Quilting Tip: Use a Walking Foot for Quilting

First off, quilting is the process of sewing together your quilt top, batting (the fluffy stuff in the middle that adds warmth), and your backing. The walking foot help you easily sew through these layers. With a walking foot, you don’t need a lot of practice or skill to get started!

What’s a Walking Foot?

The Walking Foot helps your quilt feed through your machine better. If you were to use a standard presser foot or your 1/4″ quilting foot (for example),  you may get puckers in your quilt. Why? Because the quilt is thicker than your typical pieces of fabric, the presser foot is working against the feed dogs near the needle plate.

A walking foot has feed dogs on the top that go up and down as your needle goes up and down. These food dogs work in conjunction with the ones near the needle plate, feeding your quilt through the machine at a more even pace — preventing puckers and providing a smoother result.

How to use your Walking Foot

Your new Walking Foot will come with instructions for attaching it to your machine. It’s important to follow these steps to ensure the feed dogs will move accurately with the movement of the needle.

  • Install a new needle. Try a Sharp size 75/11 or 80/12. These will work great with your quilting thread and easily pass through all the layers in your quilt.
  • Set your stitch length to 2.5 to 3mm.
  • Adjust your foot pressure setting (if required by the instructions). Not all machines have this capability; if yours does it is likely marked on the front head of your machine.
  • If your machine has a needle down setting, use it now. 
  • Thread your machine. Not sure what thread to use? Ask one of our helpful Team Members at any of our 5 B-Sew Inn locations.
  • Use a practice quilt sandwich to ensure your stitches are as you want them before beginning on your project. Once you get a couple practice stitches in and make any desired adjustments, you’ll be ready to quilt!

Other considerations

Purchase an open toe version if at all possible. ”Stitch in the ditch“ quilting or following the marked lines of quilt designs is easier to when nothing is between your eyes and where the needle pierces the fabric.

Does it come with a channel guide attachment? This guide fits onto the foot and makes quilting parallel lines a breeze. Mark only the first line and let the foot do the rest. There may be a left and a right channel guide.

Multiple uses

Quilters and sewers use the Walking Foot for a variety of purposes. Don’t just box yourself into one use for your Walking Foot! Try these other uses as well:

  • Straight-line quilting
  • Attaching binding to a quilt
  • Making a rag quilt
  • Piecing with a knit or slippery fabric like fleece, Minkee, velvet, and corduroy
  • Matching plaids

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