Side Cutter Foot Tutorial 13

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Sewing Bee Fabrics Tutorial
How To Use A Side Cutter (Cut and Hem) Sewing Machine Foot

How to use a side cutter foot to make your sewing machine like an overlocker (Serger)

The cut and hem sewing machine foot is a brilliant little gadget. It converts your standard sewing machine into a basic overlocker for a fraction of the price and storage space.

sewing machine feet Side cutter II 4

To use the side cutter, first you need to unscrew your standard sewing machine foot.

Side cutter tutorial sewing bee fabrics how to unscrew your machine foot

Line the prong part up to cradle your needle screw so the cut and hem is able to move as your needle does. It is easiest to line it up if you sneak up on your sewing machine from behind!

Side cutter tutorial sewing bee fabrics tips on attaching cut and hem foot

Now pivot the foot so that the claw looking part lines up with the screw hole, and screw into place.

Side cutter tutorial sewing bee fabrics how to align the screw

Side cutter tutorial sewing bee fabrics tightening the screw

Pull your thread into the gap in the centre of the side cutter then out behind.

Side cutter tutorial sewing bee fabrics how to pass the thread through

You need to make a snip of a couple of centimetres in the fabric to get started. This is because the material needs to pass through far enough inside the foot for the needle to pierce the fabric next to a raw edge to begin an overlocking action.

Side cutter tutorial sewing bee fabrics start with a snip

To feed your fabric into the side cutter, pass your material over the plate closest to you, but under the part that looks like a standard foot. The bumped out black section in the centre is the blade, so be careful not to get your fingers too close to this as you sew. Push the cut edge of the fabric gently up to the edge of the blade.

Side cutter tutorial sewing bee fabrics how to align the fabric

Side cutter tutorial sewing bee fabrics ready to go

Most sewing machines come with a couple of stitches designed to be sewn over the edge, so either select one of these, or a wide zigzag. Double check that the stitch you picked avoids the centre bar by manually moving the needle up and down first.

Now your ready to start sewing like you own an overlocker! I would however recommend that you have a practice on some scraps before you attack your favourite expensive material, as once fabric is cut off, it is very difficult to undo any mistakes. For that same reason, I would also suggest that marking a line on the wrong side of the fabric and sewing this way up will limit your chance of errors too.

As you sew, you will notice that the blade cuts at the same speed as your stitches are sewn, and the stitches wrap around the centre bar. It does this to maintain the perfect tension before sliding them off and around the edge of your fabric. This stops the edge getting pulled out of place.

Side cutter tutorial sewing bee fabrics mid stitching centre bar over edge overlock

Once you are finished, you need to slide any remaining stitches off the centre bar, so gently pull the fabric backwards before pulling away.

Side cutter tutorial sewing bee fabrics how to unattatch it

Side cutter tutorial sewing bee fabrics removing the material

You can leave your edge like this..

Side cutter tutorial sewing bee fabrics finished edge

But for most projects, you will want to turn the edge up out of sight, so I rolled up the bottom, pinned in place, and with a quarter inch quilting foot that has a handy little guide for lining the fabric edge up against, I quickly can stitch a perfect line 1/4 inch from the bottom.

Side cutter tutorial sewing bee fabrics turn the hem quarter inch quilting foot

The finished result looks neat and professional and took me all of 5 minutes!

Side cutter tutorial sewing bee fabrics finished hem

We hope you enjoy our tutorials and love hearing what you think so please leave us a comment or send me an email to

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13 thoughts on “Side Cutter Foot Tutorial

  • Jan Farmer

    Great tutorial, however this convinced me that I least zip was doing the right thing but sadly the gadget does not cut. Do you have any suggestions as to why this may be?
    Many thanks

    • Sewing Bee Fabrics Post author

      If you are doing the initial snip and lining up correctly first it should cut fine as you guide the fabric through. Does your foot have some sort of protective guard on the blade that needs removing (please be careful with fingers while checking!!), or maybe the fabric you are trying is just too thick for it? Have you tried a lighter fabric?

  • christine challans

    Does the sewing machine need a zig zag function to use this attachment please. My very old singer only has straight stitch
    Thank you


    your web page is helping me so much to try to use the different feet for the machine .thank you
    so much have a great talent on showing how to do something and close up pictures…wow
    great …

  • Nirmala Selvam

    Good to know how use the various presser foot/feet. I just bought a Stitch Magic Usha Janome so keen to use it to the fullest. Have till now only used the manual pedal singer sewing machine.

    • Sewing Bee Fabrics Post author

      Thank you so much, you are going to have so much fun with your new sewing machine!!! We have plans to get in a few more different sewing machine feet in the next couple of months so you’ll have to check back to see if there are even more you’d like to learn about and play with! Linda

    • Sewing Bee Fabrics Post author

      Unfortunately I haven’t seen one manufactured. We have a high shank ruffler foot and a snap on adapter to take any universal snap on feet if that helps you play any more. If I see one, I’ll stock it!

  • Janet

    Oh what a great website too use when you are not too sure about different sewing feet love it love love it
    T hank you so very much

  • Jane

    I honestly think all good innovations come from the UK! I will definitely look for such a foot for my Bernina classic 830. Thanks for the info.