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Thread: This May Be A Stupid Question, But...

  1. #1
    Senior Member DonnaFreak's Avatar
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    This May Be A Stupid Question, But...

    OK...so if a free-motion sewing machine foot doesn't even touch the fabric, why use a foot at all? Exactly what does the foot do? Do you really HAVE to pay the high bucks to get a darning/quilting foot? Would it harm the machine to just lower the feed dogs and remove the foot? What am I missing here?

    Donna

  2. #2
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    Right off the top of my head the primary reason might be for safety. If I'm free motion quilting, it would be easy to stab my finger if I didn't have that tiny bit of metal or plastic to remind me where my limits were.

    My longarm has a big hopping foot and one time a few months ago, the edge of my pinky finger got caught under the needle - ouuuuch!

  3. #3
    Super Member charmpacksplus's Avatar
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    I think it holds the fabric down close to the plate even though it doesn't press it down like a regular presser foot. Without it the fabric would pop up higher and you'd have a mess. And you might run over your fingers.
    But you could try it and let us know what happens :-)

  4. #4
    Super Member Eddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charmpacksplus View Post
    I think it holds the fabric down close to the plate even though it doesn't press it down like a regular presser foot. Without it the fabric would pop up higher and you'd have a mess. And you might run over your fingers.
    But you could try it and let us know what happens :-)
    Yep, that's been my experience as well, it keep the sandwich from flopping up and down so much.
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  5. #5
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Older machines often just said to remove the presser foot to embroider....FMQ was not a common form of machine quilting then. I've not tried it without the hopping foot, but have thought about it.
    That being said, you can get a darning/quilting foot at Hancock's or Joanne's for about $12...
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  6. #6
    Super Member Pam H's Avatar
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    I did try this once. Besides the fact that it is pretty scary with that bare needle, when the needle raises up it pulls your fabric up. You end up having to hold the fabric down while you are still trying to move it around. It really wasn't pretty.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    For FMQ, most quilters use a "hopping" foot that has a spring in it. The foot holds the fabric down while the stitch is being formed, but hops back up in-between stitches so you can move the quilt. There is another type of FMQ foot that doesn't hop, but I've never used that one. As others have said, that one keeps a minimal amount of continual pressure on the sandwich to stop it from popping up when the needle moves up. These feet are usually not expensive at all. Most sewing machines have either a short shank or long shank, and a generic darning foot of the correct shank type is all that is needed.

    Oh, and it's not a stupid question at all! The only stupid question is the one that doesn't get asked.

  8. #8
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I don't know but, I'm sure there is a very good reason for it. I just follow directions.
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  9. #9
    Super Member luvTooQuilt's Avatar
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    A big messy thread blob... Not pretty..

  10. #10
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    My two newer machines don't sew well without a foot, my older one does well without. However, sewing without a foot is very intimidating as there isn't anything at all to protect your fingers/hands.
    I have done this for some decorative type stitching, but wouldn't for FMQ as you are moving the quilt sandwich around a lot and so much faster for that.
    Last edited by amma; 12-03-2011 at 09:50 PM.
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  11. #11
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Prism99 has it correct. The foot I have goes down when the needle goes down and up when the needle goes up. It has been worth every penny of the $18.95 I paid for it.

  12. #12
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    The foot helps stabilize the fabric as the needle passes through at a high speed. These feet are not "big bucks" so I don't know where you're shopping.

  13. #13
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
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    Years ago they made just a spring to put on the old machines and it held the fabric down, that is all that is needed is to hold the fabric down so it doesn't come bopping up with the needle.
    Sewbeadit
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  14. #14
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    if memory serves me, i recall that, when sewing with just the needle, one used a hoop to hold the fabric. i think this was for thread painting, though.
    Nancy in western NY
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  15. #15
    Super Member TerryQuilter's Avatar
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    Are you talking about a darning foot or a walking foot? Darning feet are usually not that expensive, however, a walking feet can cost a bit.
    The Trike Riding Quilting Diva

  16. #16
    Senior Member kheliwud's Avatar
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    I have tried to FMQ without the foot, but it was scary. I have seen (on Youtube) thread-painters who do not use the foot and seem to do okay.
    Living a 1/4" from the edge

  17. #17
    Super Member hobbykat1955's Avatar
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    It does keep the material from popping up. Foot moves up and down and pats the top of the fabric...I've tried on one of my vintage machines 301 without and it's didn't work.

  18. #18
    Super Member happymrs's Avatar
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    I would use one too, if for no other reason than safety. Do some checking, you may not have to pay a high price for a foot either! I use the spring loaded type, found them when I was mainly using my Janomi. Found one, a generic type, at my LQS, she is a Bernina dealer, so carries different stuff like this too. Anyway, it was only $10! I even have two now, one for both Janomis. The second one is for a little travel size machine I have. Okay, then I got a Viking Sapphire & heard they now make a spring loaded foot for it! Costs $40, yikes! Took a look at one, & looks the same at the others I have, so bought one for it too, & it works great! So does some checking & save your money for fabric!...
    Nancy/NC...
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  19. #19
    Super Member happymrs's Avatar
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    I would use on too, for safety reasons, if nothing else. You may not have to spend alot for a foot either. I have used a spring loaded foot on my Janomi machines, a generic type one I found at my LQS, for $10! Then, I got a Viking Sapphire 830, & went looking at their spring loaded feet. Theirs run $40, & guess what? Looks the same as my other ones, so bought one for it too, for $10, & it works great! It really pays to check around, good luck!...
    Nancy/NC...
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  20. #20
    Super Member happymrs's Avatar
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    Sorry for the double post, was taking forever the first time, so I quit the group, then came back & reposted. Didn't see my previous post, duh!...
    Nancy/NC...
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    For FMQ, most quilters use a "hopping" foot that has a spring in it. The foot holds the fabric down while the stitch is being formed, but hops back up in-between stitches so you can move the quilt. There is another type of FMQ foot that doesn't hop, but I've never used that one. As others have said, that one keeps a minimal amount of continual pressure on the sandwich to stop it from popping up when the needle moves up. These feet are usually not expensive at all. Most sewing machines have either a short shank or long shank, and a generic darning foot of the correct shank type is all that is needed.

    Oh, and it's not a stupid question at all! The only stupid question is the one that doesn't get asked.
    Couldn't have said it better myself!! :-)

  22. #22
    Super Member CorgiNole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace View Post
    The foot helps stabilize the fabric as the needle passes through at a high speed. These feet are not "big bucks" so I don't know where you're shopping.

    The one I bought for my Bernina Record was around $40.00 at my LQS, so yes, they can be big bucks.

    Cheers. K

  23. #23
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pam H View Post
    I did try this once. Besides the fact that it is pretty scary with that bare needle, when the needle raises up it pulls your fabric up. You end up having to hold the fabric down while you are still trying to move it around. It really wasn't pretty.

    This is it exactly. Also it is safer ... and much easier to use the proper foot for FMQ.

    ali
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  24. #24
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    I finally took a class in FMQ and this was what worked for me: Presser foot tension to 0, stitch length 0, open toed applique foot (to see where you are going). Feed dogs up. I can now FMQ! The hopping foot drove me crazy but this method works like a dream! The class was taught by a local award winning quilter who quilts all of hers on a domestic machine.

  25. #25
    Senior Member DonnaFreak's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your replies! A lady in my quilters guild let me use an older machine of her's so I could practice FMQ on it. I took it by the shop where she has it serviced and the foot I was told I needed was $38.99! I couldn't afford to pay that even if I actually owned the machine! She did show me how to raise the shank so the foot isn't touching the fabric though, so maybe I can practice a bit using the regular foot?

    Donna

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