what is a walking foot sewing machine

You may be curious to know about what exactly is a walking foot sewing machine. But first things first, let’s clear any misconception you may have about the walking foot sewing machine. It is an industrial walking foot sewing machine that can make straight stitches specially designed to evenly feed in the materials both from the top and bottom pieces. The feet of the machine has a flat piece that surrounds the needle. It is made up of two pieces that move from one another separately so that it can accomplish the feeding process properly.

This type of machine comes with a foot that looks like it is walking as soon as you start sewing. Undoubtedly, the walking foot sewing machine has a sensible name and functions the same. 

Meaning of walking foot sewing machine

This type of sewing machine comes with an attachment that easily replaces the all-purpose presser foot. The walking foot sewing machine has an extra set of teeth at the bottom, used to guide the fabric evenly through the machine. It has a box-like protrusion at the back that hides the walking mechanism and is also quite large. Some brands even come with detachable plates at the bottom so that it can suit slightly different purposes. 

Use of walking foot sewing machine

A walking foot sewing machine travels slowly over different fabric types and helps produce a much professional and smoother look. When it comes to thick quilting projects, the job does not end there. It requires an extra set of teeth to grip material to make the gadget ideal for bulky seams or thick fabrics.  The teeth attached on the top also helps to grip the stretched material and silky fabrics.

It is ideal to use a walking foot for hems, stitching bindings, and plackets. In fact, in many sewing projects, the walking foot can come out to be of great use. Below are some more examples where walking foot sewing machines can be used. These are:

  • Bulky seams
  • Quilting
  • Slippery fabrics like knits and lycra
  • Sewing plaid fabrics and stripes
  • Thick straps (places where ripples can be caused by regular foot)
  • Sewing vinyl and leather
  • Sewing binding

But keep in mind that this gadget is not suited for free embroidery because the feed teeth control the fabric’s direction by not allowing it to move in different directions.

We have listed the following points that you must keep in mind while using a walking foot sewing machine. 

  • Stitches

The walking foot sewing machine is not versatile in terms of the type of stitches it can do. The walking foot sewing machine will not be able to fancy a wide decorative or reverse stitch, which can be one of its drawbacks. But keep in mind that the walking foot is best to use for straight stitching and the completion of quilts with the help of a space bar included with the walking foot kit.

  • Needles

You can use a regular needle that can match your fabric. If you are sewing bulkier or thicker fabrics, make sure to choose a thick needle that doesn’t get easily broken. Like for quilts, you can use quilting needles; for leather, you can use leather needles, and for cotton straps, you can use thicker universal needles.

  • Thread

Regardless to say that thread must match the fabric you are sewing. We would recommend you to use strong thread since you will be sewing complicated or bulky fabrics.

  • Supplies

All you’ll be required is the screwdrivers so that you can undo the screws that usually hold your all-purpose sewing foot. Many machines come with appropriately sized screwdrivers. 

Steps to attach the foot

It is not difficult to set up your machine by walking foot, but the process may take longer and require a bit of practice and time. Follow the given below steps for easy installation:

Step 1: You need to remove the presser foot holder and current presser foot. Ensure that you keep the screw from the presser foot holder on one side (try not to eradicate it) and then put the presser foot in a safer place. Always make sure that the needle is up and out of the way, so you don’t hurt yourself.

Step 2: Now slip the walking foot in one place and then screw it firmly. It could be hard at first, but practice will make it easier. You can use the utility screwdriver that came with the machine to make sure that the screw is tightened correctly.

Step 3: While you attach the walking foot, the other parts of the attachment, which is a claw-like extension, are other essential parts at the foot’s side. 

Stitching all the way

Everything that matters while using the walking foot sewing machine is synchronizing the bottom and tip feeds as they work under and over the fabric. Walking foot comes with extra parts like the quilting bar, which is ideal for quilting. All you need to do is slide it through the holes provided on the walking foot and set it at the desired width so that you can sew evenly spaced lines along with the quilt.

Reasons why you need a walking foot sewing machine

Now that you’ve understood the whole process of walking foot sewing machine, below are a few reasons why you’d required this.

  • While you are trying to produce commercial products but cannot afford the time to waste on a machine that cannot sew multiple layers of heavy material.
  • The walking foot machine mostly eliminated the need to pin your material together. 
  • You can climb up over the differences in thickness without even getting stuck.
  • These machines are a staple in the industry of upholstery.

Things you must keep in mind

Before you go on to purchase a walking foot sewing machine for yourself, here is what you must look for before you make your purchase:

  • A legitimate industrial-grade walking foot machine is a perfect buy.
  • Look for the machine that has a reverse function.
  • Always test the machine before you buy so that you can get to know about the controls.


Before you go for any purchase, make it a thumb rule to do your best research about the machine you’ll be purchasing. Compare it with every product in the line considering power, motor, and other features. If you are buying a used machine, always make sure to take a demonstration and try it beforehand to get relaxed about the proper functioning of the machine. We hope we’ve answered your question about ‘what is a walking foot sewing machine’ and have given you detailed information about it.