Tuesday Tip….What is a Walking Foot and How is it Used?


The Walking foot, (also referred to as an Even Feed, or Duel Feed Foot) is a presser foot that helps prevent multiple layers of fabric slipping when they are sewn together. As we prepare to get into 2018 quilting projects, perhaps you would like to finish some quilts by machine quilting them yourself.  In our Basic Machine Quilting class, students learn about using a “walking foot”. If you are unable to take our class, there are plenty of tutorials and videos online to assist you in machine quilting.

We stock a common “generic” low-shank walking foot at the store and if your machine manual says “low shank” we can often fit this generic foot to your machine. However, if you have a special machine or a high shank requirement, we might have to refer you to a sewing machine dealer to find the correct walking foot to attach to your machine. Please feel free to call us or come into the store to see if we can assist you with a walking foot.

Walking_Foot_Pic_2_Medium

The walking foot works by having it’s own set of feed dogs. As your machine needle moves up & down, a lever which clips to the needle bar lets the walking foot’s feed dogs move/walk along the fabric, hence the name walking foot. The fabric is therefore evenly fed through your machine.

The walking foot can be used for any project where fabrics are likely to slip, and is most commonly used for:

  • Lighter weight knit fabrics, to prevent stretching
  • Perfect pattern matching e.g. on plaid fabrics
  • Quilting where it helps to ensure that the layers of a quilt do not shift when they are quilted together.


Using the Walking foot for quilting

The most commonly used methods for quilting with a walking foot are;

1.  “In the Ditch” in the seam

stitch in ditch

2.    Grid lines

grid walking foot

3.    Echo quilting around your blocks, as done around the friendship star block below;

echo walking foot
The walking foot also often has a guide bar to help you to keep an even distance between quilt lines.

 

There are lots of creative ways you can use your walking foot for quilting using your machine’s practical and decorative stitches.  For example;

Running Stitch / Serpentine Stitch

Walking_Foot_Pic_7_Medium

 

With a walking foot and your quilt sandwich (three layers assembled: top, batting and backing) you can complete most quilts. This will save you a tremendous amount by not having to pay a professional to quilt your projects for you. Many antique quilts were originally quilted by hand following straight lines marked across a quilt top. You can re-create this traditional method yourself with a walking foot and some patience. If you look at how the modern quilters are quilting their quilt tops, they mostly do straight line quilting. So give your walking foot some exercise and try machine quilting your next project yourself by sewing in the ditch or quilting diagonal lines across your quilt.

straight line quilting

 

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