What is a Walking foot on a Sewing Machine used For?

Sewing machines have attachments called walking foots which help to keep your stitches and material aligned while sewing. They are especially useful for sewing leather applications with sponge or cushion inners. A walking foot attachment allows you to sew accurately and with more control at higher speeds. A walking foot is an attachment which can be used for feeding material through a sewing machine as it is being stitched.

It is a useful attachment to have when sewing with heavy material such as leather. You can either lift the foot out of contact with the material to aid in the feeding action or you can drop the foot to keep many layers together while sewing. A single sewing machine might have one walking foot or two with alternating action. Both can be combined with another feed mechanism such as a drop feed or a needle feed.

A walking foot is usually found on industrial machines which are intended for heavy duty material applications. A walking foot is a must have accessory for any multi layer application because it keeps the layers together and prevents the top layer from getting push ahead of the other layers.

What do you use a Roller foot For?

A roller foot is used to sew thicker fabrics such as leather and vinyl which are difficult to feed because they are heavier fabrics. The foot has two sets of rollers, one large one in the front and two smaller ones in the back of the foot. These wheels help the fabric pass under the foot easily and smoothly. Some roller foots have their own shank or may easily snap on and off of the machine.

The roller foot can either be made from non-stick materials or just plain stainless steel or metal. Regardless of their style or material, these feet all do the same job at the end of the day. A roller foot can be used in the place of an all purpose foot by following the recommendations in your machine user manual.

Roller feet with their own shanks can be attached after removing the all purpose foot and presser foot holder with a small screwdriver. A roller foot presses down firmly onto your material and holds it firmly together while you sew. This type of foot is able to perform a wide variety of stitches from zigzag to decorative stitching and comes in a 7mm or 5mm size.

How do I Attach a Walking foot to my Sewing Machine?

Attach Walking Foot to Sewing MachineFirst you will need to remove whatever kind of foot you have on your machine at the moment. You will also need to remove the Presser Foot Adapter or Foot Holder. To remove the snap on presser foot, you need to push the presser foot release button which is located behind the presser foot adaptor. Most machine attachments will be the snap on kind but every now and then you will find one that needs to be attached and loosened with a small screw driver.

After you have removed these two components, turn the hand wheel towards you to bring the needle to its highest point, allowing you easy access. Raise the pressure foot so that it is away from the metal plate. To attach the metal foot, hold you’re walking foot and raise its lever.  Keep the lever raised and hook the foot around the presser bar.

Slide the foot up and down until it is lined up with the hole and then insert the set screw and tighten with a screw driver. Do not leave the walking foot on your machine permanently as it is not a general all purpose foot. Get into the habit of using the right foot for each different application.

Can you use a Regular Sewing Machine to sew Leather?

It would be a better option to use an industrial machine for heavy leather material but for lighter leather applications you could just as easily use your regular sewing machine. The first thing you will need to do to make your machine leather ready is to install a needle designed specifically for leather applications. The ends of these needles are shaped differently compared to regular needles and are often described as being pear shaped. This shape helps the needle to pierce through leather materials smoothly.

It is a good idea to change your needle regularly to ensure that you are not working with a blunt needle. Use the correct kind of foot for leather applications such as a roller foot, walking foot or Teflon foot. These attachments will help you to guide and control the movement of the leather material as you sew. Nylon or polyester thread is your best bet when working with leather as normal cotton thread will end up perishing over time.

A larger stitch is recommended when sewing leather because shorter, close together stitching will perforate the leather and cause it to tear. Once you have made a hole in leather, you cannot get rid of it, so it would be a good idea to find other ways to keep your material pinned together without using pins.


The main thing to remember when working with leather material is to go slow. Mistakes in leather material cannot be unpicked without leaving telltale holes behind. Take your time, work carefully and use the correct needle and foot for the best leather sewing results.