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Topic: Machine quilting without walking foot...not working :-(  (Read 9765 times)
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KayKay84
« on: November 21, 2009 11:35:12 AM »

Hi,

hope someone here can give me tips! I have handquilted 2 quilts so far and for 2 new ones (christmas gifts) I am trying out machine quilting. My sewing machine is from the 1970s and doesn't have a walking foot. I didn't think it would be that much of a problem but it's absolutely killing me! I want to do wavy lines (thought that was easiest), but the fabric keeps puckering and the stitching is uneven and just really ugly  Cry I've rebasted it and it's not helping.
I'm about half way done with the first one and all I'm thinking is I sure hope it looks different with binding and after washing...  Embarrassed
Am I doing something wrong or is it just not possible to get nice even quilting with a regular foot? Or do you just have to practice a long time? Wish handquilting didn't take forever, it sure is easier...

a really frustrated
Kristina
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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2009 03:47:02 PM »

I don't have a walking foot either and I've been able to do machine quilting without one.  For me, the trick is to go really slow, and practice a lot, on materials pretty close to what the quilt is made out of so I can get a feel for that particular quilt.

I also have, in the past with my other machine, used the darning plate to cover the feed dogs so that I am feeding the material through at my own pace rather than letting the machine do it.  It seems to keep the bunching to a minimum.  For my new machine, I don't have the darning plate, so I'm planning on basting A LOT and getting really frustrated, lol. 


I have no idea if this helps you or not...hope it does!

PS - the last two projects I used my machine to quilt were queen sized quilts that I stitched in the ditch, and they looked really good...so it can be done, don't give up!
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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2009 09:14:14 PM »

You might see if you could get a generic walking foot that would fit on your machine. My machine didn't come with one, but I bought one for it (not one specifically for my machine, but one for a "low shank" machine which is what mine is). I also use a big foot at times, which is good for stippling when I have the feed dogs down. It's another generic type foot.

A really good idea would be to make a little quilt sandwich - like 10 inches square or something, basted how you normally would and all, and just try different things on it. See if going slower helps, or just what you can do.

Finally, I don't know if it would help or not, but I use basting spray on my quilts and it holds everything really well usually. It's basically a spray adhesive. I take my quilt top, backing and batting out on my back porch. I tape my quilt top to the porch floor (after sweeping and such of course). I usually tape just the corners for a baby quilt and maybe the corners and two spots on each side for a queen, making sure it's pulled relatively tight and there are no big wrinkles or folds in it. Then I lay the batting on it and then the backing, again making sure everything is smoothed out.
Then, I pick up the batting and backing on one end and fold it back so just the top is showing for one half of the quilt. I spray the basting spray on the top, and also on the piece of batting that is folded back. Then I lower it back onto the top, smoothing it out as needed. Then I fold back the backing, spray the batting layer showing and the half of the backing, lower it down, smooth, etc. Then I repeat on the other half of the quilt. Once everything is smooth and stuck down, I peel up the tape and take it all inside for quilting. I rarely have any bunching at all with this method and I don't have to pin or baste. On the first wash, the basting spray dissolves. Of course, I'm also using a walking foot or other quilting foot, so I don't know if it would help you or not. A can of it costs around $8 at JoAnn's or another fabric-y type store.

They do make walking feet that aren't brand specific so you may be able to find one that fits your machine. It might be easier than fighting with it the other way. But, I would try a little mini sample to see if you can find something that works, without having to worry about having stitches to pick out on your bigger quilt.

I hope something in there helped. If you have more questions abotu any of it, feel free to PM me. I do all of my quilting by machine, so I've learned a few things along the way. ;-)
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KayKay84
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2009 11:11:58 PM »

Thank you both so much Smiley!

Quote
I also have, in the past with my other machine, used the darning plate to cover the feed dogs so that I am feeding the material through at my own pace rather than letting the machine do it.
I don't think my machine comes with a darning plate, at least it's not included anymore  Embarrassed I tried lowering the feed dogs (that would have the same effect I guess?) but I think that requires a lot of practice too...at least I found it really difficult.
I also tried using the darning foot for freemotion quilting a couple of months ago and that was a complete disaster... Grin

Quote
You might see if you could get a generic walking foot that would fit on your machine.
That sounds good, I thought you had to buy specific ones for each machine! Before I get my hopes up I'll have to ask in a couple of shops if I can get any type of generic foot here at all...I'm in Germany and the range for sewing products is very limited here and quilting is virtually unkown Undecided I would guess I can't buy it online in a US shop because I'd have to try if it works with my machine first? Especially since the machine is so old.

Quote
I use basting spray on my quilts and it holds everything really well usually.
That sounds really good! Again, stuck here in Germany, I doubt any shop here has ever heard of that. But that I can probably buy online  Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2009 09:39:06 AM »

I just found this website, which has a few answers to a similar question - including some info about how to find the right walking foot.
http://www.quiltersreview.com/article.asp?article=/tip/expert/010611_b.asp

Also, I use basting spray but you could also look for "spray mount adhesive" at an art supply store or something. It's basically a spray on glue. You'd just want to make sure you got one that was water soluble or something so after you are done quilting and you wash the quilt, it will mostly disappear.

As for the walking foot, you mostly just have to figure out if you have a low or high shank - that's the spot where your foot attaches to the machine. I was just looking on Amazon and for example, my machine has a low shank and I could get a low shank walking foot for $19.99 US. So, not terrible expensive, though the shipping and whatnot to Germany might be rough. You might check the Clothilde catalog or something for some other options. http://www.clotilde.com/

Good luck!
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KayKay84
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2009 11:15:42 PM »

Thank you so much for your help!! That website had a good tip for quilting without walking feet, so even if I shouldn't be able to get one I'll try that out.

I have now been able to determine that my machine has low shank as well, so I should be able to find a walking foot that fits now  Smiley
The Amazon seller doesn't ship internationally unfortunately but I'll do some research now that I know what I'm actually looking for and will hopefully find an online store that does  Smiley

I'll have a look out for the adhesive spray as well, basting with pins is such a pain.
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2009 08:20:13 AM »

Let me know how it works. And if you find a walking foot too. :-) I love to machine quilt so I'm always happy when others give it a try. It can be frustrating but it's worth it once you get a system figured out that works for you and your machine.
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2009 10:56:44 AM »

I've found a walking foot helps some, but not enough to make it an easy or non-booboo process.  It may be that adjusting one of the tensions would help but I still find that the quilting eventually makes the sandwich have too much space here, or too little there, etc. (that's hard to describe).  I haven't tried basting spray though, and that could make a difference (hopefully!).

Quote
mine doesn't have a walking foot.. . . I want to do wavy lines (thought that was easiest). . .

I haven't heard of quilting anything but straight lines when using a walking foot (or regular foot) though... only when using the free-motion technique (feed dogs down, and special foot like darning foot if available---takes practice, and works most smoothly and quietly on expensive sewing machines unfortunately).

I end up tying most of my quilts just because it's so difficult to wrangle anything but a really small quilt in the machine, and I'd rather spend the time doing more tops/piecing!

Good luck!

Diane B.
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KayKay84
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2009 03:32:38 AM »

Update  Smiley
I've called a couple of local (german) shops and they all tell me there is no such thing as generic feet for sewing machines Wink Can't say I'm surprised...One tried to sell me a walking foot for a Brother machine which might or might not work with my machine and would have cost app. 65$ without return option  Shocked

So I'm back to searching online shops. What do you think of this: http://www.allbrands.com/products/abp01743-0664.html ??
I'm always reluctant to buy from shops I don't know, especially from abroad and at a price like that and if I'm not a 100% sure the feet will actually fit...but it seems like a really good offer and would solve all present and future quilting troubles with those 3 feet... and they ship internationally  Smiley

Quote
I still find that the quilting eventually makes the sandwich have too much space here, or too little there, etc. (that's hard to describe)
I know what you mean, I always underestimate the amount of fabric that has to be cut of in the end because of all the shifting.

Quote
I haven't heard of quilting anything but straight lines when using a walking foot (or regular foot) though... only when using the free-motion technique (feed dogs down, and special foot like darning foot if available---takes practice, and works most smoothly and quietly on expensive sewing machines unfortunately).
I think I read that somewhere, that you could do wavy lines with a normal/walking foot...maybe I got it wrong.
Expensive machine - not an option unfortunately. I'm really lucky to have the one I've got...I'll just have to try work with it as best I can and practice a lot  Smiley.

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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2009 08:40:50 AM »

I would say, if you can afford, it is definitely worth a try. It should work.

I have "generic" feet for my sewing machine, so I know they exist. :-P

And I looked on your blog, I LOVE your cheery yellow sewing machine. It's beautiful (and looks like a similar color to the walls in my craft room). And your projects are just lovely too.
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