My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Bernina Walking Foot Maintenance

Here's why I like social media - and in particular, Instagram!

A couple of days ago I noticed my walking foot was jamming up a little.  I've been entrusted with quilting the raffle quilt for our quilt guild and I want it to be as perfect as possible so I was watching carefully and I'd see and feel the stitches getting smaller as the foot struggled to pull the quilt through.  The grabby bits (real tech speak!) were getting stuck at the end of their grab and weren't releasing to come forward and make another grab.

I undid the foot and had a good look but I couldn't see anything obvious.  So I took some photographs so I could put the thing back together if it fell into a million pieces, grabbed my screwdriver and started to unwind the one screw I could see.

All that did was loosen the foot prongs so I could take the actual foot part off the foot.  But that allowed me to fiddle with the prongs and rollers a bit closer and I found that one of the rollers was seized.  I gave everything I could a clean and I oiled the rollers, but still no luck.  You can see me pointing to the roller in question in the photo below.

So I turned to Instagram and posted a little help me please video and tagged the good people at Bernina in.

Within a short while I had a suggestion about working the oil in by turning the roller with my finger or tweezers.  I tried it and it seems to have worked!  And Bernina even contacted me again to ask if I had had any luck.  How awesome!

I've had my Bernina Aurora 440 for at least 10 years and I use it constantly and I absolutely love it (I'm not being paid to say that, but hey Bernina if you're listening - I'm totally open to sponsorship!).  My walking foot has travelled so many miles that I thought there was a good chance that I'd worn it out.  But no, it just needed a bit of TLC and it keeps on trucking.

So my suggestion to those of you who have Bernina walking feet, is to oil the rollers regularly and then you'll avoid them seizing like mine did.  If it has seized, work the oil in by oiling and then turning the roller with your finger or tweezers.  Give the oil some time to soak in too.  I used my clear sewing machine oil, which should be fine enough for the job.  Wipe it well so you don't get oil on your precious quilt and then you are good to go.

So here's a big thank you to @berninanz on Instagram for responding so quickly, providing me with fantastic help and letting me carry on with quilting the guild's precious quilt.

And thank you to the other's who offered suggestions and even the loan of their walking foot!  What a fab community.


  1. I agree that social media is good for things like this. I am so glad you were able to get help. Did you search YouTube to see if there was a video? That would be a good thing for Bernina to post.

  2. Thank you for sharing! I will look at mine.

  3. I'm trying to get some walking foot is leaking dry black soot or something. I took it off the machine and banged it a bit on the counter and all this black soot/dry grease came out. Should the walking foot be cleaned too? or will the oiling take care of the mess?

    1. Hmmm, sounds gnarly! Is it possible that two pieces of metal are rubbing and producing this? My husband is a fitter and turner and when he grinds metal it produces a fine black/grey metal dust. I would clean and oil the foot as best you can and then give it another go for a while. If it keeps producing this dust, you might want to get it professionally looked at - I'm not a machine technician, so please take that into consideration when reading this! :-)


Hi, I love reading comments, so thanks for visiting my blog and leaving me a message :)
Due to a huge increase in spam, I've disabled anonymous comments. Apologies if this effects any real life readers!