Monday, June 22, 2009

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Using the Binding Presser Foot You Don't Have...

...And Can't Get For Your Machine.

I was full of glee today when I discovered such a thing as a binding presser foot for home sewing machines. Visions of perfectly machine stitched bias binding zipping through my Singer at a rapid rate thrilled and delighted me. I remembered the handful of specialized presser feet that came with my Singer sewing machine, mysterious bits of hardware that I have never used, and felt quite sure that one of those devices was indeed a binding foot.

Upon arriving home, I dug into the accessory box and pulled out all the presser feet, then flipped open the machine's manual (yes, I still have it!) to see about my new treasures. The zipper foot and magic 1-stop-buttonholer I already knew about; also included was an overcasting foot, a rolled hem foot, and a blind hem foot........but no binding foot.

"I'll order from Singer online, a 1/4" binder and a 1/2" binder," thought I. I merrily punched in the model number of my machine and found the "Available Accessories" page, which listed all manner of ghastly expensive yet highly intriguing feet that did all manner of thing from ruffling to cutting: all except binding. They aren't made for my machine! No. Binding. Foot. For. Me.

After breaking a small piece of furniture and kicking a squirrel, I began to think about how to acheive my perfect binding with the tools I already had. And of course I'll share the methods with you, for they actually worked! Onward to adventure....

Ladies, Meet Your Overcast Foot
The nice thing about the overcast foot is that it has a spacer, a little bit of metal that you line up the edge of your fabric with to keep it all at an consistent interval.

The folded bias edge placed against the spacer

By placing the encased edge of the fabric (the bias folded over the edge of the fabric, with the fold against the spacer) against the spacer, and moving the needle to the far left, as indicated and necessary for the function of the foot, I got a stitch pretty darn close to the edge. The example here is on 1/4" wide bias tape.

Score.

Gentlemen, Let Me Introduce the Blind Hem Foot
Now to test the 1/2" wide bias with the overcast foot. As you can see, the stitching line was not nearly close enough to the edge, even with reversing the edge of the fabric, placing the open edge of the bias tape against the spacer.
The fix: use the Blind Hem Foot instead. This foot has an adjustable spacer, and in combination with moving the needle to the closest possible setting, a nice close stitching line can be achieved.



Using This Method and Things to Remember
Anxious to try it on a "real" garment, I retrieved my 18th c. stays from the backburner and tried out the overcast foot on the 1/4" tape. One side had already been painstakingly stitched by hand, which allowed me to really pull and stretch the tape over the edge. I managed to pick the hardest thing to test this method out on - the top edge of the corset has a very organic set of curves which required quite a lot of muscle to maneauver! I am happy with the result, and with more practice and a less insane edge to bind, I predict even better results.


So remember, if you are one of those unlucky seamsters who have a machine for which a binding foot is NOT made: overcast foot for 1/4" binding, and blind hem foot for 1/2" binding. Good luck!
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5 comments:

  1. I just use my regular foot, and change my needle setting :-P Who knew there was another way!

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  2. Great tutorial, it's always nice to find tricks to make life easier. :D Great blog I am going to enjoy seeing your gown come along. Can't wait to see it in person.

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  3. Thanks guys! Leimomi - I think the regular presser foot is generally easier to maneauver, but my straight-line-sewing-eyeball-bias-tape skills are pretty fail. I always end up going off-the-tape on the backside. I commend your on-tape skills!

    Robin, great to see you! I'm glad you like the blog!

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  4. I just ran to ebay to see if a binding foot existed for my machine and, Oh, Happy Day it did - so I bought one! I had no idea such a foot existed...thanks for the heads up! :-)

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