Tag Archives: walking foot

The Top 10 Specialty Feet That Costumers Should Know About

By Renee Larson

Most sewing machines these days come with many different feet.  Mainstays usually include a straight stitch foot, a zipper foot and a buttonholer.  However, if your machine doesn’t have any additional feet, these are the ones to consider:

  1. Walking Foot:  This gives you an extra set of feed dogs for use in moving fabric.  Great for sewing on Polarfleece and Velvet – it won’t leave deep marks in the fabric’s nap.
  2. Rolled hem foot:  This foot enables you to finish the edges of sheer fabrics quickly and cleanly.
  3. Teflon Foot or Roller Foot:  Both of these feet are great for use on leather.  The roller foot literally has a spinning wheel that enables it to roll over the fabric while still grasping it.  The Teflon foot slides over many different fabrics with ease.  The roller foot is also good for velvet.
  4. Welting foot:  Most people underestimate the amount of space needed on a piping foot for their piping.  The welting foot has space for smaller piping to fit inside as well as larger welting/piping, to include those used on home décor items.
  5. Invisible zipper/narrow zipper feet:  The invisible zipper rides right over the teeth and gets a very tight stitch in next to the teeth.  I wouldn’t sew an invisible zipper without one!  The narrow zipper runs right next to the teeth of the zipper, giving a very close finish as well.  This foot is great for sewing in channels/seams next to boning.
  6. Beading/pearl foot:  This foot has a groove in the middle where you can feed a pearl or bead chain through it.  With the use of the zig zag stitch or other specialty stitches you can couch down the beads/pearls without having to do the whole string by hand.  It saves a LOT of time.
  7. Gathering Foot/Ruffler:  The gathering foot is great for simple gathers, but has a bit of a learning curve to it.  I recommend Rufflers to most people because while they look like a very complicated piece of equipment (and are usually the most expensive foot you will purchase), they make quick work of gathering fabric, plus they are adjustable to width, depth, etc.  If you are making a Can Can dress or putting layers of ruffles on a bustle, this is the foot that will save you in time.  Think of how much faster and more accurate this is than running a gathering stitch!
  8. Pintuck foot:  Pintuck feet come in various sizes, and they all work great.  They make quick work of heirloom sewing and give your vintage inspired costumes a more authentic look.
  9. Adjustable blind hem foot:  If you are sewing a lot of hems at once that are all different in depth, this foot will do the job in no time.
  10. Adjustable bias binding foot:  I wouldn’t work on a corset without this foot.  Also useful for those who do quilting.

Honorable mentions:

  1. Free motion foot:  Often used by quilters, it allows you to move the fabric around the machine in all directions (not just back and forth!) and make circles, stippling stitches, and other designs in your sewing/quilting.
  2. Fancy trim foot:  This foot has a groove in it that allows you to sew down things like strings of sequins without having to do them by hand and without breaking the sequin or your needle.

Renee Larson is MNSOC’s Resident Sewing Pro.  If you have a question for Renee you can send it to MNSOC, or you can find Renee in person – selling, fixing and teaching about various sewing machines at the Husquavarna Viking dealer in Joann Fabrics in Woodbury.

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The Top 10 Things People Do to Screw Up Their Sewing Machines and How to Fix Them

By Renee Larson

  1. If you have a big messy knot of thread underneath your fabric when you are sewing this is called “nesting.”  Nesting of thread on the bottom of your sewing is most often caused by mis-threading.  Check your thread and make sure everything is in the correct order. It never hurts to re-thread your machine and start again.
  2. If your bobbin thread  is “mushy” rather than tightly wound, it is likely wound incorrectly.  Also, check to make sure your bobbin is put in correctly, and the thread is going in the right direction.
  3. Make sure you use the correct needle for the project/thread you are using.  An example of using the wrong needle is using heavy duty thread with a regular needle, which will shred the thread.  Try a topstitch needle instead.
  4. Change your needle every 15 hours of sewing, otherwise you can wind up with skipped stitches, a bent needle, etc.
  5. Use the correct bobbin for your machine.  Check your owner’s manual for the right size.  Never assume that a generic one will work.  Very bad things can happen to your machinery if you do not follow this.
  6. Know your machine’s limitations – don’t force your machine to do something it is not meant to do, like sew through multiple layers of leather with a dull needle.
  7. Make life easier on yourself by using the right foot for your machine.  Your regular foot does not always work best for everything.  A ruffler will cut your sewing time in half.  A walking foot will give you a second set of feed dogs to help move everything along more evenly.
  8. DO NOT use canned air on your machine’s insides.  Use your vacuum instead.  It is better to suck it out than blow it in.
  9. Match your threads top to bottom.  For most sewing the weights of threads should match.  Some exemptions include using elastic thread in your bobbin and using embroidery thread which actually requires different weight threads.
  10. Take the time to clean out your machine on a regular basis.  Lint collected under your bobbin case can actually hold moisture in, causing rust.  Also, it is a good idea to have a professional clean out your machine once a year.  If your machine zigs but does not zag, it may require the use of a professional.

Renee Larson is MNSOC’s Resident Sewing Pro.  If you have a question for Renee you can send it to MNSOC, or you can find Renee in person – selling, fixing and teaching about various sewing machines at the Husquavarna Viking dealer in Joann Fabrics in Woodbury.

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