Walking foot. What is it? How does it work? When to use it.
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Do you need a walking foot to quilt?

Have you heard that there is something called a walking foot that is supposed to help with quilting? Are you wondering if you should get one?

You are not the only one who is wondering, so here’s my thoughts 🙂

What is a walking foot anyway?

Your sewing machine uses feed dogs to move the fabric along underneath the needle to sew.


If you unthread your machine and use the handwheel (on the right end of machine)
to move the needle up and down you can watch the feed dogs work.

The presser foot holds the fabric flat against the feed dogs so they can do their work. It also holds the fabric so that the needle does not lift the fabric up when it comes out of the fabric with each stitch. Most presser feet just glide along the top of the fabric – like sliding across a hard floor in slippers.

If you are sewing thick layers of fabric (like quilting) the pressure from the presser foot may keep the top layers of fabric from moving along as fast as the bottom layers. This can lead to puckers or ripples in your finished quilt – like trying to slide across a loose carpet in shoes.

A walking foot is a presser foot that actually walks (foot moves up and down) across the top of the fabric instead of sliding. It is connected to the needle bar as well as the presser foot bar. This means that with every stitch of the needle the foot lifts up to allow the fabric to move along with the feed dogs. But it also plants down firmly again when the needle is in the fabric so the stitch is formed nicely.

So when should you use a walking foot for quilting?

A walking foot is great for when you are quilting in straight or gently curving lines.

If you are doing free motion quilting (lots of curves and squiggles) you should use a free motion foot.

You can also use a walking foot for piecing if you don’t want to take it on and off. If you do other ttypes of sewing it’s great for slippery fabrics as well.

Where can you get a walking foot for your machine?

From your sewing machine dealer or from Amazon.

Here are a few Amazon links to get you started (I get a commission if you click through and buy).

​Singer walking foot​

​Brother walking foot​

​Janome walking foot​

​Huskvarna walking foot (pricey, there are generic ones as well)

​Bernina walking foot (pricey, there are generic ones as well, but I have not had success with one yet)

I have not tested any of these walking feet, so please read the reviews AND make sure they are made for your brand and model of machine. You can also just search for ‘walking foot for <your brand/model>’.

Do you think using a walking foot will make a difference in your quilting?

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