“Making Adjustments”

While spending another Sunday afternoon sewing walker bags for my local rehab center, I started thinking about the adjustable foot I was using for the overcasting of the bags and the handles.  I was teaching the second class for “Sewing Machine Basics” yesterday and we were talking about how to adjust this very foot.  Customers who are becoming familiar with their machine and presser feet often ask for specific adjustments when using an adjustable foot and they are always a bit unsatisfied when I answer them with a rather vague answer:  how you adjust depends upon your project and your fabric.  It’s absolutely true.  You have so many ways to adjust your machine; upper tension, bobbin tension, presser foot pressure, Set Menu items, stitch length and width, mirror image as well as adjustable presser feet.  All are designed to give you the opportunity to configure the machine for the exact task you are asking of it.  Take the foot I was using today for example.  I was using foot 3, the adjustable blind hem foot for my Pfaff machine.

By changing the red guide from blind hem position to overcasting position I was able to run my fabric edge quickly through the machine, chain sewing style, with a beautiful overcast.

I was using it to stitch a 3-step zig-zag to overcast the raw edges of the walker bags and handles so fraying would be at a minimum.  Since this is a charity sewing project and since the material is all donated, the quality isn’t always high.  The foot’s original purpose is to blind hem, but adjusting the screw on the right of the foot allows me to line the red guide up with the pin of the foot to run right along the edge of the fabric to give a great overcast that won’t roll to the wrong side of the fabric. 

The presser foot seen from the top, set for it’s intended use as a blind hem foot. Notice the red guide is to the left of the pin that runs along the right inside of the foot.
The blind hem setting as seen from the underside of the foot.
This is how I set up the foot today. I used the screw to move the red guide to the right of the foot’s pin.
This is the overcast adjustment as seen from the underside of the foot.

I was able to run right along the edges so quickly that I was finished with all the overcasting for all 30 bags in under an hour.  Not bad.  If I had had to guide the fabric myself, it would have taken me much more time.

I bring this up because I meet so many customers who say they have never made any adjustments to their machine in the 20, 30 or more years they have owned it.  Many express a fear they will not be able to get their machine “back to normal again” if they make any changes.  Remember, your machine and feet come from the factory set to generic settings.  You paid for the ability to adjust the machine and the adjustable feet, so don’t forget to use those features!