Friday, September 11, 2015

Featherweight Skill Series - Foot Hemmer

Thank you for coming to my Featherweight Skill Series! There are thousands of us who love our little 221s but need or want a little more "know-how" on using them to their fullest potential. I hope my posts and videos will help you get more know-how and confidence in using your beautiful Featherweight. Enjoy the classes!

Class #5 -  Foot Hemmer
(I have extras. If you do not have this foot, let me know and I'll sell you one.)

Class supply list:
Your fully threaded sewing machine, the hemmer foot, at least two or three practice strips that are WOF X 4" wide, of a light or medium weight fabric, appropriate needle, and pressure setting. (See lesson 4: Needles, Fabric, Pressure Control)

Let's get sewing!

I've heard it said that it's nearly impossible to begin hemming at the end of the fabric. But our manual says it is a skill that can be done, so let's learn how! I've tried a few different ways of starting at the edge. I'll demonstrate the one that is easiest, of course!

Here we go!

Take the edge and turn it under twice. The folds should be very narrow and rolled onto the back of the fabric. This is the start of the hem. Now we need to add stitches onto it. 
Just finger press the folds down for about an inch. You don't need to iron it.

Hold the rolled fabric behind the foot and bring the edge of the fabric into the scroll of the foot. 

Start to ease the fabric towards you to bring the edge under the needle. You should always be able to see the fabric in the needle hole of the foot. 

Set the foot and needle down into the edge of the fabric, adjust and hold the fabric in front of the needle so it stays lined up in the scroll. Set the seam by hand with a couple stitches forward and a couple backward.

Slowly stitch more hem stitches while holding the fabric edge slightly upward. This encourages the fabric to turn under in the foot.

If the fabric edge is not in the foot enough, like this, the raw edge will not curl under in the seam.
This is not enough of an edge to curl over two times. 
If it's in too much, it will fold unevenly and get too wide in the curl and will stick out past the seam.

As you approach the end, slow the stitching and let the edge advance into the curl of the foot. 
I like to stop close to the end, take a couple back stitches to set the seam, and then go forward a couple stitches to finish. Trim the thread tails at the edge of the fabric.

To turn the corner, stop near the edge, turn the fabric at a right angle, pull the fabric into the scroll and set a couple stitches down by the hand wheel. I demonstrate this in the video.

Here are the four corners from the silk I was hemming in my video. 
The one on the bottom is the first turn I made, the one above it is the next corner, the one on top is the starting and stopping point.

Sometimes corners can be rounded and look very nice with the narrow hem.
Take care to not stretch the bias edge or it will get wavy...unless that is the look you want.

Here's a spot where I held too much fabric in the curl. See how it's wider than it should be?
It's not terrible, and I wouldn't rip it out, but it isn't the way it should look.

Someday it will happen. The bobbin will run out in the middle of the hem...

Or we notice a part of the hem that did not get sewn correctly...

This is when we STOP, cry out "Noooo!", recompose ourselves, and proceed to fix the problem. 

-Pick out the part of the seam where it's not right. Rethread the machine. Insert the fabric with the hemmed section  behind the foot. 
-Just like the beginning, hold the fabric with both hands, one in front of and one behind the foot. 
-Gently curl the fabric to get the edge curled in the scroll of the foot. 
-Just like how we started, gently ease the hem as far back as it will go to where the prior seam ends. 

Continue sewing the hem as usual.

Here's where a seam ended and then was restarted. If it wasn't for all the thread tails, you can hardly tell where it is!

Tie off the threads and trim. Apply a drop of fray stop, if desired.

Homework: Take your strips and hem them! Try different fabrics but only use light and medium weight fabrics in this accessory. Share your pictures and ask your questions on our Facebook Group, Featherweight Skill Series so we can all encourage each other with this skill!

I hope you have enjoyed the exercise. This can be a very useful foot that gives a professional touch to your projects. Next week we will expand on the uses for this accessory.

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