How to Use a Quilting Foot

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Patchwork foot
  • Free-motion embroidery foot
  • Walking foot

There are three basic types of quilting feet for your sewing machine--a patchwork foot, a walking foot and a free-motion embroidery foot. Each can make quilting an easier and more efficient process, as well as helping you to create evenly pieced and quilted quilts. You can find these sewing machine feet in a low shank or slant shank style, allowing you to use these handy tools with your existing sewing machine.

Purchase the right feet for your machine. You can buy quilting feet from your sewing machine dealer or purchase generic ones at your local quilt shop or fabric store. Be sure to choose the right foot for your machine. Most modern sewing machines use a low shank foot; however, you should consult your manual to be sure.

Use a patchwork foot to help you create a perfect 1/4-inch seam allowance every time. Clip or screw this small presser foot into place on your sewing machine. The patchwork foot has a 1/4-inch side and a 1/8-inch side and may have a guide for the fabric. Use the 1/4-inch side for most piecing and the 1/8-inch side for mini-quilts and tiny projects. Markings on the foot can help you determine where to pivot, start a seam or stop.

Take advantage of a walking foot for stitch-in-the-ditch quilting. Install the walking foot on your machine, securing with the thumbscrew. The walking foot can help to feed the backing, batting and quilt top through your machine at the same speed. You will need to pull the fabric manually through the machine as the walking foot releases pressure on the quilt. If you pull slowly, your stitches will be small and fine. Pulling quickly will produce larger stitches.

Express your creativity with a free-motion embroidery or darning foot. Place the foot onto your sewing machine's presser bar, then lower the feed dogs. Transfer a free-motion quilting pattern to your quilt or work freehand if you prefer using a water soluble fabric marker. Guide the fabric around, using your free-motion foot to stitch as desired. You can also use your free motion embroidery foot for art quilting, using it to couch threads, add simple machine embroidery or thread drawing and more.