Free Motion Quilting Quick Tip-Feed Dogs

Jigsaw Puzzle, FMQ, LKennedyHappy Monday, Quilters!

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A Quick Tip on Feed Dogs…

In order to Free Motion Quilt, we need to disengage the Feed Dogs on our sewing machines.

In normal sewing, the feed dogs advance the fabric forward with each stitch.  In free motion quilting, we want to control the movement and speed of the fabric so we have to disengage the feed dogs.

There are three ways to disengage the feed dogs:

  • Lower the feed dogs with a machine lever (available on most machines)
  • Cover the feed dogs by taping an index card with a hole cut out for the needle. (Older machines only)
  • Leave the feed dogs in position and set the stitch length to “zero”-The Feed Dogs are up, but they won’t move the fabric.

Which creates the best looking stitch?

Let’s try a little experiment:

  • Make sure you have the best tension. (See FMQ, Quick tip-April 27, 2015)
  • Choose your favorite motif. (The Jigsaw tutorial may be found HERE)
  • Lower your feed dogs (or cover them) and stitch for several minutes.
  • Raise your feed dogs and set your stitch length to zero.  Stitch for several minutes.

Does either method look better than the other?

Is one easier than the other?

Is there any difference at all?

Please give this experiment a try.

Let us all know how it worked for YOU and YOUR machine.

LOVE to hear!


Now I have to go feed my real dogs, Ruby and Roxie!

PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!