The Zipper Foot
These are an essential foot in my humble opinion. It allows you to get the sewing machine needle up and close to the teeth of your zip. That gives you more control of the end result of your project.
The foot has two sides to it, a left and a right. You need a clip on adaptor to fit the foot in the photo. You then clip it on to either side, depending on which side of the teeth you are sewing. If you’re not sure which side you need, clip the foot on to one side and then put your project underneath. If you’re not as close as you want to be, move the foot to the other side.
What else can I use it for?
The zipper foot is also great for sewing in piping cord trim. It means you can get close to the cord itself, leaving less of the flange visible.
Variations on the Foot
The foot can also come as a screw on version, meaning you don’t need the clip on adaptor.
A further variation is the invisible zipper foot.
Tips for Use
Make sure your machine needle is in the right position before you sew. To check, fit the foot and then slowly lower the needle using the fly wheel on the right hand side of the machine (that’s the wheel on the end). If the needle hots the foot, adjust the position before you start sewing. On some machines you can move the needle with a button marked L, M & R (left, middle and right).
Check the machine is set for a straight stitch. This foot can’t be used with a zig zag stitch-the needle will hit the foot and break.
Popular with quilters, this foot can be a little daunting to approach. Fear not, it is a very simple piece of engineering and a must have foot.
The foot is ideal for thick, quilt sandwiches but also favoured by sewists using jersey fabrics to minimise stretch as they sew.
The premise of the foot is simple, it have a second set of feed dogs to compliment the lower feed dogs, helping to pull bulkier fabrics through your machine. The upper feed dogs are moved by a lever that you connect to the top of the needle bar. As the needle moves up and down, it moves the feed dogs at the same time.
How do I fit it?
If you have a clip on adaptor-this needs to be removed before you can fit the walking foot. You need to wrap the foot around the screw hole on the presser foot bar. Before you screw it together, make sure the lever on the right of the foot is resting on the needle bar screw. Then you can attach the screw.
Tips for Use
If you find that you are getting very small stitches despite having selected a longer stitch length, you may find the walking foot of use. Small stitches are indicative of the fabric not being able to progress under the presser foot as quickly as you may wish.
The Keen Sewist’s Christmas Wish List
Cooking done. Glass of wine at hand and presents that are all to do with sewing. Lush!!!!
- New books of ideas and patterns so we can dream and plan new makes for the coming year. A pretty notebook would be nice too.
- Fabric to feel hold and plan what to do with whilst the Christmas film is on. Dreaming of that beautiful dress, jacket or coat.
- The latest gadgets to tidy my stash and enhance the craft room. A ruffle foot is high on the list.
- Time to potter in the fabric stash cupboard planning projects while the family enjoy a doze after lunch!!!!
If you’re stuck for a last minute present for the sewist in your life for Christmas you will not go wrong with books, fabrics, patterns needles and threads. Oh and may be a new sewing box to store those bits and bobs we all love to stash.
Fat quarters are handy sized pieces of fabric and there is so much you can do with them! Here are 5 ideas:
- Make a pincushion. Every sewist needs one and yours can be truly unique if you design it yourself. Make sure you fill it with plenty of stuffing and embellish it as you please!
- Make a little lined zippered pouch, whether for pencils or make up. There are dozens of tutorials for these online. A FQ is ample fabric for outer and lining, but you can get creative by using a contrasting FQ for the lining perhaps. You just need a zip and perhaps some interfacing to stiffen the bag. Box out the corners and bob’s your uncle.
- Transform a cushion, pillow case or item of clothing with appliqué. Using bondaweb you can cut out from the FQ the shape you’d like to use, and iron it on where you want it. Secure it with a decorative machine or hand stitch round the edge of the shape.
- Make binding for the edge of a quilt. Cut the FQ into strips of each 2 1/4 inches wide. Join them together until you’ve got a strip long enough to go around the quilt. Press in half lengthways, stitch to front of quilt with raw edges together then turn and hand sew to the back.
- Make home or Christmas decorations. Use templates to cut out stockings, hearts, stars or reindeer, sew 2 wrong sides together, turn through, stuff and sew closed. Add a ribbon for hanging or decoration.
You are in the fabric shop and wow, the choice! Where to start? These top tips should help you make the right choices.
- Check your pattern for their recommendations. They may specify only to use certain fabric for example, a stretch jersey.
- Unsure what the fabric is? ask the sales assistant for help. Fabrics can have some odd names like pongee* for instance.
- Unroll some of the fabric and hold it up to the light. Look for how it drapes or falls. Scrunch for creasing. Check for a nap (the way the fabric shines in the light e.g. velvet).
- Ensure you know the width of fabric and check with your pattern to see how much is required for that width.
- If there is an obvious pattern on the fabric allow more for matching. To find out the pattern repeat, measure from a point on the fabric pattern find where it repeats and measure the distance to the next same point.
*Pongee is a soft thin woven cloth. In the early 20th century, pongee was an important export from China to the United States. Pongee is still woven in silk by many mills across China, especially along the banks of the Yangtze at mills in Sichuan, Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces. . Generally it varies in weight from 36 to about 50gm/sq m. In lighter variants, it is called Paj. It is used as a blouse weight or lining silk.
Are your lunchtimes a little same same? Why not join us for a little midday sewing (in the warm and dry). Every Wednesday lunchtime we settle down with a different project like the silk fish below, and enjoy some creativity. Just come and join us, no booking required.
Where? Crafty Baba, 32 St Peters Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 1XB
When? 12.15-1pm every Wednesday
How much? £4 per person including materials
As Summer approaches I can’t wait to get my toddler into the garden and away from the TV!
I thought I would make her a Vintage Toddler TeePee to enjoy tea parties in. It was so easy so I thought I would share the pattern.
1. You need four metres of fabric (I used a polycotton with a strawberry and butterfly print from our shop), four poles (I used garden canes) and a sewing machine. I also made use of my overlocker (also called a serger) but it’s not essential.
2. Cut the fabric into four triangles. I simply folded the fabric in half and cut them all at the same time so they were symmetrical. Cut the tops off each of the triangles approx 5cm from the tip. This it to leave a space for the poles to poke through.
3. Start to sew the long edges together with right sides together. Keep sewing until all four triangles have been sewn into a pyramid.
4. Cut a hole in one piece to form a door. The size of this depends on how tall your toddler is! I made mine 60cm tall for her to crawl in. I serged the edges but you can neaten them by adding bias binding or just folding the edges over to form a hem.
5. Time to make the tubes for the poles. With wrong sides together, sew a new seam over your existing side seams to make a tube for the poles to fit into. At approx 5cm from the top, turn a right angle and sew back towards the edge, This is to form a casing otherwise the fabric slips off the poles.
6. Finally, neaten the top and bottom by either serging the edges or perhaps zig zaging round.
7. Insert the poles and welcome your toddler in to play!
I sewed a pocket onto the side of my teepee so my toddler could put her teddy in. I also waterproofed it from light showers using a waterproofing spray. Lastly, I added a bow with some stiff ribbon to hold the four poles in place.
If you make your own Toddler TeePee, please do share your photos with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!