Janome Even Feed Foot
With Quilting Guide
I have recently bought my first walking foot. If you're not terribly familiar with one of these super-duper gadgets (like me, until a short time ago!), its purpose is to prevent layers of fabric from shifting or slipping as you sew. The walking foot has its own set of dog feeds, which means that as fabric passes beneath the foot it is held and fed evenly by both the upper and lower feeds. Walking feet can be used for tasks such as quilting and sewing temperamental fabrics.
To be honest when I first bought my walking foot home I was a bit stuck. I'd never used a walking foot or seen one in action. And when I spend serious dollars on a machine foot - the sort that one that does not simply clip on and off the machine - I really want ... instructions!
The foot came with one small diagram on the back of the packaging, showing it neatly installed. There was no guidance as to how to attach the foot to your machine and the diagram was missing a bit of information about what to do with a little lever that sits on the right. So I had to take my walking foot along to my evening sewing workshop and beg help from my lovely instructor. Who in turn said, um, er, how about like this? A screwdriver and some dis-assembly, careful positioning and re-assembly was required. I'm glad my confusion wasn't simply me being a bit thick (as is so often the case).
So Mr Janome, if you are listening ... some instructions wouldn't go astray!
As promised a couple of weeks ago, I have conducted a series of experiments with the walking foot to see how easy it made the sewing. (My sewing machine is a Decor 3018 and I used the foot without attaching the quilting guide. I changed machine needles to suit the different types of fabric.) Here are my findings. They are all just personal opinions and nothing has been done under strictly monitored, reproducible conditions. If you have used the same foot and have more information to add or need to correct something I have said ... please feel free!
Experiment 1 - Velvet
I was halfway through a project using velvet, when I purchased the foot. Using the regular foot I experienced huge amounts of slippage sewing the seams. This was despite very careful pining and basting.
The walking foot made quite a difference. The project went from being I think I am going to have a nervous breakdown to just this velvet is a pain to work with. It didn't make the sewing a cinch, but it was very helpful.
Velvet is my bete noir ... the less time I spend talking about it the better!
Experiment 2 - Quilting
I had never done a scrap of quilting until this experiment, so you may like to take whatever I have to say here with a grain of salt!
Floundering for something to do, I simply sandwiched six layers of thin batting between two pieces of cotton. Being the lazy girl I am, it never struck me to tack, let alone pin everything before getting started. I used my slothful finger basting technique. So under the circumstances and despite the user, I thought the foot did a brilliant job. The whole thing fed through very nicely, making the job of sewing my hugely complicated pattern (straight lines, pictured above) very easy .
(I believe that if you want to do something a bit fancy in the free-motion line, then you need to use a darning foot. I've got one of those, but given my slap-dash approach during this experiment, I don't think I am responsible enough to use it yet.).
Experiment 3 - Vinyl
With some previous experience of sewing vinyl, I was able to whip out some offcuts and replicate a little bit of a previous project. When I last sewed with vinyl there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. I really didn't enjoy the experience at all - the material stuck to everything; along every step of the way. This time, it was - to use a Mr Hoppo Bumpo-ism - a complete doddle. The PVC fed through like a charm, even when it was up to four layers. I would happily try sewing a vinyl bag again sometime soon.
Experiment 4 - Denim
I am currently sewing up some little trousers refashioned from Mr HB's old jeans, so had lots of left-over pieces to experiment with. I took a piece of nice thick side seam and folded it over, so that it was a suitable challenge and then sewed through it. I would never have made it over this kind of thickness with my normal presser foot. Again the walking foot was a dream. It lifted gracefully, but firmly over the top and kept the stitching on the straight and narrow.
There are loads of other things that I would like to try out with the foot: in particular knits and plaids/checks. I hope to get to them soon. So far though, I really am very pleased with the foot. If you have a Janome machine, I don't think you will be disappointed with this handy accessory.
Do you already have a walking foot? Do you enjoy using yours?
Update: If you would like to see how to attach a Janome walking foot, please see my illustrated post here. I have also scanned and uploaded some old Janome instructions here that I picked up at a sewing shop.