Walking Foot vs. Applique or Darning Foot

by Linda J.

I'm a new quilter and just found your site today. This is a wonderful resource with so much helpful information. Is the walking foot to be used only for straight lines?

I have large appliques within my blocks, and I'm wondering if I can outline the applique figures using the walking foot (which I have) or can this only be done with the darning/free motion foot (that I don't have?). Thanks very much.


The walking foot is only designed for straight stitching. It won't follow curves or free-motion designs. Besides that, it's large and cumbersome. It can obstruct your viewing area, making it hard to see what you're stitching. That means your stitches wouldn't turn out very smooth or even.
Brother SA144 Snap-on Plastic Clearview Presser Foot with 1/4

You could use a regular presser foot. But I'd recommend investing in an appliqué foot. There's a few advantages to sewing with this specialized foot.

For example, this foot is small and takes up less space. It's made from clear, see-through plastic, which allows you to see your entire working area as you stitch.

The two feet are much shorter than on a regular presser foot. That means you can sew around tight curves with ease. There's also a special groove on the bottom of the applique foot. It's designed to pass over dense satin stitches. That means smoother stitching for you.

You could also sew with a darning foot, which is also a small, clear foot. The advantage of this foot is that you can stitch in any direction (free motion quilting).

In this setup, you lower your feet dogs. The absence of the feed dogs gives you less resistance and more freedom of movement. You can make some pretty awesome quilting designs with the darning foot!

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