What Does High Shank Machine Mean

There are many types of sewing machines that one can purchase. You can buy a high or a low shank machine depending on the type of projects you need to handle on your sewing machine. Many sewing machine owners don’t know whether their sewing machines are high or low shank.

This is because sewing machines are not labeled high or low shank. You get to know whether it’s low or high shank when you start working with it.

What Is A High Shank Sewing Machine?

A shank is the metal rod that holds the presser feet in a sewing machine. A high shank sewing machine is a sewing machine that can sew bulkier projects than others. This means that the presser foot can rise to allow a bulkier fabric to fit under the sewing machine needle. Sewing machines with a low shank can only sew on thin fabrics or projects.

The best way to identify a high shank machine is by measuring it. A high shank sewing machine measures more than one inch from the bottom of the needle plate to the center of the thumbscrew.

Features Of A High Shank Sewing Machine

1. High Shank Sewing Machines Are Industrial Sewing Machines

High shank machines are mostly manufactured for industrial use. Industrial machines are sewing machines used to manufacture items on a large scale and are normally found in factories.

There are certain fabrics that you cannot work on with your home sewing machine. The industrial machine is best suited for such kinds of fabrics. Canvas is one type of fabric that is best handled by an industrial sewing machine.

Due to its height, a high shank industrial sewing machine will sew on canvas quite easily. It is difficult to fit canvas in a home sewing machine. The presser foot space is too small to align it with the needle.

For this reason, high shank sewing machines are best to handle industrial sewing.

2. High Shank Sewing Machines Can Handle Bulky Fabric

If you are sewing something bulky, you need a high shank machine. If, for example, you are making a blanket or towel, you need a high shank sewing machine.

The fabric or materials needed for these items are too thick and bulky. They need a sewing machine with a large enough presser foot space to fit.

If you are working on your home sewing machine, you will need modified presser feet to make towels. You will have to buy presser feet adapters that can help your sewing machine handle these fabrics.

The modified presser feet allow your low shank sewing machine to have enough space for bulky fabrics. However, it still not as effective as using a high shank sewing machine.

3. The High Shank Sewing Machine Is More Expensive

Another way to identify a high shank sewing machine is by its price. High shank sewing machines are more expensive compared to low shank sewing machines. This is mostly because high shank sewing machines are industrial.

Many sellers of sewing machines don’t display the shank height. You can find out by comparing the prices of similar sewing machines. The more expensive sewing machine is a high shank. The lower prized sewing machine is a low shank home sewing machine.

4. Accepts Only A High Shank Presser Foot

Presser feet are a significant feature of the shank of the sewing machine. A high shank sewing machine only accepts a high shank presser foot. Similarly, a low shank sewing machine only accepts a low shank presser foot.

Make sure you have the right presser foot for the sewing machine that you are using. This makes your sewing easier and more enjoyable.

The wrong presser foot means that you will strain the working of your sewing machine. If you use a high shank presser foot for your low shank sewing machine, you will not be able to sew a thing. Your needle may not get the needed stitches to the fabric being sewn. This may also happen when you use a low shank presser foot on a high shank sewing machine.

Different types of presser feet for the different sewing machines are available and can be bought affordably.

5. Can Be Changed To A Low Shank Sewing Machine

You can also use your high shank sewing machine as a low shank sewing machine. You can do this by the use of a low shank adapter.

A low shank adapter is a tool that is used to change the high shank sewing machine to a low shank sewing machine. It is a small metal piece that allows different sewing machine brands to use different presser feet than their original.

This means that you can also buy the high shank sewing machine for home use if need be. When you need it to become a low shank, you can use the low shank adapter. If you need to use it as a high shank, you will remove the adapter and use it as a high shank sewing machine.

The high shank sewing machine is versatile. You can use it as an industrial sewing machine and for home sewing. All you need to know is which tool to use on the high shank for these changes to occur.

It allows the user to work on types of fabrics and projects that they would not normally work on. At home, a high shank sewing machine could increase your scope of projects and help to develop your skills as a sewer.

When you know the shank of your sewing machine, you can do more with it. You can use presser foot rulers for your projects that need them. You can also use different and correct presser feet for different projects.

How To Measure The Shank Size Of Your Sewing Machine?

Step 1. Switch off your sewing machine and lower your presser foot completely. Make sure it touches the top of the needle plate. Use the presser foot lever to make sure that it is completely lowered.

Step 2. You now need a small ruler that will fit in that section of your sewing machine. You can make for yourself the small ruler or use your presser feet rulers for this purpose. Place the ruler at the bottom of the presser feet and measure the height from here to the thumbscrew

Step 3. Make a mark on the ruler for the given height and remove the ruler. If your height is less than ? inches, your sewing machine is a low shank. If the height of your measurement is 1 inch or higher, your sewing machine is a high shank.

How To Attach A Presser Foot To A Shank?

A presser foot is an integral part of the sewing machine shank. There are different types of presser feet for different types of projects and fabrics. Thus you can remove or attach a presser foot to a shank.

To start, make sure that your sewing machine is turned off and unplugged. This helps to avoid accidental injuries. Confirm the type of project that you intend to work on and get the right presser foot for it. Using the wrong presser foot may cause your needle to break or bend.

Raise the presser foot lever and press the button at the back of the presser foot holder to release the one in use. Pull it out and you are ready to attach a new presser foot.

Place your new presser foot on the holder and align it to the shank. Lower the presser foot lever until the presser foot pin fits into the shank in the presser foot holder. Then raise the presser foot lever and confirm that it is securely attached. If it is, you can now start sewing.

What Is A Slant Shank Sewing Machine?

In addition to a high and low shank sewing machine, you also have a slant shank sewing machine. The slant shanks sewing machine is a sewing machine that has a slanting shank. The slant shank is longer than the short shank but it is shorter than the high shank. The slant shank measures more than ? inches but less than 1 inch of the high shank sewing machine.

There are many types of slant shank sewing machines available in the market. Most slant shank sewing machines have been in existence for a long time. Many are no longer manufactured by their manufacturers.

Like short shank sewing machines, slant shank sewing machines are best used for home sewing. Thus, they cannot be used to sew heavy and bulky fabrics as the high shank can.

Slant shank sewing machines also use slanting needles. They also have numerous types of slant and normal presser feet that they can use.

A low shank sewing machine, a slant shank, and a high shank are all sewing machines that you can use to accomplish all your sewing needs. Different shanks sewing machines have different uses. They also need different skills to use and have different projects that they can complete.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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