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Topic: Special presser foot?  (Read 674 times)
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Burst
« on: November 23, 2008 04:24:10 PM »

Hello. I'm a sewer, but I'm going to start my first quilt. I'm just checking out books at the library and going for it. I'm starting with a baby quilt so I won't invest too much the first time.

I'm just wondering about the quilting angle -- must I have a darning foot to do it? I don't have one and because I have a Kenmore, I have to order every accessory I need. And it seems to be getting harder and harder to find presser feet for my 5 year old machine, even on the Sears site.

Also, do you just drop the feed dogs and start sewing, or do you draw a pattern on with disappearing marker or chalk? Any tips would be great for doing this in the most basic way.
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rdillon
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2008 04:42:15 PM »

If you are planning on doing free motion quilting, a darning foot is probably necessary.  You might be able to get away with a regular foot, but I'd be very careful with the lines you make--stick to gradual curves.  I would also test this on a mini quilt sandwich made of scraps (fabric-batting-fabric) before you do your actual quilt.

The most basic way would be just straight lines.  It's generally recommended that you use a walking foot for this, but my machine can handle it without.

Marking is entirely up to you.  I don't, but then again I'm impatient and willing to consider mistakes part of the charm of handmade.

Most critical component is the batting you use.  On my first quilt, I tried using the fluffy polyester stuff from Wal-mart (thicker is better right?) and my machine could not handle it.  I spend days picking out the sitches... stick with a thin-ish cotton or wool batting.  My favorite is called 'warm and natural'.
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Burst
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2008 06:13:46 PM »

Thank you for the advice on batting. I do have a walking foot and lots of other presser feet, just not one for darning. I guess I should just go ahead and buy it.
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SewHelpMe
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2008 08:15:05 AM »

I, too, have a 5-year-old Kenmore (an Elite).  The ladies at the quilt store told me the Elite version was made for Sears by Janome.  I had no trouble finding a Janome darning foot to fit my machine (check e-Bay; they have lots of Janome/Kenmore snap-on feet).  And, while you're buying feet, check out a stitch-in-the-ditch foot which is also good for quilting and sewing on binding.

Before buying the darning foot, though, make sure free-motion quilting is what you want to do.  It takes ALOT of practice and patience learning how to draw with your palms flat and face down AND how to get even, regular stitches.  I'm not trying to scare you off, but for a first quilt, you may want to consider using the walking foot or the stitch-in-the-ditch foot instead.

And, yes, to answer your questions:  you drop the feed dogs and start sewing!  You can mark your designs and trace them with your stitches, or you can free-hand your designs.  Make sure to practice first on some fabric sandwiches to figure out your designs and how fast you have to go to get even stitches.

Make sure to post your quilt.  I can't wait to see it!
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Burst
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2008 04:20:38 PM »

Thanks. This was really helpful. I ordered a darning foot -- I was nervous about the ones on eBay because I couldn't tell if they would connect properly and my specific machine wasn't listed.

I do have a walking foot, so I might try that the first time.
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2008 10:28:50 PM »

I say just practice a bit when you get your new foot in and go for it!  Maybe make a quick quilt that's just the batting and two layers of fabric as your practice quilt before trying it on your patchwork one for the baby though.  I think people build up free motion quilting to be much harder than it actually is.  I have made a dozen or so quilts and all of them have been free motion quilting.  My very first quilt was free motion quilting.  I didn't know enough about quilting or sewing to be "afraid" of it and just went for it.  I feel that it hides flaws way easier than stitching in the ditch.  But I also cannot sew a straight line for anything so...
When you do it just be prepared for imperfection.  I agree with rdillon that mistakes are part of the charm that comes with a handmade item.  If I wanted perfection, I would buy it at Pottery Barn.  Wink
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2008 09:35:40 PM »

My first practice piece was a dog quilt I made to use under the dog in the truck.  It's kind of funny, but I got GOBS of compliments on that ghastly thing.  I'd suggest the same project for your first attempt at free motion.  Starts, letters, circles, etc.  All good.
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2008 08:28:47 AM »

Free motion quilting takes a LOT of practice.  Buy some muslin and make a practice quilt sandwich to get the feel for it before doing your quilt.  I totally gave up on free motion and just do straight lines and diagonals with my walking foot.  It is so much easier and still looks great!

That batting tip is a good one!  I like flat batting and I don't care too much for the polyester battings because they tend to beard as they are used. 
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