Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Your Walking Foot

Today, I'm going to talk to you about the second of the 'Fab Four' quilting feet -
The Walking Foot.
Some makes of machine use what they call a 'Dual Feed System' and this works in a very similar way to the Walking Food.

So here goes:
You know on your sewing machine there are little teeth (the feed dogs) that move your sewing along as you stitch.
Well they works fine on two layers of fabric. Which lets face it is what most people will be stitching together most of the time - two pieces of fabric.

Now us quilters go and add a third layer (the wadding/batting) in between the two layers of fabric. And of course the wadding/batting is also much thicker than the fabric we are using. And so now your poor feed dogs are trying to move along three layers. And what tends to happen here is the feed dogs find it difficult to move all three layers equally and so the top layer gets ever so slightly pushed along by the foot you are using. Result is a little bump or pleat of top fabric left when you get to the end of your line of quilting.
Not good.

But wait, Dah dah comes Super Walking Foot to the rescue.
This wonderful foot has a set of teeth or similar that move/'walk' along on the top fabric working in tandem (I love that word it conjures up images of a happy couple cycling along the prom on a warm summers day in the 1930's - sorry back on subject) with the bottom feed dogs. Thus ensuring that the top and bottom fabrics are being moved along at the same rate. Result - no more little bumps/pleats of 'spare' top fabric at the end of you quilting line.
And here is one of the little beauties - May I present one of my walking feet.

Now these feet usually come with a wonderful little stick thingy called a stitch or quilt guide.
And I'll explain how to use this another time. It's enough today that you understand why you should use a walking foot. I know if I'm given too much information at one time it starts to fall out of my ears! And equally if I try and explain too much at one time my brain gets jumbled up. So for both our sakes, I'll stop the information bit now.

OK, this will probably be the most expensive foot you will buy for your sewing machine - so if you can get a machine with this one thrown in, brilliant.
It's one of the biggest feet and also more complex than most others - hence the expense. But for us quilters who like to use our sewing machines it's one of our 'basic' must have tools.

What I've outlined here are the basics. I didn't want to bore you with too much information - but if you have any queries, questions or problems using your walking foot, please ask in the comment section below.  And I'll do my very best to help you.
Yours in Stitches, Joy


Lorna McMahon said...

Yes, Joy, I love my walking foot. It came with my Janome when I purchased him. My walking foot looks exactly like the one in your photo. What kind of machine do you have?

Joy Morgan said...

Hi Lorna, Well I have a couple of Janome's and a couple of Bernina's. All of whom I love.
This walking foot comes from my Janome Jem Platinum 720. Which is a threequarter sized machine and is a lovely little workhorse that I can carry to class. Which Janome do you have?

Chris said...

Hi Joy. Excellent description Joy, thank you. When i first had my walking foot i didn't have a clue how to attach it to my machine and the instructions were of course in Chinese and a very poor English translation, maybe for our newer ladies you could explain how to fit one of these beauties as you do explanations so well. LOL (I love the tandem bit, but if you have a foot like mine the noise it makes clunking along the poor tandem has had a puncture I think )LOL

Joy Morgan said...

Thanks Chris, that's a good idea. So that's next Wednesday's 'spotlight' sorted. Fitting your walking foot. Because it's not quite as straight forward as fitting most other feet. And as we all know 'it's only simple when you know the answer'.

01 10