Home Product Reviews Understanding Bernina Sewing Machine Shanks

Understanding Bernina Sewing Machine Shanks

by Jeremy Kocourek

Bernina sewing machines are not your average machine when it comes to presser feet. Normally when picking out a new foot, you simply have to worry about High Shank, Low Shank, Slant Shank or snap on. Bernina decided to develop their own shank systems that are not compatible with any other brand of machine.

Old Style Feet – Manufactured between 1954 and 1998
Bernina started producing the 530 Record in 1954, this is the first model that had what we call old style feet. The top of the shank has a rounded back and there is no cut-out (see figure A). In the early days of old style feet, the foot number was actually stamped into the metal of the shank. Eventually, Bernina started putting the numbers on a white sticker with black lettering on the front of the shank. During the production of old style feet machines, Bernina increased the stitch width of these machines from 4.5mm (ie-930s) to 5.5mm (ie-1001). There are some incarnations in-between as well including the optical feet. Wherever possible, Bernina had tried to make their feet backward compatible. Tweaks were made to the shank design to ensure that you could not accidentally put 4.5mm wide foot on a 5.5mm machine.

Some people say that the change in foot design from the old style to new style came because of the built-in needle threader. The new style feet allows room for the needle threader to come down and function. I haven’t been able to confirm this though.


New Style Feet – Manufactured After 1996
New style feet have red lines on the sticker and the foot number is also red, unlike the old style feet that are black. The top of the shank is squared off and has a notch cut out on the top back of the shank (See figure B). These feet are between 5.5mm and 9mm for the stitch width. Since Bernina increased the cone size on the new style feet, you can’t put the wrong size foot on your machine. You may now be wondering how to tell if a specific foot is for the 5.5mm or the 9mm machines? Bernina solved this by numbering their feet and adding one or two additional versions with a letter that follows the number, such as Edgestitch Foot #10C.


No Letter after the Number
If your new style foot has a number without a letter, it will fit your Bernina models that have the patented CB Hook and a maximum stitch width of 5.5mm. These feet can also be used on 9mm stitch width machines when a 9mm width is not needed, such as when making pin tucks with a #31 foot.
The Letter C after the Number
This indicates that the foot was made for models that have rotary hook systems and a maximum stitch width of 9mm. The ‘C’ stands for coded and refers to the sensor on the foot that tells the machine to engage the wider stitch width (this is a nice safety feature). The sole of the ‘C’ feet foot is usually wider since the 9mm machine’s feed dogs are wider. There are 2 exceptions: The 2A and 16C do not have a sensor since these feet don’t require the wider stitching.
The Letter D after the Number
The presser feet that have a D after the number are designed to work with the 8-Series (models 830 and 820) Dual Feed feature. After attaching the foot, the dual feed mechanism is positioned in the cutout on the back of the foot which engages the Dual Feed system. Bernina advises against using these feet, unless you are using the Dual Feed Feature.

Using Standard Low Shank Feet
There are 2 different adaptors available that will allow you to use standard low shank presser feet and snap on feet. Some people prefer this method instead of forking out $20-$50 per Bernina presser foot. If you have other sewing machines, it may make sense financially to invest in more low shank or snap on feet that you can take from machine to machine. If you decide to go this route, I just want to remind you that if your machine uses the presser feet with the sensors, these adaptors will not trigger those sensors.

Use Snap On Presser Feet
This snap on presser foot adaptor is available in both old style and new style. When ordering your generic snap on feet for this shank adaptor, be sure you’re ordering the correct maximum stitch width that your machine has. This is a very convenient shank since you’re able to quickly switch between many different feet without having to remove the shank.
Use Low Shank Presser Feet
Chances are if you sew, you have low shank feet laying around (or 40). This low shank presser foot adaptor is available in both old style and new style. Simply install this shank like a normal Bernina foot, and then screw your low shank foot to the shank. If you install a low shank foot onto this adaptor, be sure to test with a wide zig zag to make sure the installed foot is wide enough to accommodate your machines maximum stitch width.

I know that’s a lot of information to handle but I hope we simplified it enough to make sense!

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Marian Cluff September 30, 2020 - 11:32 pm

I recently bought a Bernina 807. My machine didn’t come with accessories or a manual. I had it serviced at a local Bernina dealership and I’m excited to take it for a spin. I’m getting a digital download soon to help with some of my operational questions.
I have questions about replacement feet. Am I correct that any foot without a letter in front of the printed or imprinted number is compatible?
Thanks in advance for your advice.

mary September 30, 2020 - 10:28 am

I just won an online auction for a Bernina 1230. I was not able to inspect before bidding but upon opening up after winning, it did not have the accessory box with the feet. I have just started quilting (and I do have an older singer), but what feet do you have to fit this (mostly) for straight stitching and free motion quilting? Thank you.

Kathleen Barker September 19, 2020 - 10:26 pm

I have a Bernina 801 Sport. What presser feet and accessories do you sell that would fit my machine? I also have an 807….same question. Thanks!!!

Jeremy Kocourek September 21, 2020 - 2:57 pm Reply
Misty September 4, 2020 - 1:49 pm

I have a Bernina 1008 and I think it’s the foot #10 that I need. I need a foot Pressure guide that is going to help me get the same seam width all around my small Projects that I’m going to be selling. But I wanted to watch the video to be sure and how it works. But it’s not for the same foot:( please help??

Linda Tyler August 15, 2019 - 9:17 am

I have 475QE what do I need to do to use the snap on feet I got?

CustomerService March 25, 2020 - 11:01 am

Unfortunately, we do not have a snap-on shank for the Bernina 475QE. Thank you for checking with us!

Joy Rudeau August 24, 2020 - 10:54 am

I have a Bernina b330. What ruffler do you have that fits my machine? Is it on stock? I tried to order months ago and never received it. Please let me know what to order.

CustomerService August 25, 2020 - 11:57 am

Hello Joy,
The ruffler, part number 0083867500, noted for your Bernina B330 is linked below.
At this time, it is currently out of stock, and our supplier is unable to provide an estimated time of arrival.

Jeanne Gold June 26, 2019 - 10:25 am

Hi, Jeremy, I hope you can help me. I have an Aurora 440 QE and a Snap-On Presser Foot adaptor. When I use my Snap-On feet from either my Janome 4623LE Plus or Baby Lock Ellisimo (they are interchangeable), I find many of the feet do not align properly with the hole in the sole plate and therefore are not useable.

One example is the button-hole foot (it looks like the one you have in this picture: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/snap-on-presser-feet-set-low-shank-11-piece.aspx). If attached, the needle comes down on the blue plastic portion of the foot suggesting the sole is too far forward to be used. In other cases, the opening in the foot is off-center, being a bit to the left of the sole plate hole and not allowing penetration to the entire right side of the hole. An example: the pintuck feet (all of them).

Have you come across this problem before? If so, what do you recommend? I can not afford the Bernina feet and really want to find a solution to this problem. Thank you for any suggestions you may be able to provide.

CustomerService July 2, 2019 - 10:56 am

Hello Jeanne!
I am sorry to report, this scenario is very common. Bernina snap on feet are different from the more common snap on feet, such as the one in the 5011L kit. We do not currently offer snap on feet that work with the adapters. We do, however, carry a large variety of generic feet for Bernina machines. To view what we offer for your machine, click the following link: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/bernina-440-sewing-machine-parts.aspx?filter.ptype_gmcfeed_1=%20Presser%20Feet&sort.ss_cat_sort=desc&index=1 I hope this helps.

HELENE KIRALY October 2, 2019 - 8:01 am

Hi! I have the Bernina B 480 and I’m also looking for an alternative to the pricy Bernina feet. I was thinking of buying de Bernina snap on feet (or is the low shank presser foot adapter the one compatible with my machine?) so I could use my feet from my Emerald 118 Husqvarna Viking. But reading the problem Jeanne is having with this way of doing thing… Hum… I see that unfortunalely, it doesn’t work… Is it the case ALL the time ? So, there isn’t a solution when it comes to Bernina and we HAVE TO use there pricy feet ? Why then do they sell this snap on feet ? Thank a lot!

CustomerService October 7, 2019 - 10:22 am

Hello Helene,

We do offer some wonderful generic options for presser feet for your machine. They can be viewed via the link: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/bernina-b480-sewing-machine-parts.aspx?filter.ptype_gmcfeed_1=%20Presser%20Feet&sort.ss_cat_sort=desc&index=1

Alice Bird September 23, 2020 - 3:13 pm

I have a 150 bernina. I am looking for a clear presser foot for applique. I use #2. Thank you.

CustomerService September 25, 2020 - 9:01 am

Hi Alice!
I am sorry to report, I have been unable to pull up a #2 foot for your machine. We do, however, offer the 23N Applique foot for the Bernina VIRTUOSA 150. If you are interested in that item, it can be found via the link: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/bernina-applique-foot-0084667300.aspx

Charles swan April 13, 2019 - 1:05 pm

Hi sarah, I am Charles Swan and I have a question about the feet between the Bernina 1630 inspiration plus and the Bernina Artista 180, what feet are compatible between the two machines.

Elizabeth A Walker October 24, 2018 - 2:11 pm

I have a Bernina 1080 Special. I know it is considered an ‘Old Style” machine in terms of its feet. What adaptor would I need to be able to use the Westalee ruler and templates?


Jeremy Kocourek October 24, 2018 - 2:57 pm

Hi Elizabeth,
You would need to order this adaptor: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/presser-foot-adaptor-bernina-0019477000.aspx
You would also need to order this Westalee ruler foot: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/ruler-foot-w-3mm-arc-template-low-shank.aspx

Sarah Bridge March 20, 2019 - 2:38 pm

I have a Bernina 1020.would a presser foot from a 870 fit??? Thanks Sarah

Caralyn October 3, 2018 - 4:49 am

Hello. Old style feet question. I have an old 830 Record, the serial number begins 14, so I think it was manufactured in 1974, though I bought it in about 19192. All the feet have the stamped number, except the darning foot which has no number. Mostly, at the top they have just one lug at the top projecting to the left as you look from the front. some have a lug at both sides. Some have a white plastic ‘sticker on the front, and of these, some say Swiss Made. Others have no sticker and are just bare metal. Can anyone tell me what is the difference between these? I’d love to know. And as all the Old Style feet available on line seem to have the double lug configuration, can I assume that they are right for my lovely machine? Thanks

Melinda April 7, 2018 - 7:50 am

I have an 810.. whats shank is it. I need feeet to go with it, but would like to use for other machines.

Chell March 26, 2018 - 10:11 pm

Sarah, I have a Bernina 1130 for which my local Bernina dealer says there is no ruler foot. The Clarity website indicates that their ruler foot will work for the old style Bernina with an adapter. Would that be your Presser Foot Adapter, Bernina #0019477000? Thank you for your help. Chell

Kay March 3, 2018 - 3:45 pm

Does the knee lifter from the 830 also fit the 820?

Sarah March 6, 2018 - 11:30 am

Unfortunately, I do not know if the 830 knee lifter is compatible with the 820.

Gail May 30, 2019 - 3:09 pm

I have a bernina 830. Years ago I bought a 2 sole walking foot with seam guides part ch8266

I think they sold me the wrong one cause it won’t work correctly. Any cheap fixes?


CustomerService June 3, 2019 - 10:25 am

We do not offer replacement parts for walking feet; however, if you are in need of a new walking foot, we do offer a few options that are compatible with the Bernina 830 (Record): https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/bernina-830-sewing-machine-parts.aspx?sort.ss_cat_sort=desc&keywords=walking%20&index=1

Lynette February 25, 2018 - 2:43 pm

Hi I have a Bernina 910 and just ordered a P60446 walking foot for it as it said this would fit. Will this be okay? How does it differ from the P60445?

Sarah March 12, 2018 - 9:41 am

Hi! The difference is the compatibility. We can guarantee that the P60446 will work with your machine. We cannot guarantee that the P60445 will work with your machine.

Maria February 20, 2018 - 2:15 pm

I own a Bernina activa 135. I would like to do ruler work for free motion quilting. What do I need to be able to do so on my Bernina activa 135?
Thank you very much for your assistance.

Sarah March 2, 2018 - 4:14 pm

Hi! You would need to purchase a Bernina Ruler Foot from a local Bernina dealer.

Nan Bulla March 30, 2020 - 1:30 am

I have a Bernina Bernette 46. Which part do I need for a 1/4” seam guide?

Jeremy Kocourek March 30, 2020 - 10:56 am Reply
Ann Way February 10, 2018 - 4:35 pm


I have a Bernina 1008 and am trying to attach the zipper foot. I do not see a way to attach the zipper foot toe the presser shaft. There is no way for it to latch on. Should I get a new presser foot?

Thank you for your help.

Ann Way

Sarah February 16, 2018 - 2:44 pm

Hi, Ann – are you trying to attach a snap on zipper foot?

Laura Elizabeth Voigt August 3, 2019 - 11:09 pm

Will this work on a bernina B790

Jennifer March 2, 2018 - 2:06 pm

Hi . I have a bernina 1001 and would like to start doing free motion embroidery . Is the number 24 foot compatible with this model. I also have a Bernina Record which I love would the 24 foot also fit this machine.
Many thanks

Sarah March 12, 2018 - 10:16 am

Hi! I don’t believe the #24 will fit your machine because your machine uses Old-Style feet. This Free-Motion foot is guaranteed to fit your machine: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/bernina-freehand-quilting-foot-29.aspx?variant_id=280537

Leslie Rozum February 9, 2018 - 1:35 pm

Hello! I have a Virtuoso 153 & I’m interested in doing quilting with the Westalee rulers. What number adapter from Bernina would I have to buy& what Westalee foot! I think my machine is a new style shank as my feet are numbered in red.

Sarah February 16, 2018 - 2:29 pm

Hi! Unfortunately, your machine needs to use a Bernina Ruler Foot. One should be available at your local Bernina dealer.

Pat Casado August 17, 2019 - 3:22 pm

I have been given 2 Berninas a 1090 and a 930. DO the feet interchage? And are there any other comparisons I should know about?

Jennifer Smith February 6, 2018 - 3:43 pm

Hi Sarah, I have a Bernina Artista 640 and am wonderinf if it is a low shank or high shank. I really want to start ruler work and don’t know what feet I would need.
Thsnks Jennifer

Sarah February 16, 2018 - 1:49 pm

Hi, Jennifer! Bernina feet are a little bit different – they aren’t high or low shank. Your Artista 640 machine is classified as “New Style”. Unfortunately, you would have to contact a local Bernina dealer to get a Ruler Foot for your machine. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Laura Bodkins January 30, 2018 - 7:53 pm


Hi Sarah I have a Bernina 1080 and would like to learn to quilt. What kind of quilting foot (feet) do I need to get and is my machine low or high shank?
Thank you so much for your help!!!

Sarah February 5, 2018 - 10:24 am

Hi! Bernina machines are a little different – your machine is neither high nor low shank – it’s the “Old-Style” shank. So, you can use (generally speaking) any Bernina foot labeled “Old Style”.
To start quilting, I recommend a 1/4″ Foot: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/bernina-quater-inch-guide-foot-57.aspx
and a Walking Foot: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/bernina-walking-foot-p60446.aspx
If you can afford it, it’s nice to have a Big Quilting Foot: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/bernina-freehand-quilting-foot-29.aspx
and an Edge Stitch Foot: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/bernina-edge-stitch-foot-10.aspx

cornelia January 25, 2018 - 11:54 am

Hello. I have a Bernina 765. It is a special edition manufactured in 2016/2017. Can I use a high or low or both adapter shanks? I would like to get this to reduce the cost of buying presser feet.

Sarah January 30, 2018 - 9:26 am

Hi! You can save money by using the snap on presser foot adapter: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/snap-on-foot-adapter-bernina-0060827300.aspx
The low shank presser foot adapter is not compatible with your machine.

Beth June 3, 2019 - 1:05 am

Hello. My mother gave me her old Bernina 830.(originally bought sometime in the 1970’s) Can you tell me what walking foot I need for this machine? Thank you.

Rosemary Kent January 24, 2018 - 2:14 pm

I have the newer 830 Bernina and I can’t figure out if it is a low or high shank! I’ve been looking at different quilting feet and possibly using the Westalee rulers. Thank you.

Sarah January 30, 2018 - 9:08 am

Hi! Your machine uses ‘New Style’ Bernina feet. You would use this Westalee Ruler Foot: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/ruler-foot-w-3mm-arc-template-medium-shank.aspx
You must have the adapter, as well: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/presser-foot-adaptor-bernina-0083677000.aspx

L Keith January 21, 2018 - 11:25 am

I have a bernina 220 and would like to purchase a ruler foot, i am not sure what size shank I need, can you advise? Thanks

Sarah January 23, 2018 - 1:50 pm

Hi! We do not sell a Bernina Ruler Foot guaranteed to be compatible with your machine. You would have to see your local Bernina dealer. However, we do have a Westalee Ruler Foot that may fit your machine: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/ruler-foot-w-3mm-arc-template-medium-shank.aspx
You would need to also get the adapter: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/presser-foot-adaptor-bernina-0083677000.aspx

Eileen Cole January 10, 2018 - 9:58 pm

Hi Sarah,
My mother had a Bernina she purchased in 1981 that I think was an 830 Record. I do have the serial number. Unfortunately, the machine was stolen (broke her heart) and now I am left with 10 feet, 1 adapter, an embroidery hoop and some other little things. I would like to sell them, but am not sure what machine they will fit. They are the old style (I know that, thanks to the great descriptive article) with the number stamped into the metal, and the rounded back. I was having trouble finding information about the models & their feet. Any help you can give me with the model(s) the feet will fit will be greatly appreciated. Thank you,

Sarah January 11, 2018 - 1:39 pm

Hi! The best you can do is tell a potential buyer that they need to have a machine that used old style feet. Otherwise, you can’t guarantee the feet you have will fit. I know that’s frustrating.

Susan January 19, 2018 - 12:24 am

I have an old 830 That I was given. It has no attachments. I do know that it uses the “old style”. If you still want to sale the attachments I would be interested in purchasing them. You can send a picture and the price to my email: wait_sb@hotmail.com

Wanda kelso-smith February 6, 2018 - 12:13 pm

Ellen I’m interested msg me

Susan G January 8, 2018 - 5:07 am

I have the bernina B 880 and am looking into purchasing some of the new rulers for machine quilting. I also have a ruler foot but don’t know what the shank is. High, low?

Sarah January 10, 2018 - 7:24 pm Reply
Melissa January 3, 2018 - 10:50 am

Hi, Pasha.. I have a Bernina 930 Record and just received a #2 foot for overlock stitching. What type of settings do I use with this? I thought it would help instead of zigzagging my seams since I don’t have a serger. Thanks– Melissa

Judi Creed December 31, 2017 - 2:12 pm

I have a Bernina 750. I want to purchase some quilting templets. Is my machine a high shank?

Sarah January 3, 2018 - 4:43 pm

Hi! I believe your machine uses the New Style Feet. In order to use the Westalee Sew Steady Rulers (https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/ruler-foot-w-3mm-arc-template-medium-shank.aspx), you need the #77 adapter: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/presser-foot-adaptor-bernina-0083677000.aspx

Karen December 29, 2017 - 10:51 am

Hi Sarah:
For Christmas I received a Bernina 570QE which came with 5 feet; #1Reverse pattern foot; buttonhole foot #3A; zipper foot #4; #5 blind stitch; open embroidery foot #20 and a BSR. I basically quilt (just new to it) and want to do stitch in the ditch and I presume I need a walking foot to do this?? what do I need?

Sarah December 29, 2017 - 2:23 pm

Hi, Karen! You can use a Walking Foot (https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/generic-bernina-walking-foot-50n.aspx), or you can use an Edge Stitching Foot to do stitch in the ditch work: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/bernina-edge-stitch-foot-10n.aspx

Trina December 21, 2017 - 9:08 am

Hi Sarah,
I recently purchased the Bernina 330. Will mainly sew with lycra. Can you please advise what presser foot is needed for this type fabric?

Sarah December 21, 2017 - 4:07 pm

Hi, Trina! I like to use a Walking Foot and I decrease my presser foot pressure. We have a Walking Foot for your machine here: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/generic-bernina-walking-foot-50n.aspx

Tanya Townsend December 14, 2017 - 1:44 pm

Hi, trying to buy a new walking foot for my Bernina B580E, could you tell me if it has a 9mm width opening? Thank you

Sarah December 18, 2017 - 12:28 pm

Hi! We do not currently have a 9mm Bernina Walking Foot guaranteed to fit your machine. I’m so sorry.

Christopher December 14, 2017 - 2:04 am

I’ve seen some old style feet for sale with 1 of the side tabs missing, pictures look like it was designed that way. It would be the right tab if installed in the machine. What is the story on these feet? They appear to have the numbers as part of the casting.

Sarah December 18, 2017 - 11:41 am

Hi! May I have the model of your Bernina?

Christopher December 19, 2017 - 11:55 pm

Model 817

Sarah December 20, 2017 - 9:16 am

I asked the original publisher of this post if he was familiar with what you described. Some of the “new style” feet have ‘1 tab’, like this: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/bernina-freehand-quilting-foot-29n.aspx

JEANETTE Polk December 26, 2017 - 11:56 am

I need to find a 1/4 inch foot for my bernia model 930

Sarah December 29, 2017 - 2:04 pm

Hi! This is the 1/4″ Foot for your Bernina 930: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/bernina-quater-inch-guide-foot-57.aspx

Ginna December 8, 2017 - 8:54 am

I have a bernina nova purchased in 1981. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to attach the walking foot. Help! Are there online instructions?

Sarah December 8, 2017 - 2:14 pm

Hi, Ginna! Do you know the full model number of your Bernina?

Riera Julie December 19, 2017 - 11:15 am

I have a Bernina Nova 900 also, I have the instructions for my walking foot and would be happy to pass along a copy.

Debra Kogler December 3, 2017 - 7:57 am

I have a Bernina 830 purchased in 1972. Is it considered a low shank machine?

Sarah December 4, 2017 - 10:25 am

Hi! Your Bernina is not low shank. Your Bernina uses “old style feet”. We have a list of the feet guaranteed to fit your machine here: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/bernina-830-sewing-machine-parts.aspx#filter:ptype_gmcfeed_1:$2520Presser$2520Feet

Whitney November 25, 2017 - 4:23 pm

Hello! My mom has a Bernina 807 and had asked for a walking foot for Christmas. I’m not sure which number she would be. Do you know which would be the correct for to her machine, or do you have a link to the right one? Any advice would help! Thanks!