Free-Motion Quilting Feet Guide

on April 10 | in Quilting, Sewing + Quilting Tips, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 16 Comments

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks!

Elizabeth Dackson from Don’t Call Me Betsy, author of Becoming a Confident Quilter, fills us in on Free-Motion Quilting Feet basics and gives you a chance to win access to her new free-motion quilting class below! A self-taught free-motion quilter, Elizabeth faced her share of free-motion quilting challenges on her path toward mastering the art. Now Elizabeth teaches free-motion quilting in several Florida quilt shops, and she just released her first online class with Craftsy, Start Free-Motion Quilting!

Elizabeth’s encouraging, easygoing manner instills both confidence and excitement about free-motion quilting. The class is full of tips and tricks to help you get started free-motion quilting and you’ll also get three exclusive patterns, including the Superstar Quilt pattern.

To sign up for Elizabeth’s class right now, click here. Craftsy is also offering one lucky Sew Mama Sew reader free registration to Elizabeth’s class! Just visit Craftsy through this link to enter the giveaway. Enjoy Elizabeth’s Free-Motion Quilting Feet Guide below, and feel free to add your thoughts on free-motion quilting feet in the comments. What have you had success with? Do you have any tips or great sources for free-motion quilting info to share?

Update: We’re working with Craftsy to fix the link. Our apologies for the discount issues…

Free-Motion Quilting Feet Guide

While the options for sewing machine feet can be overwhelming when you visit a dealer, there’s typically only one foot for each job. Only one option for a cording foot, for instance, or one type of zipper foot.

But with free-motion quilting, most sewing machine manufacturers offer several different feet for the job at hand. This can be awfully frustrating and confusing, especially if you don’t know what to look for! Let’s talk about the most common options…

Floating vs. Spring Loaded
Floating feet are quite aptly named– a floating free-motion quilting foot will hover over your quilt sandwich, never making contact with it, as you’re quilting. Floating feet are typically snap-on feet made of clear plastic, and often resemble a Teflon foot, but there are also screw-on varieties.

Spring-loaded feet, on the other hand, are structured with a tall spring that will sit to the right of your shank, powering the foot to bounce up and down as you’re quilting. The spring works in conjunction with the needle to allow you to move your quilt sandwich around however you like, even when your foot is in the “down” position. When the needle goes up, so does the foot, giving you that maneuverability.

Open Toe vs. Closed Toe
Spring-loaded free-motion feet, also referred to as darning feet, have a curved section that sits around the sewing machine needle. This section of the foot is known as a “toe.” The toe sits just above your quilt sandwich. If you’re looking at a closed toe foot, that oval toe is going to be closed. The toe can be metal, or clear plastic; in my opinion, the clear plastic really doesn’t allow for much visibility so I recommend steering clear of those feet when possible. I prefer to work with an open-toe foot.

An open-toe foot is shaped much like a squished horseshoe, which allows for more visibility while you’re free-motioning. Without the ability to see what you’ve stitched, it can be very difficult to avoid overlapping your free-motion quilting stitches and to steer to the next area you want to quilt.

Can’t find a spring-loaded open-toe foot for your machine at your dealer? Don’t have a dealer to work with? Check online. Many reputable online sellers list compatibility for their universal feet, like Ken’s Sewing Machines and SewingMachinesPlus. Both are also only a phone call away, and are very helpful in determining which foot will fit best on your machine!

If you’re interested in learning more about free-motion quilting, check out my new Start Free-Motion Quilting Craftsy class, and visit Craftsy to enter a giveaway for the class!

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16 Responses to Free-Motion Quilting Feet Guide

  1. Diane says:

    I tried contacting them but no response so thank you for trying too! I will wait to hear from you that it is all resolved! Thanks so much!

  2. Vicky says:

    I’m still seeing the full price on the 50% off link, even now it says it’s been fixed. Anyone else having the same problem? Would love to sign up!

  3. Wendy says:

    This says its $14.99, but it turns out to be $29.99. 🙁

  4. Diane says:

    I bought the class but noticed I did not get it for $14.99 but $29.99. How do I get refund?

    • Beth says:

      Diane– I’m so sorry for the hassle. I’m not sure what’s happening, but I would contact the folks at Craftsy to ask for your discount. They must be having a little trouble with the class discount this weekend.

  5. Alison Heath says:

    Thanks, this is really useful as I am about to start learning FMQ

  6. mary mandernach says:

    It looks like a great class.

  7. Irene S says:

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Lori M. says:

    Hello, thank you for the info. I have a floating foot, did not know I could use it for free motion quilting. I have the plastic spring loaded foot also but cannot see very well to use it, plastic in the way….I have tried it on some extra fabric a few times, but no success. I will just have to will your class from Craftsy…….I use my big, and I mean big walking foot, does great for slow motion quilting……..

  9. daniela says:

    thank you for sharing this, as i was just this week at a bernina shop, inquiering about the automatic regulation stitch foot. well i’m not able to spend 500 swiss francs for this wonderful foot… so this post was excellent, thank you.

  10. Andrea says:

    Hi Elizabeth! I took your class because I saw you quilt on a Juki mid-arm, and I just purchased a Brother PQ1500S so wanted to see how you use your machine for quilting. Found your class had relevant, well-thought-out content that was very well presented. Loved the high level of demonstration – made things clear and easy to understand. Congrats on a really enjoyable, informative class. Hope to see you with some more advanced classes on your Juki soon! I’ll definitely take them!

  11. Andrea says:

    I took Elizabeth’s class because she quilts on a Juki mid-arm and I wanted to see how and what she does on that machine because I just got a Brother PQ1500S which is almost the same machine. The upshot – I highly recommend her class to anyone wanting to get a better handle on FMQ’ing on a domestic sewing machine. Her instruction is clear and concise, easy to follow, she demonstrates everything she talks about – and, you get a nice number of FMQ design ideas that are actually do-able on a home machine. Like other Craftsy instructors, Elizabeth leaves room in her teaching for personal preferences, and doesn’t get too hung up on perfection (which i personally love). It’s a good class, lots of fun, lots of very usable info – presented extremely well!

  12. Lizzie says:

    Looks like a great class! I don’t think it’s 50% off like the article states though 🙁

    • Beth says:

      Sorry about that, Lizzie and Jennifer! It looks like the 50% link isn’t working right now. We’re trying to get it fixed. Thanks.

  13. Ferne says:

    I have been practicing fmq for a few years and getting so much better, but still in need of practice. I bought a pack of interchangeable feet that came with one hopping foot and tried them all, the one I always go back to is the open toe metal one like the one you showed in your last picture. I feel like I have more control and more visibility with it.

    I love Craftsy so I am off to check out your video!

  14. Jennifer C. says:

    The article says that the class is 50% off right now, but as far as I can tell, it’s full price.

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