View Full Version : tips for machine quilting with a walking foot

golden mountain
May 31st, 2010, 05:04 PM
I purchased a walking foot for my kenmore to quilt my first quilt (though I have experience making clothes on this same machine) and I'm having a heck of a time having broken two needles in the space of 10 minutes on my practice material!

First, I tried sewing with the feed dogs down, but my material did not move and just sat in one spot getting pummeled.

Next, I tried it with the feed dogs up, but when I did that, I felt I was not getting much of an advantage from using a walking foot, and my needle broke (twice)

DO I need to adjust my tension?

DO I need to be a little more 'aggressive' pulling my fabric through with the feed dogs down?

Thanks for any tips!


May 31st, 2010, 08:24 PM
I've had this problem and I found that if I used a sturdier needle - a denim one for instance - then it didn't break. Although the cotton is quite fine, once you layer it with the batting it can be really tough but once I used the thicker needle I didn't have any problem.

The walking foot works by pulling the top layer of fabric through at the same rate as the feed dogs so you need the feed dogs up for it to work properly. They are very good at preventing puckering

June 1st, 2010, 02:17 AM
Ellen, the walking foot does what JR said, it makes sure that the top layer of fabric moves thru at the same speed as the bottom layer...and you do need your feed dogs up in order for it to work. This foot is used for thick fabric "sandwiches" or for fabrics that slide a lot, it is not use for free motion work...this foot is good to use in quilting if you're doing straight line quilting or very gentle curves, but it's not good for free motion work.

You may be getting this foot confused with a darning foot, or a free motion foot, which is used with the feed dogs down...when you use this foot you move the fabric around yourself to form designs in the quilting pattern.

June 1st, 2010, 02:20 AM
Sorry but forgot to address the broken needles - this may be because you're trying to move the fabric through incorrectly...with the walking foot you need to let it do the work. If you're trying to pull the fabric thru, you're probably bending and breaking the needle by pulling it out of alignment with the hole in the foot.

golden mountain
June 2nd, 2010, 07:27 PM
Thanks so much for all the tips--and I think I was confusing it with a free motion foot. It turns out--and I feel very goofy--I had it installed wrong. I did not realize that the pronged part had to go around the needle screw, I had it on top of the needle screw...you can imagine what wackiness this caused. Once I figured that out, practiced a bit more, and adjusted my tension, it worked beautifully.

Thanks again everyone!


June 2nd, 2010, 11:50 PM
Glad that you figured out what was wrong!! I love my walking foot and I think it's the best thing since sliced bread!!