Recently I posted a short discussion and a link to a youtube video on the subject of presser foot pressure adjustment. Following that post, I did some testing on my own machines, with walking feet installed. As I did the tests, I wrote on the fabric to show the settings used. You can see the settings in the photos. After sandwiching batting between two pieces of fabric, you sew a crossways seam at the bottom of the piece. Then the test stitching is done by stitching from the top down towards the crossways stitching. If the top fabric is being pushed forward, it will show up as a pleat at the crossways stitching.
First, my old faithful Bernina Artista 180. I was quite impressed with the results. The range of adjustment is very good. The lowest setting (no numbers on the machine, but I labelled it 0) was way too light — the stitching wasn’t very straight and the stitch length was inconsistent. The best setting seemed to be about 8, or two thirds of the way. Even the highest pressure setting was pretty good. You can see these results in the photo below:
Second, I put the optional walking foot on my Brother Dreamweaver VQ 3000. I purchased it because it gives better visibility than the “Muvit™” foot that comes with the machine. Frankly, up to this point I had never used the Muvit™ foot because it only came with a closed toe sole plate that I really didn’t like. Also the Muvit™ foot is quite large (since it contains a motor) and I didn’t like that either. I have recently changed my mind, but more about that later.
The photo below shows the results with the optional walking foot. There are four possible pressure settings for this machine – 1 through 4 – and I tried them all. The lowest setting was just barely tolerable. The results with the higher settings were quite bad. I tried various other adjustments — presser foot height, auto fabric sensor on or off — and nothing helped. Here are the results:
After consulting with Quality Sewing about this problem, I went to the shop and tested a machine like mine, but using the Muvit™ foot. The results were excellent, and the visibility problem that so bothered me initially has been solved with a new open toe sole plate for the Muvit™ foot. Here is a photo of the Muvit™ foot installed on the machine, so you get the idea.
Here is a photo of the two sole plates for comparison. The 1/8 and 1/4 inch markings on the open sole plate are very helpful.
And now the test results. The Muvit™ foot has an adjustment range from -10 to +10. At -10, a little puckering is just beginning to show. All the other settings produce excellent results, so I would be inclined to leave the machine set at the default, which is 0.0.
After conducting this test at Quality Sewing, I purchased the open toe sole plate and came home and quilted a quilt with the Muvit™ foot. I also put the binding on using the Muvit™. I am very impressed with the results. I still wish the foot was a little smaller, but I can now understand why the engineers designed it the way it is. And I retract all the nasty thoughts I had about it! Always good to get motivated enough to try new things, especially when your initial emotional reaction was “what kind of idiot did this?”. Turns out, some very clever (not idiot) engineers did this!