Free Motion Presser Foot

Have you ever come across a quilt that has been stitched with this type of pattern?

This is called free motion quilting, and is done with a presser foot that looks something like one of these…

If you happen to be searching for one, keep in mind that the foot (and projects sewn with it) can be referred to as Free Motion- Darning, Embroidery, or Quilting. It is usually a circular, crescent, or oval shaped foot that, when you lower the feed dogs, allows you to essentially draw or doodle any design on fabric. I have the Distinctive brand version pictured below, but if you are purchasing one, make sure that it is designed to fit your machine. Each foot normally lists the machine brands and model numbers that it can be attached to.


Now, I am only at the very very beginner stage when it comes to this kind of stitching, but I made a little video just to give you an idea of how the process works, and help you decide if this is something that you’d like to try. (I actually found it to be really fun!)

And here he is finished. You can see that my stitches are SUPER tiny because I’m so slow and scared to screw it up! Those little white dots are my bobbin thread peaking through because my tension was a bit off.



It does take a bit of practice to figure out the speed and motions that work best for you,

but once you get the hang of it, the designs you can stitch are limitless!
So far I’ve only managed the fish in the video, and the writing on my draft stopper.

This is 3 rows of stitching layered on top of one another.

But if you REALLY have the knack for it, you can make AMAZING projects like these!

Ummm, WOW!
And how adorable is this pillow from Clothwork?
A few tips that may help if you decide to give this a try…
  • Draw your design on with disappearing pen, or iron on a piece of freezer paper to “trace” around.
  • Start with a strong needle, so there is less worry about breaking it while stitching.
  • Slow down! Don’t just stomp on the pedal. It will take time to match the speed of your hands and foot.
  • Always stop with the needle in the down position so you don’t “lose your place”.
  • Use some type of stabilizer if you are not already working with multiple layers of fabric.
  • Don’t stop and turn the fabric while stitching. Just make directional changes by moving the fabric.
  • (That one is hard to get used to if you have already been sewing for years!)
  • Use “sticky” gloves or rubber finger tips (from the office supply store) to help you grip your fabric.
  • Use the same color bobbin thread so that one color doesn’t show if the tension is off. (like on my fish)
  • Practice, Practice, PRACTICE and Don’t try to make it perfect in the beginning!


Have any of you already experimented with this foot? What did you use it to make?
It’s going to take some time, but I’m super excited to come up with more projects to use it on!
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5 thoughts on “Free Motion Presser Foot

  1. Thank you so much for this! I've definitely always thought those designs were just made with a normal sewing machine foot. Now I"m really glad I didn't try it. I'm going to keep my eye out for a foot, and maybe try something.

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