust the presser foot pressure like a pro after only a few tries. It is that easy to learn.

How do You Adjust the Height of a Presser Foot?


On the less sophisticated machines, this operation is not very difficult to do. it is probably easier than adjusting the pressure on the presser foot and that operation is very easy to do.

There is a lever located behind the needle area and above the presser foot, or just behind the presser foot and above it. The location may change with the different models and brands. Once you locate it the lever is very simple to operate.

All you need to do is lift the lever up to raise the foot and push the lever down to lower it. Any simpler and there wouldn’t be any lever at all. And that is exactly what the computerized machines have done.

On the Babylock Destiny computerized sewing machine, the instructions to lift the pressure foot are found on page 3 of the settings screen. Once you get there you can set the machine to lift the foot automatically for you. All you have to do is press the right button.

There is an automatic down button and an automatic up button. They have to be switched to ‘on’ to work. The operation success depends if you push the start-stop button or press down on the foot pedal or releasing the pressure.

When you do the right movement, the machine will lower or raise the presser foot. The best thing to do when you get an automatic or computerized machine is to read the manual carefully so you know where these controls are and how to use them correctly.

How to Adjust Presser Foot On a Brother Sewing Machine

The action you need to take will depend a lot on the type of model you own. For the 5234PRW sewing machine, all you need to do is turn the screw at the top of the machine left or right and the pressure will either increase or decrease.

This action is the same for the 2340 CV model as well. For other models, you will have to first locate the presser foot lever and push it down to lower the foot. Next, you have to find the presser foot pressure adjustment dial. This usually on the back of the machine and it should have some numbers on it.

Those numbers go from 1 to 4 and you just need to select the right number to get the correct pressure. The higher the number the higher the pressure and that will work for light fabrics. The lower the number the better it is for heavy fabrics.

Brother suggests that when you finish sewing, that you reset the dial to #3. They do not explain why they make this suggestion but it is there on their instruction website. These instructions work for 6 models that Brother makes at this time so you will have to check your owner’s manual on different machines to see which option you need to use.

Adjusting Presser Foot Pressure On Janome


The location and style of adjustment will vary from model to model or sewing machine series to sewing machine series. For the computerized machines, you should look in your owner’s manual to find how to access that feature. That is if the machine has this feature.

Or the computerized machine will automatically do it for you so you do not have to worry about navigating the touchscreen to make the change. The sensors do it all for you. There are at least 8 machines that have the adjustment this way.

For other non-computerized sewing machines, and if the model comes with a top cover that opens up then you are in luck. The adjustment dial is inside the top cover. You just have to turn the dial left or right to get to the pressure level you want to use.

In the images provided, we could not see any numbers to turn the dial too so it may just be by feel. But there are up to 6 different pressure settings, again depending on the type of machine you own.

As we said already, the manual is your best friend and will provide the instructions you need. If you do not have the manual either look at Janome’s website or go to one of the many websites that advertise download manuals. if the machine is recent or current, the manuals will be easy to find.

Signs That Tell You the Pressure is Incorrect

Here are a few signs that tell you the pressure is wrong under your presser foot and they come with some instructions on what to do when you spot those signs:

  • 1. fabric slips away on you - if the presser foot is down and the fabric starts sliding out from underneath it, then the pressure is too low and needs to be raised.
  • 2. if the fabric doesn’t move - in this situation you are constantly pushing the fabric to get it to move, then the pressure is too high and you need to release it a little.
  • 3. multiple layers move at different speeds - this can happen as one layer moves slower than another. When this happens you just have to raise or lower the pressure until all layers move at the same pace.
  • 4. skipped stitches are showing up - this situation is telling you that the pressure is too low and you need to raise it a little. Go until the skipped stitches disappear.
  • 5. puckered fabric is appearing - when the fabric starts to bunch up at the needle then you know you have the wrong pressure under the foot. In this case, the pressure has to be lessened to allow the fabric to move smoothly.

Generally, most machines come with a universal pressure setting, and that setting works for almost all fabrics.

Some Final Words

Some great machines have adjustable presser foot pressure features. The only question you need to answer is do you need that feature or not? Not everyone needs it but it is certainly nice to have around when a situation arises where you need to adjust the pressure.

These features are not exclusive to the high-end and expensive machines and are on many affordable models.

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