Saturday, April 30, 2016

Featherweight Quilting Skill Series - Free Motion Quilting, Part 2

Thank you for coming to my Featherweight Quilting 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 #6 - Free Motion Quilting, Darning and Embroidery Foot

Class supply list:
Your fully threaded sewing machine with darning/embroidery foot and feed dog cover attached, several practice sandwiches no larger than 12" square.

Let's get sewing!

If you do not have the foot or cover plate, they can be bought new online. I got these two pieces from , which a great website for ordering supplies and finding helpful information about vintage Singer machines. If you order from them, mention my post! There are other generic, low shank free motion quilting feet in sewing stores. You can use whatever one you choose.

Let's get the cover plate installed! 

Attaching the feed dog cover plate is pretty straight forward. The two large tabs on the cover plate set down into the notches behind the feed dogs. The smaller single tab goes into the notch in front of the feed dogs. 

Set the larger back tabs down first. You can remove the needle for more room, if you want.

Press down on the front to lock it in place. This is the only way it will properly set down over the feed dogs. 
See the little rectangular hole in the cover plate below my finger? That is where you can insert a small screwdriver to pop the plate up to remove it.

This part it important! Slowly turn your hand wheel to lower the needle. It should easily and clearly drop down into the hole of the cover plate. 
If it does not enter the hole without touching it, you cannot use the cover plate you have! It will break your needle and can damage your machine. 

Now on to installing the foot!

Let's understand how this thing works. 
It is in two parts: the clamp (where it attaches to the machine) and the foot and arm piece.
The area behind the clamp has a strong spring inside to allow the hopping motion to occur while you sew. It also has the hinge to move the foot and arm up piece and down. 
Squeeze it like this to close and open the hinge. Squeezing the foot and the arm piece will not close and open the hinge. Understanding this will help you when you install it on the machine.

Place the foot behind the pressure bar. This will help you keep the arm behind the needle screw, which is where it needs to be when installed.
You can remove the needle if you need more room or don't want to get pricked!

Now squeeze together the front of the foot and the area behind the clamp where it screws into the machine. This will close the hinge so you can line the clamp onto the pressure bar straight.
When it is lined it up, screw the foot in place. 
This takes a bit of muscled maneuvering. You really have to squeeze it to keep the arm up and get the screw lined up! Don't worry, you won't break it!

When it's installed correctly, it will look like this.
Take a deep breath and smile! The next step is the sewing!

Now grab your practice sandwich! This is exciting because we can do all-direction free motion quilting!

Start at a corner, turn the hand wheel to bring the bobbin thread to the top of your fabric and pull all the threads under and behind your foot. Hold those threads as you begin to sew!

Remember that you don't have the help of the feed dogs while you sew! Slowly press on your pedal and, at the same time, move the fabric under the needle. 

The faster you move your fabric, the bigger the stitches will be; the slower you move the fabric, the smaller they will be. Don't let the fabric sew in one place over and over or else you'll get bad bobbin stitches called bird nesting. You'll have to remove the stitches where that happens and that's no fun.

The foot and hand coordination takes time to get used to but with practice, you will improve and become more comfortable with the skill!

Do some warm up stitches in a straight line. Hear what the machine sounds like when you sew. Feel how the fabric moves. Look at where you want to sew as opposed to what you just finished sewing to keep the flow of your stitches going where you want them to go.

After some warm up lines, begin to doodle! Stitch outlines around your patterned fabric. Make up patterns that you want to stitch! Try curves and circles and ovals! Remember to breathe and smile while you sew!
Because of using the hopping foot and feed of cover plate, you can move and sew in any direction with no skipped stitches! My sample was done without turning the fabric. I pushed the sandwich forward and backward and side to side and every stitch came out perfectly. I had much better results than when doing FMQ without a foot. 

Homework: Take your fabric sandwich and practice warm up straight lines and then all direction free motion quilting. Select a fabric with a pattern in it and free motion quilt around the patterns. 

I hope you have been encouraged to use your amazing sewing machine accessories.  Please share your pics on our Facebook group page, Featherweight Skill Series, so we can see your creations! 

If you like the series, share the link with your friends, pin it to Pinterest, join my Facebook group... Most importantly, "Let's get sewing!"

See you next time! There's more things to do with these accessories!

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