The all-purpose sewing foot is simply the presser foot that comes with all standard sewing machines. It may come with different names like the multi-purpose foot, utility foot or the straight stitch foot. It is also known as the general foot or the standard foot.
This foot may snap onto the shank of your machine or may need to be screwed onto the shank. Depending on the design of the foot at the needle entry point, it may be used for a straight stitch, zigzag or some decorative stitches.
Generally, this foot is used to finish seams, stitch hems, top stitch and sew straight stitch projects.
All Purpose Sewing Foot
All models of sewing machine come with an all-purpose sewing foot. It is easy to recognize in your sewing kit and is usually the one that stays on the machine unless you are planning on using a specialty foot.
The purpose of this foot is to hold the fabric in place while the feed dogs below provide the traction to push the fabric through the needle and complete the seam or other objectives.
The all-purpose presser foot is spring hitched to give it flexibility. It is generally easily recognized by the two ‘toes’ that sit on either side of the needle as the foot feeds the fabric forward.
The toe piece is usually open to allow for wider stitches or for a zig-zag stitch and other decorative stitches. This wide needle slot can allow for stitch widths of up to 7mm depending on the make and model of machine. The Janome foot pictured has a clear plastic part in the center, but many are all metal.
The all-purpose sewing foot may snap or screw on.
When buying a new all-purpose sewing foot, it is necessary to know if your machine is a high shank machine or a low shank machine.
How to measure the shank height of your machine
The shank of the machine is measured from the presser foot to the screw hole. A measured distance of 1 ½ inch (3.8cm) is considered to be a high shank and a distance of 3/4 inch (2cm) a low shank.
The high shank model and a slanted shank machine are older models of machine and not so common in the modern world of technically advanced machines.