Whether you’re a seasoned quilter or a sewing enthusiast, the walking foot, also known as an Even Feed Foot, is a game-changer for your projects. This versatile presser foot can significantly improve the quality and ease of your stitching. In this article, we will explain why a walking foot is beneficial for quilting and sewing and walk you through fitting this essential tool into your sewing machine.
Why Use a Walking Foot?
Before diving into how to use a walking foot, let’s explore why it’s worth incorporating this accessory into your sewing repertoire:
- Prevents fabric Shifting: The walking foot has built-in feed dogs that work with your sewing machine’s regular feed dogs. This dual-feed system ensures that the top layer of fabric moves in sync with the bottom layer, preventing layers from shifting or slipping out of alignment.
- Ideal for Quilting: When quilting, you often work with multiple layers of fabric, batting, and backing. A walking foot ensures that all these layers stay together neatly, preventing puckering and ensuring even stitches.
- Handles Tricky Fabrics: Slippery or stretchy fabrics like velvet, silk, or jersey can be challenging to sew without distortion. The walking foot’s even feed mechanism helps feed such fabrics consistently, resulting in clean, distortion-free seams.
- Sew Thick Materials: If you frequently work with thick materials or multiple layers, such as denim, leather, or upholstery fabric, a walking foot can handle the job with ease, preventing fabric bunching or irregular stitching.
- Perfect for Matching Patterns: When sewing plaids, stripes, or other patterned fabrics, the walking foot ensures that the layers align perfectly, allowing you to match patterns accurately.
Now that you know the advantages of using a walking foot, let’s proceed to attaching and using it on your sewing machine.
How to Attach a Walking Foot:
- Gather Your Supplies: You’ll need your sewing machine, the walking foot (ensure it’s compatible with your machine’s make and model), and your machine’s user manual for reference.
- Select the Right Stitch: A straight stitch is ideal for most sewing tasks with a walking foot. However, consult your project’s requirements and your sewing machine’s capabilities to determine the appropriate stitch.
- Remove the Current Presser Foot: Lift the presser foot lever to raise the presser foot. Locate your sewing machine’s release button or lever to detach the current presser foot. Carefully remove it.
- Attach the Walking Foot: Align the walking foot’s shank with the presser foot holder on your sewing machine. Ensure it fits snugly and securely. Lower the presser foot lever to place the walking foot in place.
- Engage the Even Feed Mechanism: Many walking feet have a lever or button that engages the even feed mechanism. Consult your sewing machine’s manual to understand how to activate this feature. In some machines, it’s automatic when the walking foot is attached.
- Thread Your Machine: Thread your sewing machine as usual, ensuring you follow the correct threading path for your selected stitch.
- Adjust the Pressure: Depending on your machine, you may need to adjust the presser foot pressure. This adjustment is usually located near the top of your machine. Follow your machine’s manual for guidance on setting the appropriate pressure for your fabric.
- Stitch a Test Seam: Stitch a test seam on a scrap piece of clothing before starting your project. It allows you to check the tension, stitch length, and overall performance of the walking foot.
Using Your Walking Foot:
Now that your walking foot is attached and your machine is set up, you can start sewing. Here are some tips for using your walking foot effectively:
- Start Slowly: Start sewing slowly to ensure the walking foot feeds the fabric evenly. As you become more comfortable, you can gradually increase your sewing speed.
- Guide the Fabric: While the walking foot does most of the work, it’s essential to guide the fabric gently to keep it on the desired path.
- Backstitching: When starting and ending a seam, use the backstitch function to secure your stitches and prevent unravelling.
- Practice: If you’re new to using a walking foot, practice on scrap fabric before working on your project to get a feel for its operation.
- Maintenance: Keep your walking foot clean and lubricated, following your sewing machine manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance.
In conclusion, the walking foot, or Even Feed Foot, is a valuable accessory that can enhance the quality of your sewing and quilting projects. It simplifies complex sewing tasks by preventing fabric shifting, handling challenging materials, and ensuring even stitches. It makes your work more precise and professional. Follow the steps to attach and use a walking foot with your sewing machine, and enjoy the benefits it brings to your sewing and quilting adventures.