How to Use the Fringe Presser Foot – 6 Ideas When Sewing

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One of my new favorite presser feet is the fringe foot. Also known as a looper foot or tacking foot, it’s so fun to use to make 3D loops on your fabric or to add a thread fringe!  It’s even helpful as a tailor tack.

Want to learn more? Let’s talk about how to use a fringe presser foot!

How to Use a fringe presser foot

What does a fringe presser foot look like, and how does it work?

front of fringe foot

There are a couple of different types of fringe feet out there, but they are all used similarly.  I have both a Brother SA142 fringe foot and also generic fringe foot (came with a large set of presser feet), and they are identical in functioning.  The Brother is a little higher quality metal, but the generic one works well enough.

Above is what your typical fringe foot looks like.  The most important part of this foot is the bar in the middle of the foot.  This is what causes the stitches to loop up and give them height. 

When your sewing machine zigzag stitches (or another compatible stitch), the needle brings the thread over the bar.  The bar increases the amount of thread going into each stitch, leaving the threads raised in a looped appearance.

There are two feet to hold the fabric down, and they form a V where they meet at the bar.  Here’s what the back of the foot looks like.

base of fringe foot

Installation

This fringe foot fits low-shank sewing machines and may fit other sewing machines if you have an adapter.  I have no problems fitting both my Singer and Brother sewing machines.

Since my feet are easily switched with a lever, it is easy to install.  Simply press the lever, remove the old foot, and then attach the fringe foot.

Troubleshooting the Fringe Foot

The small bar on my generic looping foot was too tall to function perfectly.  When I used a small stitch length, thus increasing stitch density, I ended up with a thread jam on top of the bar and underneath my presser foot.

I tried to push the bar down with tools, but it didn’t budge.  I ended up having to file it to get it small enough.  After this, it worked perfectly.

Considerations Before Starting

  • If your length of stitch used is too short, your thread will bunch up and have difficulty going over the bar and under the presser foot.
  • A heavyweight thread will make denser thread loops, so be careful that you’re not getting too much volume on top of the bar.
  • Always start your stitching by using the handwheel to advance the needle, making sure it is going to fully clear the central bar.  If it doesn’t, you will break a needle.
  • Pull your fabric off the foot by moving it to the back carefully.

How to Use the Fringe Foot for 6 Different Effects

#1. Using the Fringe Foot to Make Intact Eyelash Loops

Basic Fringe Loops

This is the easiest way to use the fringe foot to make simple loops with a 3D effect.  You can make several parallel lines of loops or just a single loop row.

First, set your machine to a zigzag stitch.  You can play with the stitch settings to achieve your desired effect, but here’s what works great for my Brother SE1900.

  • Stitch tension: 0-1; I go around 0.5.
  • Stitch width: needs to be wider than the bar by a bit, at least 5-6mm.  I like 6mm.
  • Stitch length: set a small stitch length to make your loops close together, around 1mm.  Anything below 0.7mm for me causes the thread to bunch up, but you can test things out for you.

Next, sew a reverse or reinforcement stitch at the beginning, and then start sewing.  You should get beautiful loops!

#2. Using the Fringe Foot to Make One-Sided Eyelash Fringe

Sew Down Left and Seam Rip Right

When you cut upon the loops that you just made in step #1, you get an eyelash-like effect.  You can’t just cut them immediately, though, because the stitches would unravel.

You’ll have to stitch down one side with your zigzag foot.  Use a triple straight stitch if you have one, and if not, use a regular straight stitch.  Here are good settings for the straight stitch:

  • Stitch tension: normal
  • Stitch width: 0
  • Stitch length: 1-2mm

Stitch down the left side of the fringe using the straight stitch.

Then, use your seam ripper or a small pair of scissors to cut the loops on the right side of the loop.  Give the residual fringe a little fluff and pull the snipped threads out of the fabric to clean it up a bit.

#3. Making One-Sided Loops or Eyelash Loops

Sew Down Right and Remove Bobbin Thread

Again, we’ll be starting with the same looped stitches as in number one, just don’t sew a reverse or reinforcement stitch at either side.  This will make a fringe with loops at the end of it.

Now, you’re going to want to do the same triple straight stitch, but you will do this on the right side of the fringe.

  • Stitch tension: normal
  • Stitch width: 0
  • Stitch length: 1-2mm

Pull one end of the bobbin thread from the back of the fabric, and the bobbin thread should come right out.  If it doesn’t, you can always clip the bobbin threads using a seam ripper on the back.  Then, pull the top threads back through to the front of the fabric to make the looped fringe.

#4.  Use as a Tailor Tack to Baste Garments

tailor tacking with fringe foot

Because the fringe is very easily removable if you don’t do reverse or reinforcement stitches at the beginning or end, you can use it for marking fabric and then remove it easily later!

Here are the stitch settings for that:

  • Stitch tension: 0-1
  • Stitch width: 5.0
  • Stitch length: 1-2mm

Pull the ends of the threads to remove when you’re done!  I used a little larger needle I really needed, so that’s why there are some holes left in my fabric.

#5. Using an Overcasting Stitch with the Fringe Foot

fringe loops when overcasting and clipping

For this step, you can use an overcasting or overedge stitch to lock each side of the loops in place to then be able to cut the middle of the loops and have two sides of parallel fringe.  If you want to live life on the edge, you can always try a triple zigzag stitch, but make sure it does not hit the bar!

Pick a stitch that will easily clear the needle.  #16 is the overcasting stitch that I used followed by the stitch settings:

overcasting stitch for using with fringe foot

  • Stitch tension: 1.0
  • Stitch width: 5.0
  • Stitch length: 0.6mm

Reverse at the beginning and end of the stitch, and sew a complete line of fringe.  Once you’re done, use a seam ripper or small pair of scissors to cut the loops anywhere you desire.  You can cut them at the back of the fabric for a very long fringe like mine, or you can cut them on the front for a shorter fringe.

#6. Stitching Fagoted Seams Using the Presser Foot

how to do a fagoting stitch

Use the same settings for making intact eyelash loops.  Sew two pieces of fabric together with desired seam allowance.  Pull the layers apart, and press the seam open on the back.

If desired, switch presser feet and then satin stitch along each side of the fagoting.  I satin stitched on the left side with a wider stitch and on the right side with a thinner stitch to sew the difference.

Drawbacks of the Fringe Presser Foot

  • Tight corners are near impossible.  I tried to make a flower outline, which involved very sharp turns where the petals met the center, and it didn’t work so well.
  • There is a bit of troubleshooting to get the perfect length and width for your stitches.  However, once you’ve done that, you’re golden!

How to Use a Fringe Presser Foot – Conclusion

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning 6 ways to use the fringe, or tacking, presser foot to give some extra pizazz to your projects!

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