Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Confession


I was taught (lo, these many years ago) to be careful to only use my hands to GUIDE the fabric through the sewing machine, but to let the sewing machine do the actual work of moving the fabric.  

And for the last 10 years one of the things that I could never do well - something that seemed like it should be simple - was sewing large rectangles together.  They would always start out lined up nicely, and then end up out of alignment - often with little fabric bubbles.  Even when I used my walking foot (although that did help).  

Making 9 casserole totes required sewing A LOT of large rectangles.  So I tried something new.  I held the fabric taut and kind of pulled it through my machine.  At first it felt wrong - but, you know what?  It worked!  My rectangles came out nicely aligned with basically no fabric bubbles across all 9 totes.  :)

It may help that my machine is mechanical, not computerized.  

So, how about you?  Are you careful never to push or pull your fabric through the machine?  Or do you sometimes take control?  What do you think about this?  

11 comments:

gwensews said...

The feed dog naturally pushes the top layer of fabric forward. Enter the even feed foot. Or, enter "taut sewing". Presser foot pressure also affects how the feed dog and feet work together. Fabric is another variable. I most often use "taut sewing", lifting the presser foot every few inches to let the fabric relax. Having a knee-lift on the machine helps to do that.

Becky said...

I tend to pull on it a little bit, for the same reasons Gwen said-- since the feed dogs make it go unevenly, I find that I get a smoother line of stitching that way! Though I have to be careful to keep the pressure even as I go to avoid the stitching going wonky.

Sew Ducky said...

I let my machine do the work, and pin the goober out of it to keep it even.

I do hold the fabric together when I don't pin as I go, but always towards myself and never do I push it through. Someone did on my machine and it is pitted at the needle plate terribly.

If I do taut sewing, like for knits with the straight stitch, I never apply pressure while it moves, just along the fabric itself, which makes no sense typing it.

Marie said...

I honestly don't know. I am too busy concentrating on lining up the seam and making sure there is no fabric creep (or making sure the feed dogs are easing in the longer seam if applicable.

katherine h said...

David Coffin's book on shirtmaking explains the skill of sewing long straight seams evenly...I would pull the book out, but I have just moved house and haven't unpacked those boxes yet...I believe he holds the fabric taut...not really pushing or pulling, but taut enough so that it overcomes the problems of the feed dogs...so you are in good company!

mamafitz said...

always taut sewing, but you want to be sure you aren't pulling or pushing the fabric, just keeping it taut.

marysews said...

I almost always use the Taut method. If I need to ease a seam, I place the to-be-eased side towards the feed dogs, keep the top layer taut, and allow the feed dogs to ease in the excess of the bottom layer.

patsijean said...

If I am stitching a shorter seam, I just hold it a bit taut about 6-8 inches in front of the needle. If doing a longer seam, such as pants, skirts, curtains, etc., Ido a taut sew holding in front and behind the needle. I also pin and hold the fabric moving from pin to pin.

vernonfashionstudio said...

I tend to let the machine do its thing. There are some circumstances when helping the feed dogs do their job is required, like sewing over bulky seams. I too pin well also. I won't teach my students that method because we would have broken needles flying everywhere. Your shoulders and back will be doing more work holding the fabric taut so you might want to make sure you take time to push your shoulders back to stretch out your chest muscles. Don't want to end up all hunched over when we are old. ;)
Linda T

CarlaF-in Atlanta said...

Never thought about it. I might have to try this.

mrsmole said...

Always taut sewing re-adjusting every 12 inches to move hands to new positions. I learned this when working in a sewing factory...no pins, foot flat down for speed, fingernails used for easing princess lines and snipping threads as you go.