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What Is The Presser Bar On A Sewing Machine?

Your sewing machine is a complex machine, and the manual it came with will have a lot of sewing machine terminology that you’ve never heard of.

This article will teach you all you need to know about the presser bar on your sewing machine – why it’s there, how the presser bar lifter works and much more.

If you’d like to learn more about your sewing machine, do check out the guide I have on the different parts of a sewing machine – I cover an overview of each with their main function too!!

Learn all about the sewing machine presser bar with this short guide

What Is A Presser Bar On A Sewing Machine?

The presser bar is a vertical metal shaft to which we attach sewing machine presser feet on the bottom part. It sits behind the needle shaft when you look at your sewing machine from the front.

Without the presser bar, there would be no way to keep the presser foot in place and you’d end up with a tangled mess of thread when trying to sew.

What Is The Presser Bar Used For?

The main purpose of the presser bar is to place pressure on the feed-dog so that the fabric we have placed between the feed dog and the presser foot does not shift.

As well as connecting to our chosen presser feet, it is also connected to the presser bar lever – sometimes called a presser foot lifter – which we use to raise and lower the presser feet during the sewing process.

The presser foot lifter can be found towards the back of the sewing machine – we usually reach it by putting our hand under the arm of our sewing machine and slightly to the left.

Viewing the back of the presser bar on the Singer 66 - the sewing achine presser foot is touching the feed dog beneath the presser foot now that the presser bar is down.
Viewing the back of the presser bar on the Singer 66 – the sewing achine presser foot is touching the feed dog beneath the presser foot now that the presser bar is down.

How Do You Use A Presser Foot Lifter?

The presser bar lifter is used to raise and lower the presser bar, so that the sewing machine foot is placed in contact with the feed dog.

Here are two photos of the presser lifter on my sewing machines!

Using the presser bar lifter on my Bernina 1008 sewing machine
Using the presser bar lifter on my Bernina 1008 sewing machine
Presser bar lifter on my Singer 66 sewing machine is just visible
Presser bar lifter on my Singer 66 sewing machine is just visible

Comparing the two images above and you can see that the presser bar lifter can be shaped in many ways. I actually find the one on my Singer 66 sewing machine more comfortable to use as it is less angular than the Bernina.

How Do I Attach Presser Feet To The Presser Bar?

The method used to attach your sewing machine presser feet to the presser bar will vary depending on which brand of sewing machine you have.

My Bernina 1008 has a clip on method for attaching the feet to the presser bar, while my old hand cranked Singer sewing machine uses a screw in mechanism to hold the presser feet onto the presser bar.

Attaching Sewing Machine Feet On A Bernina 1008

The Bernina 1008 that I have uses a clip on system for attaching the presser feet to the presser bar.

The Bernina has a clip-on presser foot system at the end of the presser bar
The Bernina has a clip-on presser foot system at the end of the presser bar
A closer look at the clip-on mechanism on the presser bar of the Bernina 1008
A closer look at the clip-on mechanism on the presser bar of the Bernina 1008

Attaching Sewing Machine Feet On A Singer 66

The old Singer sewing machine I have is an older machine and needs me to screw the presser feet to the presser bar.

The Singer sewing machine has a screw on presser foot system at the end of the presser bar
The Singer sewing machine has a screw-on presser foot system at the end of the presser bar
Close up look at the screw-on mechanism for the presser bar on the Singer 66 sewing machine
Close up look at the screw-on mechanism for the presser bar on the Singer 66 sewing machine

I hope that I’ve answered any questions you might have had about the presser bar on a sewing machine! Do check out other articles about sewing machine parts if you’d like to learn more!

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