Tuesday 28 November 2017

Accessorising my sewing machine

As a child I was never a lover of sewing, I would happily knit or crochet but did my level best at school to get out of sewing classes.

So when a number of years ago I had a job for a sewing machine I decided to buy a basic machine as I never envisaged it would get much use. Its first job was to stitch the backing onto a cross stitch blanket I made for Fifi when she was born, At that point the machine went back into the box and into the loft, It made the odd appearance over the years, a hem here a minor repair there and sewing the backing onto Bob's cross stitch blanket when he was born. So last year when I dug it out of the loft to finish off Minky and Dinky's cross stitch blankets I decided it was not going back to the loft as I was going to use it, properly use it.

At the start of the year I begun messing around with patchwork and applique. Nothing of any particular standard to begin with but fun and interesting.

four  nine square's made into a larger piece of work.

My next piece was a useful item, a cover for my sewing machine. 

My next project was more ambitious, too ambitious probably, and whilst I really liked the top I could not manage to get the back quilted in the way I had envisioned. It brought together a lot of new to me techniques.  I was going to throw it away. But my SIL gave it a home and really likes it, as she says she does not look at the back anyway.
 I experimented with cathedral windows and various other pieces of work. 

But having decided to go to smaller pieces for work for a while  I made a not so perfect piece of applique for Spud's first birthday, a doll blanket. 

These seemed to be a hit with friends and people ordered them and I decided to make for the local cash for kids charity.

At this point I decided I wanted to try something different. Was finding a lot of ideas on Pinterest that \I wanted to try. Something to add texture and dimension to what I was doing. But as my machine is a fairly basic model some of the ideas were beyond the capabilities. 

As I do not have the money to spare to buy a more upmarket model I decided to look at adding accessories to the machine I have to make it more versatile. As quilting is something I want to try more off I purchased items to enable me to do this. 

My first choice was a set of various types of feet. This included a few items I have yet to use but the walking foot and quilting foot are fairly essential for doing quilting. It comes with a leaflet explaining what each foot does and you will find tutorials on youtube to help you grasp the basics of each foot. 

Next I decided to get an extension table to add on to my machine to make it easier to make larger items. 

This was used for my first king size scrap quilt I have made. The table enables you to spread the weight more evenly and I find it helps to balance the quilt out and makes the sewing more even.

my quilt on the table

I also looked at a few differing accessories to enhance my quilting. One of these items is a free motion foot. Again you will find  youtube videos on how to use them but I have to admit defeat with this one, no matter what I tried I could not get my bottom thread to have any tension, it just  looked all lumpy and bumpy. I did try changing my tension and stitch length but no matter what I tried with it I was not happy with the results.

the backs were loopy

The final accessory I added was a flower stitch foot. This is great as it works with the patterns you have built into your machine.  Again there are many online tutorials, I had a lot of fun playing with this attachment, trying out the different stitches in different colours.

I had to google how to attach the foot to my machine and the first time it took me a while to work it out, I initially found it awkward, but once you get use to it it becomes easy enough.

This was my first attempts at using the flowers, I have not finished any of the ends off on here so they look a bit untidy. Different stitches produce different sizes, and the attachment itself makes three different sizes with an easy slide across to change the size.

I have used the flowers to enhance a quilt I made for a friends baby.

As you can see it is possible to achieve more with the machine you have just by adding accessories, it is not always necessary to buy new if you are on a budget.

The flower attachment and the free motion foot was given to me by Toyota, the table and set of feet were purchased by myself.

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