Thursday, August 20, 2009

These feet were made for Walking (and Darning)

If you have purchased a new machine, it probably came with at least a couple of alternate feet. You probably thought: "There's no way I'll use all these feet. What are they for, anyway?" Believe it or not, there are actually dozens of types you can get, whether brand specific or generic. Some of them are pretty pricey, too. Be sure you can justify the cost by using them often and well.

My most used sewing machine feet are the walking and darning feet. They make my sewing life so much easier, and more interesting.

Walking foot (generic):
walking foot (generic)

The walking foot has long been a favorite of quilters. The white plastic feet on this foot help to keep multiple layers from slipping apart. It also is a joy when you're trying to match plaids or stripes.

To be honest, this is my most used foot. It has taken the place of my "A" (basic) foot, simply because it is such a helpful tool. Those pesky 1/4" seams are so much easier, and it's a must-have for quilting "in the ditch" (along seam lines).

Darning foot (Janome, open toe):
darning/embroidery foot

Lately though, I've been having a little fling with my darning foot. Also called an embroidery foot, this baby lets me go to town and do some free motion quilting (FMQ); all I have to do is drop the feed dogs, set this foot on the shank and off I go!

It's not just for quilting though. I have also been using it to do some free motion lettering. Embroidery, if you will. It produces a sketchy, jittery looking stitch, which must be repeated in order to get a thicker looking letter.

My first experience with free motion lettering was a lot of fun:

pirate bag - Ahoy Matey

I did use stabilizer inside the bag, so there were two layers. Then I fused some interfacing inside the bag, to cover the stitches (it's not a lined bag) and keep them from coming loose or getting caught on anything in the bag.

The pink pirate fabric is attached the same way, essentially. I call it a "chaos" stitch, just some random back-and-forthing along the edges. No heat-n-bond or anything, either, just the stitches.

Each letter has about five up-down/back-forth sets. They're not meant to be terribly neat-and-tidy, they're meant to evoke a loose scrawl. Takes a bit of practice, and patience. I'm looking forward to using it in some near-future projects.


1 comment:

Crafterella said...

I really want a darning foot, so I can try that free motion embroidery, buy I'm not buying any speciality feet until the craft room is set up! I have wondered about a walking foot, but I don't make quilts, everyone else in my family does so if I want one I just ask (I have about 10 already).