Can you Reverse Stitch with a Walking Foot? Easy Tips to Reverse Stitching

Image of walking foot but Can you Reverse Stitch with a Walking Foot?Reverse stitching is one of many unique stitching designs that ensure the reinforcement of stitches at the end and beginning of sewing. The technique also prevents points from unraveling and stretching out of shape. Even though it’s a unique stitching method, can you reverse stitch with a walking foot?

No, you cannot sew a reverse stitch using a walking foot. The walking foot is not designed for reverse stitching or sewing. If you sew a walking foot in reverse, the machine’s feed dog moves the fabric backward, as the top feed dog of the walking foot moves the fabric forward, making it impossible to do the reverse stitch.

Suppose you want to reverse stitch using the walking foot, I recommend choosing a very small tight stitch. After just about half an inch of reverse stitch, switch to normal stitch size. The tight stitches lock your stitches properly and further ensures you have a strong sewing work.

What Stitches Can You Do With a Walking Foot?

The primary purpose for a walking foot on a standard sewing machine is to evenly pull the layers of a quilt sandwich through the machine. In addition, the technique helps in preventing tucks and puckering from forming on the backside of the fabric.

For this reason, the recommended stitches to use are those with all forward movement like the standard straight and zigzag stitches. Other fancy stitches like the serpentine stitch can also work well since they have forward motion. They also add a creative element to the quilting stitches.

These are the main types of stitches for a walking foot.

  • Straight stitching

You’ll want to set your machine’s stitch length to approximately 2.5 to 3.0 or at least 8-12 stitches per inch when using the straight stitch. Even though this technique works well for most quilting machines, it’s best when you make a rule.

If your machine has threads with sparkle or shine, consider using a longer stitch length. You can also use the same stitch length for thicker threads, such as a 30wt rayon. If you decide to use a short stitch length, your quilt will look as if you just forced the stitches on it.

Suppose you prefer a monofilament thread. A shorter stitch length will be ideal since it helps hide the thread. Apart from less area to create any shine, shorter length threads, you should also make the stitches more flexible.

For a traditional 50wt, 100% cotton quilting thread, you’ll have to set your stitch length to at least 2.5, then test and see if you’ll be impressed with the results. However, for an even finer thread, go for something less than 2.5. Generally, you have to adjust the stitch length to satisfy your desire.

  • Mock Hand Quilting

Mock hand quilting is another stitching technique to use on your walking foot machine. The design requires an increased needle tension and a triple straight stitch to create the look.

You will require a 100% cotton thread for the bobbin while a monofilament or clear thread for the needle.

The increased tension helps pull the cotton bobbin thread to the top in the 3 stitch portion, and a single monofilament stitch follows this.

When and How to Use the Walking Foot on Your Sewing Machine

  • Straight Line Quilting With A Walking Foot

The walking foot sewing machine is essential for straight line quilting. It helps keep the fabric layers together by preventing the top layer of the fabric from being pushed ahead of the bottom and middle layers.

In addition, the technique contains tiny wrinkles and puckering from occurring suppose you change the direction of the quilted lines.

  • Sewing on Quilting Binding

The walking foot sewing machine is essential for sewing on quilt binding or mini quilt binding since it helps keep the top layer of the binding from shifting ahead of the bottom layer. Additionally, the process makes it easy to fix by preventing wrinkles and wonky binding.

  • Sewing Straps With A Walking Foot

Using a walking foot sewing machine, you will never experience strange ripples down your straps because of switching the direction of the stitch.

  • Projects Where You Are Sewing Multiple Layers

Suppose you have projects that include wallets, tote bags, or attaching thick sew-in interfacing. Consider using a walking foot sewing machine. With this technique, you’ll never experience scenarios such as the presser foot pushing the top layer instead of moving smoothly over it.

  • Sewing on Stretch Fabrics

Walking foot machines differ according to the manufacturers. Therefore, consider choosing the one that comes with two walking feet, including a narrow one and a regular one.

Can You Use a Walking Foot for Binding?

Yes, you do since the machine provides an essential even feed for binding to finish off your projects with clean lines. Since binding is the final step you need, I recommend using a walking foot to punch through many layers of fabric.

Binding a quilt is just a mere process, which involves creating a broader and covering the raw edges of your beautiful quilt.

 Can I Use a Zigzag Stitch With a Walking Foot?

Yes, you can. Even though a walking foot sewing machine is ideal for straight stitching, it also works best with a zigzag sewing machine. You can also use it for other stitching designs like zigzag patterns since they also have forward stitches.

The only thing to concentrate on is finding a suitable walking foot machine for the particular zigzag pattern.

How to Zigzag Quilt With Walking Foot

You will mainly use the zigzag pattern for decorative and quilting purposes. The technique is best for its excellent design that offers an appealing look to the quilts.

What You’ll Need for Quilting

  • Walking foot: Suppose you regularly quilt using a zigzag pattern. It’s essential to use a walking foot machine. You’ll get several brands that provide an interchangeable walking foot.
  • Sewing machine with the zigzag pattern: Even though many sewing units only have a straight stitch, look for the ones that come with zigzag and other stitches.
  • Quilting needles: Although quilting needles are essential, you can use the standard ones for your project.
  • Thread: It’s recommended to choose a thread that’s ideal for quilting.

The Steps Involved in Making Quilts With a Walking Foot Machine

Step 1: Baste your quilt.

Before you start quilting, ensure you baste your quilt and adjust it to the direction you want to quilt. You also have to sew some basting stitches on the top edge of the quilt to get a start.

Step 2: Zigzag stitches

In this step, you need to set the zigzag stitch according to how you desire. But I recommend a 3.0 length and 7.0 width.

Step 3: Start quilting.

Starting with the edge of the quilt, work it through the other side with a slower pace at the beginning, then take up the rate. After this, you can keep quilting while skipping the alternate lines.

Step 4: Repeat your quilting.

After completing the lined quilting, repeat the same procedure, this time working on the line you had earlier skipped.

Problems Related to Zigzag Walking Foot Stitching/Quilting

  • Uneven zigzag quilting: You won’t get consistent patterns at all times that you use zigzag quilting since your stitches might sometimes go out of the track. The only remedy is to adjust your machine and keep stitching.
  • Running out of thread: This problem accompanies many stitching applications, and a walking foot machine is not exceptional. The only perfect solution for such an issue is to keep all your supplies with you. Suppose it happens when you’re halfway through your quilting process. Ensure you start from the middle of the line to complete your stitches.
  • Messy backstitch: You might experience some little mess when you are backstitching your quilt. The best thing is to ensure you play it well, so no excess threads are lagging. You should also ensure you trim the extra threads to prevent loops from forming on the fabric.

When to Use a Walking Foot

  • Matching stripes and plaids: using a walking foot will ensure your fabric doesn’t shift unnecessarily. Therefore, avoiding plucker on your material.
  • Slipper fabrics: The main reason you will need a walking foot when making slippery fabrics is to provide proper alignment while stitching.
  • Quilting: You will need this piece for your quilting jobs since it provides intricate detailing and a stronghold on the quilt. It also helps in keeping the fabric layers together.
  • Straight stitches: it’s the common reason for having a walking foot since it allows for forwarding stitching.
  • Garments creation: The item is ideal for creating garments or apparel since it provides precision by firmly holding the fabric.
  • Align the seams: since seams require a perfect alignment with the fabrics, you can employ a walking foot machine to ensure the fabric’s layers do not shift and move from the place.
  • Heavyweight fabric: Another advantage of using this unit is that its ideal for controlling heavyweight fabric.

When Not To Use A Walking Foot

  • Reverse sewing: Even though these items are for heavy-duty jobs, never use them for reverse stitching.
  • Some different decorative stitches: The foot is not ideal for decorative stitching.
  • Free-motion stitching: Another point to remember is the waking foot machine is not meant for free-motion sewing.

How Do You Quilt Circles With a Walking Foot?

Quilting circles may appear so beautiful after quilting, but you should note it can be very tricky to quilt them if you don’t follow the correct procedure. It’s also good to remember that the smaller the circle, the more directional changes needed to create a smooth curving shape.

Therefore, you shouldn’t start from the smallest circle, especially when making the concentric ones. When quilting the smaller one, ensure you count your stitches by lightly pressing on the presser foot and taking at least 1 or 2 stitches, then stopping with the needle in the down position. After this, lift the foot, rotate the quilt in a tiny bit before you drop the foot again, and take 1 or 2 stitches.

Doing this will ensure you get a circle with smooth and round edges. But, since you are using a walking foot machine, taking too many stitches in a line will produce angular and hagged edges.

  • Marking the Circles On the Quilt

If you are doing concentric circles, you can start by marking the starting circle followed by a few rings but not on the entire design. Then, as the circles become larger, you can easily align the guide bar while using the last circle as the guide.

It’s easier to quilt big circles since the curve will be shallower, meaning you won’t have to stop often and lift the foot to shift the quilt.

It might be tempting to stitch and steer around the curve simultaneously, but you should remember that this will produce more torque which may result in ripples called whiskers. You can avoid this by going slow and lifting the foot more often as you angle the quilt.

  • What Is the Best Stitch Length for Machine Quilting?

You’ll want to use the recommended stitch length of 2.5 to 3.0, which is 8 to 12 stitches per inch. Suppose you are new to quilting. Always use the recommended stitch length. As you gain more experience in quilting, you will realize that the stitch length will depend on your project at hand.

Factors that Affect Your Standard Stitch Length

  • The Thickness of the Thread

If you choose to use a fine 100% silk thread such as the 100wt, you will have to use smaller stitches. The reason is that the thread will be out of place when using the standard stitch length. In addition, the fineness of the thread will make the stitches look like basting.

If you go for a thicker thread like dyed pearl cotton, you’ll have to increase the stitch length, or else you end up with a thread that appears like it’s been stuffed in the hole of the needle.

  • Quilting Size

You should always consider elements of your quilting design before determining how long your stitch length should be. As you keep practicing, there some chances to advance to free motion quilting.

For example, suppose you are quilting a small circle of approximately ¼”, you’ll want to use small stitches, and when quilting large circles, say 4”, you can make the stitches longer without affecting the smoothness of your quilting line.

The two techniques show that the type of stitch is highly determined by your desired design.

How Do You Put a Walking Foot on a Brother Sewing Machine?

Below are some of the easy steps of attaching a walking foot to your Brother sewing machine.

  • Step 1: You’ll begin by removing the presser foot and the press foot holder of your machine.
  • Step 2: On the lower shank, attach the adapter of the attachments. You can do this by pushing the adapter as far as possible up onto the end of the presser. After this, use the included metal disk or a screwdriver to tighten the screw (small).
  • Step 3: This is the last step, and it involves fixing the connecting lever of the walking foot to the needle, fixing the screw then installing the walking foot onto the presser bar. After this, lower the presser foot, then tighten the presser foot holder screw (large).


Before you start sewing, ensure you slowly turn the balance wheel in your direction to ensure the needle doesn’t touch the presser foot. Also, ensure you sew with slow to medium speed.

Here’s All You Need to Know About Using a Walking Foot:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is The Required Speed When Quilting With A Walking Foot?

There is no specific speed perfect for quilting with a walking foot. The recommended rate is the one that lets you be in complete control of your project.

Using a test quilt sandwich is the same as your quilting material, you can test your preferred operating parameters such as speed, thread, and tension. It would help to realize that different projects would require different quilting speeds.

  • What Is Zigzag Stitch Used For?

The zigzag stitch is among the decorative variant of a lockstitch. It’s the back and forth stitches that you can use to create a decorative pattern. You can also use it to sew stretchable fabrics or join two materials together.

Its also among the most vital stitches that make a stronghold on the fabric with the help of a walking stitch.

Final Thoughts

We have seen that a walking foot is essential to most of the forward stitches, such as the straight and zigzag stitches. You can use it to make decoratives, circles, and other unique designs on fabrics. But…

Can You Reverse Stitch With a Walking Foot?

No, you can’t. The reason is that the foot is mainly designed for forward stitches. If you reverse stitch with a walking foot, it will prevent the fabric from moving side to side. Thus, you won’t be in a position to do some decorative stitches.

I want to acknowledge you for taking the time to read this article. In the comment section below, you can drop your additional information, observations, or questions.

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