Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Machine Foot Workshop

When I upgraded machines, I decided that I was going to learn how to use more than the zig zag stitch for making swimwear and the free motion quilting when making quilts!

Last week, I took a workshop about how particular machine feet can make construction work easier and decorative stitching sing.

Triangle zipper bag--going to be a gift item!
The first day, we learned about programming the knot function on our machines in the setting menu. The review was great and I have it down now. Generally, I don't want the securing stitch on because when I am quilting, I sure don't want a knot at the beginning or the end of a quilting line. I generally take tiny stitches to secure the beginning and end of a stitching line.

We also practiced finding and using the memory pages of our stitches. I had forgotten about where these were! It is valuable because there were times when I was stitching and turned off the machine and later I thought.  . .uh, oh. . .do I remember the settings of that stitch?

Finally, we were able to stitch. We used the 12, 12C, 39C and 20D feet. (I had the 20C foot; but, purchased a 20D.) This little bag started off as a 5x10 rectangle. How fun is that decorative stitching on the zipper? What a great way to use a smallish scrap! I may make a few more because they will make great gift bags to hang on the tree at Christmas. I won't share what I'm putting inside the bags because some of the recipients read this blog!

The 'sample' project
The second day of class, we were to make a small bag which would be perfect for a cell phone and a little tube of lipstick. I understand about technique orientated versus project oriented classes. This was a technique class meaning it was about the process so it wasn't going to be "best" work. There were about twelve people in this section of the class. (The class the first day had 23 participants.)  Three of us had the seven series Bernina 790, 780 and 750. The remainder of the class had the eight series Bernina 830 and 880.

When I take a class, I try to bring all the items on the supply list to the class. The teacher didn't put those items on the list  because he/she wanted us to spend loads of bucks; she put them on the list for a reason. I look at it as an opportunity to try what works for him/her because it might also work for me.

Out of the 11 people in class at least five people didn't have the supplies required for the class. Their comment was, I didn't want to buy it until I tried it! What happened was that the teacher had to split the parts of the project up so the supplies could stretch and everyone could be stitching. It didn't work that way. . .the teacher was split trying to lead two sections of the project at the same time.

Also, when I take a class, I clean my machine--service it if it is necessary; I pack the foot pedal,  the power cord and the throat plates. (Once I forgot the 9mm throat plate--lucky DH brought it to me!) I sew with a variety of threads, I can adjust my tension and although I am primarily a quilter, I can stitch other types of projects. I've read my machine manual and feel confident stitching with my machine.

Imagine my surprise when the 8 series machines, wouldn't stitch the Isacord thread in a double needle or the stitcher could't adjust the tension to a satisfactory stitch. The teacher then was trouble shooting for these individuals and of course, what worked for one didn't necessarily work for another!

Making pin tucks and using a double needle
to decorative stitch between the spaces.
Also, a number of the participants were either new to their machine or to Bernina. They weren't familiar with their machine's screen system. That unfamiliarity slowed the class progress. Also, we all learn differently. Some "talk" while doing the steps, some see the photos in the power point and do it, some read each step and check it off, while others need to be guided through each step. That teacher was put to the max with all of us!

In the end, our class didn't finish the bag. We didn't practice an invisible zipper application. We didn't make corded pin tucks. We didn't make a monogram. She didn't show how to use a foot I asked to see demonstrated. She didn't demonstrate the 16W foot.

Am I unhappy about all the didn't list of items? No. I learned loads. I invited a gal with a similar machine to sit next to me so I could help her with the screen functions. It was hard for me to walk her through the steps instead of just pressing the buttons on her screen! But, in a couple of hours, she was feeling much more confident about the screen functions and started opening windows just to see what was there. Before class, she was too worried that she was going to freeze something if she experimented and then wouldn't be able to stitch! How exciting it was to see her blossom and get excited about the capabilities of her machine! Plus, I now have a new friend!

This was the first time the teacher had taught this foot class. If I were teaching a new class, I think I would have presented less materials and had the class accomplished that, then I would have have done some demonstrations. . .like how to make corded piping or what piping looks with this particular foot as to that particular foot.

The selection of machine feet that I used during the
The piping I made wasn't made with the correct foot. I thought I heard use a 12C when it was use a 12. I got my bag together and was ready to add the lining and then I looked at the piping. . .ugly. . .ugly. . .ugly!!

I did make some great button holes in the elastic strap though. The button holes don't photograph well. . .it is black on black. . .you'll just have to take me at my word! :)

Once I finish the president's blocks, I'll go back and redo that piping.  An update on the president's blocks, I'm about halfway through the 97 sashings.


  1. Looks like you learned a lot. It's so fun trying new feet and new techniques!

    1. Nancy, I also learned that it is good to have reviewed the information too. I found that I retained more than what I thought! :)--Terry


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