Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Featherweight Quilting Skill Series - Using A Walking Foot

Thank you for coming to my Featherweight Quilting Skill Series! There are thousands of us who love our little 221s but need or want a little more "know-how" on using them to their fullest potential. I hope my posts and videos will help you get more know-how and confidence in using your beautiful Featherweight. Enjoy the classes!

Class #8 - Using a Walking Foot

Class supply list:
Your fully threaded sewing machine, a walking foot, a few strips of fabric for test seam sewing. 
I am using a generic, low shank walking foot. I do not have the coveted "Penguin" walking foot!

Why use this accessory?
A walking foot gives you a second set of feed dogs that pull the top fabric layer to help keep the fabrics feeding under the needle evenly. This foot is useful when sewing quilt sandwiches, which tend to be thick and bulky. It also keeps thicker fabrics, like fleece, moving even while sewn.

I have read that different walking feet draw different lengths of fabric through them and cause uneven feed along the seam. I have not done tests to compare lengths of my machine's feed dog pull and that of the walking foot. If this is evident to your sample seams, holding your fabric layers together as you sew or pinning will help keep the layers even over long seams.

Let's get sewing!

Raise the needle to its highest point and remove whatever foot is on your machine. You can also remove the needle if you want it out of the way completely or to not risk pricking your finger!

Mounting the foot needs some finessing. I put my thumb under the foot's lifting bar and hold the unit cockeyed to where it gets mounted on the machine.

Make sure the foot's lifting bar sets on top of the needle clamp screw like this.

The needle screw moves the foot's lifter bar up and down and this is what causes the unit's feed dogs to function.

Now turn the foot until it's straight and the clamp is lined up with the screw hole. 

Secure it in place with the screw.

If you're having trouble getting the clamp lined up with the screw hole, the thread cutter probably isn't up high enough. Move it up so the foot can sit under it.

Get ready to sew:
If you had removed your needle, or if a thin needle is in the machine, install a size 12 or 14 (depending on the project) and thread it. 
Put your fabric under the foot and lower the pressure lever. 
Set your stitch length to 10 - 12.
Pressure screw should be medium or slightly heavier. 

Understand what the foot is doing:
When the needle is up, the unit's feed dogs are down and helping advance the fabric.

When the needle is down, the feed dogs are raised. 
This is the position to be in when you want to stop and pivot your fabric.

Sew your seam:
I ran some heavy material through the machine and the foot works great! 

Now you can use this skill on a quilt sandwich!

Homework: Take your heavy fabric strips, or quilt sandwiches, and sew test seams. Inspect the seams for even feed across the length of the stitching. Try different stitch lengths to determine which ones work best with your fabrics.

I hope you have been encouraged to use your amazing sewing machine accessories.  Please share your pics on our Facebook group page, Featherweight Skill Series, so we can see your creations! 

If you like the series, share the link with your friends, pin it to Pinterest, join my Facebook group... Most importantly, "Let's get sewing!"

See you next time!

No comments: