A Complete Course in Dressmaking/Lesson 1/Sewing machine attachments

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Are you really acquainted with your sewing machine? Do you know how to use all the attachments? Do you know everything that each attachment will do?

Run over the list and see if you know how to use the following attachments:

  • Narrow hemmer
  • Wide hemmer
  • Binder
  • Tucker
  • Ruffler
  • Edge stitcher
  • Corder
  • Quilter

Narrow Hemmer.—This attachment is merely another kind of a sewing machine foot. The foot of the machine is removed and the hemmer is put on in its place.

It is possible to do several things with a narrow hemmer. If you are using this attachment, it isn't even necessary to crease the edge in order to turn a narrow hem. Just guide the goods and as it feeds through the foot, the edge is rolled and stitched at one time. See Fig. 30.

It is excellent for hemming a cuff or a trimming piece. It does not work well on curved edges.

Fig. (30) A narrow hemmer folds and stiches the edge automatically.

The goods must be removed from the hemmer at a corner.

Lace can be joined to the edge at the same time that the edge is hemmed. Slip the lace in
Fig. (31) You can hem an edge and sew on lace at one time.
next to the thread and the one stitching will do all the work. See Fig. 31. It can also be used for setting in insertion, handling the insertion the same as the lace.

The neatest kind of a lapped felled seam can also be made with this attachment. Place the two pieces to be joined one on top of the other under the hemmer with the underpiece extending a quarter inch beyond the edge of the upper piece, and stitch. (Here the edge of the material is not turned under.)

Open up the two pieces of the material and hem the free edge of the under piece.

Such an attachment is invaluable in making underwear, blouses, men's shirts and children's clothes. As you progress with the lessons, you see innumerable ways of applying it. Learn how to use the narrow hemmer for your machine now.

The book of instructions that comes with every sewing machine will tell you just how to adjust it to your particular machine.

Wide Hemmer.—This attachment is adjusted at the side of the foot.

Instructions for adjusting the hemmer comes with every sewing machine.

I add just these few suggestions. Pull the goods back and forth in the hemmer until the hem is turned properly. Then stitch, guiding the material so that the hemmer is always full. See Fig. 32.

Fig. (32) Its easy to hem cuffs, the fronts of a waist, a little girls's skirt or a straight ruffle, if you have a wide hemmer.

The wide hemmer will work only on straight edges. It is a great convenience in hemming sheets, making underwear, children's clothes, wash dresses and blouses. Just in the way of an example, there is the center front closing of a waist, and the hem at the top of the turn back cuffs. Perhaps you have planned your work so that you are making several blouses at one time. With the wide hemmer you can roll and turn the edges and finish all these pieces in a few minutes.

In making a garment or garments where you expect to use the wide hemmer, place all the pieces that need hemming in one bundle, and run these through the hemmer before closing the seams. It will facilitate the work. The hemmer works better when the pieces are flat, and if you run them through all at one time it saves taking the hemmer on and off the machine.

Binder.—Another time saving attachment is the binder. It is a scroll shaped piece of metal which sometimes attaches like a presser foot or in other machines screws to the side of the regular foot.

Draw the bias strip of material through the scroll and under the needle. Insert the edge to be bound between the two thicknesses of the bias and stitch. See Fig. 33.

Fig. (33) There is no hand folding when you use a binder

Think how simple it is to make a housedress when you can bind the edges with just one stitching. There is no folding or pressing either of the bias to prepare it. Bias bindings make a pretty trimming, too, on children's gingham, percale and chambray frocks.

Tucker.—There is no tiresome measuring and marking for the widths between the tucks or the width of the stitching if you use a tucking attachment. The attachment is adjusted to the machine the same as a presser foot. There are gages you can set to regulate the width of the tuck and the width between the tucks.

Crease the material and stitch as shown in Fig. 34. The attachment marks where the next tuck is to be creased.

Fig. 34 A tucker is a great convenience when you are making underwear or summer dresses.

One point you must remember in using a tucker is to form the tuck on the straight thread of the goods. It is almost impossible to tuck a bias.

You can have just as many pin tucks in your summer organdies and dimities as your heart desires if you learn how to run your tucker. And think how much prettier you can make your blouses and children's clothes with the addition of tucks here and there.

Ruffler—How many hours have you spent running in gather threads? Of course, there are places where nothing else will answer for the gather thread, but how about the ruffles and frills? You can run them through a ruffler in just about three minutes and do away with an hour's hand work.

There is a ruffling attachment which comes with nearly every sewing machine. Take out yours now. It is just the matter of a couple of thumb screws to adjust it. Place the material between the two blades of the ruffler and stitch as shown in Fig. 35.

Fig. (35) Use a ruffler and do away with handrun shirr threads wherever you can.

If it's a petticoat ruffle that you are gathering, you can sew it to the bottom of the petticoat and sew on a bias at the same time, by laying the ruffle on the right side of the petticoat and inserting the bias as in Fig. 36.

Fig (36). Joining the ruffle to the lower edge of a petticoat

After the petticoat is removed from the machine, turn the ruffle into its finished position, fold under the free edge of the bias, and stitch a second time, using the regular presser foot.

Edge Stitcher.—The name almost tells the story—an edge stitcher is for joining lace. If you are making underwear or children's clothes or dainty summer dresses it is almost indispensable.

The lace is placed in the attachment as shown in Fig. 37. All you have to do is guide it and the attachment laps one edge over the other and the needle stitches through both pieces of lace.

Fig. (37) An edge stitcher joins lace quickly and neatly.

The edge stitcher can be used for joining narrow bias trimming folds to the material, too. Or, you can use it for sewing on ribbon. It will keep the stitching true to the edge.

Cording Foot.—Of course, you know, that you can't stitch cording with an ordinary sewing machine foot. The frong of the foot won't permit you to stitch nearer the cord than an eighth of an inch which is simply useless.

I heard one woman say who had been sewing for years, "there isn't any way of machine stitching cording. It has to be stitched by hand.” Probably all the time, there was a cording foot packed away in her sewing machine drawer.

The cording foot is just like a regular foot except that the narrow frong isn’t there. This makes it possible to stitch close to the cording. See Fig. 38.

Fig. (38) A cording foot is made without the narrow frong that an ordinary sewing machine toot has.

You will find cording fully described in Lesson XII.

Probably in the seasons when cording is the style, every dress that you make will require endless cording. There is always more or less cording used to trim children’s dresses.

Quilter or Foot with Gage.—Just because this sewing machine foot is called a quilter doesn't mean that it is used only for quilting. As a matter of fact, the name is rather misleading for the foot with a gage comes in handy for many ordinary purposes.

The novice at sewing especially cannot afford to be without the foot with a gage.

If you want to double stitch a seam, it will keep the second stitching even.

If you want to stitch back from the edges of a coat, it will keep the stitching exactly true.

If you want to add several rows of parallel stitching for trimming around a collar, use the foot with a gage to keep it parallel.

Fig. (39) A foot with a gage will help you to keep your stitching true.

It can be used for diamond shaped quilting, too. It will keep the rows exactly even.

Fig. 39 shows the attachment. It goes onto the machine just like the regular sewing machine foot. Three minutes with your screw driver will attach it.