Tuesday, October 18, 2011

And I Sewed, Too!

I have to tell you, I felt like I was slacking and playing hooky and getting away with something I should not be getting away with either!

And it was GREAT!

Usually, my trips go like this…..I teach ONE class per day that lasts either a half day ((4 hours)) or a full day ((6 hours plus time for lunch)) with the average day running from 9am to 4pm. And everyone does the same class. And I spend my time with each student, making my rounds around the room.

If I need to sew for a demo, I bump someone out of their chair and use their machine.

I don’t sit! I certainly don’t sit at the front of the class and work on my own projects, that’s not what I am there for.

So Thursday night I taught from 2pm until dinner time….and then *I* got to sew!

Remember the trouble I had with the difference in seam allowance when switching between machines at retreat in Shipshewana last November? Even though my new featherweight had a brand new highly touted “PERFECT” 1/4” foot on it, all my blocks came out to be 1/4” too small when compared to the ones I had made at home on my Bernina.

I was NOT going to deal with that this time! ((And yes, I ditched that 1/4” foot with the little black guide because it sews FAR too wide, and because that black thing is there, you can’t see WHERE the edge of your fabric is))

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On the left is the pair of triangles sewn with the “perfect 1/4” foot with guide. TOO WIDE!

ON the right is the one I sewed on my home machine, my Bernina 1080, with it’s scant 1/4”.

These triangles needed to measure 2” when pressed. The one with the 1/4” foot on the featherweight came out 1 7/8”. You can see just by looking at the pic that the seam allowance on the left hand pair is too wide.

So how do I get what I sew on THIS machine to match what I am sewing on my home machine? I had a light bulb moment!

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I put my original foot on that came WITH the featherweight…..this foot is too narrow by itself for a 1/4” seam, but I took the “CORRECT” triangle pair, the one I sewed on my home machine, and put it under the needle. I sunk the needle right into the stitch line. I used my little screw on seam guide and adjusted it right up to where the seam allowance needed to fall.

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I knew the seam would be the same as the ones I sewed at home at this point…I double checked by holding ones I’d done at home against the ones I was doing here. NO DIFFERENCE. I think this is even more important than measuring your seam with a ruler. Just be sure you bring a unit that you sewed on the “other” machine so you can set the traveling machine to give you the same result.

Friday I taught until about 3:30pm…and everyone had really gotten into their projects and didn’t need me anymore, and the machine beckoned!

I sewed until dinner, and I sewed after dinner until I crawled off to bed around 10:30pm ((Yeah, I know, what a WIMP!!))

Saturday I got in LOTS AND LOTS of sewing time! So much so that all I had left were the leader/ender bow-ties I had brought….and they became primary project material!

Woah! Can I actually do it this way? Is that cheating?

If I am using one bow-tie to be the leader ender of a second bow-tie…does that make it more legal!?

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When I ran OUT of pre-cut bow-tie parts..I grabbed the motley crew of scrap fabrics I had brought with me and pressed them. And then I had a cutting fest! ((Yep, there are some real classic vintage oldies in here! How fun to put them to good use in these ties!))

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I spent my last night in Rangeley back at Quilt Inn, covering the wonderfully large cutting table with little kitted up squares for MORE bow-ties!

I’m headed to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM on Saturday. Guess who’s going to be ready for some MORE piecing time?!


  1. Anonymous7:52 AM EDT

    So glad you got to "join the girls" in stitching this trip. It was a blast just having you there, Bonnie. Turn up the music and keep on stitching.
    Safe journey to NM and I expect to see that cactus material in a bow tie!! haha

  2. Glad you got time to catch up on your bow ties. Love how the cheddar glows on the bed of your hot pink machine.lol I wish you safe travels to NM.

  3. Anonymous8:36 AM EDT

    That little black guide is a pest and when I teach classes most people will break theirs off, easy just bend it up and down until it snaps off.
    That way you use the edge of the foot giving a much better 1/4inch

  4. Yeah! I'm so glad you got some wonderful sewing time in. I know how great it feels to actually run out of projects and have to come up with more. I'm smiling for you right now :-)

    I'm heading off to retreat this weekend, bringing the Pineapple Blossom I started with you this summer, My Blue Heaven is going too, but it is my "back-up" project if I actually finish everything else. I get to retreat from Thursday afternoon to Sunday noon....yipee!

  5. Bonnie, I have used that method of taking a sample seam from home when I use my traveling sewing machine. It works every time!!! Looking forward to the Mystery Quilt. Can hardly wait. Thank you..

  6. You are heading to one of my favorite spots in the world...New Mexico! Make sure and try some green chili stew and some Huevos Rancharos...sigh...

  7. Considering your busy schedule it's so nice for you that you got to enjoy the retreat as well. i recent bought a 1/4" foot for one of my FW's and it had the black seam guide. I ditched it soon after discovering I couldn't sew 1/2 square triangles without distorting the block. So I took that foot back and got one that was exactly the same as my 2nd machine. A Sewing machine repair person was telling me that not all 1/4" feet/machines are made equal so that if you start a project on one machine you should sew it all with that machine problematic for leaders and enders. I have never seen one of those seam guides. for the FW. will have to go looking through my parts and see if I do have one. The things you learn reading blogs. Thanks!

  8. Love your bowties with that cheddar fabric. I should get mine in the mail from Mary Jo's soon.

  9. Anonymous9:40 AM EDT

    Sometimes when we use the foot with the little black metal guide we tend to push the fabric against it and it curls up the side of it. I'm not saying that is what you did but I've taught classes a plenty and I try to watch and make sure the gals don't do that.
    Your bowties are wonderful and might be my next "Ugly Fat Quarter" pattern.

  10. The Bow ties are addictive! I use them as Leader/enders and often find myself sewing just them instead of the main project. Thanks for showing your old way of making the correct Seam on you FW. Travel safely to NM.

  11. Our quilt group was having problems with accurate seam allowances when making our raffle quilts with blocks contributed by many quilters. Then we discovered the Dritz Quilting Machine Seam Gauge and 1/8" Adhesive Seam Guide tool. It's a red plexiglass piece with holes at specific seam allowance measurements (1/4", 1/2", 5/8" etc.) You place the machine needle in the hole of the seam allowance size you want, lower the presser foot, and then place the adhesive guide against the plexiglass tool. I use a wedge of 1/4" masking tape instead. What you have then, is a ledge set at 1/4" from the needle, to run the edge of your fabric against. This tool allowed us to set everyone's machine to the exact same seam allowance. It's what I use on my machines so I can be guaranteed that regardless of what machine I use, I've got the same seam allowance. Then it doesn't matter if I'm switching machines within the same project. I found the tool at JoAnn Fabrics, but Nancy's Notions has something similar (Perfect Piecing Seam Guide); It's a bit pricey (approx. $10) at JoAnn's so wait for a 50% off quilting notions sale. Even at full price, it's been worth the price to have consistent seam allowances between multiple sewing machines.

  12. Thanks for the tips, I need to work on perfecting my 1/4" seam. I think you are totally legal using one bow-tie as a leader ender for another. I do that with lots of projects. As I finish one section of a block I end with a unit from the next block and lead with the next section of the block.

  13. Lots of fun sewing going on. Happy stitching Bonnie and travel safe.

  14. Oops, I think my previous comment got lost!
    I really do enjoy your blog. I check it each morning before I begin my day to see "what Bonnie is up to today". You are a real inspiration to me. I appreciate the tip on maintaining a consistent 1/4" seam allowance between machines but have yet been able to locate one of the screw on seam guides for my FW. Do you by chance know of an online source. Thanks so much...I love your work and your enthusiasm!

  15. Very good thinking Bonnie--what a lot you were able to get done when you figured out how to correct your seam allowance on the FW. Great that YOU got to do some sewing at the retreat.
    New Mexico, huh? That sounds about as close as you get to Utah. Wish I could be there. Enjoy the Southwest.

  16. That's great you solved your seam mystery. I know your screw on guide has been proven to be fool proof in your acuracy. When I lived in Texas, each time I visited the Bernina store I'd ask about these and they would tell me they don't carry them in stock... or that no one uses them.. one reason or another urgh. Now that I've moved, I'll find a new place so Santa can order me one. ;)

    Can't wait to see all of your bow ties! Love from IN! Bonnie

  17. I think it's great that you got a chance to sew too!

  18. You can order a seam guide similar to Bonnie's here: http://shop.sew-classic.com/Seam-Gauge-Guide-Universal-SCF55415.htm

    I rescued one from my Grandma's old New Home machine that died. I also have a magnetic one that I use on my travel machine that doesn't have a screw hole on the bed.

  19. Should mention that seam guide is $1.49.

  20. Bonnie, I would love to get one of those guides for my little featherweight. Could you recommend a source where to get one at? And girl, your schedule wears me out. Don't know how you keep the traveling up like this! LOL!

  21. Don't you just love that little fence guide? I ended up with about 5 of them. So much better than most of my quarter inch feet. I even have a magnetic one for a steel machine that doesn't have the same size screw holes. Perfect. And, I saw it first on your blog. Lane

  22. I worked on my Bow Ties today. I need to sandwich a quilt for Nov. 28th BD. But I have tons of time now.
    I took a pair of pliers and ripped that black flange off the 1/4" foot. Fixed the seam issue and felt very impowering!
    Poor Bonnie all that cabin air in the airplanes is not healthy for Our Bonnie!
    XOXOXO Subee

  23. Anonymous11:47 PM EDT

    I sew on a Baby Lock Sofia machine. Good enough for my simple sewing. All I want is something that goes forward, backward, drop in bobbin, auto cutter and needle threader. The one thing I HATE about this machine is the 1/4" pressure foot! Although the seam is consistent, there is a little cut out part of it that every time you go against a seam it gets caught up under the seam. EVERY TIME! I always have to lift the pressure foot to get back on top of the seam. I've searched and searched and I can not find a pressure foot for this machine without this little cut out, indention point on the foot that will fit this machine. Any suggestion????

  24. Anonymous1:36 PM EDT

    Looking forward to your posts from Albuquerque and Santa Fe. We're travelling there next month so I can't wait to see how you spend your time there. I've never been and want to fit in a few quilt shop visits along with our sightseeing. :)


  25. I loved your tip about how to set the same seam allowance on your travel machine. I'm going to have to get one of those seam guides for my FW too.

    (Personally, I find that it's too hard to get a consistent 1/4 inch seam using any 1/4" foot. I really prefer to use the 1/4 inch mark on the throat plate. )

  26. I can't wait to see the finished project. I'd love to take your class. And I'm drooling over your machine.


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