In sewing, and especially quilting circles, a walking foot is like a Holy Grail for sewing through multiple layers of fabric, and even batting and backing. It’s a great timesaver, and can really help you achieve better results with less effort.

What is a Walking Foot?

The walking foot is a device used in sewing that helps to feed fabric evenly through the machine. It is also sometimes called an even-feed foot or a feeding foot. This type of foot is especially helpful when working with multiple layers of fabric, as it helps to prevent the fabric from bunching up or becoming uneven.

What does a walking foot look like?

walking foot guide

A walking foot typically consists of a metal or plastic frame that attaches to the sewing machine, with a second set of “feed dogs” (the teeth that grip the fabric and move it through the machine) beneath the presser foot. Some walking feet also have a guide that helps to keep the fabric aligned as it moves through the machine.

It has a presser foot on the bottom and feed dogs that are controlled by the lever that sits over the needle bar when you attach it to the machine. Many models also come with a quilting guide, which is a plastic or metal bar that sits behind the foot and helps to keep your fabric moving in a straight line.

What is the difference between a walking foot and a standard presser foot?

The biggest difference between a walking foot and a standard presser foot is that the walking foot has a second set of “feed dogs” beneath the presser foot, which helps to grip the fabric and move it through the machine. Standard presser feet do not have this feature, and can often cause fabric to bunch up or become uneven when sewing through multiple layers.

Classic vs Open Toe

There are two types of walking feet- classic and open toe. The classic, or closed-toe foot, is shaped like a classic presser foot and provides better contact with the fabric, while the open toe has a bigger gap and better visibility. The type of foot you use will depend on your personal preference and the project you’re working on. If you’re doing a lot of quilting, you may prefer the open-toe foot, as it provides a clear view of the needle and fabric. The closed-toe option is best for general sewing projects.

Walking Foot vs Dual Feed

There is some confusion between walking feet and dual feed machines. Dual feed machines have a second set of feed dogs that work together with the first set to move the fabric through the machine. This can be helpful for sewing through multiple layers, as it prevents bunching and unevenness. However, a dual feed machine is not the same as a walking foot. A walking foot is an attachment that can be added to any sewing machine, while a dual feed machine is a specific type of machine that has the feature built in.

What does a walking foot do?

Many sewers and quilters swear by their walking foot. It’s an incredibly versatile tool that can be used for a variety of sewing projects, but it’s especially helpful when working with multiple layers of fabric. The walking foot helps to evenly feed the fabric through the machine, which prevents bunching and unevenness. It’s also great for quilting projects, as it helps to keep the fabric layers from shifting or moving out of place.

How do you use a walking foot?

Using a walking foot is relatively simple. First, make sure that the presser foot is properly attached to the sewing machine. Next, attach the walking foot to the machine, making sure that the “feed dogs” are properly aligned beneath the presser foot. Most walking feet will come with instructions on how to attach it to your sewing machine. Once it is attached, you will use it just like you would a standard presser foot. The biggest difference is that you will want to use a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch when sewing with a walking foot, as this will help to prevent the fabric from bunching up. You can also use a walking foot for free-motion quilting, though it does take some practice to get the hang of it.

When to use an even feed foot

A walking foot mounted on a large throat quilting machine is a quilter’s dream. It is usually used for quilting, but not only for that. It is one of the most useful pieces of sewing equipment you could have, and there is a whole host of dressmaking tasks and sewing projects that are made so much easier with a walking foot. Here are some examples:

  • Sewing through multiple layers – If you are sewing through multiple layers of fabric, a walking foot can be a lifesaver. It will prevent the fabric from bunching up and becoming uneven, and will make the whole process a lot smoother.
  • Working with difficult fabrics – fabrics like denim, leather, and vinyl, as well as fabrics with a pile, such as velvet or fleece, can be difficult to sew, as they tend to be thicker and more slippery. An even feed foot will help to move the fabric through the machine evenly, and will also prevent it from slipping or bunching up.
  • Pattern matching – If you are working on a project that requires pattern matching, a this type of foot can be a huge help. It will keep the fabric from shifting or stretching as you sew, which will make it much easier to get a perfect match.

Can I use a walking foot for regular sewing?

Yes, you can use a walking foot for regular sewing projects. Some sewers just leave their walking foot on their machine permanently, unless they need to do a very specific task, like a rolled hem.

When not to use it

There are some tasks where a walking foot is not necessary, and can even make the task more difficult. Here are some examples:

  • Sewing a rolled hem – A walking foot can actually make it more difficult to sew a rolled hem, as it can cause the fabric to bunch up. If you’re just doing a rolled hem on a straight edge, it’s better to take off the walking foot and use a standard presser foot.
  • Sewing a zipper – Zippers are best sewn with a standard presser foot, a walking foot is too bulky.
  • Working with delicate and lightweight fabrics – Silky or sheer fabrics can be difficult to sew as they tend to slip and bunch up easily. However, instead of feeding the fabric through firmly, the walking foot tends to chew it up. We recommend that you test on scraps first, or avoid using a walking foot for these fabrics altogether.

Is a walking foot the same as a quilting foot?

Yes, quilting foot, even feed foot, walking foot, these are all names for the same thing. Despite the ‘quilting’ part of the name, this type of foot is actually useful for many, many different sewing tasks, as we’ve seen.

How to use a walking foot for free motion quilting?

A walking foot can be used for free motion quilting, though it does take some practice to get the hang of it. The best way to start is by sewing a straight line, and then gradually increasing the length of the line. Once you feel comfortable sewing a straight line, you can start to add curves. The key is to go slowly and to keep the fabric moving evenly under the foot.

Can put it on any sewing machine?

Walking feet are not universal, and you will need to make sure that you get the right type of foot for your sewing machine. For some models, you will only have one walking foot that is compatible, but for many of them, there are several different options that you can choose from.

Bernina

Bernina goes the extra mile when it comes to this nifty little gadget. Their exceptional Three-Sole Walking Foot with Seam Guide #50 is not only good for feeding fabric through your machine evenly, but also for topstitching and edge stitching. It comes with three different soles – a clear sole for visibility, a teflon sole for difficult fabrics, and an even-feed sole – so you can customize it to your project. The seam guide is also adjustable, so you can get the perfect 1/4″ or 3/8″ seam allowance every time.

Pfaff

Pfaff has their own IDT system (Integrated Dual Feed), which is built into their machines and doesn’t require a separate walking foot. However, if you’re using a Pfaff machine that doesn’t have this feature, or if you’re using another brand of machine, then you’ll need to purchase the Universal Walking Foot for IDT System. This foot will fit most sewing machines, and has the IDT system built into it, so you can still enjoy those perfect, even stitches.

pfaff walking foot

Juki

Juki has a few different walking feet available, depending on which machine you’re using. The Low Shank Even Feed Walking Foot is for use with low shank machines, while the High Shank Even Feed Walking Foot is for use with high shank machines. If you’re not sure what type of machine you have, just check the manual – it will tell you which one you need.

Singer

The Singer Even Feed Foot is a low shank foot that is compatible with most Singer models, as well as many other brands of sewing machine. It has a wide opening, so it’s great for use with thick fabrics, and it comes with a feed dog cover, so you can use it for free motion quilting without having to worry about the feed dogs getting in the way.

Brother

Brother machines are favorites among quilters, so it’s no surprise that they offer an excellent walking foot. The Clear View Quilting Foot is perfect for both quilting and piecing, as it has a clear sole that allows you to see where you’re stitching. It also comes with an edge guide, so you can get perfect 1/4″ or 1/8″ seams every time. The instructions for attaching the foot can be found right here on Brother’s website.

How to attach the walking foot?

As I said, most walking feet come with instructions on how to attach it to your machine. The process basically looks like this:

  • Remove the standard presser foot from your machine. Make sure to also remove the part that holds the foot in place (this is usually a small screw or lever).
  • Attach the walking foot to the needle bar using the screws or levers. Make sure that it is attached securely. Don’t tighten the screw too much.

Now you are ready to start sewing! Just make sure that you use a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch when sewing with a walking foot, as this will help to prevent the fabric from bunching up.