Many times, after telling others about my passion for heirloom sewing, the response I get is “I don’t have a fancy machine”. Trust me, ANY machine that has a straight stitch and zig-zag can be used to create wonderful heirlooms!
Of course, having a top-of-the-line machine gives you a wider array of decorative stitches to choose from. Great to have but not required!
Another useful “tool” is the presser foot but, again, not absolutely necessary to have more than the standard to create elegant fancy bands and trims.
I am lucky to have a Bernina 830 and a wide array of feet. Each one was designed for a specific use but can be used for other purposes as well. I am going to talk about the ones I used in creating the Fancy Baby Dress (see related post).
Everyone has a ‘favorite’ foot for general sewing and I have two: #1 and #34. In the photo, #1 is mounted on the machine and #34 is just to the right. On the #1 foot the indentation in front of and behind the needle opening allows for easier forward and reverse stitching. #34 has a transparent sole which ensures a good view of the stitching and needle area. I use this one quite a bit for sewing laces and trims together.
Foot #37 is the Patchwork foot, developed for projects with 3mm (1⁄8”) or 6mm (1⁄4”) seam allowances. As the name implies, it is used mostly for quilting.
#32 (7 grooves) and #46C are the pintuck feet. I also used #46C for the corded piping. It has larger grooves which makes sewing the piping easier.
#54 is a zipper foot with a non-stick sole. I also used this foot to attach some of the piping.
#20C is called the open embroidery foot but I use it when combining laces, entredeux and trims. The open foot allows for greater control of the delicate fabrics and a clear view of your stitching.
I tend to switch feet often, trying for the best combination and ease of sewing.
Remember, you DO NOT HAVE to have all these feet to create heirloom garments or gifts. Just start stitching and enjoy the creative process!
“For nothing is impossible with God.”
– Luke 1:37