How To Attach A Walking Foot To A Sewing Machine

Attaching A Walking Foot To A Sewing Machine

For those who are new to sewing, understanding how to attach a walking foot to a sewing machine can be confusing. A walking foot is a special attachment that helps guide the fabric as it is sewn by the sewing machine. This ensures that the fabric does not twist or distort, resulting in a smoother and more accurate finish. This article will provide an overview of the different types of walking feet, how to attach them to the machine, and some tips for successful use.

A walking foot is an accessory that fits onto the sewing machine, replacing the regular presser foot. It consists of several parts: the foot itself, a feed-dog lift lever and a tension disc. The foot has two sets of feed dogs, which move the fabric as it is sewn by the machine and keep it from slipping or twisting. The lift lever raises the feed dog to give extra room for thick fabric while the tension disc adjusts the tension of the foot.

Attaching the walking foot to the sewing machine is different from attaching a regular presser foot. The foot is attached by removal of the old presser foot and then popping the attachment into the machine in its place. Ensure that the feed dogs on the walking foot are aligned with those on the machine for a strong connection. The lever to raise the feed dog and the tension disc should also be adjusted as required by your project.

Once the walking foot is attached to the machine, be sure to check the tension, in both the foot and the machine itself. If the tension is too tight, it can cause the thread to bunch up. Also adjust the stitch length to the correct size before you start sewing. It is important to keep the walking foot in balance, as this will ensure that it moves smoothly and evenly as it guides the fabric through the machine.

Using a walking foot can help you to more easily and accurately sew multiple layers of fabric at once. The foot is ideal for quilting, as it helps hold the layers together and prevents them from shifting or bunching up. It is also great for hems, buttonholes, and other thick seams. It is essential to practice using the walking foot and to become familiar with its function before attempting a project, so that the finished product looks professional and satisfies the aesthetic desired.


Even though a walking foot makes sewing thick fabric easier, problems can still arise. Be sure to troubleshoot any issues that occur while using the walking foot. If the fabric is not moving evenly across the foot, first check the tension. Make sure that the tension is adjusted correctly and that the foot is balanced. If the fabric is still not moving, try switching to a zigzag stitch, as this may help to keep the fabric layers together. Additionally, check the tension on the machine itself.

Another common problem is if the stitch seems too tight or loose. This can be due to incorrect tension, so double check that the tension is correct and adjust as needed. If the machine is making an excessive amount of noise, be sure to check the needle for any damages or snags. Replace the needle if necessary.

Cleaning The Walking Foot

It is important to clean the walking foot after each use to prevent any buildup of residue. Begin by unthreading the machine and removing the walking foot. Using a soft brush, gently brush away any dust or residue that has accumulated. If stubborn residue remains, use a damp cloth to gently wipe it away. Be sure to dry the foot thoroughly before reattaching it to the machine.

In summary, attaching a walking foot to a sewing machine can seem intimidating at first. However, with a little practice and understanding, it can become a part of a sewist’s everyday routine. It is a great tool for sewing thicker fabrics, as it helps to keep the layers together and prevents any shifting or bunching. Cleaning the foot after each use is essential for the longevity and performance of the tool, and troubleshooting any issues that arise is key for achieving a professional-looking finish.

Parts And Accessories

When purchasing a walking foot, be sure to check that all the necessary parts and accessories are included. Most walking feet come with the foot itself, a feed-dog lift lever, a tension disc, and instructions on how to attach and use the foot. Additional items that may be included are an extra set of feed dogs, a Teflon foot, and a seam guide.

Purchase a walking foot that is designed to fit the make and model of your sewing machine. The instructions specific to the machine should be consulted when choosing the right foot, as different models have different accessories and requirements. Researching other sewing projects completed with the same machine can also provide valuable insight for choosing the appropriate foot.

Once the foot has been purchased, take the time to carefully read the instructions on installation, use, and maintenance. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the different types of feet available, such as Teflon feet, quilting feet, and specialty feet. This will enable you to make the best choice for the projects you plan to sew.

Sequences And Patterns

Using the walking foot can help to create unique sequences and patterns. This is especially helpful when quilting and creating zigzag patterns. The foot helps to evenly and accurately feed the fabric as you stitch, making it easier to create intricate designs. Learning how to use the foot in combination with different stitch lengths and specialty feet can open up a range of new possibilities.

For those just starting to use the walking foot, practice makes perfect. Start by practicing on simple projects, such as quilting a small square, to get a feel for the walking foot, and experiment with different settings and stitch lengths. Mastering how to use the foot will help to achieve beautiful results for all your future projects.

Safety Precautions

When using a walking foot it is important to follow all safety precautions to avoid injury or damage to the machine. Be sure to unplug the machine before making any adjustments, and ensure that all parts are securely attached before operating the machine. Never sew with a broken or damaged needle, and check the machine and foot for any signs of malfunction or damage before use.

If the machine isn’t behaving normally, discontinue use and have it serviced by a professional. This is especially important for older machines, as it may require more frequent maintenance and repairs. Safety glasses and other protective gear, such as gloves and a face mask, should also be worn when working with fabrics and machines.


Using a walking foot on a sewing machine can be intimidating for those just getting started, however with a little practice and understanding it can become a valuable tool for creating unique and beautiful projects. Becoming familiar with the walking foot and its parts is essential for proper use and installation, as well as for troubleshooting any issues that may arise. It is also important to remember to follow all safety precautions when using the machine and its accessories.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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