Getting to know my sewing machine better

Hello chums,

I confess this post is shameful on my part. I am ashamed that I did not really bother to know my machine. Recently as I was looking for info on a flat felled foot…..

Let me tell you it all started. So I was doing this pattern drafting class at a local college which also gave me access to an amazing library full of pattern cutting and sewing texts. One Saturday I borrowed the much praised David Page Coffin book on shirtmaking (I was considering it for my personal sewing library). image_173I started reading it with gusto but quickly fizzled out because its is quite an indulgent book. Though the writing style is charming in the same sense of Elizabeth Zimmerman (the knitting goddess) it lacks the conciseness of Zimmerman.

Eventually, I got to the section on flat felled seams. He (Coffin) delivered a very withering critique of my current flat felled technique (the common technique of sewing the seam, trim one side and fold over the other to sew). My one take away from this book was the importance of a flat felling foot to achieve impeccable seams. The game was on.  As I scoured the net searching out said flat felled foot for my Husqvarna Viking H class 100Q (which annoying does not take generic feet ) I came across some YouTube tutorials and on the suggested watch list was a playlist by Heirlooom Creations.

I was surprised to find that they had 39 videos on my machine. Surely that can’t be right – my machine is but a simple one! Out of curiosity I started watching them and OMG! I was only using something like 5% of what my machine is capable of. Never mind the fact that I finally understood what this long shank thing that came with the accessories was.412415101lg_large

1311-photo20115It’s a quilting guide for perfectly parallel stitching!

Yes! I know there is a manual – I swear I read it cover to cover. Somehow I missed out how to use foot D for decorative stitches which has a wider low groove so stitches don’t get stuck (something that happened a lot). Or that the 1/4″ foot is perfect for topstitching. Or the darning function or the blind hem stitch etc…etc…

I see my machine in a different light now and can unreservedly admit that any shortcomings with regards to my machine have been due to me and not it at all!

Now back to the flat felling foot.  I decided against buying it as more research indicated that the 9 mm foot which is the only size available for my machine is only suitable for denim and heavyweight fabrics. Furthermore even if I wanted it for jeans making to get that RTW look, apparently the foot cannot go over seam intersections and you have to stop and jump the intersection and finish it by hand. Meh. Not worth the expense for me.

I did, however, get a narrow rolled hem foot and it does the business really well. I practiced on a slippery fabric and it was doodle to get a really neat and tidy baby hem. That foot was a good investment IMO. The next foot I have my eye on is a narrow zipper foot for centered zip insertions. I don’t always want to use an invisible zipper.

On that long technical note, I bid you adieu and leave you with something to think about – just how well do you know your sewing machine?

Thanks for stopping by,

Peace and love,

Hila

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42 thoughts on “Getting to know my sewing machine better

  1. Hi hila!
    Oh Wow ! I was considering maybe buy a babylock serger and A babylock sewing machine because i believed My singer and brother were not good enough! But reading you makes me think i must try to know them better before trying something else! 😏

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  2. Just because David C does not think highly of the traditional method of flat felling seams does not mean we should all willy nilly think the same. Do it the way that you want to do it. There is not right or wrong way. Yes, it’s great if you can get all the right gadgets but by no means essential.

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  3. Oh don’t challenge me to answer that. I’m rubbish. I’ve got through life on a need to know basis. When I feel I need to know how to do something I’ll get a YouTube tutorial out.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not surprised you didn’t find information on the different attachments in the manual. Many modern manuals don’t write about attachments at all! But old manuals did. One of my machines came with FOUR very similar feet that I used to call “narrow hem” feet. What the…? Fortunately, the manual explained it all – the sea shell foot is not the same as the snail foot. See my post if you’re curious. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been going through my collection of “beach party” feet, as I now call them. I discovered SEVEN different types!! 😮 Well, it’s basically the three types in different widths: felling foot, narrow hem foot and rolled hem foot. And I thought they were all the same until I discovered that explanation in an old manual. So I had to let everyone else know what to do with those feet. 🙂 I plan to test all the other ones too, just to see what sorts of hems they make, but now at least I know where to start.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’d love to hear how your testing goes. Some people say you can use the narrow hem foot for flat felling by removing the curly thing.

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  5. I really need to do this with my new overlocker. I paid a small fortune for it and, so far, have only used it for the same things I used my old bargain one for whereas I know it’s capable of so much more.

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    1. Its the thing with gadgets and ‘gimmicks’. Mine has 2 buttonholes – a keyhole and normal one- but I have never been able to do the keyhole one. My take away from this experience is that I need to learn more about my machine before upgrading it as I was planning.

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  6. I’m not too bad with my sewing machines but my overlocker is a different story.
    I had that Viking Husqvarna as a class machine but have it to my oldest daughter.
    I bought a book yesterday – The Big Book of Feet, a guide to Bernina presser feet and accessories and it shows what you can do with the different feet and there are lots of interesting techniques. There are a few I haven’t tried. As for narrow hems – I’m far from happy with my technique.
    I have lots of things I haven’t tried on my overlocker, though.
    Good luck with your explorations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Anne. I’d definitely recommend the narrow hem foot. It takes a bit of practice to get the hem just right but once you get it – its such a beautiful finish. Bernina is good because most of the machines will take generic cheaper feet. x

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  7. I got my “new” machine in desperation when my old beloved one died. (Lack of dealers where I live when I bought it.) It does all kinds of things I’m not interested in. I love simplicity and I hate the electronics. But after reading your post I’M SURE I’m not taking advantage of what I DO want it to do. Attitude, attitude, attitude. Time for an attitude adjustment! Thanks Hila!

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    1. Yes it is! I had been playing with the idea of ‘upgrading’ my machine but I now see its me that needs to upgrade before I can say my machine isnt meeting my needs 🙂

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      1. I was taught that all you need is a straight stitch machine and a zig-zag machine, no electronics in either, but plenty of feet and attachments! They are the ones that make your life easier. But you do have to know how to use them!

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      2. I watched a documentary about seamstresses from the 1930s and 1940s who said that same things and they were making the finest pintucks without any fancy tools. I was in awe.

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      3. Yes, we were actually trained to sew absolutely everything with a plain straight or zig-zag foot, just so we knew how to do it. No attachments allowed during exams either! But when you know how to do it “by hand”, so to speak, that’s when you start appreciating those automatic fancy stitches and attachments! We did fancy stitches by hand too – you have to work the stitch width and length knobs a lot. I trained as a couture tailor.

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  8. oh goodness this post really resonated with me! I know there is so much more my machine could do, if only I would spend a bit of time finding out. I have one of those quilting guides too, I got it with the walking foot I got given at Christmas time – it’s a brilliant tool isn’t it?!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. After 10 years of sewing regularly on and off, I re-read my manual and learned how to load my bobbin with the thread coming through the needle instead of unthreading and then rethreading my Pfaff 2027. Wow, that minimizes the interruption.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find it useful to read the manual again after I’ve used the machine for a while. I keep discovering new things because I can put them in context so much better!

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