In the hours spent looking at sewing tutorials I have read many comments about specialty feet and how afraid everyone is of using them. I love my walking foot (for stretch fabrics) and ruffler foot (as mentioned in my “Patterns that work” post) so I wanted to share this post so that others everyone else can take advantage of these ‘happy feet!’ The photos will be showing the walking foot: here is the deal, yes they are $30-40 but if you plan on making more than 5 knit apparel pieces in your life, the foot will pay for itself in saved material and frustration (what is that worth?).
I am using a ball point needle as suggested by the many sources I researched BUT I still get puckering across grain despite adjusting tension! What I will show you below is the installation of the WALKING FOOT. Used by quilters to move multiple layers with ease BUT is also a gem when using a material with stretch. Why? Because this large and (soon to be “un”) intimidating foot instantly creates a set of feed dogs on top of the material thus pulling it up and working in synch with the needle to stop those nasty puckers!
The star of today’s post:
The walking foot. I am using my fancy chopstick pointer to show you one of the two important things to know about this foot, the bracket that will wrap around your sewing machine shank and screwed on. (Do not worry, I will explain below.) The second thing to note is the long, white piece to the right of my pointer running parallel to the foot. This is the part that MUST be placed above the needle screw in order for this foot to work. See, the needle screw moves up and down each and every time a stitch is sewn. This bar above the screw is essential…it allows the foot to work in concert with the lower feed dogs and of course, the needle.
This is my (horizontal shank) machine. My regular foot has been removed. Take your foot off and look at your machine, locate the screw and find the screwdriver key that came with your machine or a screwdriver as we need to unscrew this grey piece called the “foot holder”.
This is my machine without the foot holder. KEEP THE SCREW HANDY as we will be reusing it for the walking foot. The first time you do this, you may ask for an extra pair of hands just to ease the comfort level but it is certainly not necessary. Grab your foot, screwdriver and screw…..
Ok, remember the two things that are important to installing this foot? I am pointing (top third of photo) to the long white shank. Hold this shank with your right hand and the bracket (first picture) with your left hand. If it seems tight lower your needle slightly so that the needle screw is also lower and there is space for this shank. I think this is the part that seems really awkward at first, but do not worry. With the shank above the needle screw move the foot around to make sure the bracket is around the foot holder, see just behind my needle? Let go of the foot with your left hand (still holding on with the right) and grab the screw. You may need to make minor movements with the foot so that you can see the hole for the screw–it will be in between the two brackets of the walking foot, let’s look-
I still use a ballpoint needle for knits and watch my tension but you are going to see an immediate difference. Grab a scrap of knit, if you are a bit freaked out, put the speed on slow and just try it. In my experience this foot transforms knits into a regular woven cotton. Here is my test sample from above and you will notice a nice, EVEN stitch below my first try… this is the walking foot stitch!
YEAH, that’s what I am talking about!! Happy?