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Topic: Free motion? No darning foot!  (Read 2324 times)
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Kristen81
« on: April 02, 2010 10:37:29 PM »

I am making a baby sized stacked coins quilt and I want to try out free motion quilting ... the only trouble is I don't have a darning foot...Can I just use a zig zag foot with the feed dogs down?
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anaximander
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2010 04:34:35 AM »

The fast answer is "no, not really."

See, the darning foot has a spring in it (usually), which allows for the fabric to move freely, but which kind of engages the foot when the needle does come down, so that it's holding the fabric in place for that one stitch. This is exactly what free motion needs in order to work properly. Without that, and with the wider bottom surface area of a zigzag foot, you're going to get a lot of drag and rumples and stuff that you may not want.

That being said, the longer answer is "maybe"

If you have time, and a far greater level of patience than me, you may be able to make it work. You'd have to go slowly, baste closely. and keep a seam ripper handy in case rumples do come up. As with everything, I suggest trying it on a test sandwich FIRST - probably a placemat or a 17x17" pillow, just for good measure - coasters aren't really going to work for this one, unfortunately, you need a bigger surface area. You may be able to do a little dance and have it work just fine for you the way you want.

Really, darning feet and free motion feet, depending on the machine, can be really inexpensive. The off-brand one for the Crappy, Crappy Huskystar (tm) was, like, $6. (It also didn't have the spring, but instead used the needle bar to bounce up and down. You can imagine the noise.) Check eBay or similar to see if you can get one used, cheap.
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2010 08:39:16 PM »

Another option is to remove the foot completely and use an embroidery hoop to go at it in small sections at a time.  Once experienced, you can just use your hands, but it is tricky and you'd need practice. 

Of course you drop the pretend foot so that your tension still works.

Start out with a nice doggy quilt.  S/he will love it and it won't matter how goofy it ends up.  You also won't feel pressured to rip or correct--just go on to another section and try some more. Good luck. 
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Kristen81
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2010 08:54:46 PM »

I tired it out today with out a presser foot on a "scrap sandwich"...feed dogs down and 'pretend' presser foot in the lowered position...

...my machine takes the 'snap on feet'.  This means, without a foot attached there is still a vertical part that drops (normally to clip the foot in place).  This piece rests nicely against the fabric, holding it in place slightly but without the same tension a foot does.  Thus allowing me to remove the foot altogether and still free motion sew without the fabric 'riding' up the needle!

Worked like a charm!!  Who knew!

 
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