Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Some Hotel Sewing Goodness!

This is what is in front of me tonight.

My pieces and parts for the plus blocks I am making in the APQ Quilt-Along with American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine.

Are you in on it too?

You can do any kind of a block with an obvious + in it, and there are plenty of ideas in the current issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, and Quilts & More magazines.

I wrote about my participation and about the Quilt Along in this post.

Strip sets were sewm over the past few trips up to the cabin, and I used my acccquilt studio to subcut my strip sets so the units are ready to sew together.

They traveled with me to Texas and Alabama in zip lock bags ready for a night of hotel sewing.

Last night upon my arrival to Gulf Shores, Alabama, I really thought I would just throw myself on the bed and call it an early night, but after about a 20 minute rest, I got very curious to see what was IN that familiar little black box that was perched on the bench at the end of my bed.

Oh, I knew what was in the box…

But I didn’t expect to see a bright turquoise foot pedal when I opened the lid!

From there I found my second wind.  TURQUOISE!  It’s a TURQUOISE featherweight!

The first thing that has to happen when I sit down at any machine is to test the seam allowance.


After-market foot with guide.

I tried to get a better photo, but my camera was just not dealing with the hotel lighting so I hope you can see what I am referring to here.

This popular foot (Usually found on Janome machines and others) with a guide is just too wide to have my units come out the size I need.  It does not give a 1/4'' seam on a featherweight.

I needed to match my seam from this machine to the seam I was getting with my home machine.

I used my little seam guide and placed the hotel room key in FRONT of this foot because the foot is too wide for the guide to go where it really needs to go.


Can you see where the guide falls?

Sorry about the poor photo, but you can really see how running the fabric all the way to the guide would be over kill.

I really do prefer to sew with the original foot that came with a vintage machine because the foot works well with the feed dogs it was meant to go with.  I don’t mind a foot that is narrower than 1/4’’, in fact I PREFER it so that the fabric goes beyond the foot, up against my sticky seam guide and that way I KNOW I am sewing where I am supposed to, because I can see the fabric as it goes along the side of the guide on the machine bed.

A stationary guide also does not go up and down with the presser foot, nor does it wiggle side to side like a presser foot does. 

I think of it this way:

Does a woodworker put a guide on a moving saw blade, allowing it to go up and down with the blade as it cuts wood?  I’ve not seen that, but I have seen stationary jigs attached to the saw table to run the wood against to get a straight cut.

Same thing with sewing.  I want my guide on the machine bed…non-moving.  I want to see my fabric up against it, instead of being hidden underneath a foot that is not only too wide to give me the seam that I need, but leaving the edge of the fabric invisible when hidden by a flange guide attached to a wiggly foot.


Sewing up a storm!

This is the most beautiful turquoise machine I have ever seen and I am so grateful for it –I can make up for the over sized foot by using my little sticky room key card guide, and I will get these blocks sewn together during evening sew time back at my hotel.

The point of this post is this:  You can sew on ANY machine if you simply do a seam test to be SURE that your units are coming out the same size on the borrowed machine as they are on your home machine.

If the machine has a foot that isn't working for you, use part of a hotel room key with some double stick removable poster tape and mark your machine bed where you need your seam to be so that you do get the results that you want.  TEST TEST TEST!

Today’s Roll Roll Cotton Boll class was a blast, and we will be doing it again tomorrow with Jared Takes a Wife!

Have a great evening, everyone!

PS.  If you notice my text being disrupted by more and more typos --it's just MacTel2 raising its ugly head.  It's not a sign of laziness or stupidity.  I just honestly cannot discern typos from correct text anymore as typing on a backlit screen gets increasingly difficult at times.

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  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been told this by several high profile teachers & knew it myself from getting blocks sewn by others. I was trying to teach my cousin about checking the 1/4" seam when the "head" quilter in our church group said for her to ignore me. I was wrong. I guess she has never sewn on as many machines as I have or you. But now I am vindicated! No, I won't tell her but I am reassured when teaching my nieces I'm not quite crazy yet. I check my seams everytime. Habits die hard.

    You forgot the cold weather here when you packed for Alabama! Hope you enjoy Gulf Shores. It's a favorite place of mine. My brother married on the beach.

  2. Anonymous10:53 PM EST

    Thank you Bonnie...I have a new "inexpensive" Brother machine and a Featherweight.
    I bought a 1/4" foot for the Brother and it is the type you described - wiggly, unstable and too wide.. I don't really like using it for all the reasons you listed BUT it has a small hole and keeps the fabric from being sucked down with the needle. I think I'm going to switch over to the Featherweight full time for a while. I know you must sometimes feel like you are repeating yourself, but please know you are teaching us something new all the time. Very much appreciated.
    Linda Marglon, California

  3. Anonymous5:21 AM EST

    Thank you. I have been told any times that you must sew on the same machine for each quilt. I set out to prove them wrong by using the 1/4 guide. I also point out that you travel and use different machines while adjusting your seam allowances. Yeah Bonny! Valerie C.

  4. turquoise, black or fire engine red...they all sew the same in the dark...LOL

  5. The turquoise machine is super cute. It would be fun to sew on that one. Have a fun time and I like the way your plus blocks are coming out. I have a lot of projects going on right now, so I am not starting that one, but may change my mind when I see more of it. Have a great class.

  6. Wow! What a beauty that you were given to use during your stay! I wish I was more knowledgeable about machines - I found several in an antique shop last weekend and thought of you. Posted one on IG, but I don't have a clue what it was. But, they are fun to look at! Love your red and white pieces - what's not to love!?

  7. Anonymous1:19 PM EST

    Bonnie, I received my books!!!Even with the wrong address!!! (Which was my fault). Glad we moved to such a small community, I don't think that would of happened elsewhere. Thank you!

    Love the turquoise machine and all your helpful hints. -Rhonda

  8. I purchased a 1/4"" foot made specifically for the featherweight. I found it on eBay and really love it. It is exactly the same size as the original featherweight straight stitch foot except the toe on the right side extends slightly and has the guide attached to it. For me it works because I only sew a quilt on the machine I started it with. I do use your method when I teach classes so the students don't go home and finish on a different machine and wind up with issues. I love reading your blogs and learning new stuff from the pro. Thanks Bonnie, Doreen


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