So you’ve finally got a Walking Foot for your machine and can’t wait to use it to sew with knits. Suddenly, your excitement is overshadowed by the bitter realization that you don’t know jack about using a Walking Foot on a sewing machine. Not to worry, we all have our amateur moments. In this article, I’ll walk you through how to use a Walking Foot so you too can start enjoying the benefits of attaching a Walking Foot to your machine.
How To Use A Walking Foot On Sewing Machine?
When attached to a sewing machine, a Walking Foot’s feed dogs grips the upper layer of your fabric moving it under the needle at a similar speed to how your machine’s feed dogs move the fabric’s bottom layer. This movement prevents puckering and shifting that could occur while using a presser foot. This unique feature allows you to produce better results when you use your machine for quilting as well as sewing garments.
Using a Walking Foot on your sewing machine presents several unique benefits. There are certain projects that turns out better when you attach a Walking Foot to your sewing machine.
When to Use Your Walking Foot
Generally, a Walking Foot allows you to sew thick layers easily. The following scenarios are instances where using a Walking Foot may come in handy.
- Quilt binding: Whether you’re sewing on a mini or full quilt binding, what you want is to keep the binding’s top layer from shifting beyond the bottom layer. If you’re hoping to get the best result with your sewing machine, a Walking Foot is certainly your best solution. Using a Walking Foot while sewing on quilt binding will help eliminate wonky bindings and puckers.
- Stretch Fabrics: When sewing stretch fabrics, a Walking Foot can help make a difference in your project. While many people reiterate this claim, it is also true that you may need to use a sewing machine that comes with two Walking Foots to get the best result. For example, people using a Bernina 1530 may not notice significant differences when sewing stretch fabrics with a Walking Foot. Yet, a machine that comes with a double Walking Foot feature like the Janome Memory Craft 14,000 will sew your stretch fabrics more beautifully.
- Straight Line Quilting: When you’re working on a straight line quilting, a Walking Foot is a huge necessity. A Walking Foot will help keep the layers together and also prevent the top layer from pushing beyond the bottom and middle layers. This action eliminates puckering and prevents the occurrence of little pleats when you change the direction of the quilted lines. Whether it’s for a full quilt, mini quilt, basket or tote bags, a Walking Foot will certainly give you the best result.
- Sewing Straps: If you’re sewing straps with a normal sewing machine, you run the risk of having unusual ripples down them. This could be a direct effect of switching the direction of stitching. You can prevent these ripples from appearing on your straps when you use a Walking Foot.
- Bulky Seams: The extra set of teeth in a Walking Foot can help it climb over bulky seams like where a fly opening meets with a pair of pants’ crotch stream or where a waistband meets a skirt’s side seams. These places are quite tricky and may cause a normal sewing machine to get stuck causing the formation of thread appearing like a bird’s nest underneath. Whereas, the Walking Foot helps the fabric move uphill more easily by gripping it.
How to Attach a Walking Foot to a Sewing Machine
Attaching your brand new Walking Foot to a sewing machine does not require much hassle. While the process may seem a bit complicated at first, you should be able to fix it without breaking a sweat once you know what you’re doing. The following steps will guide you through fixing your Walking Foot properly.
- Step 1: The first step is to remove the default foot on your sewing machine as well as the foot holder( Presser foot adaptor.) Afterward, try to bring your machine’s needle to its highest position by turning the handwheel in your direction. After the needle is in its highest position, try to raise your machine’s presser foot in a way that it moves away from its metal plate.
- Step 2: Remove your snap-on presser foot by pushing a red button referred to as the presser foot release. This button can be found behind your presser foot adaptor. If you have done this correctly, your presser foot should come off. When it does, try to keep it in a safe place where it can easily be located.
- Step 3: When you check, you should find a set screw located on the side of your Foot Adaptor. Proceed to undo this set with a screwdriver. If you own a new machine that hasn’t had its screws undone, it’s highly likely that the screws may be a bit hard to undo. In that case, apply some grease and retry. If you can lay your hands on one, a magnetic screwdriver should make your job easier.
- Step 4: Remove your Foot Adaptor from the shank( vertical presser bar) and keep in a safe spot. It is important that you do not lose your Foot Adaptor as you’ll be needing it when it’s time to attach the snap-on feet.
- Step 5: It’s time to attach your Walking Foot. To do this, hold the Walking Foot and try to raise the Foot’s lever. Hook the foot around your machine’s shank while still raising the lever. Line the foot with the hole by sliding it up and down until it’s perfectly lined so you are able to attach the set screw. Insert the set screw and use a screwdriver to tighten it. Check to ensure the Walking Foot is securely attached. When all that’s done, your sewing machine should be ready to use with your Walking Foot.
Note: If you have followed this process religiously and attached your Walking Foot correctly, the Foot’s lever should appear on top of your sewing machine’s needle clamp. If this is not the case, then you should reassemble or try to find an expert who can help.
Buying a Walking Foot
Most walking machines come with Walking Foot that has been attached by the machine’s manufacturer. If a machine doesn’t have one, it could be offered to you as an optional accessory. Sometimes, people complain that they’re unable to attach their new Walk Foot to their sewing machine only to realize that they purchased a foot that isn’t compatible with their sewing machine model. It is, therefore, important to have a knowledge of your sewing machine’s make and model.
Alternatively, you may look at a few stores to find generic models that can be used with different sewing machines. While the price may vary from store to store, you’re bound to pay more to buy a new Walking Foot than you need to on other sewing machine accessories. While you may be paying a steep price, you’re sure to get good value for your money.
Can I use a Walking Foot for regular sewing?
Yes, you can use a Walking Foot for regular sewing. However, it is not recommended that you use your Walking Foot as a multipurpose foot. You can use the other feet at your disposal for the kind of jobs they are designed for.
Can you backstitch with a Walking Foot?
No, you can’t. You may do a zig-zag or straight feet with a Walking Foot, but never a backstitch. The reason is that the arm that is attached to your machine’s needle clamp moves the fabric forward. This ensures that the stitches that go backwards cannot be done with a Walking Foot.
Does Walking Foot break or wear out?
Yes, your Walking Foot may break or wear out. Since your Walking Foot is mechanical, it is bound to wear out after excessive usage which could result in the bottom breaking off.