...so there you are making yourself a nice bag or quilt or sewing a pretty ruffle onto a cute top. You've cut all the fabric/interfacing/ruffle pieces perfectly, you've matched all edges and you've taken care to pin the heck out of them together. So it would be fair to assume that all of the layers will stitch together real nice and even. Right? Wrong!
How many times have you sewn layers together to find that the top layer of your sewing has crept forward so the top layer has become longer than the bottom layer/s What in the jiggery-pokery is going on?!? Did you know that when sewing layers together your sewing machine feeds the top layer of your sewing through ever so slightly faster the bottom layers? This effect is not so noticeable when sewing 2 fine-med weight fabric layers together, but there are instances (see below) when this is noticeable - and a right pain! And no, squillions of pins will not prevent this sewing machine witchcraft from happening. Well, it's not witchcraft really, It's just the presser feet doing their job. The presser feet need to press down on the fabric in order for the feed dogs to be able to grab the fabric, but then pressing down also has the effect of pressing forward (as the machine sews). This often results in forward creep-age.
When can you get top layer creep-age?
- When you are making bags because as we all know bag making is layer-tastic. It often requires sewing with several fabric and interfacing layers.
- Sewing quilts - see above
- Sewing with slippery silk and satin fabric
- Sewing with fabrics that have a pile/nap such as velvet or thick cord.
- Even sewing with thicker fabrics can suffer from creep-age.
- Sewing pockets, tabs, flaps etc. onto your projects can be prone to creep-age.
- Embellishment/trimming sewing such as binding, pleats, gathers, ruffles, sewing on thick appliqués, patches - you get the idea. The pressure of the presser foot has a habit of pushing these embellishments towards you as you sew so the result can be uneven and embellishment shifted away from where you intended - grrr!
- Basically, the higher/taller the object/s are from the base layer of the thing you are going to sew, the higher the creep-age potential.
OK, are we seeing the creep-age potential of sewing with pleats (for example)? Yeah, especially after I've interfaced the above fabric with fusible fleece. But it was no problemo - thanks to dual feed (see below).
OK so the answer to our creep-age prayers is a walking foot, but how does it work?
It's simple really. Without going too deep into it, it works with the feed dogs of your machine to feed the top layer of your work through the machine at the same time/speed/rate as the bottom layer. So even if you are sewing with several layers (and those layers are all pinned together) it doesn't matter what's going on inside the sandwich because the 2 pieces of bread are going through at the same speed - geddit? The walking foot literally walks the fabric through the machine - it's very cool seeing it in action.
Other awesome benefits of walking feet:
- They easily stitch sticky fabrics such as vinyl with ease (no need for non-stick feet when you have a walking foot).
- They are also great for fine fabrics and slippery fabrics such as silks and lawns.
- They are great for stitching cork, real/faux leather and similar
- As I mentioned before they are great for stitching all bag zips.
- Basically, when you get used to sewing with a walking foot you can quite happily use it for most all utility sewing - I do. It works great sewing 2 pieces of cotton together as it does when sewing several nightmare thicko layers together!
Woo, I'm sold. I gotta get me one!
As far as I can tell walking feet come in 2 (different looking) flavours. The 1st flavour is what I use and it is an attachment/mech called 'DUAL FEED' and this is what comes with my Janome machine (some other brand machines have this type of dual feed attachments too, check with the dealer).
On my machine I have to fit the dual feed foot to the machine and there is also a secondary foot which pulls down from the machine arm (you can see me pulling the secondary foot down in the pic) and it tucks in just under the dual feed foot - it's simple and convenient.
With secondary foot engaged underneath the dual feed foot. The dual feed works a treat and I use for almost all of my sewing. I even use it to sew certain type of zips. The only times I don't sew with my dual feed is when I want to stitch super-close to objects (because the foot is too wide) such as metal closures (and those are the time when I use a zipper foot.
The other flavour is a separate walking foot which looks like this:
So if you were wondering if walking feet/dual feed are worth getting your mitts on - I'd say "What, aint'cha got one yet?" :)
Do any of you dig your walking feet as much as I do? What do you sew with yours?