Do You Need A Walking Foot For Upholstery

Upholsteries come in various styles and designs. This gives you the chance to opt for the one that will fit perfectly with the style of your home.

Also, the feel within the upholstery materials depends heavily on the support system and the textile. But comfort upholsteries provide something you can experience and savor.

Upholstery itself stands out as a skill trade, which entails the art of restoring and crafting fine furniture. You can also do some top-notch detailing, such as coil springs, diamond tufting, padding, top stitching, and channels.

Webbing, and ultra-cell foaming are other detailing, which you can provide on your upholstery. However, there are certain technicalities that you must know in this regard. Check out our informative guide for complete information!

Do You Need A Walking Foot For Upholstery?

Yes, you do need a walking foot for upholstery. Having a walking foot when using an upholstery fabric will be quite helpful for you. Sewing or stitching the upholstery material is not different when compared with standard sewing fabrics.

But having equipment like the walking foot will help you tackle your upholstery-related projects. ‘If the upholstery material is pretty thick, you must use a walking foot.

Also, the stitching machine should carry a 69 bonded nylon thread, which is ideal for sewing thick upholstery fabric. It’s because heavy fabrics require strong stitches and more serious threads, so it will prevent the material from tearing off.

If you want to know how you can use a walking foot for the upholstery projects or fabric, you can check the information provided on this document.

Reasons To Use A Walking Foot For Upholstery

There are multiple reasons to use the walking foot on the upholstery fabric or projects. These reasons are:

1. Keeps The Materials Stable: When you are stitching up layers of upholstery material, the walking foot will allow those layers to move and keep them stable. Even though frequent pinning will also do, a walking foot is a good option.

2. Walking Foot Provides Pressure: When working on several layers of heavy upholstery material, it will be difficult for the machine foot to provide pressure to keep the material’s layers from shifting. Having a walking foot will solve the issue instantly.

3. Ensures A Gripping Action: The walking foot also delivers a gripping action at the material’s top area that coordinates perfectly with the feed dogs. These feed dogs are built within the beds of the stitching device.

How to Use a Walking Foot for Upholstery?

When you want to use the walking foot for your upholstery projects or material, you have to get a sewing machine that comes with a walking foot.

Otherwise, you can purchase a walking device separately and attach it to the stitching device with no hassle.

The steps given below are ones you need to follow when sewing your upholstery fabric with a walking foot.

Step 1: Examine The Material

Before you begin your sewing work, you must first inspect the entire upholstery fabric. If worn out frayed edges on the fabric, take 6 inches to 7 inches scissors and trim them off.

Be sure to cut only when it’s needed, and you don’t have to cut down extra material when it’s already in excellent shape.

Step 2: Set Up The Sewing Machine

This is something that you must do before you prepare yourself for the upholstery sewing work. You must set your stitching device to medium stitch length.

On the other hand, be sure to keep the tension of your machine around mid-range.

Step 3: Nap Or Pattern Pile

You have to determine whether or not your fabric pieces carry the nap. Don’t know what a nap is?

Well, try to imagine when you brush down your dog’s hair when it’s shiny and neat. After that, try to brush it the other way round, and you will see and feel the resistance.

So, you need to make sure all your upholstery material pieces are facing towards the same area neatly. This might heavily affect the end of your aesthetic outcome.

Step 4: Give Your Equipment A Double-Check

When you have decided to use a walking foot, make sure that you are using a portable one.

Use a needle that comes in the sizes of 18, 20, or 22 as it will depend entirely on the material’s thickness and the recommendations of the stitching device. Also, when it comes to thread, go for the nylon bonded 69 and not any other thread.

Step 5: Upholstery Placement

The majority of the walking foot, which comes with the sewing machine, has a 3/8 inch lift.

This will enable you to add much more fabric right beneath the presser foot. Try to leave a bit of seam allowance. Also, put the raw edges right above each other and the right sides together.

Step 6: The Sewing

Begin sewing the work, just like you usually do for any everyday sewing work. When you come across loosely woven material that can unravel, try to finish off the raw edges through an overlock machine or serger.

Upholstery Fabrics That Work Perfectly Under A Walking Foot

You will come across a diverse range of upholstery materials, which are available in the market today. But some work perfectly under a walking foot. These materials or fabrics area:


Cotton stands out as one of the most-cheapest materials, which is used widely for all upholstery projects.

The fabric is packed with stability and comfort, making it an ideal option for upholstery work. Using a cotton material under a walking foot will provide you with neat and clean stitching work.

It’s a pretty durable fabric and will prevent stains and fading from occurring.


When it comes to expensive upholstery material, silk sits at the top position. Known for its soft and velvet features, you can do numerous types of stitches on this particular material.

But when you sew or stitch it under a sewing machine, it might ripple or pucker. So, you must always use the fabric when you have a walking foot on the sewing device.

This will stop the fabric from getting rippled, and you can easily complete your stitching work smoothly and quickly.

When Can You Use The Walking Foot?

You can easily use the walking foot for all your upholstery-related projects. But there are certain times when you can also use the walking foot. Look below!

1. Straight Line Quilting

When you are doing straight-line quilting, the walking foot stands out as an essential accessory.

A walking foot will prevent the top part of the material from getting pushed over at the middle and bottom layers.

This will also stop tiny pleats or puckering from occurring when changing the direction of the quilted lines.

You must always use the walking foot whenever you are straight quilting for a basket, bag, quilt or tote bag.

2. Stitching On Quilt Binding

Using a walking foot for the mini-quilt or quilting binding will prevent the top of the binding layer from shifting ahead of the bottom layer.

Not having a walking foot when doing the sewing work on quilting binding will give birth to puckers and wonky binding.

So, you can easily fix such issues with the walking foot.

3. Stitching Up The Straps

If you encounter weird ripples on your straps, it happens when you change your stitching direction. To stop such issues from occurring, you should use a walking foot while sewing the straps.

Once you start sewing the walking foot, the ripples will not occur anymore.

4. Stitching Or Sewing On Stretch Materials

Using the walking foot when working on stretchy fabrics will provide you with beautifully stitched material. But stitching on a stretch material also depends on the type of stitching device you use.

So, for positive outcomes, choose a sewing machine that comes with two walking feet, such as the narrow and standard one.

Stitches You Can Do Through A Walking Foot

The walking foot of the stitching device is not that versatile when it comes to the types of stitches it can do on your upholstery fabric.

But the accessory loves to stick with the narrow and straight stitching technique. Remember, the walking foot is not designed to conduct a reverse stitch.

It will also create any fancy decorative stitches on your upholstery projects. You can only use the walking foot for straight stitch-related work.

Type Of Needles You Need For The Walking Foot

There is no need to opt for any other type of needles for the walking foot of your machine.

Straightaway, you can use the standard needles that will go perfectly with the material.

When you are doing upholstery projects, and the fabric is pretty heavy and thick, you must choose a heavy needle for the job.

Also, keep in mind that the needle doesn’t break during the stitching work.

Thread You Need To Use For The Walking Foot

The thread you will use should match the material or fabric you are stitching.

You must choose a thread for upholstery-related work, which is pretty thick and will not break that easily.

Can I Sew Plastics And Leather Material Under The Walking Foot?

In short, yes, you can. There are many fabrics out there, which are sticky, and you can stitch with a presser foot as it doesn’t glide the surface. This is where the walking foot comes in.

You can use this particular accessory for leather materials, and it will easily feed the fabric right underneath the needles.

Vinyl, plastics, and oilcloth are some of the materials you can manage under the walking foot.

Why Should I Use A Walking Foot Instead Of An All-Purpose Foot?

When you stitch with the all-purpose foot, it will not move the material’s top layer at the same rate. After you complete the seam, you will notice that the two layers of the material are a bit mismatched.

So, when you use the walking foot, you can easily terminate this particular issue from happening. The walking foot plays its part as a set of feed teeth for the material’s top layer.

It will pinch the two layers of the material together and move them at the same speed.



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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