How to Use a Darning Foot on a Sewing Machine

Written by erika marie
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Use a Darning Foot on a Sewing Machine
A darning foot allows you to topstitch a quilt design in any direction. (Blue and coral quilt block background image by Bluebird from

A darning foot is an attachment for a sewing machine used for free-motion quilting or embroidery. It is sometimes called a quilting-foot or free-motion foot. It gives you control over where the fabric moves, rather than letting the machine's feed dogs guide the fabric in one direction. It is mounted by spring or on a hinge and replaces the regular presser foot. The darning foot moves with the needle; both are either up or down at the same time, giving you control of the placement and length of your stitches.

Skill level:

Other People Are Reading

Things you need

  • Quilt
  • Water-soluble fabric marker or chalk
  • Thread

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Draw a design onto the quilt using a water-soluble fabric marker or chalk.

  2. 2

    Remove the regular presser foot from the sewing machine and install the darning foot according to the instructions in your user's manual. Make sure it will fit your machine model.

  3. 3

    Replace the regular throat plate with the single or straight-stitch plate if your model of sewing machine has a separate plate. If this is not included in your accessories, the regular throat plate can remain in place.

  4. 4

    Thread the needle and set your stitch length to zero. This allows you to control the length of the stitches as you guide the fabric.

  5. 5

    Drop the feed dogs on the sewing machine.

  6. 6

    Place your quilt block under the darning foot and lower the presser foot onto the fabric. Check that the fabric moves freely without any pull or resistance from the machine. Adjust the pressure before starting to sew.

  7. 7

    Place the quilt at a starting point where you can follow your drawn design, and lower the needle into the fabric.

  8. 8

    Stitch along the drawn design, guiding it along at a comfortable speed to create stitches that are even.

Tips and warnings

  • Check your sewing machine's instruction manual for instructions to attach the presser foot and for the correct pressure settings, as models vary.
  • Some models of sewing machine offer both open-toe and closed-toe foot styles. An open-toe style gives better visibility of the needle as you quilt but can catch in the edge of fabrics. A closed-toe style reduces visibility but holds the fabric in front of the needle in place. Which type you use is a matter of preference or availability. If both are available for your model, you may want to try them for different areas of sewing.
  • Use caution when using a sewing machine.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.