Can You Stitch in the Ditch Without a Walking Foot

If you are a beginner in sewing, the term stitch in the ditch can sound quite challenging. It is not as hard as you think. Stitching in the ditch is one easy and convenient way to finish quilts, bindings, and other such things. During the process, the machine’s needle will pass through the right-side seam of the fabric. It will therefore leave a neat stitch on this side.

When stitching in the ditch, you use a walking foot. The walking foot will have a better grip on the upper and lower side of the fabric. Therefore, it is much easier for the needle to pass through the material. However, using the walking foot is not a must. It depends on how you want your seams to look. In this article, you will learn how to stitch a ditch without a walking foot.

Can You Stitch A Ditch Without A Walking Foot?

Yes, you need not use the walking foot when sewing a ditch. There are other options you can use. The choice you choose to use will depend on how you want your seam to look in the end. You can solely use the sewing machine without the walking foot if the top and lower layer speed isn’t an issue. You also have the option of using the edge joining foot.

How to Stitch in the Ditch Using the Edge Joining Foot?

As mentioned above, this is one technique to stitch the ditch without a walking foot. When using this process, you will be sewing back to the ditch. You will also be passing through the panels from the seams. If you try to use your hand for this, you will most probably create uneven lines even if you are an expert in this niche. The ditch foot has a center blade that acts as a guide when stitching. Your seams will also be even.

The design of the feet of the edge joining feet is such that they can sew close to the seam’s edge. They join the fabric well and ensure that the seam you get is perfect and clean. The lines that are in the stitch in the ditch are usually straight. They will give you an easy sewing time. Below is a step by step procedure for using a stitch in the ditch foot.

Step 1: Position the Center Blade of the Foot With the Seams’ Stitches

Ensure that the middle blade of your ditch foot is in line with the stitches of the suture. The blade needs to rest on the ditch directly. Ensure that when you start sewing, you need not adjust any position.

Step 2: Ensure the Blade Does Not Move to Another Row

Be cautious about how the blade positions itself. It should fall directly to your seam and should not move to another row of the patchwork. The foot needs to be at the right angle so that it efficiently performs its task.

Step 3: You Can Now Start Sewing

The sewing process is relatively straightforward as long as the alignment of the foot is okay. You only need to run the blade along the stitching line. Ensure your needle is at the center of the blade. This way, you will instantly make a neat and even stitch in the ditch.

How to Stitch in the Ditch Using the Regular Foot?

After you finish quilting, you can’t see the stitches in the stitch in the ditch. The stitches usually are neat, and you will only see them at the back of your fabric. It is made effective by the regular foot.  A sewing machine such as Bernina will work well. It comes with a ditch guard that enables easy and accurate sewing.

Even though it will help you out in sewing, it has a drawback. The guard’s speed of feeding the top and bottom layers through the needle isn’t equal. Therefore, it may cause issues since you cannot make any alterations. You can use pins to align the fabric and make the speed even, but they can’t help you much. Therefore, applying this method to stitch in the ditch means you prepare to do the extra work yourself.

Below is the process you need to follow when stitching in the ditch with the regular foot.

Step 1: Bring Together the Patchwork

It needs to be your first step in preparing the quilt. It would help if you stitched together all the pieces. Use the regular foot when sewing the patchwork together.

Step 2: Iron on the Stitches on the Seam to Reveal the Ditch

Heat your iron and ensure it gets a moderate temperature. Pass it through the stitches of your patchwork so that the ditches can reveal.

Step 3: Provide Cushion to the Top and Bottom Layer of Your Material

Choose the batting you want to use for your quilt and trim it. Use pins to tack it to the backside of the quilt.

Step 4: Start Stitching

Carefully stitch, passing the needle to the center of the quilt seams.  If you are stitching in the ditch using the regular sewing machine, ensure you use a quilting sewing needle. Other needles may skip a few patches; therefore, your ditch will not be neat.

Step 5: Do Backstitch

Backstitching is essential in ensuring that the rows do not unravel. Ensure you do so at the beginning and end of each row and be careful when doing this.

Step 6: Bind the Edge

You are now coming to the end of stitching the ditch. Finish the process by binding the edge. You will have come up with a neat and even ditch.

Should You Stitch in the Ditch Foot or Use a Walking Foot?

You can use any of them, depending on your level of expertise or what you feel comfortable using. But of course, people will still argue on the best place to apply each.

For example, professional sewers will advise that you use the ditch foot when making clothing. Therefore, if you are quilting, a walking foot will work well.

It may imply that the stitch in the ditch foot is less potent than the walking foot. But this may be true Considering that one can easily use the walking foot. Using a walking foot will often leave you with less worry about the top and bottom layer speed. Therefore, it Is much more effective and convenient to use.

The advantages that the walking foot gives you are usually more. Therefore, your sewing experience will be far better if you employ a walking foot even though the other methods are effective. However, some people will prefer using the stitch in the ditch foot. Using this technique will give you a nice seam regardless of the extra work you will do. The seams will also be close to the edge.

All in all, everyone’s choices vary. Some will want that technique where the top and bottom layers of the fabric pass through the needle at equal speed. So, they have no apparent reason to worry about how close they get to the edge. However, the more you are used to one technique, the easier the sewing becomes.

Do I Must Stitch in the Ditch?

You can stitch in the ditch, and there are some cases where you will be guided not to. If you replace your quilt with this technique, the results will be perfect. If your quilt’s design is such that it goes from edge to edge, you need not use it. Still, the quilt will look perfect both when you are near and far. One drawback of failing to use the stitch in the ditch is that it may change on you upon getting closer.

Can You Stitch in the Ditch When Quilting?

Yes. You can stitch in the ditch at the same time when carrying out the quilting. Well, you can do these several ways, and you are sure to be saving yourself so much time, mainly because you need not add extra quilts afterward. You can quilt the seams and leave it at that point. You can also use the basting method.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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