I am Angela and I love to sew. I started sewing as a child and by the time I was a teenager I was wearing the very latest fashions to go out in. All me-made. I am passionate about reducing the amount of textiles sent to landfill, and encourage you to repurpose fabrics and clothes I started this blog in order to have a way in which to pass on my gained knowledge, and my professional knowledge to you, Sewing is empowering, you can save money by making items, make money by selling then, You can pass your knowledge on to others. What is there not to love? Interestingly I am a direct descendant of the Flemish weavers who came over to England in the 1300's. I find that fascinating especially as most of my family from as far back as I can trace are somehow involved in the manufacturing of fabric . . I have a degree in tailoring with a special interest in WW2 fashion.

Saturday 28 April 2018

Explore some different Brother Sewing Machine feet and make a fab blouse

This is a Jaycotts.co.uk blog post

Starting to explore different machine feet.


Gathering foot
Scalloped edge
Monogram foot
French seam
Buttonhole foot 

As you know I recently started to use the Brother Innov-is 1300 .If you have not yet read my first impressions of this incredible machine then I urge you to read the blog post. Introducing the Brother Innov-is 1300

I do have rather a lot of Brother machine feet to get through so I am going to go through them all for you one or two at a time, showing them being used on a garment or other project.

The pattern I chose to make is McCalls M7657
The fabric is Plain combed cotton Lawn from MinervaCrafts
This top is tunic  style which pulls over your head. There are two sleeve options but I adapted the pattern to make the sleeves in a different style.
You will need Gutterman Sew All thread in white
You also need a new Sewing machine needle For Lawn I would choose a Fine one. This link is to a large box of machine needles which is great value but they are also sold in smaller packs.

I must tell you that I have just had to opt out of a discussion on a social media site because a group of people were insisting that machine needles do not need to be changed frequently. No matter what argument I put forward they were not listening and in the end I left the conversation. Let me tell you that it is absolutely vital that you change your machine needle with every project. It is most certainly not a " waste of money" you have paid a lot for your pattern and fabric, why risk your project failing or your machine becoming damaged because you didn't spend a small amount  of money on a new needle? 
If if you would like  more information on machine needles, sewing thread and general help on troubleshooting your machine then do please read this blog post. Troubleshooting your sewing machine .The advice is invaluable for any make of sewing machine

I marked the position of some machine embroidery on the front tunic and on each sleeve. The tacking marks the centre of the design and the placement lines to enable me to ensure that the design is level
The thread I chose is Brother embroidery thread White

My embroidery machine is the Brother Innov-is 800e and there are plenty of reviews and tutorials about this machine on my blog.

I chose a lace design which I placed centrally on the front and on the sleeves. There are many designs to choose from so pick what you like best.

When you first get a new sewing machine it can seem daunting at first, but just get your machine manual out and follow the instructions to the letter.
The LCD screen displays the stitch or function which you are using at the time, making it so simple to use.

All of my machines are by Brother and it makes life simpler because they share many of the same functions, for example threading is the same, the automatic needle threader is the same and so on.
When threading the machine and winding the bobbin for the first time take particular attention to the manual so that you are perfectly satisfied that you have the bobbin of thread the correct way round and that the threading process is followed correctly.

Similarly when putting the bobbin thread into the bobbin  thread case you need to look at the machine itself as it clearly indicates which way the bobbin needs to be inserted. If you do not thread the bobbin or the top thread correctly you are very likely to get tension problems.

The first foot we are going to try is the Gathering foot. I like Brother sewing machine feet because they are inexpensive to purchase so you can soon build up a selection. Not only that each foot comes with an instruction leaflet which is totally invaluable.

To attach this foot you first have to remove the presser foot holder. You do this  by loosening the screw holding the foot holder in place with one of the tools which come with the machine

Once you have done that then you attach the gathering foot in its place.

To use the gathering foot take some spare fabric and practice. You need a longer piece of fabric to gather onto a smaller piece.

The fabric which needs to be gathered goes under the pressure foot and the fabric which does not need gathering goes on top taking it through the gap in the foot. The bottom fabric gathers according to how much tension you put on the top fabric, so for more gathers put more tension on the top fabric, for less gathers don't put any tension.
Have a practice and see what works best for your project.

This is a sample I did using twice the length of gathered fabric to top fabric .

This blouse pattern is lovely but I didn't want a cuffed sleeve and the full sleeve is too fussy for me.
I cut the sleeve pattern out to the shorter length and then cut two lengths of fabric one and a half times the width of the lower sleeve and pressed them in half lengthwise.
This was then placed under my sleeve and gathered into place with very little tension applied, creating a slightly ruffled edge to my sleeve

To decorate the edge of the sleeve we now need to attach the monogram foot. This comes with most Brother machines.
The presser foot holder needs to be reattached and then the monogram foot simply clips onto it.

The monogram foot is wider and enables you to see the pattern you are stitching clearly.

I wanted to stitch a scallop edge to my sleeve. using my stitch guide I selected the scallop I wanted. The LCD display shows a diagram of the pattern, the foot needed and the stitch length and width. These can easily be adjusted as necessary.
I test stitched a few stitches before deciding on which one I wanted to use.

After completing the scallop edge I trimmed away the excess fabric very carefully so as not to cut the stitches. This makes a really pretty finish to any hem.
You may find it easier to stitch if you use some spray on starch first.

Using the same monogram foot I selected a decorative pattern to stitch above the scalloped edge. I also used this same stitch around the centre of the neckband.

I chose yet another design to add just above the seam.

These are the finished sleeves. I have not stitched the seam yet as I find it much easier to attach sleeves flat before I stitch the side seams of the body.
I ran a gathering stitch around the top edge of the sleeves to make it easier to attach the sleeves later.

The facings need to be interfaced . I used Vilene Ultra soft interfacing . Always use a good quality interfacing on garments .

Attach the facings according to the pattern instructions

Then make up the neckband and using a Point Turner to get crisp edges and corners turn the neckband right sides out. Do the embroidery and then attach the band to the garment

This is the front of the neckband.

And this is the back. We now face a new challenge - sewing a buttonhole, which we will do later once the side seams have been stitched so that we can make sure the fit is correct

Pin the side seams matching the sleeve edge, the underarm seam and the hem very carefully before stitching the seam in one long operation.
Please note that it is not a good idea to stitch over pins, they can damage your needle and even your machine, so remove them as you approach each one.

I could have used a French seam on this top, but instead I chose to overlock the edges.
The new upgraded model of my Brother 3034D overlocker has a few more functions and is a fabulous,easy to use machine.
My review of this overlocker can be found on my blog My review of the Brother 3034d overlocker

There is a compartment on the sewing machine itself which contains spare machine feet and bobbins etc. Take out the buttonhole foot - the long one at the back.

Don't be daunted by sewing buttonholes, modern sewing machines make it so easy.
I have got my manual out together with the buttonhole foot and a button. Always keep your manual handy to refer to.

This machine has a large selection of buttonholes but even basic machines have at least a couple to choose from.
I chose the Heirloom buttonhole stitch for my top.

The buttonhole foot has a button guide into which you place your button. The machine measures this and sews a buttonhole to match it exactly. However it is still very good practice to try it out first!

Clip the buttonhole foot onto the presser foot holder with the button at the back.
Pull the buttonhole lever down as far as it will go and position it behind the bracket on the buttonhole foot.

Select the buttonhole appropriate for your garment. The LCD screen displays the chosen buttonhole, and the stitch lengths and widths, and reminds you to attach the correct foot.

Take two pieces of spare fabric and place interfacing between them to mimic your actual garment. Stitch the buttonhole and carefully cut between the sides using sharp pointed scissors. Please take great care not to cut the stitches.
Try your button and if you are happy with the result go ahead and stitch it onto the left side of the neckband

It is a very good idea to use Beeswax on your thread to strengthen it when sewing your button on. There is nothing worse than buttons falling off is there.

This is the finished back neck, with the button and buttonhole finished.

This is a very unusual tunic top, the neckline is very elegant but the shape of the body makes it very easy to wear.

There is a choice of low and high backs on the pattern.Both have the button closure

These sleeves are not so bulky that they cannot be worn under a jacket. The top has no shaping and I think that if I made it again I would alter the pattern to give it a bit more shape. The fabric I chose though will soften a lot when I wash it again and give it a more floaty look.

All the notions and machines are from Jaycotts so give them a call to place your order or do it online.
If you want to discuss any of the products then do please Contact Jaycotts
If you are planning a visit to Chester then why not call beforehand and try out some of the marvelous machines for yourself? Ring them during office hours on 01244 394099

Finally sign up for the Jaycotts Newsletter and be the first to hear about new products, sales and much more.

Thank you for reading this post, as always your feedback is appreciated.


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