Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Confession


Sometimes I joke about the limited features on my sewing machine - but it has one feature that I absolutely love - I can remove part of the bed, which leaves only a narrow extension that fits inside of cuffs, etc. for all but small children's clothes. (I am pretty sure that this is referred to as a "free arm", but I could be wrong on that...)

I love this and use it all the time - probably even when I don't really need it, such as in the photo above. ;)

I wouldn't buy a sewing machine without this feature and it constantly drives me crazy that my serger doesn't do it.

So, how about you? Does your machine have this feature? Is it important to you? If you don't use it, do you have any tips for sewing in columns such as pant hems and sleeve cuffs?

13 comments:

Lynne Williams said...

Oh boy Gwen, you hit a nerve with this one-lol. I dislike the free arm and rarely find a use for it. What frustrates me about it is that it causes the needle to sit further back on the bed of the machine, reducing your visibility. On older machines the needle is almost flush with the front of the machine, but with a free arm it has to sit in the middle of the bed, about an 1" back. I find my students sew less accurately when using the free arm, but practice certainly can compensate for that.

I sew from inside the curve or tube which facilitates the cloth laying properly then when worn.

Try it you will like it-LOl

www.sewingcafewithlynne.blogspot.com

vernonfashionstudio said...

The Freearm is pretty standand on all machines these days and it is a big help for those small cuffs and kids necklines. And I am with you in loving it but I am also with Lynne Williams in that sewing is harder when it is used for flat sewing. I have students who leave the part that is removable at, at home making sewing more mor difficult. I am not entirely sure about the point Lynne made about the needle being further back. My take on that is that the new machines have bigger top parts than the older machines do thus giving the illusion the needle has been moved back but I will have to check my old and new machines to confirm that.
I recently got a table for my machine that fits around the freearm giving me a nice big table area to move fabric on. Now mu fabric does not hang off the side and back of the machine.

Linda T

Faye Lewis said...

Oh yes!, and I wouldn't want to do with it. The extension is off more than it's on. It's probably not seamstressly correct, but I've actually gotten use to sewing without it.

Lori said...

I really like this feature, along with my needle up/down feature. Several things I wouldn't want to give up.

patsijean said...

I got my first free arm machine in 1990 and really enjoy that feature. However, I only use it when necessary. I can sometimes use the tension between the back of the arm and the front to help keep fabric from accidental gathering by the feed of the machine. This feature is great for attaching shirt cuffs and hemming a sleeve at the wrist and can help when inserting a sleeve when you cannot insert the sleeve by the flat method.

mamafitz said...

my janome has a free arm that i have never used. i like having my machine flat in a table, and so i find a free arm annoying, because then the machine is ON the table (and up higher) instead of IN the table. you just sew on the inside of the tube or curve, like this:
http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b319/mamafitz/stitchingfromtheinsideofthecircle.jpg
i've even sewn preemie clothes without using the free arm; i really dislike it.

my featherweight doesn't have a free arm, nor do industrial machines (that is what i plan to buy for my next machine). my serger doesn't have one either, but i don't know if they normally do these days or not.

Sarah E. said...

2 of my machines have a free arm and I never use it without that feature. The other two machines don't have this feature and so I sew in the curve as mentioned by other commentors for those pant hems and etc.

Anonymous said...

My machine has a free arm but I never use it. Like Lynne in the first post I sew from the inside because it gives me more control. I guess whatever works for you is best for you.
Corinne

Anne LO said...

I use my free arm - and sometimes not when I need a large surface. My old serger (Elna T34) had a free arm and I LOVED it but when I went to buy a new one, only one model had it and it was in the lower range and I wanted good stuff this time. Still miss it, though.

marysews said...

My sewing machine has a free-arm function which I only use occasionally. I know I've used the free-arm function recently, but I don't remember what I was sewing at the time.

I've posted something similar and have tracked back to you.

debbie said...

My machine has a free arm that I sometimes use. My biggest beef with the free arm on my machine is that the open space behind the needle and under the machine (think in terms of a circle) is a bit narrow because of the embroidery unit. Because of that I tend to sew from the inside of the curve.

Claire S. said...

My serger and 2 of my machines have a free arm. I use it mostly when hemming pants but it's hit or miss, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

I DO use it on the serger much more often.

gwensews said...

I do use the freearm, sometimes. But I also turn the garment inside out and sew "in the tube" as previous comments.