Walking Foot Double Dutch Jump

Ditto Italian Silk

I am currently working with the most beautiful Hide And Seek Italian silk poplin, recently bought on a trip to Ditto Fabrics. You can just glimpe in the photo below dressmakersocial wearing some of the silk. Seeing her top inspired me to invest in a metre!

ditto fabrics

Bernina Walking Foot

I am using my beloved Bernina walking foot to sew the silk, but I’m coming across a problem I’ve encountered before. Often, I pause my sewing to reposition the fabric in the machine. When I start sewing again, the foot’s dual feed causes a stitch to jump to one side, as below.

Jumping Stitch

I have no idea how to stop this from happening. I always pause with my needle piercing fabric. Is that part of the problem? Am I interrupting my sewing at the wrong moment in the foot’s feed cycle?

Answers on a postcard, please!

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23 Responses to Walking Foot Double Dutch Jump

  1. Su says:

    Oh what a nuisance! Stupid question: while the foot is up do you (gently) pull the fabric taut front and back to straighten it out?

  2. Curious issue you have here, and you said it’s happened before? Does it happen with all fabrics or just while sewing this gorgeous silk poplin? It’s entirely acceptable to stop with the needle position down (and that’s my preference too!) Have you tried changing the settings on your machine so that the needle position remains up just to see if it makes any difference? I might recommend resuming sewing on the slowest setting easing into the stitch using your foot pedal. And one last thing before I go, when did you change your needle last?

    Looking forward to seeing this in action! Please reach out to me if you need any more help- @TrashN2Tees on Instagram

  3. Sarah says:

    Ooh, i’d like to know this too! I’ve had the same problem with my Husqvarna but just assumed it was me yanking the fabric when i start off or something. I too always stop with the needle down.

  4. Penny says:

    I am a long time reader and fan of your website, although I have never comented before. I have exactly the same walking foot, which I have used on three different machines, and never had that problem. (I am technologically fairly incompetent, so I have experienced a wide range of machine faults). Just a question, has your walking foot always had the same fault? Becasue the foot itself might be faulty. Bernina walking feet are good, but they do have quite a bit (mechanically) going on inside that white box.

  5. hilsyb says:

    Does this happen on all fabrics for you? I’ve got a bernina too and have had no problem when working with thicker knits and leather, but find the lighter fabrics are a nightmare with tension and wonkiness, i do find hand wheeling the first couple after adjustment helps a bit. But I have been starting to wonder if maybe it wasn’t meant for lighter fabrics given the grief…? Will check back to see if you get some handy tips 🙂

  6. Gretchen says:

    I have this same walking foot and while I have never used it on a silk poplin, I often adjust fabric with needle down. I have not run into this problem yet myself. I can only think that it might be the foot itself, if it only happens when you use this foot. I hope you find the answer. Lovely silk!

  7. Aneka Truman says:

    How ever much I love the Walking Foot, I am not sure I can help with this one. When you say you ‘reposition the fabric in the sewing machine’ I take it that you are doing this with the needle still in the fabric? So the odd stitch is happening when you start sewing again.

    I agree with Jenelle and generally stop sewing with the needle in the down position when I use a domestic sewing machine (because it has that function). I would try what Jenelle suggests to see if it makes a difference with the needle stopping up, and I would also check the needle size, or perhaps replace the needle to see if it makes a difference.

    In opinion if it’s happening now and again with different fabrics I would recommend getting the foot checked out, as I mentioned in IG I have had customers in the past that have had problems with walking feet (skipped stitches etc.) and the feet were replaced by the dealer. You wouldn’t expect it from Bernina but there could be a fault with the foot. It’s always better to blame the machinery that the occupier anyway :-))!!

    Good luck solving the problem. Would love to hear how you solve it too! Aneka x

  8. JustGail says:

    Are you raising the presser foot with needle down while adjusting? I’m thinking that with all the moving parts inside, raising the presser foot might allow for movement of those parts. I’d try either making adjustments with needle in up position. Or if you need to keep needle down, try rotating the hand wheel manually until needle is in up position. That way you might be able to see if the fabric shifts and readjust it.

  9. Amy Loegering says:

    I have had similar things happen when using a standard sewing foot, but have never used a dedicated walking foot. For me, the cause is that the fabric is pulling while I manipulate the fabric. This usually happens with slippery or stretchy fabrics. The solution(s) in my case is to advance the needle a quarter turn of the hand wheel before moving the fabric or raising the presser foot and making sure there is no tension on the fabric when the the presser foot is dropped back down.

    What is happening (for me at least) when the skip/jog happens is that when I use the needle down button, it drops the needle just short of forming a stitch. Then, while I am fiddling with the fabric with the needle down and the presser foot up, I am putting enough pressure on the needle to make it flex ever so slightly, which is causing the stitch not to form as the presumably the needle is missing the loop of thread formed by the bobbin thread. In addition, if the fabric is under tension when the presser foot is dropped, the feed dogs will grab the fabric differently after the manipulation compared with before the manipulation. The result is a skipped stitch or a little jog or both. Obviously, less pressure is required to cause a fine needle to flex than a heavy one.

  10. Anthea Grace says:

    I have had this problem. I use a Pfaff with a built in walking foot. I believe it has to do with how I handle the fabric. I have been taught to pull the fabric tight aka slightly stretched (in front of the needle as well as behind the needle.) When I pause with needle down to re-adjust the fabric I have to let go of the taught fabric. When I start up again I again pull the fabric tight and begin to sew. I have found that I am not always holding the fabric straight – font to back. It only has to be off centre by a fraction for the stitching is “off” the original seam line.

  11. LinB says:

    I only have this problem when I stop with the needle UP. Keeping it down — down to the shoulder of the needle — helps anchor all the layers when re-setting the presser foot. (I do not have automatic needle-down capability, so I have trained myself to do the extra turn on the handwheel to lower that sucker into the fabric.)

  12. Jen (NY) says:

    First: I have never used a walking foot, and so I am just guessing based upon my understanding of the basic mechanics.

    It is my understanding that a walking foot keeps the fabric under tension in a certain way so that top and bottom fabric both feed through evenly. Is it possible that when the fabric is repositioned that it interferes with the tension that the walking foot was holding the fabric? In other words, even with the needle down, could the act have lessened the tension the fabric was under? It seems like inherently shifty fabric (like some silks) could easily move to the side ever so slightly when the tension it was under, even front to back tension, was lessened even a little. Again, just my thoughts about a device I have not used (but would like to have).

    • Jen (NY) says:

      Also…I was thinking, when fabric is repositioned, we are thinking about it from our point of view as a sewer. I perceived that I am moving the fabric so that it is going to feed in straightly. But, I don’t think that fabric sees it that way, so to speak. Plain weave, for example, is really like a grid, which is not stable like paper, but can bend, flex, and be distorted.

      The fabric is being held at one point by the needle, and when we straighten the fabric, we are really bending it away from the position that it is held at the needle. It’s being stretched away from the needle on one side just a little. That slight sideways stretch might be exaggerated by the effect of tension behind the needle and the change in tension in front of the needle. Probably also exaggerated by the type of fabric involved, and maybe by the additional tension of a walking foot.

  13. Sid says:

    I have noticed this problem also, and I think with my machine, which is a Bernina also, it has something to do with the feed dogs. When I reposition the fabric, I now will always release the feed dogs, using my knee lever, and this helps me manually straighten out the fabric. You could try that, and see if it helps. The other thing I wonder about is the stitch plate. Right now, I only have a zigzag plate, with one on order, because I have read the single stitch plate is better when used with more delicate fabrics. Do any of you have to do this maneuver? And what about the stitch plate idea?
    And that fabric is beautiful!

  14. J says:

    Hi! I have a similar problem with my Janome machine. I always assumed it was a fluke (=me) until I did a mass production of zipper pouches project and noticed it after EVERY TIME that I paused with the needle down to adjust the zipper pull out of the way. I can actually see my needle stutter a little bit on that next stitch which it normally doesn’t do on starting. I found if I hand-cranked the first stitch, I could then resume with regular sewing without the little side step. I was not using a walking foot – regular or zipper foot for me.

    Thanks for all the ideas on the underlying cause!

  15. esewing says:

    That’s an irritating problem , lots of really great advise been given , My thoughts are if this only happens with the walking foot and not with other feet then I think the foot has moved (walked !) on whilst lifted off the fabric so when placed back down its in a different position , This could be a faulty foot as previously suggested , maybe borrow a foot and see if this happens again. Although I do think the fabric is maybe too light for the walking foot
    Hope you find a resolution and let us know the answer !

  16. PsychicKathleen says:

    I second the idea of switching to the single hole switch plate (if you have been using this and it keeps jumping I would say there is a fault with your walking foot). Maybe take your walking foot to your local Bernina dealer and have them try it out on a machine in the store? They should know if it’s faulty and arrange a replacement for you.

  17. I get this exact same thing happening from time to time. I always thought it was ‘me’ and so I can’t recall if it only happens with certain fabrics. I haven’t had my walking foot for very long, {it’s the same one and I bought it on Craigslist} and I think I’m still in the ‘Wow, this foot is amazing.’ frame of mind and I’ve been okay with re-stitching over the spots where the needle has jogged.

    Of course, now my perception might have changed entirely, LOL. Hopefully you won’t hear me grumbling from across the pond in Vancouver.

  18. Joe L'Heureux says:

    Although the machine and the foot are both “Bernina” branded, I wonder if the walking foot has a slight misalignment with your machine’s feeddogs. As you no doubt realize, the walking foot has little black plastic feed dogs of its own which might be a fraction out of alignment your machine’s feed dogs in such a way that raising and lowering the foot causes the top dogs to rest on the edge of the lower dogs. When stitching resumes then, the top dogs fall off the edge of the lower dogs causing them to pull your fabric slightly to one side. Try a different walking foot.

  19. francescapia says:

    This happens to me too. And sometimes it’s on a straight seam with no pausing at all. Intensely irritating especially since I paid a fortune fir this foot specifically to avoid this kind of problem! I ordered a straight stitch needle plate from my Bernina dealer ages ago for sewing flimsy fabrics to avoid drag down but I can’t see it helping with this particular problem. Think I’ll check with them if it could be faulty…

  20. Carol says:

    I have a pfaff and this happens to me as well. I turn the auto foot lift off so that when I stop the needle is down and the foot stays in down holding the material in place.

  21. Cornelia Lehane says:

    I think your problem with the WFoot is similar to serving/overlocking with differential feed. When navigating a curve, for example a pocket, you may need to lift the foot to stay on the edge, and when you do that you release all the fabric the foot has been controlling, and everything goes a little wonky. It’s true the wonkiness is mostly in stitch density, but my stitching can also go a little sideways at that point.
    If you aren’t actually raising the presser foot to reposition the fabric, I’d suggest you increase your foot pressure to keep the fabric stable under the foot whilst you do so. This has caused me problems in the past, especially when working with loosely woven fabrics or slippery ones.

  22. Karen says:

    Sorry, can’t help with the walking foot problem 🙁 but love the fabric 😍

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