Monday, 25 June 2012

Sewing Machine Feet

I have been thinking about sewing machine feet over the last few days as I only ever seem to use the standard foot on my machine but I have a few others sitting sadly in my sewing box, unused because I don't know what to use them for! My husband thinks that it is very sad that I have been pondering this...

My sewing machine is a Janome DC3050 and I love it :)

(photo from the Janome UK website)

I have yet to try to sew anything where it has let me down! It came with 6 feet when I bought it, so I have been reading up on each foot and what they do. I decided to write a blog post on this as I wanted to put all my ideas about this in one place!

I have found out a lot of my information from my trusty Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing I bought in the charity shop for the princely sum of £1.50 a couple of years ago, but have also used the Janome website as well as some tutorials form some blogs (listed below). The manual from my sewing machine was also a lot of help!

When reading about the different sewing machines I kept seeing people saying that a sewing machine was in a particular category and that only feet from the category would fit that machine. I didn't know at first, but some digging about on the Janome website tells me that the DC3050 is a Category B sewing machine (which is good as the feet seem to be very readily available and inexpensive!)

Ok, so what feet have I got?

A Foot - Standard Foot (aka the Zigzag Foot)

This is the foot I use practically ALL THE TIME. It can be used for almost any kind of stitching, which is why I always seems to use it, but there other feet which might make certain jobs easier (which is why I am writing this blog post)

C Foot - Overcast Foot (aka the Overedge or Overlock Foot)

I do use this foot too and find it very useful for finishing off seams. It gives an effect like an overlocker as the stitching wraps around the edge of the fabric to stop it from fraying and it looks pretty professional. Can you see the metal prongs in the middle of the foot? This is to guide the edge of the fabric and helps keep it flat as the overcast stitch goes over the edge of the fabric. The little brush is there for the needle to pass through. It fools the sewing machine into thinking it is sewing through fabric when really it is sewing over the edge of the fabric! Clever stuff :)

It can be used with a normal zigzag stitch, but my machine also has an overcast stitch which is what I usually use. There is also a double overcast stitch which sews two lines of zigzags for extra strength. It can be used for fabrics which would fray a lot otherwise, such as linen.

I have heard that it can also be used to sew knits with, but I haven't tried that yet. Maybe I should?!?

E Foot - Zipper Foot

Does what it says on the box really! This is used when sewing zippers and allows you to get the needle really close to the zipper :) This is something I am not terribly confident with, but I am determined to conquer this fear.

I have found some really good tutorials around describing how to sew zippers so I am going to have a go at making something with a zipper in. Here are a couple of the tutorials I have found:

Sew Mama Sew

Make it Love it (I absolutely love this site, only found it yesterday, you should really check it out!)

F Foot - Satin Stich Foot

This looks a bit like the zigzag foot, except it is made of clear plastic and has a more open toe. It can be used for applique sewing and makes things easier because you can see where you are sewing a bit better. There is also a little bevelled groove on the underneath of this foot which allows the stitches to pass underneath the foot nice and smoothly. According to the manual that came with my machine this foot can also be used for sewing buttons on, smocking stitch, fagoting and cross stitch. It seems like this is a really versatile foot. To my shame, I don't think it has ever been on my machine....

I am planning to make some little drawstring bags to keep Little F's bits and bobs in so I will use this foot to add some simple appliqued shapes to the front of them.

G Foot - Blind Hem Foot

Have you ever noticed on curtains or trousers that you can't see the hem on the right side of the material? That's because they have been given a blind hem, so called because the stitching doesn't show through on the right side of the fabric, it only just catches the fabric with a tiny stitch. Usually blind hems are best done by hand, but many sewing machines have a foot that allows you to recreate this effect in a fraction of the time using your machine :) Can you see the white plastic bit? This is adjustable (by turning the little metal screw) to let you get the right length hem that you need.

I bought some curtains last week in Primark (!) which were reduced down from £35 to just £10. They are a beige colour with a band of floral material near the top and I think they will look great in our bedroom. They are lined with a 90" drop and that is too long for the window where I want to put them so I will need to take them up. As they are lined, I have read that it is easiest to unpick the curtain heading tape and shorten the top of the curtain and then resew the heading tape bac on. This way you don't need to worry about hems etc. HOWEVER, these curtains are eyelet curtains so I can't do that. Instead I am going to use my blind hem foot for the first time using Make it Love it's tutorial to help me :)

R Foot - Automatic Buttonhole Foot

My machine has 3 different styles of automatic buttonholes. This foot is very clever because you put the button into a holder on it and the machine senses how big the button is and makes the buttonhole the right size automatically :) This foot can also be used for darning on my machine, which could be quite useful as Mr P is forever snagging his clothes at work!

So, these are the feet that I already have. I am determined to use them as from what I have learnt over the last few days, it seems that using the right feet for the job could make my sewing easier and more professional looking.

Whilst learning about all these feet, I have also come across more feet that I would like to add my collection, but I will save that post for another day :)


topchelseagirl said...

Thanks for this post it is really helpful. Since getting my sewing machine I have only used the one foot, must try the others.

Polloc Pollock said...
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craftydeb said...

I have a Janome Magnolia 7318, and am wanting to do free motion embroidery, and don't see why the satin stitch foot F, won't fit the ticket, any thoughts on this from anyone? I don't want to buy an open toe embroidery foot, that everyone says to get, for that purpose, if the satin stitch foot will do the same thing.

Neil Johsnon said...

One thing which i most like in this machine the Automatic Buttonhole Foot which is so comfortable and i really like this machine design as well i hope i will purchase it as soon as more

Daivd Lyod said...

Thank you for this post. It has been extremely helpful to me in learning about what types of fabrics it can sew. You've really covered all your bases and my questions. Thanks!

Pretty Florals said...

I just bought this machine! Your post is really informative :) Thanks.

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