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Best Walking Foot Sewing Machine Reviews (Top 5 Picks)

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What is the best walking foot sewing machine on the market today? There’s a number of answers to that question. The biggest issue of all of course is your specific needs.

Do you require a industrial, high duty model for commercial style applications? Or do you just wish to do some leather work from home.

To help you in your search we have pulled together 5 top rated walking foot sewing machines that cover the wide spectrum of user needs.

For our findings at a glance, just head to the table below. For an in depth review of each of our choices, plus a detailed buyer’s guide, keep on reading.


Best walking foot sewing machine – Top 5

SEWING MACHINENAMEDETAILSOUR RATING
TOP PICK INDUSTRIAL:
Yamata 1541S – Industrial
Walking Foot Machine
(Including Table)
INDUSTRIAL
Single Needle
Adjustable Climbing
Reverse Mode
Table Included
TOP PICK HOME:
Reliable BARRACUDA
200ZW Portable
Walking Foot
Sewing Machine
HOME USE
Stitch length 0–6mm
Oscillating shuttle
Reverse lever
Highlead GC20698-1
25in Long Arm
Walking Foot
Sewing Machine
With Table
INDUSTRIAL
Triple Feeding Action
Automatic Thread-
Ripper, Needle
Position Motor
Econosew Walking
foot, Drop-feed
Lockstitch Machine
for light leather
& binding
HOME USE
Stitch Length: 0-8mm
Link feed mechanism
Automatic lubrication
Juki DNU-1541
Walking Foot
Lockstitch Industrial
Machine w/ Table
INDUSTRIAL
Single Needle
2,500 SPM
Automatic Reverse Feed
Includes Table

Best Walking Foot Sewing Machine Reviews

As we mentioned above, there are many brands, designs and models of walking foot sewing machines on the market. These can be rated based on their design quality, work efficiency, ease of use, and cost-performance ratio.

This is the rating criteria we have used to bring you the following comprehensive reviews and analysis of 5 carefully selected walking foot sewing machines.

1. TOP PICK INDUSTRIAL: Yamata 1541S – Industrial Walking Foot Machine (Including Table)

Product Image Credits: SewingMachinePlus.com

Our top pick industrial-grade model is this single-needle walking foot sewing machine from Yamata.

Featuring a servomotor and safety clutch, this excellent and somewhat affordable model, comes with a complete table for mounting.

The 1541S uses a dual-tension mechanism to support high-tension sewing using thick threads.

This non-computerized electrically-powered model can produce high-quality seams in any material quality, including light-weight, medium-duty, and heavy-weight materials.

Even so, it is ideal for stitching leather, fabrics, and canvas for sails, tents, and umbrellas. It uses a 110-volt, single-phase SMS-500 servomotor whose maximum power output is 0.5horsepowers (HP).

Its knee-lifted presser foot has a maximum lift of 16mm which allows it to handle heavy-duty quilting.

This compactly-built, well-designed model is shipped in a pre-assembled state alongside its easy-to-follow instruction manual, accessories, installation hardware, and servomotor (Electronic DC model number SMS-500) along with a complete sewing machine table.

These components are packed in tamper-proof well-sealed boxes. The color scheme of the fully-assembled sewing machine unit (also called the machine head) is white. Its face-plate is hinged.

The machine head needs to be mounted on the table that is shipped alongside it.

The sewing machine table is shipped partially-assembled and it features a superb table-top design whose well-craved out and properly punched out machine head mount allowing for easy montage of the sewing machine.

Likewise, this mounted machine can be quickly secured to the table by either bolting or screwing it through the table using the well punched-through bolt holes.

The wooden table top rests on a sturdy well-designed metal frame that also holds the motor in place. This frame features adjustable K-legs.

Drawers can also be fitted to the metal frame to allow one to store knitting tools and accessories in an easy-to-reach place.

Its single-phase 0.5HP servomotor can be powered by 110-volt AC current, and the motor comes with a power cord that is fitted with a top plug that can fit into standard socket outlets.

The speed of this silent motor can be adjusted, with its maximum speed being 3300revolutions per minute (rpm).

The superb and efficient high walk mechanism of the movable presser foot allows for even feeding of the workpiece, hence preventing puckering and the roping effect when working with welt cords. It also does back tacking well.

This machine model uses rectangular feed motion which ensures that the workpiece is fed straight onto the needle plate where the needle can pierce it at a straight and perpendicular angle.

This avoids irregular stitches even when a long material is fed through the machine. The workspace size of the machine head is 250inches long and 100inches wide which is adequate for heavy-duty stitching.

This model has a built-in bobbing winder and a built-in synchronizer hub. Also, it uses a side-loading M-style bobbin.

Its lubrication system is automatic, and its large horizontally-oriented rotary hook is automatically oiled.

Likewise, it has an adjustable climbing device, and its Take-Up Guide can be adjusted for efficient thread loop timing. The thread take-up stroke is of the slide type.

This model allows for stitch length to be adjusted with the maximum limited to 2.5stitches per inch (2.5SPI) of material, and this allows it to be used in stitching sacks and awnings. Therefore, one can make 9mm-long stitches using this model.

Stitch length can be fined-tuned using the easy-to-use dial-adjustable stitch regulator. The sewing speed can also be adjusted and this high-capacity model can achieve a sewing speed of up-to 2,800stitches per minute (2800SPM).

This single-needle model is a unison feed machine as the needle moves along with the workpiece, feed dogs and walking foot; and this ensures that all the fabric layers stay together. The needle system used is the 135×17.

The large hand-wheel can be used to set the height of the needle bar. This bar can be raised to a height of 36mm from its lowest achievable position, and this is the stroke of the bar.

The presser foot can be raised or lowered using a knee lift. The maximum height that this walking foot can be raised is 16mm which is large enough to fit thick quilts. Likewise, there is a quick-release knee presser pedal.

This model is designed to be safe and user-friendly.

One of the key safety features is the safety clutch mechanism that can automatically engage when a sewing problem develops, for instance, when the thread is stuck in the hook; and this not only protect the user, but also prevents the machine from being damaged.

The safety clutch reset push-button is located on the base plate of the machine.

Pros of the Yamata 1541S - Industrial Single Needle Walking Foot Machine
  • Maximum sewing speed of 2800SPM.
  • Adjustable climbing device.
  • Easy to use.
  • Maximum presser foot lift of 16mm.
  • Needle bar stroke of 36mm.
  • Adjustable stitch length with range limited to 0-9mm.
  • Large bobbin.
  • Workspace size of 250inches by 100inches.
The Cons
  • Clutch produces some noise.

Bottom-line

The Yamata 1541S is an industrial-grade single-needle walking foot sewing machine that features a servomotor and safety clutch, and comes with a complete table for mounting.

Its dual-tension mechanism supports high-tension sewing using thick threads which allows this non-computerized electrically-powered model to produce high-quality seams in heavy-weight materials.

It uses a 110-volt, single-phase SMS-500 servomotor whose 0.5HP capacity allows it to spin at 3300rpm. Its knee-lifted presser foot has a maximum lift of 16mm.

The superb design quality, exceptional work efficiency, ease of use, and outstanding cost-performance ratio of Yamata 1541S makes it, (in our opinion) the best walking foot sewing machine you can buy for industrial scale use.


2. TOP PICK HOME USE: Reliable BARRACUDA 200ZW Portable Walking Foot Sewing Machine

Product Image Credits: SewingMachinePlus.com

Our top pick walking foot sewing machine for home use is this compact, high-capacity and high-performance portable electrically-powered model from Reliable.

An added bonus is the fact it is also well suited for sewing zigzag stitches, along with lock-stitches.

This light-weight model is built to be flexible, and its horizontal arm features a heavy-duty carrying handle and can be easily-mounted on the bottom container of its (optional) Cuda case.

Likewise, it can be covered by the top container of the case, which features a handle; and the entire ready-to-use sewing machine carried around.

It also has an option of a Cuda hand crank for hard-driving the machine. It also features a reverse-lever mechanism and a built-in speed reducer.

This non-computerized model is ideal for stitching sails, upholstery, and home sewing projects. It comes with its full accessory kit.

The machine head allows for a lighting fixture to be added for illuminating the workpiece. This model is designed and built by Reliable Garment Care.

This compactly-built, well-designed model is shipped in a pre-assembled state alongside its easy-to-follow instruction manual, accessories, and installation hardware.

These components are packed in tamper-proof well-sealed boxes. The fully-assembled machine head unit weighs about 34pounds and is 14.5inches long, 12inches wide, and 9inches high. The color scheme of the fully-assembled sewing machine unit is white.

This machine comes with a foot controller along with an extension table that has 2 folding legs. This table is 12.5inches long and 6inches wide.

Apart from the high-lift walking foot, a piping foot as well as an outsider zipper foot can be used. Its reverse mechanism is spring-loaded; while the oscillating shuttle hook and built-in speed reducer work together to generate a high torque.

This model has a maximum speed of 800rpm.

The superb and efficient high walk mechanism of the movable presser foot allows for even feeding of the workpiece, hence preventing puckering and the roping effect when working with welt cords. It also does back tacking well.

This model allows for stitch length to be adjusted with the maximum limited to 6mm per stitch, and this allows it to be used in stitching sacks and upholstery. Stitch width is 5mm.

The sewing speed can also be adjusted and this high-capacity model can achieve a sewing speed of up-to 800SPM.

The needle system used in this single-needle model is the 135×17. The presser foot can be raised or lowered manually. The maximum height that this walking foot can be raised is 12mm which is large enough to fit thick quilts.

This model is designed to be safe and user-friendly. It also comes with a 36months warranty.

Pros of the Reliable BARRACUDA 200ZW Portable Walking Foot & Zig-Zag Sewing Machine
  • Portable.
  • Maximum sewing speed of 800SPM.
  • Easy to use.
  • Maximum presser foot lift of 12mm.
  • Adjustable stitch length with range limited to 0-6mm.
  • 36 month warranty
The Cons
  • Unlike the Yamata 1541S, Reliable 2000U-33 Barracuda cannot work on industrial-grade projects.

Bottom-line

The Reliable 2000U-33 Barracuda is a compact, high-performance portable electrically-powered walking foot sewing machine that is well suited for sewing zigzag stitches, along with lock-stitches.

This horizontal arm of this light-weight model features a heavy-duty carrying handle, and the machine-head can be easily-mounted on the bottom Cuda case.

If you are after an affordable yet versatile machine for home use you need look no further, this is the model to buy.


3. Highlead GC20698-1 25in Long Arm Walking Foot Sewing Machine With Table

Product Image Credits: SewingMachinePlus.com

This is a heavy duty, single-needle electrically-powered walking foot sewing machine is another model that fits into the industrial grade category.

It features a long extended arm and is mounted on a specially-designed flat-bed table.

Its 25inches long horizontal arm gives the machine head a clearance of about 635mm. This large clearance along with a superb operational design allows for triple feeding action as well as enables the user to make long stitches.

It also features an automatic thread trimmer. This model comes with its own mount table, and is powered by a 370-watt, 1400rpm electronic Servo-motor.

Its foot lifter unit is operated automatically by a pneumatically-powered mechanism. This model is designed and built by HighLead.

This compactly-built, well-designed model is shipped in a pre-assembled state alongside its easy-to-follow instruction manual, accessories, installation hardware, and servomotor along with a complete sewing machine table.

These components are packed in tamper-proof well-sealed boxes. The color scheme of the fully-assembled machine head is white.

The machine head needs to be mounted on the table that is shipped with. The sewing machine table is shipped partially-assembled and it features a superb table-top design whose well-craved out and properly punched out machine head mount allowing for easy montage of the sewing machine.

Likewise, this mounted machine can be quickly secured to the table by either bolting or screwing it through the table using the well punched-through bolt holes. The wooden table top rests on a sturdy well-designed metal frame that also holds the motor in place.

Its single-phase servomotor comes with a power cord that is fitted with a top plug that can fit into standard socket outlets. The speed of this silent motor can be adjusted, with its maximum speed being 1400rpm.

The superb and efficient high walk mechanism of the movable presser foot allows for even feeding of the workpiece, hence preventing puckering and the roping effect when working with welt cords. It also does back tacking well.

This machine model uses rectangular feed motion which ensures that the workpiece is fed straight onto the needle plate where the needle can pierce it at a straight and perpendicular angle.

This model comes with a large workspace that measures 635inches in length and 100inches in width which allows for heavy-duty, industrial-grade stitching to be done.

This model has a built-in bobbing winder and a synchronizer hub. Likewise, its lubrication system is manual, and its large horizontally-oriented rotary hook needs to be oiled.

Additionally, it has an adjustable climbing device, and its Take-Up Guide can be adjusted for efficient thread loop timing.

This model allows for stitch length to be adjusted with the maximum limited to 2.5SPI or 9mm per stitch. Stitch length can be fined-tuned using the easy-to-use stitch regulator.

The sewing speed can also be adjusted and this high-capacity model can achieve a sewing speed of up-to 1800SPM.

The needle system used in this single-needle model is the 135×17. The large hand-wheel can be used to set the height of the needle bar. The needle bar stroke is 36mm.

The presser foot can be raised or lowered manually or using a knee lift. If manual hand lifting is done, the maximum foot lift that can be achieved is 8mm; while for the knee lift, the maximum lift is 16mm.

This model is designed to be safe and user-friendly. It features a safety clutch mechanism that can automatically engage when a sewing problem develops. The safety clutch reset push-button is located on the base plate of the machine.

The Highlead GC20698-1 comes with a 1year warranty.

Pros of the Highlead GC20698-1 25in Long Arm Walking Foot Sewing Machine With Table and Servo Motor
  • Throat capacity of 635mm.
  • Maximum sewing speed of 1800SPM.
  • Features an automatic thread trimmer.
  • Easy to use.
  • Maximum presser foot lift of 16mm.
  • Needle bar stroke of 36mm.
  • Adjustable stitch length with range limited to 0-9mm.
  • Large bobbin.
  • Workspace size of 635inches by 100inches.
  • 1 year warranty
The Cons
  • Clutch produces some noise.

Bottom-line

The Highlead GC20698-1 is a high-quality, heavy-duty, and well-designed single-needle electrically-powered walking foot sewing machine that has a long extended arm and is mounted on a specially-designed flat-bed table, which is shipped alongside the machine head.

Its 25inches long horizontal arm gives the machine head a clearance of about 635mm, while its superb operational design allows for triple feeding action and creation of long stitches.

It also features an automatic thread trimmer, and is powered by a 370-watt 1400rpm electronic Servo-motor.

It is more expensive than our top pick industrial grade sewing machine, which is one of the reasons it didn’t get our number one choice. However, those with the budget should definitely give it a look.


4. Econosew Walking-foot, Drop-feed Lockstitch Machine 727-5 for light leather & binding

Product Image Credit: SewingMachinePlus.com

This is a compactly-designed single-needle model is one of the best walking foot sewing machines for leather.

The machine allows for either the drop-feed or the walking foot feeding mechanism to be used. It is well suited for sewing lock-stitches and has the capacity for home use applications.

This light-weight model features a reverse feed mechanism. It is designed and built by Econosew.

This compactly-built, well-designed model is shipped in a pre-assembled state alongside its easy-to-follow instruction manual, accessories, and installation hardware.

These components are packed in tamper-proof well-sealed boxes. The color scheme of the fully-assembled machine head is white.

The machine head needs to be mounted on a table. The table is acquired separately. The table top must rests on a sturdy well-designed frame.

The superb and efficient high walk mechanism of the movable presser foot allows for even feeding of the workpiece, hence preventing puckering and the roping effect when working with welt cords. It also does back tacking well.

This machine model uses link feed motion which ensures that the workpiece is fed well onto the needle plate where the needle can pierce it properly. This avoids irregular stitches even when a long material is fed through the machine.

This model has a built-in bobbing winder and a synchronizer hub. Additionally, its lubrication system is automatic, and its large horizontally-oriented rotary hook is automatically oiled.

This model allows for stitch length to be adjusted with the maximum limited to 8mm per stitch. Stitch length can be fined-tuned using the easy-to-use stitch regulator.

The sewing speed can also be adjusted and this high-capacity model can achieve a sewing speed of up-to 2000SPM.

The needle system used in this single-needle model is the 135×17. The large hand-wheel can be used to set the height of the needle bar.

The needle bar stroke is 35mm, which compares well with that of Highlead GC20698-1 and Yamata 1541S.

The presser foot can be raised or lowered manually or using a knee lift. If manual hand lifting is done, the maximum foot lift that can be achieved is 6mm; while for the knee lift, the maximum lift is 13mm.

This model is designed to be safe and user-friendly. It features a safety clutch mechanism that can automatically engage when a sewing problem develops. The safety clutch reset push-button is located on the base plate of the machine.

This model is well-suited for stitching around, as well as binding corners in fabrics, synthetic canvas, leather and vinyl materials.

Pros of the Econosew Walking-foot, Drop-feed Lockstitch Machine 727-5 for light leather & binding
  • Maximum sewing speed of 2000SPM.
  • Easy to use.
  • Needle bar stroke of 35mm.
  • Adjustable stitch length with range limited to 0-8mm.
  • Maximum presser foot lift is 13mm.
The Cons
  • Cannot handle industrial-grade projects.

Bottom-line

The Econosew 727-5 is a compactly-designed, lightweight, and medium-duty single-needle electrically-powered sewing machine that allows for either the drop-feed or the walking foot feeding mechanism to be used; and is well suited for sewing lock-stitches.

The balance between affordability and functionality is good here, making it a worthwhile addition to our top 5 list.


5. Juki DNU-1541 Single Needle Walking Foot Lockstitch Industrial Machine w/ Table & Motor (Table Comes Assembled)

Product Image Credit: SewingMachinePlus.com

The final entry in our top 5 walking foot sewing machine review round up is this offering from Juki.

The DNU 1541 is a high-quality, industrial-grade single-needle walking foot sewing machine with a servomotor and safety clutch, and comes with a complete table for mounting.

It is well suited for creating lock-stitches in leather, fabrics, and canvas for sails, tents, and umbrellas.

Its construction and operation design is quite similar to that of the Yamata 1541S (in fact, the Yamata unit was modeled after the Juki DNU-1541).

The Juki DNU-1541 uses a dual-tension mechanism to support high-tension sewing using thick threads.

This non-computerized electrically-powered model can produce high-quality seams in any material quality, including light-weight, medium-duty, and heavy-weight materials.

It uses a heavy-duty, 750-watt single-phase industrial-clutch servomotor that needs to be powered by a 110-volt power source.

This compactly-built, well-designed model is shipped in a pre-assembled state alongside its easy-to-follow instruction manual, accessories, installation hardware, and servomotor along with a complete sewing machine table.

These components are packed in tamper-proof well-sealed boxes. The color scheme of the fully-assembled machine head is white. Its face-plate is hinged.

The machine head needs to be mounted on the table that is shipped alongside it.

The sewing machine table is shipped partially-assembled and it features a superb table-top design whose well-craved out and properly punched out machine head mount allowing for easy montage of the sewing machine.

Likewise, this mounted machine can be quickly secured to the table by either bolting or screwing it through the table using the well punched-through bolt holes. The wooden table top rests on a sturdy well-designed metal frame that also holds the motor in place.

The superb and efficient high walk mechanism of the movable presser foot allows for even feeding of the workpiece, hence preventing puckering and the roping effect when working with welt cords. It also does back tacking well.

This machine model uses rectangular feed motion which ensures that the workpiece is fed straight onto the needle plate where the needle can pierce it at a straight and perpendicular angle.

This avoids irregular stitches even when a long material is fed through the machine. The workspace size of the machine head is adequate for heavy-duty stitching.

This model has a built-in bobbing winder and a built-in synchronizer hub. Also, it uses a side-loading M-style bobbin.

Its lubrication system is automatic, and its large horizontally-oriented rotary hook is automatically oiled.

Likewise, it has an adjustable climbing device, and its Take-Up Guide can be adjusted for efficient thread loop timing. The thread take-up stroke is of the slide type.

This model allows for stitch length to be adjusted with the maximum limited to 2.5SPI or 9mm per stitch. Stitch length can be fined-tuned using the easy-to-use dial-adjustable stitch regulator.

The sewing speed can also be adjusted and this high-capacity model can achieve a sewing speed of up-to 2500SPM.

This single-needle model is a unison feed machine as the needle moves along with the workpiece, feed dogs and walking foot; and this ensures that all the fabric layers stay together. The needle system used is the 135×17.

The large hand-wheel can be used to set the height of the needle bar. This needle bar can be raised through a height of 36mm.

The presser foot can be raised or lowered manually or using a knee lift. If manual hand lifting is done, the maximum foot lift that can be achieved is 9mm; while for the knee lift, the maximum lift is 16mm.

This model is designed to be safe and user-friendly. It features a safety clutch mechanism that can automatically engage when a sewing problem develops. The safety clutch reset push-button is located on the base plate of the machine.

Pros of the Juki DNU-1541 Single Needle Walking Foot Lockstitch Industrial Machine
  • Maximum sewing speed of 2500SPM.
  • Adjustable climbing device.
  • Easy to use.
  • Maximum presser foot lift of 16mm.
  • Needle bar stroke of 36mm.
  • Adjustable stitch length with range limited to 0-9mm.
  • Large bobbin.
The Cons
  • Clutch produces some noise.

Bottom-line

The Juki DNU-1541 is a high-quality, industrial-grade single-needle walking foot sewing machine with a servomotor and safety clutch, and comes with a complete table for mounting.

It is well suited for creating lock-stitches in leather, fabrics, and canvas for sails, tents, and umbrellas. Highly recommended.


Walking foot sewing machine buyer’s guide

The sewing machine has revolutionized the clothing industry by improving its productivity and efficiency.

The walking foot machine is a specially designed equipment built to stitch garment or fabric materials together in the process of creating a ready-to-use cloth or garment.

To do this, this machine has been designed to make plain, patterned, or customized decorative stitches on the workpiece that has been fed into it.

This necessitates the need for a feeding mechanism which serves to ensure that the material workpiece is fed into the machine at a rate that allows the needle to make the right stitches at the right speed so that the desired stitch finish is achieved without wasting time.

This calls for a synchronization of the feeding mechanism with the needle stitching pace.

Common types of stitches

Regarding plain stitches, the most common types made by walking foot sewing machines are the chain-stitch, cover-stitch, lock-stitch, and overlock stitch.

Needle Cycle

The most critical event in the operation of a sewing machine is the motion of the threaded needle (a needle with a thread attached) up and down.

This is called a needle cycle, and it creates a stitch in the workpiece. Still, the workpiece must be moved by the feeding mechanism so that the next region that need stitching can be stitched.

Feeding Mechanisms

There are different types of feeding mechanisms for different types and models of sewing machines.

Even so, the 5 most common types of feeding mechanisms are as follows:

  • manual feeding (where the user pushes or pulls the workpiece while stitching it),
  • drop-feed,
  • puller,
  • needle feed,
  • and the walking foot.

This review focuses on machine models that use the walking foot feeding mechanism, and only this mechanism along with its predecessor, the drop-feed, are described below.

Drop Feed Mechanism

In machines that use the drop-feed mechanism, the sewing surface (also called needle plate) usually features two slots along with a needle hole (which allows the needle to dip through the metallic sewing surface).

The slots hold a set of thin metal bars that have been serrated on their cloth-facing (top) side. These metal bars are called feed dogs.

When the machine is not in use, the feed dogs do not project upwards through their slots, and hence allows the cloth workpiece to slide in and out of the machine with ease.

However, when the needle dips through its needle hole, it pushes a thread into the workpiece and in the process it engages a mechanism that causes the feed dogs to move up through their slots and grip the workpiece, and thereafter move horizontally (either towards or away from the knitter).

This horizontal movement ends when the needle moves up as it is being pulled up through the workpiece; and as the needle moves up, the feed dogs are gradually lowered.

As the feed dogs move horizontally, they move the workpiece along. This ensures that a stitch is made, with the length of the stitch being predominantly determined by how much the feed dogs have moved the workpiece since the needle was pushed through this workpiece till it was pulled out.

To ensure that this process occurs well, the workpiece needs to be pressed down onto the sewing surface so that the workpiece does not lift up as the feed dogs are raised through their slots as this will cause the workpiece to lose contact with the feed dogs and hence remain stationary thereby creating poor stitches or stitches of non-consistent sizes.

This pressing down is done by a component known as the presser foot. Therefore, when the workpiece is placed on the sewing surface ready to be sewed, the presser foot is first engaged to press down the workpiece before the needle goes through it.

This presser foot remains stationary on the cloth till it is disengaged by the user at the end of the stitching.

The walking foot model improvements

The walking foot feed is an improvement of the drop-feed mechanism. In walking foot models, the stationary presser foot of the drop-feed is substituted with a movable presser foot.

This means that as the feed dogs move horizontal, the presser foot also moves horizontally an equal distance. This is important as it allows thick materials or quilts to be stitched together.

This is especially so for stitching cloth layers that sandwich a spongy mid-layer because in the drop-feed model, the feed dogs can only move the bottom cloth layer with the spongy layer stretching without moving the top cloth layer.

In such slippery fabrics, the stitch sizes (lengths) are not only unequal, but the stitches are also inconsistent, especially if one looks at the stitches as they appear on the top and bottom of the fabric.

In the walking foot model, all the three layers move along simultaneously along with the feed dogs and the presser foot (hence the term walking foot as the presser foot walks along with the feed dogs). Operation-wise, the walking foot works as a set of feed dogs on top of the workpiece.

Converting a drop-feed machine into a walking foot model

A drop-feed machine can be converted into a walking foot model by replacing the stationary presser foot with an add-on, the walking foot attachment.

This attachment is bulky and has 2 main parts; the sole (or sole plate) and an arm. Its arm is secured to the needle bar (also called machine shank), and this ensures that it moves up and down with the needle while still retaining its capacity to move the workpiece horizontally in concert with the feed dogs.

Arm attachments

There are 3 main arm designs;

  • the low-shank,
  • high-shank,
  • and slant arms.

A walking foot attachment that lack arms uses a snap-on mechanism to attach to a shank adapter which is then fitted on the needle bar, and this model is called a snap-on walking foot.

The different types of soles

There are 3 main types of soles;

  • the basic (or standard sole for multi-layered workpiece),
  • quilting (for thick quilt layers),
  • and edge-stitching sole.

Most high-quality walking foot allow the sole plate to be interchanged so that different stitching needs can be catered for using a single walking foot.

Evidently, because the walking foot is attached to the machine shank, the type of shank along with the maximal/maximum stitch width of the sewing machine determine whether the foot add-on is compatible with the machine or not. The needle bar is part of the arm of the sewing machine.

The various power options

Walking foot sewing machines can be broadly classified into 2 types based on how the needling process is powered.

These are mechanical models which are manually-powered and electronic models which are electrically-powered.

The electronic models can be further sub-categorized into computerized and non-computerized sewing machines.


Image Credits: Econosew, Youtube, Sewing Machines Plus

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