Friday, March 3, 2017
How to Use a Walking Foot for Faux Leather
Today I am sharing a little bit about what I learned while using a walking foot to sew the faux leather bottom onto our burlap AeroPress travel zipper cases. First of all, you should know that I was reluctant to use it. I had searched and tried a couple of different hacks that I found online, like placing tape under the standard zipper foot to reduce the friction between the foot and faux vinyl leather. This worked in the past, but the latest vinyl I purchased had more texture and wasn't moving easily under the regular foot. I tried to coax it through with some tugs and pulls, but the quality of the stitches did not meet my expectations. I ended up doing a bit more research and figured I would give the walking foot a try.
My walking foot is very basic, but I'm not really sure if there are more sophisticated ones out there so maybe it is exactly as expected. This foot is pretty large, and honestly, it was pretty intimidating to me. It came with my sewing machine, but I never unwrapped it from the packaging for almost four years. Now that I've used it, I can't recommend it enough to others. The advantage of a walking foot is that it contains upper feed dogs that feed the upper fabric at the same time as the lower feed dogs located under the needle plate on your machine. The benefit is that it makes it easier to feed bulky, sticky, or silky fabric through in a more controlled manner. It is most often used in quilting, when working with batting and multiple layers of fabric, but it can really be applied to almost any type of sewing to provide ease when feeding tricky fabric through the machine.
To install a walking foot, you will need the small screwdriver that came with your machine to unscrew the bolt on the shaft. Pop off the regular foot, unscrew the bolt, and pull down to remove the shaft from the machine and place it aside. Next, you will need to line up the walking foot shaft to where the bolt hole is as well as slightly lift the right arm to wrap it around a separate, smaller bolt that secures the needle. This arm will act a lever that tells the walking foot when the needle is in an up or down position so that the upper feed dogs move the fabric at the same time and rate as the lower feed dogs. Screw in the bolt using the screwdriver and check your machine instructions to confirm if you need to use a specific stitch setting with the walking foot. Of course, if you have your sewing machine instructions, they often will contain a short description of how to attach a walking foot using diagrams that I can't provide here.
The walking foot made it noticeably easier to feed my faux leather through my machine without it sticking to my sewing foot. The only negatives of the walking foot in my opinion are that it's a bit bulky, so straight stitching is often the ideal stitch, and it is more time consuming to put on and take off than any other sewing foot. However, the time it saved me, along with the frustration of trying to coax my fabric through the machine, is greater than the time it took to set it up.
Personally, I tend to shy away from swapping out feet or tools while I'm sewing because my initial perception is that it is wasting time and makes me less efficient. But, I have learned that using the right tools not only can save you time in the long run, but they can produce a superior quality than what can be done with trying to make the tools you have work for all cases. I like being resourceful, and I pride myself on being efficient, but sometimes I need to remember that it's okay to pull out the zipper or edge stitch feet because they are made specifically for sewing in those cases. Last night, I decided to pull out my edge stitch foot for some top stitching I was working on for a new burlap yoga bag, and the final quality of stitches is beyond what I could have done freehand with a standard foot. It really gives my final product the high quality look it deserves.
If you are a sewer or maker and have any questions about the walking foot, I would be happy to share more in detail and answer any questions you may have on how to install the foot on a Brother machine. And don't forget, as I did, that having the right tools can make a big difference!
Thanks for stopping by,