Which Machine Feet Do You Use for Quilting?

Posted by on May 20, 2013 in Quilting | Comments


feet

Sewing a straight 1/4” seam is the first and foremost rule for quilting; however, let’s take a look at the other specialty sewing machine feet that can help quilters with a variety of quilting tasks.

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The 1/4” foot is very useful for quilters. While this foot comes standard with many machines, you may need to purchase it separately depending upon what make and model machine you have. A 1/4” foot helps ensure that the distance from the needle to the edge of the foot is a scant 1/4” required for most piecing and quilting. Be sure to check the measurements of your seam even when using a 1/4” foot, though. Some machines might require an adjustment of the needle to the right or left to stitch that perfect scant 1/4” seam.

The walking foot is also extremely useful for quilters; most view it as a necessary item for doing machine quilting on a home machine. The walking foot is very important as it keeps the bottom fabric feeding at the same speed as the top fabric, ensuring even stitches. The walking foot is even useful for attaching binding to the edges of a quilt. When attaching binding you will be sewing through several layers: the backing, batting, quilt top, and two layers of binding. The walking foot is great for ensuring that these layers move together preventing puckering in your quilt fabrics while attaching the binding.

The free motion or darning foot is extremely useful to quilters. While using this foot for free motion quilting, be sure to lower the feed dogs on your machine so the fabric can be easily moved while quilting. Most machines have a lever which lowers the feed dogs; however, they can also be covered with painter’s tape for free-motion quilting when such an option doesn’t exist on your machine.

An open-toe machine foot is commonly used for quilting. These feet have either an open center or a center with a clear plastic base that makes it easy for the quilter or sewist to see exactly where they are stitching. This can be extremely helpful to a quilter using their machine for a variety of machine appliqué stitches.

Finally, most machines also come with another specialty attachment that is useful for quilters, the quilting bar. A quilting bar attaches to the back side of the presser foot and allows the quilter to quilt evenly spaced lines on the quilt. The bar can be adjusted to a variety of widths and is also useful for topstitching.

machine feet for quilting

Machine feet and attachments clockwise from top left: ¼ inch foot, open toe foot, walking foot, darning or free motion foot, quilting bar.

So while most quilting involves the straight 1/4” stitch, don’t forget to use these other helpful machine feet. Do you have any other tips on using machine feet commonly used for quilting?

You might also enjoy machine quilting designs for borders and machine quilting designs for log cabin quilts.

Comments

  1. Helby says:

    I’d be lost without my 1/4″ foot! I sometimes use it for hems too, depending on the size of the hem.

  2. Kelly says:

    I love my 1/4″ foot and my darning foot for my Janome. I barely use any other feet, unless I’m making binding strips!

  3. Scheri Manson says:

    I use every foot I have on my posting. Between garment sewing, quilt block piecing and free motion quilting my feet change everyday.

  4. Heike Holder says:

    I am using most of my feet and I have a lot of them. The latest is the flower stitcher. I am using the 1/4 inch foot for patchwork and the darning foot for stippling and I especially love my welting foot. The only foot which is causing me trouble is the caterpillar foot. It does more promise than it keeps. Nearly killed it the first time in use. The bad nearly cut. This foot is a waste of money!

    1. Heike Holder says:

      just to mention I have a Janome MC 5200, 3 years and 2nd time this year in service :(

      1. Heike Holder says:

        they call it the rotary even foot but is not good for uneven material. It just not works without destroying the foot.

  5. sherri wolters says:

    I use my 1/4 foot sometimes- but I have 1.4 setting on machine I will use 1/4 with guide alot though I love my walking foot and my quilting q foot. I have many feet not sure what all they do because have forgot ecentime i sit down to use different foot I forget how they work so I usually use what is on there

  6. Taylor says:

    My new machine has a quarter inch foot that has a guide attached to keep the fabric in line. Before that, I used a plastic stick on strip called Cutting Edge that kept the fabric where it should be. So important to keep those seams 1/4 inch, right ladies?

  7. Betty Ann Medlock says:

    I love My Janome I have used a ot o my feet . do they make a foot that rolls over plastic . I sure could one

    1. Nancy Vallario says:

      I don’t know about Janome, but Viking has a white foot with a slick bottom. Look at the bottom. The white foot is plastic, of course, but goes over plastic and vinyl just like it was fabric. Good Luck

  8. Actually, be sure to try leaving your feed dogs up for free motion quilting (choose a zero-length zig-zag stitch) to see if it results in better tension control for you.

    I hate my walking foot, so with practice on your home machine, you won’t need it.

    Happy quilting!

  9. Mary says:

    I have the 6600P and I love it.

  10. Assunta Pierini says:

    A me piace molto questa macchina,ma io ho una macchina italiana il nome è Necchi,è un nome antico in Italia è molto famosa,mia madre la usava quando era giovane.sono molto soddisfatta del suo lavoro .

    Assunta

    (mi scuso ma io non parlo inglese)

  11. Chriss says:

    I use my own two feet. Left and right. I get up, go to the cutting table then the design wall, stand back, look, rearrange, go back to the sewing machine, stitch, get up go to the ironing board, back to the machine and start all over again. Yes, I’d say that along with all the feet you mention and I do use them all, these two feet are absolutely critical to my quilting adventures.

  12. joanne says:

    I use my 1/4-foot to piece and my walking foot for quilting. I hope to do more free-motion this year (with my darning foot).

  13. I love using my free-motion foot when I’m stitching-in-the-ditch. I seem to have an easier time staying “in-the-ditch” with it than when I use my walking foot. The key is to keep your hands close to the needle and stop often. Happy Quilting!!

  14. BeesKneesGranny says:

    Instead of quilting “upside down” by putting heavier threads in the bobbin, try coaching the heavier threads on with your cording foot. It’s more fun, and you can see what you’re doing!

  15. BeesKneesGranny says:

    Instead of quilting “upside down” by putting heavier threads in the bobbin, try couching the heavier threads on with your cording foot. It’s more fun, and you can see what you’re doing!

  16. Carmelita G. Nuqui says:

    Where can we buy this kind of machine? Please let us know as soon
    as possible. Thank you.

  17. Molly Briggs says:

    I have this exact Janome machine and another machine for my heavy duty canvas projects. I initially purchased the Janome for the canvas…but the walking foot didn’t work very well (or the material was thick). Then i learned about “built in” walking foot machines. Not just the attached kind. So i then purchased my first TuffSew (I think the Straight sttich model). I use it for anything thick or coarse over .2″. Make sure you don’t purchase a machine with a walking foot attachment if you are trying to sew something thick/coarse. I paid the price having to buy 2 machines. But i’m happy now. I’ll put the link to the TuffSew in your website box above.

  18. Hey Molly,
    I’m just starting to quilt. I can sew about anything but have’t in a long time. I am purchasing a new machine. I’m looking for machine advice. Any you could give would be much appreciated.
    Debbie

  19. Hey Molly,
    I’m just starting to quilt. I can sew about anything but have’t in a long time. I am purchasing a new machine. I’m looking for machine advice. Any you could give would be much appreciated.
    Debbie