4 Differences Between Walking Foot And Quilting Foot

Not every seamstress is well-versed with the exact usage of the sewing machine attachments, let alone an individual who has nothing to do with needlework. Let’s learn the key difference between walking foot and quilting foot to create the best design masterpieces.

It is seen that the terms walking foot and the quilting foot are often used interchangeably. Though in reality, there are some significant differences in their use and functioning.

What Are Differences Between Walking Foot And Quilting Foot?

No.Quilting FootWalking Foot
1.Quilting foot allows you to feed the fabric in from any direction.As walking foot is a bit large, it is only suited for straight-line quilting.
2.It is mainly used for darned free motion embroidery and quilting.It is mainly used for stitching multilayered quilts that are difficult to stitch from a regular presser machine.
3.It is quite economical.Walking foot is more expensive than other presser feet.
4.It gives beautiful textured effects on quilting projects.Walking foot improves accuracy and prevents the different layers from shifting.

That being said, let’s dig deeper, learn about both attachments, and then understand the glaring contrasts in more detail.

What is a Sewing Machine Foot?

A sewing machine foot (or a presser foot) is an attachment in the sewing machine that holds onto the fabric while stitching. It flattens the fabric and enables smooth stitching. The importance of this foot can be best judged when the thick workpieces like quilts are to be sewn.

Sewing machine foot also adds varied functionalities to your sewing machine. It helps you accomplish much more than mere straight stitching. While offering different utilities, sewing machine feet eases the stitching process and saves you a lot of time.

There are numerous sewing machine feet like open toe foot, straight stitch foot, zipper foot, applique foot, buttonholer, etc., our discussion in this blog is focused on two widely used foot. They are walking foot and quilting foot.

Comparison Between Quilting Foot and Walking Foot

Walking Foot

The walking foot is an unusual-looking sewing machine foot – it is quite large in size and has an arm that attaches itself to the needle bar. This extra bar pulls the fabric through the sewing machine at the same rate that it pulls the bottom fabric. It is built for industrial use and specially designed to evenly feed in the top and bottom pieces.

Difference Between Walking Foot And Quilting Foot

In quilting foot, the feed dogs need to be lowered, and then the fabric is hand-guided into it. A “C” or a ring-shaped metal component surrounds the needle in the attachments. The part can also be made of plastic to enhance visibility. It has a spring-loaded foot that raises and lowers along with the movement of the needle bar. So, when the needle drops, the foot gets down too, thus allowing the machine to stitch. When the needle goes up, so does the foot, thus enabling you to move the fabric.

It’s better to try it once on patching jeans if you haven’t used it before. It will help you develop a rhythm with your sewing machine.

The quilting foot is mainly used for darning free motion embroidery and quilting.

Free Motion Quilting Foot

free motion quilting foot

Free motion quilting foot is best for creating a lovely textured effect on quilting projects. The process is termed as stippling.

What you do is, you stitch wiggly lines through two layers of fabric and one layer of wadding. The stitches made via free motion quilting foot sinks down to the layers of fabric and wadding, which gives an embossed effect.

The embossed effect can be added to the entire surface of the fabric, or it could be done on the plain gaps between the printed design to accentuate and highlight it.

Alternatively, you can be a bit creative and stitch around the outline of a design to make your quilt appear unique.

There are various types of quilting foot available in the market, and each one has its utility. Let us walk through them.

Types of Free-motion Quilting Foot

Here are some of the most commonly used free-motion quilting foot.

  • Spring Formed Free Motion Quilting Foot

Spring formed quilting foot makes the fabric move along with the movement of the pedal. Most domestic machines are equipped with this kind of hopping mode free machine quilting foot, which allows the fabric to move freely while the foot is hopping up.

  • Non-hopping Spring Foot

non hopping spring foot

These types of free motion quilting foot do not hop. They do not have a bar but instead a spring that may sometime allow slight bouncing. It’s perfect for a seamstress who gets distracted by the hopping. However, compatibility is one issue that comes with non-hopping spring foot as they do not work with all kinds of a sewing machine.

  • Open toe Quilting Foot

Open toe quilting foot offers better visibility to your quilting process. Visibility becomes an essential aspect in case of custom quilting as you need to be particular about the exact location of the needle punch.

  • Closed Toe Quilting Foot

Closed-toe quilting foot, on the other hand, are quite redundant. It is less likely that the closed-toe will catch on the edges of your fabric, say when you are sewing an applique.

Now that we have looked into what quilting foot in detail, let’s discuss walking foot.

Quilting Foot

Quilting foot, on the other hand, is an additional foot in your sewing machine that allows you to feed the fabric into it from any direction. The spring on the shaft of the foot allows the free movement of the fabric. This type of foot is used when the sewing is done in a random fashion.

Difference Between Walking Foot And Quilting Foot

Walking foot is used for quilting multiple layers, stretchy knits, vinyl, leather, fabric with nap, fleece and keeping plaids and stripes aligned. The synchronized action of the walking foot allows all the layers of quilting to move through the sewing machine and stops them from shifting away from each other. Though machines with dual feed do not require this foot, it is a must-have attachment for industrial sewers.

Walking Foot is an Ideal Attachment to Improve the Accuracy

We know that a quilt sandwich is made up of three layers- the quilt top, quilt backing, and the inner batting. If the sewing is done with a regular presser foot, the bulky layers can shift away. However, a walking foot is quite useful in quilting the voluminous layers of rag quilt and denim quilt as it can hold them back together.

The foot is quite large and is best suited for a straight line machine quilting, including quilting of large and gently curved lines. It can help you sew the binding to the quilt.

walking foot is an ideal attachment to improve the accuracy

Since stopping binding at a correct distance is vital for accurate miters, one must perfect it to use walking foot optimally.

However, not all walking feet have marks that help you judge the distance. Thus, it’s recommended to mark the places that will indicate you to stop sewing mitered binding.

Several sewing machines come with a walking foot that is supplied by the manufacturer. However, it can also be delivered to you as an optional accessory.

Walking foot come in different price ranges, and they are usually more expensive than other presser feet. However, the high price is compensated by its accuracy, ease of swing, and the time taken to fix the minor errors that everyone makes.

We hope this blog has helped you understand the difference between quilting foot and walking foot. We hope you’ll make a better pick for your next sewing project!

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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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