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Four Must-Have Bernina Feet (and other recommended Feet!)

Updated: Sep 4, 2022

Four Must-Have Bernina Feet

Dear Bobbin,

Which Bernina feet do you recommend to a newbie?

The Bobbin answers: Here’s our list of four MUST-HAVE Bernina Feet. As a bonus, we’ve also included our list of “luxury” feet and “think twice” feet.

If you have a dual feed, please buy the dual feed (D) version. If you have a 9mm, for the most part, you should get the C version (if available). We won’t add C’s and D’s here, for simplicity, unless it makes a difference.

Must Buy – what are you waiting for? You might need this at midnight when the store is closed!

  1. #10 – just budget in for this foot. We use it ALL THE TIME, particularly for stitching in the ditch, edge stitching etc. You may think “Oh, I don’t need that now…”, then you’ll be there at midnight needing it. Now for those of you who say “Oh, I have #5 and that’s enough”. NO NO! If you put your needle in the center of a #5 EEK! You’re going to break a needle. If you don’t put the needle in the center of a #5, the stitches won’t stitch along the “blade” line. #5 is a blind hem foot and designed to ensure that the hem is stitched so that most of the stitching is on the hem with a little “pick” into the other side of the fabric. It wasn’t intended to stitch in the ditch and trying to force it to do so will not give good results. Please don’t do it.

  2. 1/4″ foot – unless your machine came with one or you seriously do not quilt, you need one. If your machine came with one, try it first. Not for 10 mins, seriously…TRY IT for a week or a weekend and see what you think. Feet aren’t cheap. If it doesn’t work for you, ok, then try again.

  3. Walking foot – Honestly, if you do not have dual feed, this is really a “must buy”. If you have dual feed, we consider this a “luxury buy”, primarily because of the cost. Is dual feed the same as the walking foot? Technically no. Do they function the same? Depends on who you ask. This is why we consider it a “must” only if you don’t have dual feed or if you really do lots of straight stitch quilting.

  4. #34 – We HATE the #20. Yes HATE. So if we need full visibility, we go for the #34. You have support in the center…no flagging here! You get that nice red marking in the center to use as a guide for paper piecing or just for aiming your stitching. #20? Nope…absence…absence of a center, absence of a line. #34 is everything the #20 isn’t.

Luxury Buy – nice to have, not the first on your list

  1. #35 – Invisible Zipper Foot – This foot doesn’t do much, but what it does, it does very well! I love invisible zippers. Why? Because we don’t have to top stitch perfectly! (ha ha ha) But if you’re going to install an invisible zipper, you have to spend LOTS of time flattening that precurled item out or you have to use an invisible zipper foot. This foot “just works”. If you use invisible zippers, it’s well worth the cost.

  2. #18 – Button sewing foot – this is an expensive foot, a pure luxury. Try to get it used when the last guy realized that it doesn’t get used much. But if you’re doing lots of crafts with buttons, there’s nothing like it. It can be adjusted for whatever shank height you want.

  3. Walking Foot – see above

  4. #3 – Ok, we’ll admit we don’t do many manual buttonholes and YES, we know we can do a corded buttonhole on a #3A. But #3 can also be used for other cordings. Plus if you need larger buttonholes that exceed the size that #3A can do, you’ll want #3 (unless you want to embroider your buttonholes, which is the new, modern option.

  5. #14 – Some people whine about #4…oh, it doesn’t line up with this and that and I can’t get my stitching here and there, Bernina’s a bad machine. The solution? Move your guide where you want it! Use a #14 and you have the foot you want.

  6. #38 Piping Foot – Can’t wait to try this one for sewing velcro! Have you tried sewing velcro without it? Yeah, you know who you are! You are the folks who do not own #38!!!!

Think Twice – these feet are expensive, aren’t used much by most people or have mixed reviews

  1. Eyelet Kit – ok, if you do not have an embroidery machine and you’re wanting to do lots of eyelets, we’ll tell you, this kit DOES WORK. The results are FABULOUS! But we’re not sure with the popularity of embroidery machines, cutwork tool etc whether this kit is worth the high cost.

  2. Binding foot – MASSIVELY expensive, not sure if the results are worth it. Your results will be better with flatter projects, such as aprons or similar. Bound quilts? Maybe not. If you want a better shot at binding a quilt with the binding foot, serger or triple zigzag the seam allowance to flatten it as much as possible before using the binding attachment.

  3. Non-Stick sole feet – THEY WORK on vinyl! Our issue is that the feed dogs scratch the bottom, and wear the sole. Once the sole is worn off, you have to buy a new one. You can’t just buy a new sole. People now suggest putting painter’s tape on the bottom of foot #1. If the non-stick soles wouldn’t get worn, we would tell you that they are a strong must have (forget cheap painter’s tape). But considering the cost and life of the foot, we’re thinking painter’s tape is a better solution.

  4. Leather Foot – I’m sure it’s great for leather, but there’s low protection for your fingers, it has a textured roller which can imprint or damage some materials. It’s a super specialty foot and if you need it, you need it. But for the rest of us? Think twice.

  5. Shell Hemming feet – We didn’t have good luck with these. You really need to aim well to get that turn of fabric just right. They work, but require tons of practice. We don’t use them enough to justify that much practice. They are out of our lives.

  6. BSR – We have mixed feelings about this one. If you’re not good at free motion and you want to try, a 1/2 try at the store won’t be “enough” to know whether you want to invest or not. If you want this, be prepared to invest lots of time practicing and learning. Also consider whether you can get one second hand. Many second hand ones came from new machines or people who tried it once or twice and gave up. They are likely not very used but are heavily discounted. :)!

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