The walking foot is a foot with a special feeding system built right into the mechanics of the foot. With an upper set of teeth coming from the walking foot itself, and a lower set of teeth on the machine, the layers under the foot feed evenly as the teeth link together and walk the layers through the machine. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that this foot is also known as an EVEN FEED FOOT.
You can see close-up photos of the teeth on the machine and on the foot itself below:
There are many options for using decorative stitches on a quilt. Proper set-up and a bit of experimentation is the key to exploring options for decorative stitching on a quilt. Read the following tips, and test stitches that are relatively open in their form and design.
(Test stitches that resemble those pictured below.)
- Begin with quality needles and thread. The smoother the thread, the prettier the stitch will be. A sharp needle such as a quilting needle (11-14) or a jeans needle (12-14), work well with cotton threads. A sharp needle pierces the fabric cleanly and evenly.
- Set machine for a slow, even speed. It will take longer to stitch from end to end but that’s okay, relax and enjoy the process.
- Use batting that is thin and firm. Warm and Natural is a good choice. Flannel is also a good substitute when you want to use decorative stitches. Be sure to wash and dry the flannel and make sure it is throughly pre-shrunk.
- Unless the quilt is very small you'll need to baste before stitching. Here are a few methods.
2.) Use fusible basting spray.
3.) Pin baste with long, flat pins such as flower head pins, OR quilter's safety pins.
- Make sure your entire quilt is supported by quilting in a table or cabinet with an insert, or by using a machine specific extension table. If the quilt falls away from the surface while you are quilting, the weight will drag the quilt down and possibly cause distortion of the stitches. Do WHATEVER you need to do to fully support the entire quilt. This is true even if your quilt is the size of a wall hanging.
- It is easier if you select stitches that do not exceed the 7mm width of the throat plate. Some of the wider (multi directional) decorative stitches will work but they require more practice to sew. It can be difficult to stay straight for lengthy sections with these super wide stitches.
- You may get the better results by setting presser foot pressure slightly less than standard.
- Consider using a water soluble "fibrous" stabilizer to further “beef up” the fabric for decorative stitches to form properly. Another good water-soluble stabilizer is sold in a liquid form. The brand name is Perfect Sew®.
- Experiment with increasing stitch length and width to allow the stitch to flow more freely across the fabric.
- Be careful when crossing seams. You may need to stop when you reach the seam, lift the presser foot to smooth the fabric, and then start again, making sure the foot lays flat on the fabric layers.