Heed the Warning…

Did you know that there are warning labels on sewing machine parts — like specifically, your walking foot?


I didn’t. Now I am sad. Really sad. Like $150.00 worth of sad.

I have been working like a crazy person on Christmas gifts for my family, interspersed with working on sample quilts for upcoming events. Of course, I was inspired by a family member who saw an old flannel rag quilt that I made several years ago, so I’m working like a whirling dervish on something like that… I can’t really say or post pictures yet…

Anyway, as I was feverishly sewing tonight, I noticed that the top flannel piece was no longer easing itself with the rest of the layers and there was puckering going on. The realization always dawns on me slowly in a sick way – so I: changed the needle, cleaned and oiled the machine, rethreaded the top thread and bobbin and went through my little check list of things to do when my machine isn’t sewing right. I tried sewing another set of squares — and no dice. Something was definitely wrong.

I called my local Bernina dealer to see when they could take in my machine in — and more specifically “how soon could I have it back?”. After explaining what I was doing when it stopped working right, it was determined that I had a broken walking foot — no repair necessary — just buy a new one… $150.

Ugh! Not just before Christmas! This goes along with WebGuy’s car repairs and Robin losing his brand new Birthday iPod last night. Trouble comes in threes — and I guess I’m glad that it’s not worse.

So, WebGuy, wonderful handyGuy that he is, wants to see the walking foot to see if he can fix it. He  is pretty handy, too. He fixed my foot pedal when Ryan was four and used it as the accelerator on an imaginary race car and broke the carbon contacts that power the pedal. Repair cost for that in 1986 was $150 (hmmm, there’s a thread here). HandyGuy hunted the two little carbon pins down at a local parts shop for 75 cents a piece and fixed the pedal – so I have a high degree of confidence in my DH’s abilities.

After spending about an hour on the walking foot, HandyGuy realized this was one problem he can’t fix. So my Bernina walking foot now looks like this:


Boo hoo.

My advice — heed the warning on your sewing machine parts. The fine print reads:

CAUTION Always sew slower when using a walking foot. A maximum of 70% speed is recommended.

Who knew?

©2008 Annie Smith  All Rights Reserved

13 thoughts on “Heed the Warning…”

  1. This is good to know! Now, I can heed your warning!
    ps – now both of us are wiser, but unfortunately I am wiser at your $150 expense. Thank you for saving me some money!!

  2. I am thrilled that the new site is easier to navigate. I’ve noticed programs with a theme title are way easier to find. Keep on with the caption, Annie!

  3. Annie, the off-brand model will do in a pinch-just be sure you have the right shank ordered; high, low, slanted. I ordered one for the short-term and have still been using it 8 yrs later! It is from KeepsakeQuilting-($20) and tho not recommended for my Viking with just a little filing on the take-up bar I am still using it-Just an idea for the interim. Merry Christmas!

  4. I thought the $50 I paid for my Bernina walking foot was a lot, now it’s $150. Thanks for the warning. Like your new website, oh and thanks for all the wonderful podcasts you have given us over the past years.

    You go girl

  5. Oh Annie! I feel your pain. I did the same thing a few years ago. But I didn’t notice that anything was wrong until I was done quilting the quilt. We do get pretty focused, don’t we?

    Merry Christmas!

  6. Oh my gosh Annie! How terrible! I didn’t know about having to sew slower – but I will from now on. I hate to admit that I don’t read all those things…unless there’s a problem and then “where did I put that darn manual. Argh.” At the very least thank you for passing the information along, although I know this doesn’t help where the pocketbook is concerned.

  7. I just found your site and downloading podcasts now.I love P. Naylor – I also use longarm but not like her. Would love to see her book. Can’t wait to hear podcast.
    thanks you

  8. Fascinating. Have never had my speed lever all the way to the right, or my pedal all the way to the floor! This is truly slow sewing territory. BTW, Mizlilly has her walking foot serviced with her machine, and I am planning on doing the same when I ever get mine in for service.

  9. Oh ouch, I’m so sorry! I’d be lost without my Bernina walking foot… and I use it a full speed a LOT! I don’t recall seeing anything in the little booklet about not doing so, but I won’t anymore.

  10. I had the same problem with my walking foot as it would not feed the fabric. Thought I would have to replace it until a Bernina mechanic said it only needed oiled! After oiling, it works great! I didn’t know it had to be oiled periodically and don’t recall ever reading it in the Bernina walking foot instructions!! Even the mechanic said they don’t always tell you everything you should know!!

    Hopefully, you can put your walking foot back together and perhaps some oil will put it back into use!!

  11. So thankful I am for your post. I didn’t know, but I will say that I’ve had the surprise of snapping needles when going in reverse with the walking foot. So, rather than learn my lesson and not do that, I just cringe a little and back up slowly when necessary. It’s good, really, because it reminds me to be thankful when the needle DOESN’T break! Does anyone know why/how this happens? I think the needle actually hits the sole. Not good.

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