Walking Foot Machines – A Primer

A walking foot machine is great for industrial applications that require working with heavier materials. It looks just like a straight stitch/single needle machine, but it is designed to move materials evenly together during stitch formation.

How it works?

The sewing foot on this type of machine features a set of teeth that interact with the sewing machine feed teeth to grip the fabric while running the machine. Instead of relying on the bottom feed dog to pull the fabric through, the foot keeps one foot on the fabric as the other rises with the needle. This even feed motion allows both pieces being sewn to go through with minimal slippage, keeping patterns and cut pieces straight during sewing. The needle actually makes a circular motion as it rises and falls. The needle will rise up, come down in the hole, but the hole and needle move together to the back along with the fabric and the needle rises up again.
The purpose of this walking motion is to keep your layers from shifting as they are receiving equal pressure from the top as well as the bottom. It will also prevent puckered seams when working on items with longer seams.

These machines are very popular in the tactical gear sewing industry. In mass production, time is money and the customer won’t pay you to spend a lot of time sewing any one piece, so a walking foot is often used.

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