Do All Sewing Machines Use A Walking Foot?

The cool feature and neat alignment that a walking foot provides are whatever one wishes to have. Your normal household sewing machine has just a standard connector to the foot presser. However, you can attach a walking foot if you want, but is it worth it? The coolest feature of a walking foot is every quilter’s dream. To have a perfect sewn garment/project that is well aligned. 

A walking foot can also climb a fabric having multiple layers amongst other cool features. The big question is, can you use a walking foot on any sewing machine? This article will provide you with a detailed explanation of how to attach a walking foot to your sewing machine whether industrial or a simple domestic machine and enjoy all the advantages.

Do All Sewing Machines Use A Walking Foot?

Your sewing machine can work just fine without a walking foot. However, the walking foot moves your fabric differently compare to a regular foot movement. A normal/regular foot will push against the fabric you are sewing as the feed dogs move the fabric to the back of the machine. A walking foot operates by scooting the fabric’s top layer and the bottom layer simultaneously.

With a walking foot, there will be no problem of misalignment which is a common mistake when using a regular foot. While attaching a walking foot is not mandatory and necessary, it will help your sewing look neat and more professional. You will avoid little sewing misalignment and whatnot.

Why Do You Need A Walking Foot?

There are many obvious reasons why you should own a walking foot. Some of these reasons are;

  • It stitches a quilt together without any of the layers shifting.
  • Are you struggling to match plaids? Struggle no more with a walking foot. The slightest shift can and will ruin your pieces. A walking foot will ensure there is no shift when making matching plaids or stripes 
  • When working with leather or plastic materials, they are sticky and hard to sew. The foot presser may not glide over the surface of the material. A walking foot has an under-the needle that will feed the material from beneath. A walking foot is highly recommended when working on vinyl, leather, plastic, and other similar materials.
  • A regular foot presser doesn’t feed heavy and thick fabric as it ought to. A walking press makes working on heavy fabric like heavy wool or terry cloth easier. Walking feet are the best fit for all types of weight a material may have.

When Can You Use A Walking Foot For Your Garments?

There are certain situations where you will need to use a walking foot for your fabric. The five major situations that require a walking foot are

  • Having a bird’s nest of thread underneath when sewing can be annoying and soul-wrecking. Sewing a traversing bulk seam with a regular presser foot will create these nightmares. When making bulky seams, use a walking foot to help grip the fabric as it moves uphill easier because of the extra set of teeth. When stitching bulky fabric like home decor canvases, a walking for is no doubt what you need.
  • When making a matching seam intersection, it is necessary to avoid any misalignment. To create a straight vertical or horizontal seam that is void of misalignment, use a walking foot. If you use a regular foot pressor, chances are you’ll end up frustrated and having to unpick some sections to fix avoidable blunders. To save your time, and emotions and have a perfect seam intersection on your first try, always attach a walking foot.
  • A walking foot is perfect when working on fabrics that have patterns and prints that should be matched with the seams. Cut the pieces and prints, pin them to the desired area and use your walking foot to sew them on.
  • However careful you were using a foot pressor, you will surely have some mysterious drag lines within your hem after topstitching bindings. A walking foot will keep all layers pressed flat to achieve flat drag-free edges.
  • Sewing stretch fabric can cause gathering of the fabric under the presser foot. A walking foot will move the fabric evenly and it won’t be stretched out of its normal shape.

Difference Between A Walking Foot And A Regular Pressor

When you constantly experience your fabric puckering as you see, you will be amazed after trying a walking foot. There are many clear differences between a regular foot and a walking foot. Some of these differences are;

  • A walking foot has more feed dogs than a regular foot. What is a feet dog? Feet dogs are those tiny teeth that are under the presser. Their main function is to pull your fabric as you see along the machine. Without them, your stitches would look uneven and haphazard. A walking foot has feed dogs at the upper layer which helps in pulling the fabric at the same rate as the feed dogs beneath. A regular foot does not have any feed dogs on the upper layer.
  • A regular foot will most likely misalign a stitch on a two-layered fabric. While a walking foot will see both layers in unison irrespective of how slippery, heavy, or stretchy the fabric can be. An example is when trying to sew a piece of stretchy fabric like the fabric used in making leggings. With a regular foot, chances are you’ll end up with draglines, stretching or gathering of the fabric, or a nest of thread forming beneath the bottom layer. A walking foot will give you a magical clean stitch free of any mistakes.

Is Walking Foot A Must Have?

I believe walking on foot is a must-have for anyone who can afford it. As someone who was using a normal foot presser, I can assure you my decision to purchase a walking foot has changed my life and sewing for the better. There is more accuracy in my work and less wasting of time correcting silly errors. My reason for believing a walking foot is a must-have are;

  • As a beginner in quilting, you may not want to buy an industrial machine. You may wish to buy but not have the financial means to purchase one because they are no doubt on the pricey side. The best alternative is to use a walking foot on your standard machine to quilt. You’ll have an error-free stitch through different layers of fabric without any fear of puckering or bunching during sewing.
  • Are you trying to create a straight-line quilt without a walking foot? I’m sorry To inform you but you are in for frustrating quilting. If you are a beginner, this can be very discouraging and you may end up losing interest in quilting.
  • A walking foot is not that big of an investment. It is quite affordable and gives you added advantages to better quilting and preventing common quilting mistakes.
  • The more you sew, the more advanced you will become and start making longer seams. For that, you’ll need a steady hand and foot, comfort, and concentration. Making long seams will shove away the long hours you’ll have to spend quilting a project. The walking foot will prevent any form of rippling or uneven feeding along your long seam.
  • One of the most important parts of quilting is binding. It is the final step to ending your project and you sure want to end it on a good note. To bind a quilt, binding your quilt entails covering the edges of your gorgeous project by creating a border with either a ribbon, tape, or other scrap materials. A walking foot will give your project even bindings to have a clean finish.
  • A walking foot has feed dogs that regulate the fabric layers from the bottom. When using a pressor foot, your fabric is only secured and pushed forward and most times it’s only the top layer that moves forward leaving the bottom layer behind. This causes misalignment and other annoying errors which you have to undo and see again. The regulation of the fabric from both layers by a walking foot gives you a perfectly aligned sewing
  • The extra feet dog in a walking foot helps in dragging the fabric in the same direction with both big and small projects and has the best and most professional finishing.

Having a walking foot will make work easier and less time-consuming. At the same time gives you a good final product.

What Are The Types of Walking Foot Sewing Machines?

There are two types of walking foot sewing machines, the triple compound feed, and the top and bottom feed. The top and bottom feed needle doesn’t feed on the needle. It feeds with the walking presser door and teeth. While the triple compound feeds your fabric with the walking presser foot, the needle, and the feed dog. 

Both machine styles have both top and bottom feed machines. They use the same needle style ( 135×17 and 135×16) and the same bobbins. Both machine styles are suitable for sewing denim, webbing, canvas leather, and vinyl.

The difference between the two styles of machines is that the top and bottom feed walking machine is not the needle machine while the triple compound feed is a needle machine. They use different presser feet. Also, the triple compound feed is known for sewing heavier weights which the top and bottom feed cannot.

When Not To Use A Walking Foot?

There are three major types of stitches that you should avoid using a walking foot to sew. They are;

1. Wide Decorations

The walking foot design inhibits side fabric motion. Almost all wide decorative stitches require side motions to bring out the design. Rather use a regular foot presser to achieve your designs.

2. Free Motion

A walking foot can only assist forward movements. Other movements like movement to the side, from side to side cannot be done with a walking foot.

3. Reverse Sewing

The top feed dogs are designed to move the fabric forward while the machine feed dogs move it backward. You can only move it in these two directions (forward or backward). You cannot use it in reverse.

Interested in knowing more about a walking foot sewing machine? Below is a video to learn everything you need to know.


Most sewing machines designed for domestic use come with regular foot pressers, unlike heavy-duty and Industrial machines. The walking foot has many advantages. It makes sewing and quilting easier and addresses many little issues of sewing that you experience with a regular foot presser.

A walking foot gives you nice, clean, and drag-free stitches/edges when sewing. Because some machines don’t come with a walking foot doesn’t mean they can not work with one. You can buy a walking foot and attach it to your sewing machine to enjoy all the advantages a walking foot provides and create gorgeous garments and projects.