Quilting Blog

Your Questions Answered: How to Use a Walking Foot

If you are already friends with your walking foot, you know how useful it can be for tasks like straight-line quilting or adding a binding. But in case you have had any issues or questions about how to use a walking foot, we’ve gathered up some helpful tips!

The Walking Foot Photo via Lindsay Sews

What is a walking foot?

A walking foot, also called a quilting foot, is a sewing machine accessory with built-in feed dogs to guide two or more layers of fabric evenly through your machine. It feeds the backing, batting and quilt top through the machine evenly, and can be used to quilt gentle curves or to machine quilt in the ditch. A walking foot also works well for:

Walking Foot Sewing Photo via Gretchen Hirsch

What should I look for when purchasing a walking foot?

It’s most important to buy a walking foot that is compatible with your sewing machine, so make sure you know the make and model when you are shopping. If you cannot get the correct foot from your manufacturer, a generic model may be available. You’ll want to know if your machine is a high-shank or low-shank machine, so check the manual. Some walking feet also come with a channel guide attachment, which fits on the side and helps quilters with parallel lines. Finally, look for an open-toe walking foot if you do a lot of stitch-in-the-ditch, because this will help you see exactly where the needle hits the fabric.

Close-Up View of a Walking FootQuilting foot with a channel guide. Photo via Sew Well Maide

Does a walking foot ever wear out or break?

Because a walking foot is a mechanical foot, yes, it can wear out or even break with use. Whether you sew with a plastic or metal walking foot, the bottom part of the foot may break off. A part of the plastic may become chipped, or the foot itself can break if you make the mistake of trying to sew in reverse.

If you notice a crack in the plastic housing that surrounds the walking foot, you may be able to replace just the plastic case. A quilter at Pattern Review details how she saved money by contacting her dealer for a replacement part. Members of The Quilting Board recommend buying directly from your sewing machine dealer and not a generic version. Generic walking feet can sometimes be cheaply made and they tend to break more often than feet from a reputable source, like your sewing machine manufacturer.

Walking Foot on TablePhoto via Lilypad Quilting

Does a walking foot require any maintenance to keep it working properly?

Just as a sewing machine should be cleaned, a walking foot can be cleaned to keep it free of fabric dust and other remnants. Lilypad Quilting readers offer some tips on how to clean a walking foot with a vacuum and cotton swab. If you have persistent problems with your walking foot or your sewing machine, it may be time to take it in to your local sewing machine dealer or repair shop to be be cleaned and serviced.

Quilt with Beautiful Straight-Line StitchingPhoto via Canoe Ridge Creations

Do you have any tips for straight-line quilting with a walking foot?

Megan Bohr shares her favorite tips for straight-line quilting on a home machine. She likes to start with a spray-basted quilt and a new needle. She also recommends keeping a slow, steady pace and marking your quilt lines until you get comfortable with the technique.

Once you’ve mastered the walking foot, there are plenty of other accessories to keep you learning new things! Sign up for the FREE Craftsy course Sewing Machine Feet from A to Z with Steffani Lincecum. You’ll learn how to use 11 of the most common sewing machine feet, including the blind hem, free-motion and buttonhole feet.

What do you love most about your walking foot?


Cindy Mizer

I would like a walking foot for my machine-it is a Husqvarna Emerald 118-and there is no walking foot available for that machine. I’d consider trying a generic but I’m worried it will mess up my machine. What should I do?

Barbara Reynolds

Most machines can use a walking foot. They attach like any other foot, and I doubt it could mess up your machine. Just make sure you get the right one for your machine – short or long shank. Ask other sewers who might have the same machine as you. I’m betting you will find others using one.


My old machine has no walking foot, and I couldn’t find to buy. I decided to buy a new one with walking foot. Meantime I won a quilt contest where first prize is a new Bernina. So I have solved my problem. I think the walking foot is best friend of any quilter.


Thank you so much for sharing my Straight-Line Quilting tutorial — my walking foot is my best friend! 🙂


The is a walking foot for the Emerald 118. I don’t remember the item # right off, but I work PT for a Viking Sewing Gallery located inside a JoAnn Fabrics in upstate NY. If you bought your Emerald in a Husqvarna Viking dealer, they should be able to help you. If you didn’t, then check Husqvarna Viking web site & look up sewing machine acsessories & it should give you a item #. Good luck!


Thanks for the help.

Pansy Rudd

I have been straight line machine quilting for years, Is it necessary for the claw to be hooked on to the needle replacer screw shaft? Noticed in the picture I shared on FB the claw is not hooked.

Cyndi Souder

Pansy, great question. It’s important for the fork (or claw) to be attached so that the action of the walking foot can be timed correctly with the action of the needle. If it’s not attached, then the foot won’t work properly. Good eye!
Cyndi Souder, Mastering Your Machine (Craftsy)


I looked at a walking foot this weekend but haven’t purchased one yet. This article was very helpful.

Elise stewart

Cindy, I have the same machine and I bought a generic walking foot off eBay. It works just fine.

Scheri Manson

The walking foot can be used to make beautiful designs. I used the walking foot in the Craftsy class. Dot to Dot Quilting.


i biyghy a walking foot for singer but u don’t have a low shank . I have a fixed shank model 57820
I cannot find a way to remove what options do I have?? Thanks

Jeri Strough

I am trying to put my binding on my quilt, had it quilted…cut the edged down to 1/4 inche….weather I pin the binding or now, my walking food keeps bunching up my fabric? My quilt has 4 oz loft batting, a white sheet for backing and cotton top…my only other optiion is to hand baste the quilt and binding together…its queen size so that’s lots of extra work “unless” there is another solution???? Any suggestions???? frustrated here! Thanks, Jeri

Wanda Stapley

I ordered and paid for and have received the kit for the Patchy Bag. There were no instructions so I went to the computer address and found the bag there with instructions to download the pattern which I did. But my computer does not do downloads well and now I cannot get the downloaded instructions. So now what do I do??? I do need the instructions and thought I would receive them without any problems.
Please help me.

Jenny Blackney

I have started using my walking foot for quilting and I pinned liberally but the top layer puckered. When using the walking foot am I meant to drop down my feed dogs, make the stitch bigger, One lady said to use the spray for basting and another lady said she uses a free arm. Any suggestions would be great as I would really love to make some designs on my baby quilts other than stitch in the ditch in only a few spots.


My Elna is probably 50 years old. I bought a Singer brand Walking Foot recently at JoAnn’s but I have to take it back because the slot for the shaft isn’t wide enough and the feed dogs are too wide and do not ride on the machine’s dogs. I googled Elna accessories and there are several Even Feed attachments for their machines but my model is too old to be listed. Any advice?


I have an old Elna that I picked up used. It works great and I love it! I have tried numerous low-shank walking feet that do not work for my model. Can’t say how many times I have been disappointed. When visiting a major quilt show last year I stopped by a vendor called Pocono Quilting up in Stroudburg, PA. They were able to tell me the exact one I needed. It was actually a Janone walking foot and I think it was about $50. Well spent. These people know what they are doing and they will ship. They have a web site with a phone number. Apparently the other ones I was trying were not formulated for a front-loading bobbin case like my machine has. I hope you can get this resolved!


Hi, thanks for this information. My big question is—in which sewing situations would you *not* be better off with a walking foot? I know they wear out and can break. Is this their only downside??


I have a Janome magnolia and a Janome walking foot …at class was using it for quilting and when I would go faster the stitches got real tight and small and occasionally I’d get a longer one…so I had to go really slow to get it to do right . What could be the problem?

Doris Jecminek

I have a Singer Touch and Sew and Singer walking foot and I am trying to put my two sides of a pot holder and stitch around it and the silver piece on it (it goes over the plastic foot) keeps coming oh and does not feet. I have four layers so is it too thick A? Help

joni mceachran

Craftsy sells wonderful classes by Jacquie Gering, who is sewing on a Bernina machine. She is able to sew in reverse with a walking foot as long as she doesn’t use a stitch length greater than 3.0. I have a Brother 6200D and would love to use it in reverse, but I’m afraid to try it, because the Brother walking feet say not to reverse stitch with it.


I have a walking foot and use it all the time. When sewing hotpads with double layer insulbrite, it seems to not feed through properly creating tiny stitches. Setting in for longer stitches.
Am i do8ng something wrong?


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