Friday, 1 February 2008

A new type of foot for my kimono...

Oh what a revelation a walking foot was when trying to stitch this slippery eel of a satin ribbon onto a kimono this week. I have to admit to being the sort of person who ploughs on with a task irrespective of whether I'm in possession of the right tools for the job...but slowly it's dawning on me that sometimes learning how to use something properly is less tedious than I had previously thought. At £28, and with convoluted verbal instructions as to how I might attach the walking foot, I very nearly decided I could live without one...but I'm so pleased I didn't. Attaching the trim to kimonos had previously been a dreaded task that was accompanied by much cursing...but no longer. I have no idea (or indeed any desire to know) what is contained in the little plastic box at the rear of this foot that makes its stomping (for it is loud!) so magical, but gosh, it's amazing and it had me whooping with delight at the joy of stress-free sewing on such a sunny day!

On my previous kimonos I have always used a French seam, which makes for tricky work attaching the arms neatly and, even though the seam is miniscule, bulkier than I think one would like for something as drapey as a kimono. With this in mind and an overlocker a possible birthday present away, I decided to see whether I could do some Florence-brand overlocking. I zig-zagged each seam and then went back and did a line of straight stitch next to it and then trimmed. There were a couple of options on my machine for stitches that combined a straight stitch and a zigzag, but when I sampled on some test material I knew I'd worry that they weren't substantial enough to prevent fraying. Does anyone have any of their own self-created overlocking tips that are tried and tested?

So here is the end result and this one is for me! I'd intended to use making it as an opportunity to actually make a proper pattern, but alas I'm still working off my notes on the back of an envelope as none of my pattern paper was big enough to fit even a single arm onto! Miss Celeste is modelling for me...for despite being a strange fish for making clothes on, she is passable when it comes to displaying loungewear!

And to the weekend: Zebra-girl has plans to commandeer my machine - but what a sterling job I have done in not jumping up and down and doing cartwheels - for fear of dampening her enthusiasm - instead I have played it cool and even threw in some mock-sighs for good measure and am now considering a career in acting! I am really so happy though - it seems to be something she genuinely loves to do and keeps returning to.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend. x

Ps. I hadn't put this in my original post as I always assume that I'm the last to know about anything vaguely useful sewing-related...but it's become apparent from the comments, that there are others out there who plough on regardless too, remaining naive to helpful aides: So, a walking foot is a special device that makes sure your top and bottom layers of fabric feed through the machine at exactly the same rate...I think that means it solves the problem of 'differential feed'. Slippery materials are particularly guilty (although by no means exclusively guilty...for most materials seem to feed through at different rates the way I sew!) of this. I can't recommend one of these lovelies enough...I can imagine sewing everything with my walking foot from now on!

And why oh why is the spellcheck not working on Blogger today??? Please excuse any misspellings! xx

18 comments:

  1. Heh! I also do that, I make out you don't need 'X' tool for the job, that I can cobble it together (swearing the whole time of course), then when I obtain said tool and use it, it's like discovering sliced bread or the wheel for the first time.

    Your Kimono is delish. How wonderful your little one wants to sew, I hope she will learn to love it as much as we all do :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, I love that your daughter wants to sew. Mine does too, but I don't have the patience to teach her, alas. I wish she could take a class in school like I did.


    I don't have any special overlock tips--I just zig zag and it works for me, not being a perfectionist at all. Have a great weekend, Florence!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love my walking foot too. Great for sewing oilcloth without a teflon foot.

    How lovely that your daughter is taking an interest in sewing. My 4 year old little girl loves to join in with me too - it's so sweet to watch her concentrating.

    Beautiful kimono!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wanted to just say hi and thanks for being a friend to a 'loon'... will pop back later and catch up on reading about your walking foot!
    ginny
    x

    ReplyDelete
  5. A walking foot? Cool. I had never heard of it before and I love shiny new tools. May have to look into this. That's a gorgeous kimono.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I usually plough into whatever I'm doing without regard for the proper tools too. What a revelation it is to realize how easy things are WITH the right tools.

    It's a great day when kids show a natural inclination to do "what mom does". I bought a new machine in the fall and was a little apprehensive to let E use it, but it's so much safer than my old one and easier to use. Now I can just sit back back and let her have at it.

    I love the kimono. Inspires me to make one of my own.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just love your kimono! I have never tried a walking foot, sounds brilliant though. I do a zig zag and have on larger projects borrowed my mothers overlocker. One thing with them though is the threading, if you can get one that self threads it would be amazing as Mum can't thread hers without re watching a video on the subject!

    ReplyDelete
  8. oh so that's what they're for!
    the kimono is lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Beautiful Kimono.
    I've never heard of a 'walking foot' apart from what's on the end of my 'walking leggies' ...

    I'm another 'plougher' regardless of whether I have what I need to do the job.

    My little girl loves to spend time with me too when I'm creating. How lovely that there's a whole new generation of creativeness coming up behind their mums
    x

    ReplyDelete
  10. So pleased you managed to get the walking foot, it is going to make such a difference. I have used one for years, being a quilter, because when you want to sew the quilt top, the batting and the backing together, it stops the top going through the machine at a different speed than the bottom. Very clever gadget. Beautiful kimono. I think we may have got Clare hooked, she is starting to get "crafty" again. Yeah!!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. The kimono is fabulous! I put off using a walking foot too but it's revolutionised quilt-making for me. I never thought to use it for ordinary sewing. What kind of machine do you have? Mine has a couple of specialist 'overlocking' type stitches but they're terribly slow. I stick with the zig zag.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This was a very helpful post. I'm one of those who just goes on working around the sewing problems. Information like what you've provided is wonderful for learning new ways, techniques, and tools. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've been contemplating buying one of these recently...just because the sewing books say that's what I should be using and it must make things easier. Nice to see it working in reality! I do a similar style of "overlocking" on my seams. I do wonder whether an overlocker would be really worth it for the amount of garment sewing I do. I'm sure it's a great gadget but they look like a nightmare to thread! Anyhow - your kimono looks beautiful, glad you have found your method!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love your kimono - very luxurious looking! I really want to get myself a walking foot to do quilting with - now I know it's useful for other stuff too!

    ReplyDelete
  15. LOVELY! Yeah...I have a whole drawer full of attachments for my new machine and I just keep on struggling with the "old way" instead of taking the time to try them out and save time and effort in the long run. What would be the fun in doing it the easy way???

    ReplyDelete
  16. I got a walking foot "free" with my sewing machine (the quotes are because at the price I paid, I should bloomin' think so too!).

    It's also useful for tricky seams such as armholes and such - to keep your pieces in place as you manhandle the things round. or is that just the way i sew?

    ReplyDelete
  17. For anyone thinking of buying a new sewing machine, I think I am right in saying that Pfaff is the only manufacturer that has a built-in walking foot. I have one, it is brilliant, especially for quilting. They are a lot of money, but remember how many times your men "upgrade" their technology - computer, television, stereo, cars, bikes. Surely you deserve a lovely sewing machine.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...