Machine Feet Basics for Quilters

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There are three types of sewing machine feet that quilters use regularly, a quarter inch foot, a walking foot, and a hopping foot. While there are many other types of sewing machine feet that come in handy for different quilting project, these three remain the staple.

The Quarter Inch Foot aka Quilting Foot

The Quarter Inch Foot is used for most piecing. It helps the quilter guide the fabric for more accurate piecing when straight stitching seams. 

When installed, the Quarter Inch Foot provides multiple guide lines to measure against.

The outside edge of the foot is positioned a 1/4″ from the needle position, so the edge of the foot serves as a guide. Additionally, there are several lines on the foot, offering help when referencing the point a 1/4″ from the end of the fabric.

 

The Walking Foot aka Even Feed Foot

While a Walking Foot is often used for the quilting process of a project, it can be used for piecing as well. Many quilters feel the advantage of piecing with a Walking Foot comes from the even feed provided by the rotating feet. The upper rotating feet ‘walk’ with the feed dogs below to feed multiple layers through the sewing machine at an even pace. When quilting, this keeps the layers from shifting.

A Walking Foot is most commonly used for straight stitch quilting. It comes in handy when stitching in the ditch and quarter-inching units, blocks, and borders. Marked patterns with gentle curves are also easy to quilt with a Walking Foot.

 

The Hopping Foot aka Embroidery Foot

A Hopping Foot is used for free motion quilting. With the feed dogs dropped on the sewing machine, the hopping foot hovers above the quilt sandwich allowing free movement. A quilter uses their hands to move the quilt sandwich under the needed to create designs.

The circular opening of the foot allows room for needle movement, while still securing the stitch. The opening also proves the quilter a view of the stitching so they can easily see where they are headed in the design.

A Hopping Foot allows for movement in every direction, but requires the quilter to adjust the stitch length according to their movement of the fabric since there are no feed dogs to automatically feed the fabric.

 

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