Sunday, January 22, 2017

What is a ruler foot?

What is a ruler foot? I have been asked that question so let me attempt to explain.

On a sewing machine, a foot is always used to hold down the fabric while it is stitched. 

This is my go-to foot to use on my machine. It fastens onto the machine and the needle goes up and down in that opening.

There are feed dogs under the foot that pull the fabric through the machine while it is stitching.

When a person does free-motion quilting, the feed dogs are lowered because the person guiding the fabric doesn't want to fight with the feed dogs feeding front to back. Fabric can be moved in any direction when free-motion quilting. So the feed dogs are lowered and a free-motion quilting foot is used. Here is the foot I use.

The foot is open so I can see the needle easily. This foot bounces on the fabric so it does not continually hold the fabric like a traditional foot. This bouncing allows me to move the fabric as I am stitching.

A ruler foot is another free-motion quilting foot. It acts like a regular free-motion foot but the bottom is taller. The foot still bounces on the fabric but it is tall/thick enough that it will not inadvertently bounce onto the ruler and shatter a needle.

In the following picture, the regular free-motion foot is on the left and the ruler foot is on the right.

The free-motion quilting rulers are thick usually about 1/4". That makes it harder to accidentally move them under the needle or have the foot accidentally bounce onto the ruler.

Why use free-motion rulers? I can stitch straight lines easier as well as circles and other shapes. My shapes are more uniform. 

I love free-motion quilting and the ruler foot and rulers are just another tool for me to use.

Hope that helps!


  1. Very good details and explanation. Thanks for sharing

  2. Excellent! You seem to be loving your new rulers. Great job explaining how everything works!

  3. Oh, wow Jeanne! I think that was a great explanation. There might be hope after all of me having a hope of doing some free motion quilting. :)



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