Everything you need to know about the Madam Sew Open Toe Walking Foot

With a Walking Foot, different layers of fabric will move evenly through your machine. Hems on stretch fabrics will move straight under this foot and not wobbly, stretched out, leaving you with lumps and a puckered result.


The Walking Foot has built-in feed dogs that work like the feed dogs of your machine.

The feed dogs of your machine are two or three short, thin metal bars, crosscut with diagonal teeth, in a sewing machine's needle plate, below your presser foot. They march back and forth pulling your fabric under the presser foot while you sew. They march in measured and precisely timed increments that create the distance between each stitch.

The feed dogs of this foot start to walk as the needle and needle bar of your machine go up and down and push the presser foot lever of the walking foot up and down as well. This way the foot grips your fabric evenly from the top.


  • A sole with an open toe and red markings on it to serve as seam and cornering guides
  • The needle drop point is marked by a little vertical line in the middle (behind the needle). The other vertical marks indicate ¼” distance from the needle drop point. You can use one of the metal tips of the sole for ⅛” distance.
  • The horizontal marks allow for easy and accurate corner pivoting, the red markins closest to the presser foot screw mark the needle drop point and then you have markings at ⅛” and ¼”. If you want ⅝” distance, you can just use the end of the sole as your guide.
  • An arm on the right (the presser foot lever) with a white plastic ‘fork’ that sits around the needle bar (where the needle fixing screw is)
  • A foot clamp to attach the foot on your presser bar screw, the presser bar holder
  • The 2 rows of teeth are the upper feed dogs, they stand 1/2” apart
  • A white plastic box with a little hole at the back to attach the guide bar


A quilting bar or the guide. You just slide the bar in the opening at the back of the white plastic box.

A ‘regular’ walking foot has a closed sole. An open toe foot, an open sole. The open sole gives you more visibility when sewing.

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Opposed to snap-on presser feet, screw-on presser feet (like the Open Toe Walking Foot) are different for high and low shank sewing machines. A screw-on presser foot that is built for a machine with a low shank will not fit a machine with a high shank and vice versa.

For more information, visit our detailed blog post about shanks and universal presser feet.

  • If you have a low shank sewing machine, you can use our universal walking foot
  • If you have a high shank sewing machine, you can’t (and there is no adapter to fix this)
  • If you have a Bernina sewing machine, you can use our universal walking feet, but you will need a specific Bernina adapter 


To install your walking foot, lift your presser foot, don’t move the needle to its highest position because you’re going to need the needle bar, remove your standard presser foot and the presser foot holder of your machine. You have to screw the entire foot off, not just the snap-on part.

To attach the walking foot, you slide the foot from behind and put the foot clamp around the presser foot holder screw in the left and at the same time make sure that the plastic fork sits around the needle bar on the right before you tighten the screw.

Move your needle up and down to test if it doesn’t touch the metal of the sole. You can see that the lever and the little fork around the needle bar are moving along and this is what controls the upper feed dogs.

There is no difference with other low shank machines. You always screw off the presser foot holder and screw on the walking foot. For a Bernina, you will need to buy a Bernina adapter as well (see above)


Sewing with this foot is very straightforward. Once it is attached, you can just sew like you would with a regular presser foot. Don’t go too fast. It works best at a slower pace, medium speed.

You can use the stitches you like, even use a double needle.

For knit and stretch fabrics, use a special needle and maybe a zigzag stitch. If the fabric is really frail, strengthen it, by ironing some fusible interfacing before you sew the seams.

A walking foot can be used for forward stitching only, as the top feed dogs will keep on moving your top fabric forward. But I have found that my walking foot can handle 2-3 stitches backwards in order to backstitch at the start of a seam.



MadamSew walking foot with a guide bar and a white background

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