The Hidden Mystery Behind What Is A Low Shank Sewing Machine

Fact Checked By:Aithley Balder

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Lessons about What Is a Low Shank Sewing Machine You Need To Learn

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wanted to use a certain sewing foot but discovered that it wasn’t compatible with your sewing machine? This incident occurs as a result of the shank of a sewing machine being damaged. However, low shank sewing machines are now available. A low shank sewing machine is adaptable to changes, enabling sewers to finish a variety of jobs on the same machine.

What is a low shank sewing machine, and how does it work? A low shank sewing machine is a sewing machine that has a smaller rod between the attachment screw and the presser foot than a standard sewing machine. The length of the rod is roughly 34 inch, and this item provides a great deal of flexibility for amateurs when it comes to adjusting the foot configuration.

Exactly What Do You Mean By The Term “Shank”?

what is a low shank machine

You must first grasp what a shank is in order to differentiate between a low shank and a high shank machine. A shank is a metal rod that supports the presser foot in your machine, according to the meaning of the term.

There is very little space between the presser foot and the attachment screw on low-shank sewing machines because of the short rods. In the latest generation of low shank sewing machines, the shank has been totally omitted from the design.

This kind of sewing machine has a rod-to-screw distance of at least 1 inch. You may be asking what a shank is before we estimate the size of your machine’s shank.

The presser foot is linked to a metal rod called a shank. Almost all of today’s consumer sewing machines have low shanks as a standard feature. There must be less than a three-quarter inch gap between the presser foot and the screw.

Because to this characteristic, amateurs may make use of a larger range of presser foot. When sewing with a low shank sewing machine, you may take advantage of a wide range of time-saving presser foot. You may enhance the zip’s functioning and appearance by employing a zipper foot, which helps you stitch close to the zipper coils.

Using buttonhole feet will ensure that your buttonholes are of the same size and shape, making it easier to recreate the design. Skirts and dresses may benefit from a virtually undetectable hemline thanks to the use of a blind hem foot.

Sewing through denim, which is a thick and heavy fabric, will be a breeze with the help of jean feet. Presser feet come in a broad range of shapes and sizes, and these are just few of them.

Understanding the Fundamentals of a Low Shank Sewing Machine

what are low shank sewing machines

This sewing machine has a little rod that is three-quarters of the way down the length of the machine, which is located between the presser foot and the attachment screw. The presser foot is held in place by this rod, which is its major function.

What Can Low Shank Sewing Machines Do?

When using a low shank sewing machine, the smaller rod is what allows the mechanism to accommodate various kinds of foot depending on the cloth being worked on. Most novices and hobbyists who are working on their methods and projects are drawn to the adaptability of the material. Here are some examples of various presser feet that may be used on a low shank sewing machine, as well as their intended uses for each one:

  • Maintain a constant buttonhole size throughout the stitching process.
  • You can sew zippers to create a finish that is both utilitarian and well-organized.
  • Sew strong materials, such as denim, together.
  • Create hemlines on garments that are professional-looking.
  • Use tiny and tight stitches while sewing.
  • Use piping to decorate garments.

A Quick Overview of the Low Shank Sewing Machine

  • You have the option of lowering your presser foot to a lower position.
  • After that, you’ll need to take accurate measurements between the presser foot holding screw and the machine bed.
  • It is reasonable to suppose that the resultant length will be half an inch in order to convey the impression that it has low shank abilities. If the length is more than one inch, the model will be classified as a high shank sewing machine.

High Shank VS Low Shank Sewing Machine

Low-shank sewing machines are easily distinguished from high-shank sewing machines. The length of the shanks is measured by measuring them. Machines with high shanks always have shanks that are larger than an inch.

It is common for high-shank sewing machines to be more costly since they are the brand’s most advanced and feature-rich versions. As a result, low shank adapters may be used to provide high shank machines a wider range of foot choices for adaptability.

Low Shank Sewing Machines

To put it another way: Low-end versions like the ones you’ll find in most households are termed low shank sewing machines while the more expensive ones are labeled higher shank sewing machines. However, machines with medium shanks are available from certain manufacturers. It’s possible to employ adapter shanks in order to accommodate additional presser foot kinds from different models when it comes to them.

A sewing machines by singer 

Sewing machines with a short shank are quite common at Singer. In addition, they have high and slant shank machines, so they aren’t only confined to the low shank type

A sewing machine made by a brother

Although Brother makes sewing machines with high shanks, the majority of the machines on the market have low shanks. It’s hardly unexpected, given that Brother’s equipment have always been designed with the home user in mind.

Sewing machines made by the Pfaff

It is common for Pfaff sewing machines to have medium shanks, which are neither high nor low shanks. Determine which shank is used by checking and measuring your own unit to ensure that it is the correct one.

Sewing machines made by Kenmore

Kenmore, like many other manufactures, provides a wide variety of sewing machine shanks. If you have a low shank Kenmore sewing machine, you may pick between a top-loading or front-loading needle-loading machine.

Sewing machines manufactured by Husqvarna

Sewing machines from Husqvarna are available with either a high or low shank. Slant-style versions are also available, comparable to those from Singer.

Sewing machines made by Janome

A wide variety of high and low shank sewing machines have been available from Janome for many years. While most quilting machines have low shanks, their high shank variants are often employed as embroidery machines.

Types of Sewing Feet With A Low Shank Sewing Machine

With a low-shank sewing machine, there are many different types of sewing feet. Using a low shank sewing machine has the advantage of being able to use several kinds of sewing foot, which may be used depending on the fabric and project you are working on. The following are some illustrations:

Buttonhole Foot

This foot will assist you in effectively repeating your pattern and in maintaining consistent buttonhole size and shape throughout the project.

Blind Hem Foot

It will come in helpful when you want to produce a hemline for skirts, dresses, and other items that is practically undetectable while wearing them.

Jeans Foot

Denim and corduroy are no match for the Jeans Foot, which makes sewing through difficult fabrics like denim and corduroy effortless.

Piping Foot

With this foot, you can make piping around the margins of your cloth in a professional manner. You may add piping to the hem, the collar, and the sleeves of your garment.

Darning Foot

As the name implies, a darning foot is a foot that aids the sewist in darning a ripped piece of cloth together. It is a foot that is meant to sew tiny, tight stitches to assist you keep a piece of cloth from being thrown away. It is available in many colors.

These are just a handful of the feet that may be used with your low shank sewing machine; there are many more. There are literally thousands of different varieties of presser foot that may be used for a variety of various circumstances and tasks, all of which are compatible if you possess a low shank machine.

Low Shank Sewing Machine Screw Mishaps

When it comes to sewing machines, newer model sewing machines are more sensitive to design changes. Instead of a screw setting, a snap-on presser foot is included on some versions. Since most snap-on feet will work with your model regardless of the shank size, you don’t need to be concerned about it.

As a result, low shank sewing machines like snap-on machines are also included in this category. As a result of this, the presser foot does not need the use of a screw.

Advantages of Low-Shank Sewing Machines Over High-Shank Machines

A low-shank sewing machine isn’t always better than a high-shank sewing machine, partly because they serve various functions. This is a common misconception.

If you’re looking for a machine that can stitch a variety of various sorts and methods, a low shank sewing machine is the best option.

While a low shank sewing machine may be more adaptable, a high shank machine may produce far higher and more refined work.

Sewing machines with low shanks are like a jack-of-all-trades, while sewing machines with higher shanks are specialists in a single field.

For Beginners, a Low Shank Machine Is More Accurate

Expertise is required when it comes to sewing. There aren’t many presser feet to choose from if you have a high shank machine, so you’ll have to learn new skills the hard way.

For the most part, you’ll have to practice a variety of skills while also using a restricted number of presser foot.

Low shank sewing machines, on the other hand, enable you to simply swap out the foot you’re using based on the kind of cloth and project you’re working on.

The many presser foot choices available on low shank machines make them ideal for beginning sewers who want to sew quickly and effectively. In addition, a low shank sewing machine makes it easy to switch between projects.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What is the difference between a low shank sewing machine and a high shank sewing machine?

Take a measurement with a ruler starting at the bottom of the foot and going all the way up to the middle of the presser foot thumb screw. You know you have a low shank sewing machine if the shank is 0.75 inches (or 0.5 inches) or less. This is a high shank machine, meaning it can handle shanks of 1 inch or more.

What kind of shank does a Singer sewing machine have? high or low?

Every single one of the 221 and 222 Featherweights has a Low Shank. It was Singer’s most popular option for their consumer-level sewing machines like those found in homes. When talking about sewing machines, the location and height of the needle bar and presser bar are referred to as the Shank. A comparison of the four standard machine shanks used by Singer may be seen in the following table.

What are the key distinctions between a low shank and a high shank Singer?

Only the slant needle machine can use Singer slant needles. The high shank machine is roughly 1 1/4 inches in length “from the screw all the way down to the base of the foot A low shank machine is around 3/4 inches in length “from the little dot in the illustration, which represents the screw, all the way down to the bottom of the foot.

Is the Juki a machine with a low shank?

It is a machine that has a low shank. It is compatible with the feet of various brands; nevertheless, you should double verify the clearances before beginning your project.

Why should you use a sewing machine with a high shank?

The metal rod known as the shank is what attaches the presser foot to the sewing machine in the first place. The height is important because it affects the maximum possible thickness of the material that can be tucked beneath the foot. Because there is greater room behind the presser foot, high shank sewing machines are ideal for working with more substantial fabrics.

What kind of shank does the baby lock have—high or low?

In point of fact, the Baby Lock Destiny that you have is a “mid-shank” machine. Make sure to utilize the adapter that came with your Destiny if you wish to use short shank feet with it.

Can I use low shank rulers on a machine with a high shank?

You are able to use a low shank ruler on a high shank machine if you are using Baby Lock rulers; however, you should not do this with a Westalee ruler since their low shank rulers are extremely thin, and there is a considerable probability that the ruler will slip under the foot of the machine. This is due to the fact that the foot does move around little when sewing.


These machines make stitching fast and easy, while also providing long-lasting and polished results. There are several advantages to using a low shank machine as an inexperienced seamstress or quilter.

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Aithley Balder

Hello there, my name is Aithley Balder from Texas. I am a cookware, sewing, toilet, technology enthusiast and I have been sharing my passion with my friends and likeminded folks for close to 4 years now. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via the contact page.

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