Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Expensive accessory fitted - I may never take it off again

No, not a hat or a new pair of shoes - something MUCH more exciting.  A walking foot for my sewing machine!

I bought it back in November, when I bought my new machine, because I was thoroughly tired of getting to the end of a long seam and finding that the two fabrics I was sewing together were now half a centimetre out - even when I had pinned them with all the pins I owned

A walking foot is an expensive piece of kit.  Mine cost me nearly £40 and a several guilty pangs in the shop that I was paying this much for what was really just a small piece of metal and plastic.  I got it home and put it onto my machine with great anticipation and excitement.  But I however I fitted it, I couldn't get it to work.  The packet was useless - Janome had a great deal of information on how this foot would transform my sewing experience, but crucially no instructions on how to attach it.

I went back to the foot (and the Janome website) every few weeks after that, but never managed to crack it.  This weekend I thought how ridiculous this was getting (and that £40 was starting to weigh on my conscience more heavily) and so I had one last trawl through the internet to see if I could find any hints or tips that might be useful.  And happily I found this blog entry which agrees with my confusion over how to fit the damn thing, and crucially also gives a link at the end to a proper set of instructions.

The walking foot is now finally working and I must say that it has been worth every moment of anguish I've had about it since November.  I love it.  And although I can now fit it and remove it quite happily, I have left it on my machine because it makes pretty much any kind of sewing so much easier.

That first evening I made three quilted coasters (using no pins and with all seams and edges perfectly matched up throughout). 
"Look!" I exclaimed to G, "Just look how neat and well lined up everything is!  I didn't even use pins!" 
And G nobly made all the right noises and said how marvellous everything looked (we've known each other for a very long time - he's used to this sort of thing).

Today I made C a letter satchel (from Amanda Blake Soule's Handmade Home) to keep his notepaper, envelopes, address book and stamps in.  He's been writing letters of complaint to the editor of The Beano regarding the lack of catapults in recent editions.... 

This is just the sort of project where a walking foot comes into its own.  When I made one for O two weeks ago, without the walking foot, by the time I got the bottom of one of the zigzagged side seams (a mere 19cm long) the seams had shifted and puckered.  For C's, they were perfect.

You can't tell of course.  At all.  But I can, so that's worth the forty quid I reckon.

I love how O opted for informal alliteration on her embroidered label, but C wanted his initials in full, which seems only right and proper for someone who dashes off letters of complaint that Dennis is not as menacing as he once was.


  1. Ooh yes - I think I can see a big improvement!!! I just wanted to say hi! I am new to your blog but totally addicted - I too love lists and am catching up on your old posts - loving them x

  2. Hello, I meet your blog from flickr (sew mama sew mural). Love your work. That quick quilt is pretty cool.
    Soon we'll visit London. Could you tell me craft places to visit like fabric shops or stationery shops?
    Excuse my english, please!
    Thank you!

  3. Ah, the magic of the walking foot! I have never regreted the money I spent on mine either.

    I'm with you ... once I've put it on, its seldom removed ( ... and not just because I am incredibly lazy!).


  4. I can see the difference!

    I kick myself for not having bought a walking foot for my machine a year ago when they were £46 (and I nearly choked then). The price has since rocketed to £75 and I just CAN'T.

  5. RID,Blogger didn't give me your email address when you posted your comment, but if you email me I will reply with recommendations of crafty places to visit in London.

  6. I have no idea what a walking foot is, even now you've told me. For me, a successful seam is one that doesn't have insane tangled loops on the underside.

    But I love, love, love the little satchels.

  7. I too have a Janome and I also agonised over whether I could justify the expense of the walking foot! Luckily, I got mine from the local sewing machine shop, so was able to get the chap there to actually show me how to attach it!
    R x


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