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Can you use a walking foot for more than just straight stitching?

A reader asks...

I just got my Janome convertible even feed foot set to use on my Janome HD3000.

Anywhere I find information on a walking foot only mentions using a straight stitch.

Can I use a small width zig zag stitch with a walking foot? I make pet beds, and want to use the walking foot to zig-zag stitch key points on the beds so they can be washable. The batting I use is a very thick polyester batting---1 inch +.

Julie replies...

Yes, you can use your walking foot for more than straight stitching.

A zig-zag stitch should be just fine because all the movement in the stitch pattern is forward. In fact many of the decorative stitches on your sewing machine are just fine to use with your even feed foot installed.

The only types of stitches that I'd hesitate to use are ones with a lot of forwards and backwards motions—that is unless I had thoroughly tested them on a practice quilt sandwich first.

The part of your question that I'm not so sure about is the 1"+ thick batting. Is it Mountain Mist's Fatt Batt perhaps?

[Click here for more information in the article, "Quilt Batting 101"]

Fatt Batt is a 100% polyester batting with a loft 1/2" to 5/8". The manufacturer indicates that it can be either tied or quilting up to 4" apart. (I've used Fatt Batt in a handful of flannel couch quilts. All of them tied with perle cotton. I did not attempt nor plan to machine quilt them.)

Different quilt battings have different loft
Fatt Batt polyester (left), Hobb's Wool Batting (center),
Quilter's Dream Cotton (right)

Initial machine settings

You've indicated that your batting is even thicker. So...

Test it first so see what setting you'll need to adjust. Because of its thickness, I believe you'll need to increase your stitch length. You may also need to reduce the amount of pressure on the presser foot and possibly reduce your tension.

Adjust each individually. Change a bit and test. Change a bit and test until you're satisfied with the resulting stitches. If this will be an ongoing project, write down your settings, threads, and fabrics to save time later.

If you can machine quilt with this thicker batting, I'd be basting the living daylights out of it to help squash it down and hold things together. That amount of loft in the batting gives the quilt sandwich a lot of wiggle room. Extra basting should help tame that. But only some testing will tell for sure.

I hope this has helped.

Readers, you are welcome and encouraged to share your thought using the 'Comments' link below. Thank you.


Julie Baird

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