Top 5 essential presser feet for making shirts

Have you ever encountered a piece of fabric in a store that was practically begging to be made into a specific item? I was looking for something completely different when I came across this gorgeous mid-weight linen that was practically screaming at me to turn it into a shirt. This, in turn, gave me the opportunity to explore some presser feet for shirt making with my B 570 QE!

This shirt pattern is one of my own designs – I call it my “Vacation Dad” shirt because its style is reminiscent of a tropical shirt you might find on someone enjoying a tropical vacation with their kids. I've made this shirt nine times now – I love it for the summer season!

Check Gilbert shirt by Helen's Closet if you would like to create a similar pattern. I didn't create this pattern specifically, but I have made several other Helen's Closet patterns and they have always been well written with thoughtful and detailed instructions.

Even though I have made my vacation dad shirt so many times, this was the first time I sewed one on my BERNINA 570 QE – which means it’s a great comparison project, and an excuse to try out some of the accessories I received with my machine – namely, all those amazing feet! Without further ado, here are the top 5 presser feet in my shirt-making arsenal!

Image of the BERNINA 570 QE.


Boasting an extensive library of stitches for sewing, quilting and embroidery, the BERNINA 570 QE offers maximum precision when free-motion sewing, thanks to the BERNINA stitch regulator.

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Reverse pattern foot with transparent sole

The foot that the B570 wears – the Reverse Pattern Foot #1 is a great all-rounder, but the clear sole version of this foot – the Reverse pattern foot with transparent sole #34 has the benefit of increased visibility, which I found particularly handy when switching to a 9mm stitch width compared to the 5.5mm width of my bernette 79. This allows me to see more clearly what's happening under the needle, and the red guides in the foot are helpful for turning corners and perfect stitches, which is essential for collars and cuffs!

Image of reverse pattern foot with transparent sole #34.

Reverse pattern foot with transparent sole #34

For front and rear feed stitches ✓ The transparent sole ensures good visibility of the sewing area ✓ The red markings allow precise and careful sewing ✓ For 5.5 mm and 9 mm machines ✓

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I started my shirt by sewing all my construction seams with this foot, and the top feed system clicked into place.

sew a shirt with the reverse pattern foot with transparent sole

Open embroidery foot

I don't even use this stand for its intended purpose, but it is so perfect for this job! THE Open embroidery foot #20 is designed to accommodate large decorative stitches, especially those with areas of satin stitch that could become bulky when sewn. In addition to the open toe box of this foot, it also features an underfoot channel to help those bulky points pass under the foot without snagging.

Image of open embroidery foot n°20.

Open embroidery foot #20

Perfect for sewing decorative stitches ✓ Creating attractive appliqué designs ✓ Allows you to accurately follow lines and designs ✓ Open shape for a clear view of the project ✓ For 5.5mm and 9mm machines ✓

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I always bind the arms of my shirts with a 1″ wide bias strip turned over to the raw edge. As usual, I sewed the first pass of bias on my arm with 34D as above, but When it came time to make the final bias pass, I found that the #20 offered me two advantages. This foot allowed me to make small adjustments to the bias alignment just before sewing so that my edge to be perfectly even, and secondly, since the toe foot is not closed, it prevented the bias from being crushed and twisted out of place before being sewn.

finishing the bias with the open embroidery foot on Bernina

I used this foot on this project for the first time after doing some testing, and I think it's safe to say I'm completely obsessed with the possibilities here! This means you take away some of the machine's ability to feed fabric on its own (I wouldn't use it for sewing regular construction seams), but it's perfect for applications like this!

Border stitch foot

It is not surprising that the Border stitch foot n°10 is a big winner in the shirtmaking presser foot category – and we're back to using the feet for their intended purpose with this foot! The Edgestitch foot has a spring-loaded metal piece that extends down the center and creates a guide that makes it very easy to sew along any type of edge. I used it to topstitch the decorative cuff of my shirt sleeves, as well as to topstitch the hem and facing.

Image of edge stitch foot n°10.

Border stitch foot n°10

Excellent for topstitching edges, hems and folds ✓ Ideal for sewing lace or ribbon ✓ For reinforcing edges ✓ Guide allows you to sew perfect seams and hems parallel to the edge ✓ For 5.5mm machines and 9 mm ✓

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Buttonhole foot with slide

This goes without saying: there are often a lot of buttonholes when making shirts! This shirt comes off quite lightly – only three buttons with the Buttonhole foot with slide #3B although I think the most I ever added to a shirt was nineteen! This was back when my main machine was my BERNINA 830 Record, with its five-step manual buttonhole – what a task!

Image of the buttonhole foot with slide #3B.

Buttonhole foot with slide #3B

Sewing an unlimited number of buttonholes of exactly the same length ✓ Flexible choice of buttonhole length up to 30 mm ✓ With or without cord ✓ For 5.5 mm machines ✓

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I used the B 570's buttonhole sizing program to make sure my buttonholes were the correct size. To do this, simply hold your button close to the screen and turn the wheel until the yellow circle matches the size of the button. The machine will automatically add an extra 1mm to each side to accommodate the width of the button. From there, I sewed each buttonhole by aligning the foot with the chalk mark I had made to indicate the top of each buttonhole and pressing and holding the green button. I also chose a decorative buttonhole option because I liked the look of it.

Sewing foot for buttons

All we have left to add are the buttons. I find that sitting down and hand sewing buttons can be a really beautiful and cathartic end to a project, but I really like having the flexibility to choose how I attach them. THE Sewing foot for buttons #18 has two features that I found very convenient compared to the version I have for my old Bernina Record. It has a little grippy rubber “shoe” on the foot, incredibly handy for holding buttons in place while sewing. It also has an adjustable pin in the center that allows you to loosen the stitches to create a thread shank for your button. The shank is spaced out a little for the buttonhole, which allows these buttons to sit nicely on the front of a shirt!

Image of the sewing foot for buttons n°18.

Sewing foot for buttons #18

For sewing buttons and hooks ✓ Rubber sole keeps button firmly in place ✓ For 5.5mm and 9mm machines ✓

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As I was sewing this shirt and sharing the progress in my Instagram stories, a few people asked me if I thought the upper made things too loose – my answer is no, and here's why! The height of the pin is adjustable: you would want more height in the shank of a button for a heavy winter coat or belt than for a lightweight shirt. For example, in this project I used the spindle on its lowest setting.

Sometimes, though, you really don't want to add any stem at all. You could sew something extremely lightweight or add a hook and eye. In this case, you can actually flip the pin completely – simply remove the screw that adjusts the height of the pin, rotate the pin so that it points upward toward the top of the machine, and replace the screw to hold in place. the vertical position.


There we have it! I have another vacation dad shirt to add to my rotation, and a handy set of feet for future shirts! What do you think – what are your favorite feet? Did I miss one of your favorites?

As always, you can catch me Instagram, Tic TacAnd Youtube to see what I'm currently sewing!

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